Greeting: Advent Word 20

Four times in his letters, Paul counsels the early Christians to “greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26). Likewise, Peter urges, “Greet one another with a kiss of love” (1 Peter 5:14). This ancient form of Christian greeting has been formalized as part of the eucharistic liturgy since at least the 2nd century, and in our current practice, it occurs at the end of the liturgy of the word as a gesture of reconciliation when the celebrant intones, “May the peace of the Lord be always with you,” and we respond, “And also with you.” Continue reading

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Renew: Advent Word 19

The new moon, as its name suggests, renews itself; how marvelous it is in this change, a beacon to the hosts on high, shining in the vault of the heavens! (Sirach 43:8)

From the Apocrypha comes this apt metaphor to represent the renewal we seek during this Advent season of contemplation and preparation. To astronomers, the new moon by definition cannot be seen from Earth; the moon is in conjunction with the sun, its dark side facing the earth. Thus, the photograph I attached does not, in fact, depict the new moon, but only the barest sliver of light as the moon’s face emerges from the darkness of the new moon and begins its monthly journey around the Earth. Continue reading

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Embrace: Advent Word 18

I love a Gershwin tune, and I must confess that I seldom use the word embrace unless I’m belting out, “Embrace me, my sweet embraceable you.” Hug, hold, cuddle–almost never embrace. So today my task is to write about a word that is scarcely in my vocabulary. However, this unexpected meditation has proved serendipitous and forced me to realize that like the Advent word of the day, the very things I need to embrace are the new and uncomfortable ones. I suspect there are many others who could benefit from my ruminations. Continue reading

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Open: Advent Word 17

Today’s word offers an immediate and poignant reminder of the years of my childhood spent nurturing my faith at the First Church of Christ in Globe, Arizona. Continue reading

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Dazzle: Advent Word 16

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Light: Advent Word 15

Let light perpetual shine upon us.

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Among: Advent Word 14

Among all the Advent words for this year, only today’s is a preposition. The remainder of the list comprises seven nouns and fourteen verbs (including, of course, some crossovers). These are the  draft horses of the language–the persons, places and things and the actions they perform. They are easy to write about because we can combine them into simple sentences–Awaken, messenger!–and then modify them with adjectives and adverbs–Awaken now, bold messenger. Continue reading

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Trust: Advent Word 13

Every day, we make our most potentially life-altering decisions based on trust–blind trust. When we approach a green light in busy traffic, the prudence of “trust but verify” would create chaos, so we keep a steady foot on the accelerator and move through the busy intersection. We  trust both that the lights on the perpendicular streets are red–and that the possibly distracted drivers approaching them will stop. Continue reading

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Wilderness: Advent Word 12

As I began to ponder today’s assignment, I realized that when I think of wilderness, connotation is everything. My husband’s idea of wilderness is the Canadian tundra, hundreds of miles from civilization. The most common Google images contain mountain vistas with trees, and the photos on wilderness depict beautiful vistas of snow-covered peaks and steep crags and oceans at sunset. By contrast, I understand that Jesus spent his forty wilderness days in the Judean desert, and even the Spanish and French versions of today’s word are cognates of desert. Continue reading

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Voice: Advent Word 11

For about six years, I produced a monthly newsletter entitled “The Voice” for the tiny congregation at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church. I included a message from the vicar, parish news with photos, a calendar of birthdays and anniversaries, happenings around the Anglican communion, and a children’s puzzle pages. And I generally wrote my own meditation of the sort that has made keeping a blog so seductive an occupation. I produced the bifold pamphlet without the aid of a desktop publishing program, cut and arranged the pages, ran them off on pastel paper with our photocopy machine, and folded, stapled, stamped, and mailed them. It was a gift-based ministry that gave me much satisfaction. Continue reading

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