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Showing posts from 2018

How is Christmas Supposed to Feel?

I'm fresh off a funeral and hospital visit that both stung a little more than usual. I'm not exactly sure why. Because I've spent enough time around end-of-life scenarios and difficult moments, I'm not typically shaken by them. But the raw realities of this weekend have done something different in me. Maybe it's due to the timing of these events. We're at the precipice of Christmas Day, which our annual Advent preparation reminds us is a longing for hope, peace, joy and love. And if I can be honest with you,  longing  is probably a good word for me. I read lots of articles and posts about the "feelings" that should accompany Christmas. And I can't begin to count the number of times I've listened to others confide in me that "it just doesn't feel like Christmas this year." I guess I've never quite understood what Christmas is supposed to "feel" like. This isn't the first year I've "felt" the way I

It's a Wonderful Life- Believe It

It’s a Wonderful Life- Believe It Luke 1: 46-55             I don’t know if this is true of your family, but we’re not big fans of pain in my house. We don’t care for blood and gore and wounds and sickness, and the number of band aids in our closet is proof! It’s actually quite astonishing how many band aids we go through in a given year. It’s so apparent that even Santa knows, because some Pittsburgh Pirate band aids showed up in my stocking last year! It seems that every cut and scrape, whether real or not, is usually met with a look of sheer panic and a mad dash to the medicine cabinet. And we slap one of those suckers on and hope that it will all soon be over. But sometimes, in our haste, we forget that pain isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can actually signal good news. You wouldn’t think a bloody lip would be a sign of hope, but for George Bailey, it was a light shining in the darkness. As he stood on the bridge just outside of Bedford Falls

It's A Wonderful Life- Hope In It

It’s a Wonderful Life: Hope In It Matthew 3: 1-12 You have one of those conversations when the right person at the right time spoke that changed the way you looked at the world? I had one a few years ago. Before I grew in my understanding of social dynamics, I was a little judgmental in my attitude towards people who lived differently that I did. In my small hometown, I didn’t notice many differences between this family or that family-probably because I wasn’t looking. But when I did start to notice, I had lots of questions. If you’re in debt, why would you spend more money? If you need to eat, why don’t you sell something of value? And the biggie- If you’re trying to make ends meet, why are you spending all your money on worthless items like cigarettes? Now, I’m not proud of those thoughts, but they reflected something about my upbringing that wasn’t true of everybody…I had what I needed to live a good life. And because of that, I had hope. Lots of it.   And

It's A Wonderful Life- Endure It

I’ve always wanted to preach an Advent series on “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Before moving to the area, I had never seen the movie, nor did I know that the Indiana area was once home to Jimmy Stewart. This American classic is very much a part of our local culture, and even though this film isn’t part of the Christian subculture, there are Advent lessons we can glean from this historical movie. So the next time you see this movie, I pray that it draws you deeper into the heart of Advent. So let’s begin. Endurance doesn’t immediately strike us as an Advent theme, does it? But yet, that’s exactly the type of life George Bailey’s father invited him to embrace. Sitting around the dining room table, ready to conquer the big, exciting world in front of him, George’s dad asked him if he’d consider just coming home and working at the old Building and Loan. Not the type of wonderful life George was anticipating. Like Geoargy, we usually hope for something different in our li