Archive for December, 2020

Thursday, December 31, 2020

The Seventh Day of Christmas

Zechariah 8:6

Within Jerusalem

Gerrit van Honthorst: Adoration of the Christ Child

Even if this should seem impossible in the eyes of the remnant of this people, shall it be impossible in my eyes also?  I will rescue my people . . . and I will bring them back to dwell within Jerusalem.   

The faithful have seen great destruction; we have suffered much and long. The remnant hears an impossible pronouncement; we cannot believe what we hear.  God comes to rescue and save not as a warrior but as a child. And this child becomes the new Jerusalem.

We long to be safe inside the city walls, and yet we are already there . . . within Jerusalem, in this child, in Christ. For Christ this day is in us.

Enter the words possible or impossible into the blog search bar and explore what it means to be Christmas people.

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adoration_of_the_Christ_Child_(Honthorst)

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Wednesday, December 30, 2013

The Sixth Day of Christmas

Malachi 3:19-20 (4:1-2)

The Day is Here

Matthais Stom (Stomer): The Adoration of the Shepherds

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble . . . But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

A child born in quiet dignity.  A world waiting to be saved. God humbles the proud with the smallness of this child. God heals the wounded with the power of this child. God rescues all with the compassion of this child. The long-awaited day of wonder and promise is here. All of this we know, for we are Christmas people.

Enter the word justice in the blog search bar, or visit the pages about the prophet Malachi, and consider what we know and believe as Christmas people.

Differing translations of Scripture have differing numbering systems for this prophecy.  

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Adoration_of_the_Shepherds_-_Matthias_Stom_(Stomer)_-_Google_Cultural_Institute.jpg

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The Fifth Day of Christmas

zephaniah-3-17[1]Zephaniah 3:15-18

Among Us

The Lord, your God, is in your midst, you have no further misfortune to fear . . . The Lord your God is in your midst a mighty savior; he will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love, he will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.

Misfortune becomes blessing. Sorrow becomes gladness. Fear becomes joy.  One who renews his vow to rescue us is in our midst. And he is filled with joy at this union.

Read the Zephaniah – God’s Balance page on this blog and think about God’s promise to be with us always.

Enter the words In Our Midst in the blog search bar and spend some time reflecting on how we know that God is among us . . . and consider why we are Christmas people.

Image from: http://heisourstrongtower.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/jesus-calling-august-30th/zephaniah-3-17/

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Monday, December 28, 2020

The Fourth Day of Christmas

shoots from a stumpJeremiah 23:5

A Righteous Shoot

Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; as king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land.  

We have the justice that we long for. We have the wisdom we seek. The long-awaited day is here, for we are Christmas people.

Read Isaiah 11:1-10 and Revelation 22:16 .  Reflect on God’s promises kept.  Think about the times when disappointment and loss have resulted in transformation and celebration.

Enter the word justice into the blog search bar and consider how we are Christmas people.

Image from: http://pastorjonmarxy.wordpress.com/

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Third Day of Christmas

rain on leafHosea 6:3


Let us know, let us strive to know the Lord; as certain as the dawn is his coming, and his judgment shines for the like the light of day! He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth. 

Just as we know that spring follows winter, that birds migrate to their breeding ground, that tall trees spring from small seed, just so do we know with certainty that our God is among us . . . for we are Christmas people.

What do we know as certainty?  Read the Hosea – Alliances post on this blog at: https://thenoontimes.com/the-book-of-our-life/the-old-testament/the-prophets/hosea-alliances/ Consider the promises God has made and kept, and reflect on why we are Christmas people . . .

Image from:


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Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Second Day of Christmas

lamp in the darkness2 Peter 1:19

The Prophetic Message

We possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 

We already have what we seek. We already are what we hope. We already know what we have been told. For we are Christmas people.


The prophet Isaiah forecasts Jesus’ death and resurrection as he describes our return from exile. We might spend time with the verses in chapter 14 today as we consider our own exit from pandemic. 

The writer of Revelation tells us, “Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Consider God’s gift of Christmas what the morning star might signify in chapters 2 and 22

Enter the words morning star in the blog search bar and consider the prophetic message.

Image from: http://www.boazbaptist.com/alampinthedarkvideo.htm

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Friday, December 25, 2020

James 5:7-10


Behold, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.

Modern humankind has established an outpost in space, giving us a perspective of our world that the ancients could only imagine. Perhaps in our century we have strayed too far from the simple tasks of reaping God’s gift of bounty. Perhaps we have taken too much for granted the miracle that is our world. Perhaps we have learned to ignore the miracle of the Nativity.

God says: In your rush to understand me you may lose me.A bide with me for you are Christmas people who bring the Good News to the world. In your eagerness to explore my universe you may forget me. Remember me for you are Christmas people who bring authenticity and honesty to the world.  In your haste to acquire and store up you may overlook me. See me in those who have little for you are Christmas people who bring Christ himself to the world. Behold and celebrate the importance of the Nativity. Behold and share my generosity with others who have nearly nothing to sustain them. Behold and love those who suffer.  Behold . . . and be Christ in the world.

When we remember the miracle of Christ’s Nativity we also remember the patience of the prophets who foretold this arrival. We retell the stories of apostles and disciples who endured through hardship and we also tell our own stories of endurance and fortitude. When we behold the precious fruit of this Messiah who is delivered of a woman in a lowly place in a small town we also behold our own smallness and celebrate God’s gift of Christmas, for we are Christmas people.

During Christmas week . . . what did the prophets foretell?

What does it mean to be Christmas people?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1KsGtMZ9HI Click on this link to listen to I Will be Here by Steven Curtis Chapman, reread this post and consider . . .

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Christmas Eve – December 24, 2020

4112920[1]Luke 2:39-40

Filled With Wisdom and Light

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Last week we spent time with Luke’s telling of the Nativity Story and in our reflections we explored four Lucan themes: the rearing of Jesus in the Mosaic Law and traditions, the importance of Jerusalem and the Temple in Jesus’ family life, the presence of God’s Spirit in the Jesus story, and Jesus as the presence of truth and light that will effect decision and judgment. (Mays 932)

God says: When you experience my son in this story you too will be filled with wisdom and light. When you live in my Spirit you too will find your decisions come to you more easily for they will be made in and through me. I do not want to control you and that is why I have given you full free will. I want to love you, and I want you to love me. Jesus lives by the old law in order to bring about the new. This is not easy and it involves misery and disappointment; yet this sadness is transformed just as a butterfly arises from the cocoon spun by a caterpillar; new life springs from the decaying seeds of the old tree, and eternal life arrives through the fidelity and integrity of your relationships. Remain in me as I remain in you. Allow yourself to be filled with my wisdom and light. And allow my favor to bring you out of all suffering and pain. 

As the child grows strong and becomes filled with wisdom, so too do we grow in strength and understanding when we grow in God. As God’s favor rests upon the Child of Wisdom and Light, so too does God’s favor rest on each of us when we live and work in the Spirit. As we move through this holiest of weeks, let us open our hearts and minds to the gift of endless light and life.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 932. Print.

Image from: http://wallpaper4god.com/en/background_christian-graphic-light-of-the-world/

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Wednesday, December 23, 2012

Psalm 84

God’s Court

Nesting Barn Swallows

Nesting Barn Swallows

Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

In this brief last week of Advent we have little time to reflect on the coming nativity of one who is the keystone of our existence.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, La Nochebuena or “The Good Night” as the Spanish name this holy day. This year, as we struggle with the stress and anxiety brought on by a pandemic,  we can experience the quickness that is our lives in this last week that brings us to the celebration of Christmas.

Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

One of the messages we hear continually in the Gospel parables is the need to be prepared. Jesus is forever reminding us of the importance of being good stewards of gifts God has given to us. We are repeatedly asked to be prepared for our own exodus. We are constantly told of the great value of the kingdom we are called to build with others. We are always asked to remain close to God no matter the circumstance. We might wonder why Jesus repeats this message so often and if so we need not look long for an answer.

As a sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars, Lord of hosts, my King and my God! Happy are those who dwell in your house! They never cease to praise you.

We have no way of knowing our future no matter how hard we work at knowing. We have no eyes to see images of our lives a generation forward. We can only rely on God and God’s goodness to preserve and protect those who flock to him.

As a sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars . . .

Chipping Sparrow Nest with Eggs

Chipping Sparrow Nest with Eggs

It is impossible to live the past again even if we want to right wrongs we have committed, even if we hope to heal wounds or change our crooked ways. We can only trust God and God’s mercy in forgiving all wrongs and transforming all transgressors.

As a sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars . . .

We do not control our own destiny; we only control our reaction to the world and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.  We can only step forward as we answer the call we hear from God in our hearts.  We can only prepare a place for God’s presence in our lives.  We can only build our nest under the plinth of God’s altar and settle our young in the safe haven of God’s court.

Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. 

As Advent draws so quickly to a close, we might feel the crush of time to complete hundreds of worldly tasks but rather than spend our time fussing with the details of a life that is fleeting, let us rather decide to build our permanent home in a place that is eternally protected.  Let us choose to spend our time with The Living One who transcends all time and all wrongdoing.  Let us fix on a site for our nest under God’s altar.  Let us pledge to spend our last days of Advent preparing our minds and our hearts for the coming of The Christ Child.  And let us spend our last days in God’s court, rather than a thousand elsewhere.

To learn more about swallows and where and how they nest, click on the image above or go to: http://www.petcaregt.com/blog/varieties-of-nest-sites-and-nests-in-swallows.html and http://smartisans.com/personal/ccam_6-1-2000_4-03pm.htm

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