The Good Shepherd

“I am the good shepherd…” (Jn. 10:11) Someone once gave me an icon of Jesus the Good Shepherd. It wasn’t a beautiful or attractive icon; in fact, it was rather primitive and rough, even sort of ugly. I put the icon on my bookshelf not because I would’ve chosen it for myself, but because it …

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In the Manger with Jesus

And she wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them at the inn.  (Lk. 2:7) I’d received a phone call from a distraught mother. Her 30-something daughter had disappeared. The mother feared that her daughter—let me call her Abby—could have committed suicide. A few …

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Jesus Born Anywhere

While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.  (Lk. 2:6-7) When my schedule permits, I visit some inmates in …

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Bethlehem In Us

Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem… While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  (Luke 2:4,6) While visiting the Holy Land I was very excited to see Bethlehem—the place where Mary and Joseph traveled, where Mary gave …

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Too Good Not to Be True

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.’ (Luke 2: 13-14) One of the ways that some people get in the “spirit” for Christmas is to watch the old-time Christmas …

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An Instrument of the Lord

Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly. But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your …

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Extending God’s Grace

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ (Mk. 2:5) Years ago, two guys—let me call them Joe and Fred—asked if I would help to arbitrate their long-standing conflicts.   Not long after they requested my help, it became apparent that Joe was in serious trouble. I gathered those …

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To Love Our Neighbor

“And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Mt. 22:39) I was once asked to arbitrate between two neighbors.  One of them was easy to know, work with, and care for.  The other was difficult to know, hard to work with, and challenging to care for. Before sitting down with …

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Emmanuel, God With Us

“While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.” (Lk. 2:6) Right before Christmas last year, a really sad article came out in the press. According to several reports, a priest condemned suicide at the funeral of a young man who had taken his own life. I felt tremendous grief for …

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