Good News for Christmas Eve

24 12 2010

Luke 2:15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

The Daily Path: “Let us go then to see this thing that has taken place.”

In this passage we hear how God has once again spoken to common men like you and me, inspiring them to witness His love and mercy. Then, when they have seen, they are again inspired to go out to share it among all they come in contact with.

Friends, we’ve been called to witness the miracle of God in our lives. Some of us have just had an inkling while others have opened their eyes fully to be truly transformed by the experience. Tonight, as we begin to come together as family and friends to celebrate the birth of the Savior, let us be like the shepherds that first holy night. Tonight we see the miracle of the Child who a benevolent and loving father sent to us. And now, filled with that grace we are called to go forth and live the miracle everyday of the year.

Thank you for all of your notes, prayers and support in 2010. You’ve made such a difference in my life. Truly, God has brought the miracle of you into my life.

I wish each of you a Blessed Christmas filled with His Peace!





Advent Day 23 – Good News for December 20

20 12 2010

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

The Daily Path: “May it be done according to your word.”

I wish those words were always on the tip of my tongue, etched in my consciousness. Instead, old Gabriel hears this when he visits me: “Behold I am a stubborn, obstinate, egocentric servant of the Lord. Not sure why he even bothers with me.” Then the angel departed to report back on this woeful child of God. “Master, why DO you bother with this one?”






Advent Day 21 – Good News for December 18

18 12 2010

Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.

Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

The Daily Path: I’ve come to realize that the good sisters failed to convey the entire story of Joseph. Perhaps the questions about Joseph’s dilemma would have been a little too edgy for the nuns to discuss during our religion classes back in the 60’s. LOL I can understand why.

Can you imagine the headlines that would be generated by the media if celebrity M&J faced such an issue today?

MARY PREGNANT OUT OF WEDLOCK

Joe Outraged – Dumps “Virgin” Fiance

Mary’s Wild Miami Night With Kardashians Leads to Baby

WHO’S THE FATHER??

Joseph had quite a decision to make, as we all do facing many dilemmas in our own modern lives. Will we have the courage to do the right thing? Will we engage in grace when the angels come knocking? Don’t expect a winged being to appear – but do look inside and listen. The answers are there if we look beyond ME (ego).





Reconnecting – Good News for April 7

7 04 2010

Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”

They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.

As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Daily Path: This week we are reading about how Jesus is reconnecting with his friends and disciples following His Resurrection. The selected passages are exciting and full of joy. Who doesn’t like a happy ending?

As I reflect on these readings, it seems that each day we are presented with opportunities to reconnect with Christ in some way. It may be a big renewal, like after thirty years of separation, or perhaps a small one, say after three hours during which time He has not been centered in our heart. I have found it easy to get lonely when I don’t feel connected to God. This feeling of disconnection can also translate into fear. Yes, friends, I am needy, but I take comfort in knowing that we are all a needy bunch. I believe God likes it that way.

A good friend recently reminded me that during the times of crisis in our lives we have to place our worry with God… EVERY minute if need be. He’s correct. And while it’s good to run to the Father when we are hurting, I think we’d hurt less if we stay connected to Him all the time.

One of the other amazing things I have learned is that I often find Jesus walking towards me. Like the disciples in today’s Gospel from Luke, in some instances I don’t immediately recognize Him. Perhaps I’m too lost in momentary grief or too busy living in this world to see Him. But He is there. And He is always ready to reconnect with me, no matter if it’s thirty years or thirty seconds since we last embraced.





Weepers – Good News for April 6

6 04 2010

John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.

Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.

The Daily Path: Mary is so wrapped up in her loss that she doesn’t recognize the fact that Jesus is standing right there in her presence. It’s good that she is grieving. So often we don’t fully grieve a loss in our life. Sometimes we hold on to that special friend or family member without ever saying goodbye and moving on. The same is true with other life changes, such as aging, job loss or status. Of course, we want to cherish the memories, but we can’t be bound by them, lest we become overwhelmed and lose sight of our journey.

I have experienced this in my own life. In fact, I’m still grieving a life change that has had deep impacts on me and my family. I’ve sat outside my tomb, or perhaps within it, weeping over my loss and the comforts/prestige I had come to know. The good news is that I’m finally letting go. And it is indeed the good news. Do you know how this return to life is coming about? I think you may be able to guess…

I’m handing my troubles (loss) over to God.

Just as Jesus was standing with Mary in her grief, He also stands here with me. Like Mary, I couldn’t recognize this. I was only wrapped up in the pain, blinded by my tears. There is still some pain, and the tendency to try and wrestle back control of my life. But gradually I learn to trust more each day. To let go, look up, and see the way.

As Christ asked of Mary, I move on to share what I have experienced… and continue on the journey God has planned for me. He is both gardener and a God of HOPE.





Seeing Lazarus – Good News for March 4

4 03 2010

Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores.

When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’

Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’

He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’

But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.’“

The Daily Path: Last night I had the opportunity to chat with a gentleman who has achieved great “human” success in his life. He spoke openly about his life, not with ego, but with humility, to share how God has been a compass for him at various steps along his journey. When he feels his life getting off center, it’s been faith that re-opens his eyes, ears, and heart to God, thus enabling a course correction.

It’s truly amazing to experience God in this life. I don’t know what side of the chasm I will ultimately end up on, but I do know that I have been given the chance in this life to see the way to join Lazarus in the “bosom of Abraham.”

Room to Chat: Father, in this season of Lent, open the hearts of all who struggle in this life. Allow us to see Lazarus now. We know forgiveness is there for all who open themselves up to you.





Desert Battle – Good News for February 21

21 02 2010

Luke 4:1-13

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.”

Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.

Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.

When the devil had finished every temptation, he departed from him for a time.

The Daily Path: Thank goodness (God) it’s Sunday! After reading that passage I can’t wait to get to church. Where will you go to see Him?