And gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Hearing The Good News From The "Least" Among Us

I have a wonderful Christmas story to share this year.

A cognitively impaired young man wanted to be in a children's play at a local church. The organizers and the other children in the play didn't want to include him because he was a little too old and they "knew he would mess up."

The annual Christmas pageant was the church's big event of the year, and the church had become known in the area for their portrayal of the Nativity story. So it was with great hesitation that they let this young man participate. They decided to make him the Innkeeper so he would only have to stand in one place and say one line: "There is no room at the Inn."

The night of the play came, and the church's auditorium was filled. The moment came when Mary and Joseph knocked on the door of the Inn. The young man with special needs answered the door as he had been instructed, stood in the spot as he had been told, and recited his line. "There is no room at the Inn," he said boldly and clearly.

Mary and Joseph turned to walk away. The young man saw that Mary was weeping on Joseph's shoulder. He jumped out of his spot and ran to them.

"Wait! You can have my room," he said.

Some in the play and in the audience thought the play had been ruined that night. But others knew better.

May the peace of our Lord be with you this day. Love, Theresa

Friday, December 12, 2008

Inviting John The Baptist To Christmas This Year

It is the Season of Advent for those of us in the Christian Church. The word 'advent' is Latin for 'a coming or arrival'. Advent in the Church is a season of preparation and rejoicing -- we are waiting for the arrival of the Christ Child on Christmas Day.

I cannot think about Christmas this year without thinking about John the Baptist. He is one of the people we most closely associate with Advent, but not with Christmas. Though he is mentioned in all four Gospels in the Bible, it is his place in the Gospel of Mark which is of particular interest to me this day.

In Mark there is no Christmas story. There are no shepherds, no star in the east, no wise men, no manger. Instead, there is a wild man named John who eats Locusts, dresses in animal skins, and lives in the desert (a place of great significance throughout the Old and New Testaments).

The cry of John the Baptist is one of repentance, which means change. He challenges us, warns us, to awaken our most contrite and vulnerable parts. He points the way toward healing and wholeness, toward the world of the heart.

Our children, like John the Baptist, are beautiful reminders that Christmas is not all light and fluff. Simply by being, they crack a hole in the veneer of the glitzy, happy-only holiday that has become Christmas. They remind us that it is a Season of repentance and change, of deepening our spiritual lives, of putting love front and central in our lives. And they remind us that all of our days should begin and end with John’s cry in the wilderness to prepare the way of the Lord.

"As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth." Luke 3:4-5

PRAYER: Lord, we know that You are our hope for peace on earth, and for peace in the heart. We thank You for being newly born into our world again this Christmas. Help us to prepare a way for You each day of our lives. Amen.

Always, Theresa

May Christ be newborn in your heart this Christmas