Archive for the ‘Christianity’ Category

The Holidays Are Here Again

Monday, December 8th, 2014

For many of us, the holiday season has arrived!

For those of us who are Jewish or Christian or American or maybe even a Westerner, no pages on the calendar marks the passing of time like the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  For others, it is the season of celebrating light: Diwali and the Winter Solstice.

Whatever our traditions, we are likely to think, Another year has passed! or So much has happened this past year!  At this time, our days and nights are full of traditions to think about: religious celebrations, special meals, cards and letters, photographs, decorating our homes, shopping for gifts, holiday gatherings. Sometimes we feel like we don’t even have time to think at all, that our list of things-to-do is impossibly long. We know we should be having fun, but we may feel stressed or even inappropriately sad. Others of us are blessed by memories of past holiday seasons, as we remember the beloved people and places that have made those times special for us.

Whether or not you are ready to celebrate Hannukah or Christmas or the Solstice or New Year’s Eve–and despite your mood–the last few days of the year can be a blessing. In the hectic times and the quiet moments, try looking for the most important aspects of this solstice season. Set aside your to-do list and focus on three things that, once embraced, will be holiday gifts to yourself. I am suggesting peace, joy and love! In the Nativity story, the Wise Men might have done well to offer these three, since Jesus certainly embraced them — and the Hannukah story is full of them. Peace, Joy and Love. They are already in your life, waiting for you to find them amidst the bustling crowds, the wrapping paper and bows, the latkes and candy canes, the Yule fires and midnight noisemakers. Close you eyes and feel them — or open your eyes and see them. You will be blessed!

To help in your search, here’s a holiday poem as my gift to you. Happy Holidays!

 

Peace! Joy! Love!

In Candle Glow and Choir Song,

In Places You Know You Belong,

When Frantic Preparations Cease,

Oh, Friend, May You Find Peace!

In Laughter and in Life’s Embrace,

In Smiles that Light Up Every Face,

In the Hopes of Little Girls and Boys,

Oh, Friend, May You Find Joy!

As You Open Gifts and Give Them Too,

As the Season Brings Its Best to You,

Like the Sweet Descent of a Sacred Dove,

Oh, Friend, May You Find Love!

 

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Fast, Pray, Love

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

This weekend I went to see the new movie based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s New York Times best-selling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. It follows a young woman’s classic New Age search for personal fulfillment, as she leaves her angst-ridden marriage, takes-then-leaves a lover and travels alone to Italy, India and Bali. Along the way, she re-examines her ideas about the pleasure of food, the way to enlightenment and the difficulties of relationships.  

While enjoying the story, I left the movie theater struck the character’s self absorption and by our general American sense of dissatisfaction, including about religion. (more…)

Celebrate December

Monday, December 21st, 2009

“Celebrate the happiness that friends are always giving,

make every day a holiday and celebrate just living. “

 Amanda Bradley

On this clear cold day with the sun’s glow waking my winter world, December is a perfect time to enjoy a spiritual lift. The cloudless sky seems to open to heaven itself, and outside my wind chimes are ching-chinging a cheerful song. With sunshine glossing the frost, the trees and birds and rocks and water are rejoicing along with me!

I think about how the month of December is a gift for the spirit, full of holiday cheer and family gatherings. Around the world, it is a time of spiritual celebration: Jewish Hanukkah, the Winter Solstice, Christmas, the Muslim New Year, and the African American days of Kwanzaa, among others.  I like to think about how, in places far and near, the world is affirming that God is good, people are worth loving and life is a gift. (more…)

The Best Way

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

He was a Mahatma (Great Soul) and India’s Bapu (Father of the Nation).

October 2 is the birthday of Mohandras Gandhi, political leader, spiritual advisor, social activist and wise elder. Educated and of means, but having experienced the sting of racism while in South Africa, the domination of India by Britain and the brutal violence between Hindus and Muslims, Gandhi turned his life to what he called non-cooperation – just saying “no” to injustice. A student of Jesus’s teaching as well as other world religions, he practiced kindness and forgiveness in a sacred endeavor towards the Greater Good. Because of his leadership, people around the world were inspired. In tribute to Gandhi, the date of his birth was designated several years ago as the annual International Day of Non-violence. (more…)

Question for the Day 6-8-09: Weekends

Monday, June 8th, 2009

“There aren’t enough days in the weekend.”       Rod Schmidt

It’s Monday. Again. Time to rise and shine, grab a cup of coffee and a bagel and leave the weekend behind. For some of us, this past weekend was full of time with family and friends.  For some, it was a chance to hit the lake for fishing. Others enjoyed three days of yard work or home repair or a service project. Lots of us spent Sunday in church and maybe even at a church picnic. Many of us went to concerts or had a night out for dinner or had friends over. Of course, some of us were at jobs that don’t stop on Saturday or Sunday. Sadly, a few of us felt compelled to keep working and worrying and waiting for things to change (you know who you are!) (more…)

Spring Renewal

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

Spring!

It’s Easter weekend, the time when Christian congregations around the world commemorate Christ’s resurrection, the remembrance of the empty tomb where passionate women friends of Jesus discovered the fulfilment of prophecy. For modern Christians, Easter is the celebration of spiritual renewal and the hope of eternal life for those who believe.

For other Americans, it is a happy weekend of family gatherings,  Sunday lunches, children in brightly colored outfits and Easter egg hunts.

It’s also spring, the time when Nature’s message of renewal is just as passionate as Easter itself. Here in East Texas, green has miraculously returned to bare branches and sleeping sod. Flowers of every hue shout their songs of celebration and new life. Animals large and small seem reinvigorated for this season of procreation and birth.

While our human lives are often more driven by work deadlines, school assignments and family responsilibities, we would do well to affirm our natural selves this time of year, to find ways to use this month to experience resurrection, both spiritually and personally–embracing the idea of a new lease on life, a chance to start again, fresh beginnings, bright hope.

Think about your own life this Easter:

  • With the long, cold months of winter over, what darkness do you need to leave behind?
  • As the world blossoms with color, how can you experience celebration and creativity with those you love?
  • While birds build nests and mother animals give birth, what can you do to insure our childrens’ future?
  • As caterpillars are being transformed into butterflies, what relationships of yours need to be renewed?
  • Now that plants and trees are growing again, what part of your life needs new attention and growth or even change?

Let’s celebrate Easter with all the joy it represents. Let’s welcome Spring and experience a time for renewal. Let’s use our lives for more than self-absorbed day-to-day living. Let’s be Passionate about the Future, working together towards the Greater Good!

 When We Experience Renewal,

We Can Be a Blessing!

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Bigger than We Can Imagine

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

 The God that we serve is so big

that we don’t have to be limited

by the world that we now see.

This quote by Mariama White-Hammond was part of a recent post  on the always  insightful and encouraging blog,  God’s Politics.

Ms. White-Hammond is the inspiring young executive director of Project Hip-Hop (Highways Into the Past—History, Organizing and Power), a youth-led, secular, nonprofit organization that provides a space where predominantly young people of color from traditionally low-income communities in Boston can develop and exercise their individual and collective leadership. The blog entry is excerpted from an interview with her that appears in this month’s issue of Sojourner magazine in a feature about young Christians who are making a difference in the world.

This particular quote came in answer to the question, What would you like to tell other Christians? While I think it is a great statement of faith, for me it is more than a Christian guidepost. (more…)

Elders Or The Elderly?

Saturday, November 17th, 2007

A 79-year-old-mother of five and grandmother of twelve with a lifetime of experience in early childhood education volunteers as a grandmother for troubled children at her local elementary school.

An 84-year-old Marine who began writing award-winning poetry in her 50s now mentors young poets via email submissions

A 70-year-old retired professor serves as a supervisor for probationers on Saturdays building wheelchair ramps for needy local residents

These amazing anecdotes are not inspirational fiction–they are about friends of mine, one of whom is my mother! In fact, they and so many others are more than friends, they are my elders. (more…)

Great Moral Issues of the Day?

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Abu Graib TortureArgentinian child in trash

 

Posted by Anne McCrady

 

 

In case you haven’t heard, there is a debate rumbling in American evangelical circles about what constitutes “the great moral issues of the day.” With the presidential race heating up and the Republican party struggling to find its way forward, the Religious Right is jockeying to decide what should matter most to its constituency. (more…)