Advent Day 12 – Good News for December 9

9 12 2010

Matthew 11:11-15

Jesus said to the crowds, “Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force. All the prophets and the law prophesied up to the time of John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah, the one who is to come. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

The Daily Path: So many are without work this Christmas. Men and women, who up until recent years have never had to worry about paying the bills or feeding their kids, now find themselves feeling incredible anxiety. On top of it all Christmas is coming, adding worry related to the commercial side of the season. Then there are those who haven’t had a home to call their own for many years. They seek a shelter each night, hoping there will be room at the inn so they can avoid the peril of living on the streets.

Like Jimmy Stewart in the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life”, I’ve been given a glimpse into what that side of life can be like. I’ve experienced what real worry is. I’ve laid awake at night wondering how I will care for my family and what the future holds. Fortunately, as with Stewart’s “George Bailey”, I had “Clarence the angel” enter my life in the form of people who genuinely cared about me. They helped me get through a bout with depression. They’ve provided opportunities to help us stay afloat when so many others have gone under.

I think of these blessings often as I move through Advent in a much better place than I was not very long ago. Like me, I hope you will reflect on the joy of blessings that have come your way in the past year. And while doing so, perhaps you’ll find a way to reach out to someone who might need a hand this Christmas season. Relieving worry can come in many forms. You’d be surprised at how the smallest things can make a difference in people’s lives. Believe me, for some it doesn’t take much to provide a peaceful night’s rest.

Be an angel this Advent. Hee! Haw!






Modern Magi – Good News for December 18

18 12 2009

Matthew 1:18-25

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 be with child 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. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

The Daily Path: I’d like to share an excerpt from the closing paragraph of O. Henry’s classic short story, The Gift of the Magi…

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

Over the past week, the three magi visited me. They came unannounced and completely unexpected. Each arrived at a different time. Each bearing gifts and acts of unbelievable kindness towards me. Two of these magi were made known to me. The third arrived mysteriously, as if in the night, keeping their identity hidden from sight. Just as the original wise men were inspired by God to visit, so too were these modern magi.

I cannot describe these gifts to you, for any attempt to do so couldn’t begin to illuminate their true value. Let me just repeat that I’ve been given the amazing gift of God’s abundance. He continues to provide what is needed when all human logic would point me towards despair. I feel like Jimmy Stewart’s character, Harry Bailey, from the Frank Capra film It’s A Wonderful Life. Like Harry, I’ve been taken down a rocky path. But through these times I’ve been given a great gift to see things now that I could never fully appreciate before. There is a God who loves me and, no matter how often I stumble, is always there to pick me up. I have a family that provides endless joy. And, I have friends, many friends, who, when I need them most… well… they are wisest… they are the magi.

Wherever you are, and in one case whoever you are… thank you.

Room to Chat: For he shall rescue the poor when he cries out, and the afflicted when he has no one to help him. He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor; the lives of the poor he shall save. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous deeds. Wondrous deeds, indeed! Friends, do not be afraid.