Waiting: A Christmas Reflection

Posted on December 30, 2023
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It never ceases to amaze me how quickly our culture can move from holiday to holiday. Of course, most of this is driven by the incessant consumerism with which Americans are obsessed. In Fairbanks, Alaska, where I live, the average first snowfall is October 2. Christmas decorations, gifts, and retail specials are already on the…

Today in the Spirit: Christmas 1B

Posted on December 24, 2023
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The Church’s messaging on the Sundays following Christmas Day might best be summed up as promises fulfilled with more to come, or light shining with ever-increasing brightness. The Christmas 1 readings are the same all three years. It is on this Sunday that we receive as a Gospel selection the famous prologue to John’s Gospel,…

The Good Grief of Advent: Living in the Longing

Posted on December 15, 2023
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“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end…

The True Story of Santa Claus

Posted on December 6, 2023
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Is Santa real? Yes, he is, and his true story involves a 4th-century bishop, a 19th-century Anglican, liturgical vestments, and an altercation with a heretic. The true story is so fabulous, only the kids would believe it! Saint Nicholas to Santa Claus The name Santa Claus is a contraction of the name Saint Nicholas. Nicholas…

Today in the Spirit: Christmas 2A

Posted on December 26, 2022
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1 John 2:6 says: Whoever claims to live in [God] must walk as Jesus did (NIV). The whole point of having church seasons with a set lectionary and common prayers is that year after year, we should “walk as Jesus did” through his entire life from pre-existence to his return in glory. So the church…

Today in the Spirit: Christmas Day A

Posted on December 19, 2022
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Two days prior to the delivery of a package Amazon sends you an email saying, “Your package will arrive soon;” then again one day prior, “Your package will arrive tomorrow;” then, finally, on the day of delivery, “Your package has arrived.” It is all exciting; the early notifications play an important role in building up…

The “Perfect” Christmas Eve Sermon??

Posted on December 12, 2020
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Christmas Eve is rough on preachers; at least for this one. The atmosphere for a truly great sermon is all there: scenery, families, music, lighting, Scripture, attendance, joy, and a holy hope in every heart and on every face. But my Christmas Eve sermons (33 and counting) are never equal to this setting. They always seem weak and…

Nine Lessons and Carols: A Rookie Anglican Guide

Posted on December 21, 2019
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The Anglican tradition has inherited many ancient pieces of liturgy, so it may be a bit surprising to learn that the Festival/Service of Nine Lessons and Carols (traditionally held on or near Christmas Eve) is a fairly recent invention, celebrating its one-hundredth birthday only last year in 2018. It was constructed out of the grief…

What NOT to Get Your Rector (Or Their Spouse) for Christmas!

Posted on December 19, 2019
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I have been having fun writing about some gift ideas for Rectors and their Spouses. I served as a Rector for over 30 years and spend a lot of time now with Rectors and their families. I know that many laypeople want to get the Rector and their Spouse a gift for Christmas to show…

What Your Rector’s Spouse Wants For Christmas

Posted on December 17, 2019
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Earlier, I wrote a post about What Your Rector Wants For Christmas. I love Rectors and have the good fortune to spend time with, teach, coach, and encourage lots of Rectors around the Anglican Church in North America. But I don’t just love Rectors. I also love their families! The role of a Rector is…