God’s Three Breaths

  Christmas is inaugurated with one of the three breaths of God. The first breath happened during creation when God breathed out—exhaling the breath of life into Adam.  The second breath is a sharp breathing in—the Christ-child’s first breath. And the third was at the Cross—Christ cried out and breathed His last. The three breaths are all for the same purpose—to bring life into the heart of man. The three are the root, the rescue, and the restoration of humanity.  The purpose of God has always been the same, for… Continue reading God’s Three Breaths

incarnation is for the carnate

  I’ve performed in many, many Christmas plays in my time, but my most brilliant role came at the tender age of ten when I played the Angel Gabriel – the Archangel Gabriel.  The choice came down to either me or Jimmy Sizemore. However, due to my superior talent and the fact that my Aunt Rachel made the costume, I got the part and Jimmy played a shepherd.  Yes, Gabriel was my most brilliant role. I mean this quite literally; Gabriel lit up the stage.  My costume, a pleated starched… Continue reading incarnation is for the carnate

i didn’t ask to be born!

The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn’t have been complete without you.― Frederick Buechner   My mom and older brother (age 17) were having a heated argument in the kitchen. I (age 9) was playing with Legos in the adjacent room, listening in. Mom shouted something like, “The world doesn’t owe you anything, you know!” I’m guessing that she was attempting to convince him that he was acting entitled. But he was having none… Continue reading i didn’t ask to be born!

“yeah, but….” conversations

I’m having a lot of “Yeah, but…” conversations lately. They are unhealthy, yet I keep having them and they go something like this: “The COVID case numbers are ________,” someone says. “Yeah,” I say, “but that’s because ________.” “Well,” the other person replies, “remember that ________.” “Yes, I suppose that’s true,” I say, “but then _________.”   Point, counterpoint. But, rebut. This, that. I feel myself getting tense.   Sometimes, I change my language a little. I switch from “Yeah, but…” to “Yes, I know, however…”  Or sometimes, I try… Continue reading “yeah, but….” conversations

where are my pants?

I recently had outpatient surgery – a hernia repair – robot-assisted. It had to be done. So, I scheduled it and showed up at the hospital at the appointed time two hours before the actual surgery. I signed in and was greeted by a very friendly stranger. “Let’s get you back there,” she said. “Already?” I asked, thinking I’d have a wait. But no, she took me straight to a little prep room. “The pre-op nurse will be here momentarily,” she said. Then she handed me three plastic bags. “This… Continue reading where are my pants?

love or fear: what motivates your talk?

My wife and I were on the bright outdoor patio of a Mexican restaurant recently. What a day! The weather was perfectly balanced, warm enough to make a welcome breeze and the breeze just cool enough to want the sun back. Then came a sudden crashing metallic BOOM! from the adjacent lot. Everyone on the patio jumped in their seat and immediately turned to locate the danger. Ah! There was a construction project, trucks rolling up loaded with soil to level out the lot. We all saw it about the… Continue reading love or fear: what motivates your talk?

2020 Hindsight

I went to my annual eye exam last week. I knew the first question they would ask would be, “How was your vision in 2020?” Although they would pose the question quite literally, I sat in the waiting room thinking more philosophically: How was my vision in 2020? Looking back, I don’t think I saw things clearly. Just then, the tech called me back and began the intake process. Sure enough, she asked, “How was your vision this past year?” “Well,” I hesitated, pondering, “Honestly, things seemed pretty blurry.” “Oh?”… Continue reading 2020 Hindsight

inbox indecision

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10   My inbox piles up. This bothers me. New email arrives and pushes the older emails down until they disappear below the screen horizon. But I know they are there, all those unanswered, unresolved, undecided emails. I don’t want to look. Of course, the more I avoid looking the worse it gets. Lines and lines… Continue reading inbox indecision

How to Prepare for Christmas Part IV: the Shepherds

The third angelic visitation happened to shepherds who were minding their own business, which is to say that they were minding sheep.  They weren’t preparing for Christmas; they were preparing for bed.  At this odd time (the middle of the night) and at this odd place (the middle of a field) an angel of the Lord appeared to them to announce the birth of the Messiah. You might also note the oddity of an angel appearing to these strange characters, for it seems peculiar that shepherds would be a chosen… Continue reading How to Prepare for Christmas Part IV: the Shepherds

How to Prepare for Christmas Part III: Mary

Luke: “…God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph…” The first thing you notice about how Mary approached Christmas is that she didn’t.  Christmas approached her: “God sent the angel…”  He initiates the encounter.  This heavenly message drastically upended Mary’s expectations.  She had no plans to be Mary, mother of God.  She was going to simply be Mrs. Joseph, wife of carpenter.  She was going to raise a family in a little (but well-built) home… Continue reading How to Prepare for Christmas Part III: Mary