Tag Archives: Advent

Be ready

“You must be ready,” Jesus said (Matt. 24:44). How do you get ready for what you already have, for what’s already here? Do we even know what we’re getting ready for? Those are the questions of Advent. All through the scriptures we hear echoes of God’s encouragement. “For surely I know the plans I have […]

When you’re desperate enough

How desperate do you feel? Thoreau believed most people “lead lives of quiet desperation” (Walden, “Economy”), not the frantic desperation of someone who’s in imminent danger, but the subtler kind, the low-level anxiety that slowly eats away at us. We may pretend it doesn’t exist, but once in a while it bubbles up and lets […]

Time to get real

Do you like surprises? I do. I like to be surprised by the new and different and unexpected, by things that add a little zip to life. I also like those surprises to be safe. I don’t like surprises that threaten things I depend on. I shy away from surprises that destabilize things I count […]

Look again

It’s an old question, as old as the human story. When will God visit this world, this middle ground between heaven and hell, to grant our ancient yearning and set things right? How long will the earth yield thorns and thistles for all our hard work; how long will we have to till the ground […]

Are you the one?

The promise of Christmas is that the desert shall bloom and rejoice, and a highway shall be there, a road that leads all nations to God (Isa. 35:1, 8; 2:2). But what happens when the desert doesn’t bloom? What happens when instead of rejoicing we hear the din of destruction, the weeping of despair and […]

Hope rising

Every year I complain about the season’s rush toward Christmas with its apparently irresistible and irreversible consumerism. Every year I hold out hope that the true meaning of Advent might dominate the headlines and our calendars, or at least dominate my attention. And every year hectic preparation bullies aside the opportunity to appreciate “how silently, […]

Always we begin again

In the most unlikely of times, the most unlikely invitation came. Although it was the invitation Israel desperately wanted to hear, it contained a promise that many must have thought naïve and unbelievable, or nearly so – a vision for the distant future, for another lifetime. But biblical visions have a way of falling out […]

Imagine peace

Who still believes what was spoken to us by the Lord? “The days are surely coming,” God has promised, “when I will fulfill the promise I made” (Jer. 33:14), and on Christmas we will celebrate the arrival, roughly 2015 years ago, of those very days, the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise, in the birth of […]

The second baptism

Most folks of my generation will remember sitting down with the big Sears Roebuck catalogue in the weeks before Christmas, making a list of what we wanted from Santa, toys and games more than we could hope to receive. Then came long days dreaming of what would arrive under the tree, and finally the excitement […]

Holy unpredictability

Well, it’s been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone, and a normal week in the rest of America. Conversation at the coffee shop turns on when we’ll get our first snowfall. Retailers are speculating about the shift of shoppers from stores to the Internet. And on a sunny workday morning two young parents walked into […]