Mary, Did You Know?

“Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?”

I’m not a mother. I may never know what it feels like for a devoted mom to love so faithfully, joyfully and unconditionally. It is hard to imagine what young Mary faced, in her time and place, knowing she’d bear the child who would change the world. There was so much to fear: To realize her beloved child would be in danger his entire life must have been agonizing. Wondrously, in the midst of all potential worry, Mary chose hope and joy instead.

We don’t know when Mary gave birth to Jesus, but it seems somehow fitting to celebrate it in December. The dawn of a new year bears hope for the good. But it can also bring anxiety for the unknown, especially if we fear that someone or something we love could be in danger. Mary’s embrace of Jesus’ birth reminds us that hope and love are not just sweet ideas; they are radical. Fierce. World-changing. Everlasting.

Nothing stopped Mary from stepping forward, full tilt boogie, with joyful hope and devoted mother-love. My Advent prayer is to have that kind of faith. A Mary faith. A Mary Christmas. That could make this a Merry Christmas, indeed.

By Patrice Donnell

P.S. The song “Mary, Did You Know” by Mark Lowry, has been covered by hundreds of artists. Two beautiful, very different versions are linked below:

A cappella version by Pentatonix;

http://ptxofficial.com/video&gallery_id=&video_id=19061&filter=

Marble Church’s own Karl Dion Dixon (the song starts 1 minute in):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WppA9IId5DQ

 

 

 

Twinkling Lights

The twinkling lights, the packages and the joyful melodies can, at times, for some be hard to embrace.They remind us of lost loved ones, failed hopes, sadness and depression. For some Christmas is blue, that’s why it’s so important to show joy, bring light and offer words of hope. I have included a candle lighting that you can use with friends or family to remember a loved one, perhaps you can do it on December 21st, the longest night, when the day is the shortest and the night is the longest.

Prayer

The days are short. The nights are long. Lord, your universe mirrors the reality of our hearts, revealing your gracious spirit that mourns with us in grief, cries with us in sorrow, sits with us in despair. You are not a distant God, removed from human pain, but a faithful companion closer to us than our tears. Help us to feel your presence now as we remember and reflect, seeking your healing touch and the hope we have in the Christ child. Amen

Lighting of candles

Reader: We light these candles in thanksgiving for loved ones lost, for past health and joy that seems so distant.

Reader: We light these candles in prayer, that we will feel God’s love in our present sorrow.

Reader: We light these candles in hope, for the promises of God yet to be revealed.

Together say, glory to God, you are the light of the world.

Read Psalm 113 and Psalm 139:7-12

Reflect and give thanks for the loved one and gods consistent presence and assurance of ever lasting life.

Reverend Kirsty DuPree

Come Darkness, Come Light

The Winter Solstice is this week and I wanted to share a song by the wonderful Mary Chapin Carpenter.

“Come Darkness, Come Light”

Come Darkness, come light
Come new star, shining bright
Come love to this world tonight
Alleluia

Come broken, come whole
Come wounded in your soul
Come anyway that you know
Alleluia

Come doubting, come sure
Come fearful to this door
Come see what love is for
Alleluia

Come running, come walking slow
Come weary on your broken road
Come see Him and shed your heavy load
Alleluia

There’s a humble stable and a light within
There’s an angel hovering and three wise men
Today a baby’s born in Bethlehem
Alleluia

Come darkness come light
Come new star burning bright
Come love to this world tonight
Alleluia

 

 

A Prayer

God let me find some lonely ones
Among the crowd today,
And let me say a word to take their loneliness away.
So many walk with breaking hearts
Along Life’s rough highway.
So many walk with breaking hearts
And no one understands;
They find the trail all bramble–closed across the barren lands;
God help me lighten weary eyes,
And rest worn tired hands.

By Jane Hart

A Few Thoughts this Week…

Serenity

We sometimes need a moment,
a quiet, gentle hush,
to seek the Christmas spirit
amid the season’s rush.
And in that sanctuary,
reflecting silently,
we feel His loving presence–
and find serenity.

How you Listen

It’s all in how you listen:
We may rarely rejoice
At the cold winter wind,
Yet there’s joy in its voice.

It’s all in how you listen:
Harsh noise of wild geese
Is, too, a song of joy,
Harmony and peace.

There’s chill in snow and ice–
Even sound seems to glisten…
But Christmas sounds warm:
It’s all in how you listen.

Into the Darkest Hour

It was a time like this,
War & tumult of war,
a horror in the air.
Hungry yawned the abyss-
and yet there came the star
and the child most wonderfully there.

It was time like this
of fear & lust for power,
license & greed and blight-
and yet the Prince of bliss
came into the darkest hour
in quiet & silent light.

And in a time like this
how celebrate his birth
when all things fall apart?
Ah! Wonderful it is
with no room on the earth
the stable is our heart.

By Madeleine L’Engle

My Christmas List of Blessings

My Christmas List is more
than just a way to keep track of
The special people God has brought
into my life to love.

It’s like a treasured scrapbook
filled with pleasant memories
Of all the times God’s answered prayer
through friends and family.

Every name’s a touchstone
that leads to a place and time,
Where God has used another’s heart
to reach out and touch mine.

It may have happened years ago
or even yesterday,
But every person on my list
has changed my life in some way.

Through simple conversation,
a warm hug or a shared meal,
Every person on my list
has helped me grow or heal,
Or laugh or love or learn or smile…
the blessings never end

As God allows our paths to cross
as family and friends.
So please know that this greeting
is more than a Christmas wish.
It’s a “thank you” card to God
for putting on my list

Each and every one whose name
I’ve come to hold so dear…
Those who’ve shown me Christmas joy
each day of the year.

By Vicki J. Kuyper

A Timeout for Tea

Most of the world takes a timeout each day for tea, but most Americans do not take a moment to sip in the afternoon.  Maybe we should.

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I grew up in the 1970’s.  The decade of polyester, plaid, bell bottoms, and a time where processed food or “Frankenfood” like Velveeta became part of our diets.  Most Moms added Dr. Pepper to a roast and a can of lemon lime soda to their pound cakes. Fast food was more important than natural ingredients.

One of my favorite 70’s creation was Russian Tea Mix, a typical “homemade” hostess gift that you brought to a gathering in the winter.  Have you ever seen the recipe?

  1. Tang
  2. Powdered Iced Tea
  3. Powdered Lemonade
  4. Cloves
  5. Cinnamon

Tang was not available in Russia, so I am not sure how authentic “Russian Tea” was?  But it did taste good and many a cold afternoon was spent sipping the delectable tea mix steaming with hot water.

As we are all trying to eat healthier, I thought about how to make a “better for you” version of this 70’s staple and I came across this version on Pinterest without a creator’s name attached.  Here is a take on Russian Tea that is all natural:

  1. Juice one lemon
  2. Juice two oranges
  3. 2 tablespoons honey
  4. A cinnamon stick
  5. 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  6. 4-5 black tea bags

Tea time may not be possible during the Advent season, but what will you choose to drink, to savor or spirit when you have a moment?

 

 

Twilight

Sunset…glowing, scarlet, golden,

dying in the West,

Mountains soaring, amber purple fire–topped on their crest;

Tree-trops swaying,

lacey, outlined,

Nodding in the breeze,

Rivers gliding, quiet, noble, flowing to the seas;

Soft winds resting, warmly scented,

Blowing here and there,

Echoes signing, faintly dying,

Fading in the air;

Twilight deepening, starlit heavens,

Shining far above,

God’s hand-stretching, kindly, gently,

Blessing us with love.

 By Jane Hart   

From the Yearbook of Holy Angels School in 1933

Prosperity Meditation

By Deepak Chopra

My ideas prosper me…
I am open and receptive to new and enriching ideas.  I welcome them and use them.

My attitudes prosper me…
I now view all life with a new attitude, for I realize that I am a beloved child of God, heir to all good.

My understanding prospers me…
I open my mind to an understanding of the all-providing substance of God.  I claim my good.

My faith prospers me…
I have the faith to look beyond the appearance of lack and behold the ever-present, never-failing supply of God.

Success is the ability to fulfill your desires with effortless ease.

 

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