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!






Advent Day 9 – Good News for December 6

6 12 2010

Luke 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there, and the power of the Lord was with him for healing. And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed; they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence. But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles into the middle in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “As for you, your sins are forgiven.”

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply, “What are you thinking in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”– he said to the one who was paralyzed, “I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”

He stood up immediately before them, picked up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God. Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God, and, struck with awe, they said, “We have seen incredible things today.”

The Daily Path: What hurdles would I leap to bring healing to another or for that matter, myself? I believe that each of us has the power to heal. Not the same way that Jesus did in curing lepers or making the blind see and the lame walk, but by providing strength to believe in what is possible. To offer courage in times of great need. To demonstrate faith that may offer hope to another. But we have to want to do it. I know that there are many times when I don’t feel up to offering the support I know is needed. Sometimes you just have to dig deep – like a runner approaching the finish line – and extend your arms to bring some light.





Advent Day 2 – Good News for November 29

29 11 2010

Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”  He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

The Daily Path: In today’s Advent Calendar window, I’m sending you a reminder of the wonderful gift of companionship. What could we offer to the residents of a local care facility? Imagine someone’s parent sitting all alone through this season. How can we light a smile on a lonely face?





Thanksgiving 2010 – Good News for November 26

26 11 2010

Luke 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable.

“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

The Daily Path: I hope you were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with family, friends or someone important in your life. I know that wasn’t possible for many. I couldn’t help but think of someone sitting alone with their shopping cart underneath a freeway. Only vague memories of happier times and the rumble of traffic overhead to keep them company.

I was fortunate to break bread twice with family members. Once on Wednesday night with my wife’s side of the family and again yesterday, with my parents. Both provided joy and reminded me of our bounty. With each came a sense of warmth and well being in the state of family relations. The blossoms are open and revealing their beauty and sweet fragrance. Yet we know that from time to time this will not be the case. There will be disagreements that will break a family into fragments. Perhaps next year not all who gathered this season will be together – feeling anger or harboring a hurt perceived to have been caused by one who just a few short months ago passed the pumpkin pie with great affection.

Today’s reading reminds me that the joy of God will never pass. It’s a permanent fellowship that will withstand beyond time and Grandma’s turkey dinner. I must hold it close when all others falter.





Not Just Coin – Good News for November 22

22 11 2010

Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

The Daily Path: We can give from our wallet or we can give of ourselves. Certainly both types of giving are needed. Jesus points to monetary giving in this example but I think the message is broader than just coin. I’ve found that “being there” for someone in a time of great need can provide incalculable value. I’ve been on the receiving side and can tell you from my own experience that when things seem darkest receiving a note from a friend, an invitation for coffee, or a friendly call, can dig you out of the depths like nothing else. This type of genuine outreach keeps you going when the weight of the world feels squarely on your shoulders.

This week, as we prepare to gather as family and give thanks, perhaps it’s time to think about making one of those calls. Who can we share our spiritual wealth with? Who’s feeling alone or bearing the great weight of worry? Who could benefit from a little joy? Friends, I think our horn of plenty comes in all shapes and sizes. See what can be shared from your pantry of love.





Come Down – Good News for November 16

16 11 2010

Luke 19:1-10

At that time Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town. Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

When they saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”

The Daily Path: Insert your name in the following…

(Your name) come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And (your name) came down quickly and received him with joy.





Joy From Heaven – Good News for June 11

11 06 2010

Luke 15:3-7

Jesus addressed this parable to the Pharisees and scribes, “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it?

And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them,’Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’

I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.”

The Daily Path: I was hoisted on Jesus shoulders when I accepted his invitation to return home. “Hoisted” in the sense that I felt great joy and an intense desire to draw closer to God. Others have shared with me that they had a very similar experience when they opened their hearts to God and returned to faith. I suspect that the overwhelming joy I felt was direct from the joy in heaven that Jesus speaks of in this passage.