Through the Lens of Gratitude or Ingratitude

Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord…    (Hab. 3:17-18) Every year …

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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 …

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Jesus Born Again 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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The Real Hope of Bethlehem

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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A Time and Place to Sing ‘Silent Night’

And the Word became flesh and lived among us… (Jn. 1:14) It was mid-December and my friends at the jail asked if I would bring them a Christmas songbook.  The following week I brought one with several choices.  They immediately began to argue over which one to sing first, until one guy said, “Stop wrangling.  …

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What Jesus Knew

Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. (Jn. 8:6) The woman caught in adultery stands in the midst of the crowd ashamed of her actions and afraid for her life.  The Pharisees are feverishly using that woman to set up Jesus. Many of the townspeople are gathered around with great curiosity, some …

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Let the Little Children Come to Me

People were bringing little children to [Jesus] in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them.  But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me…'   (Mk. 10:13-14) David, a seminary classmate, and I were at a folk mass.  As we …

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…and a Little Child Shall Lead Them

“The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” (Is. 11:6) Let me call him Fred.  He didn’t like the changes I was making at church.  He made an appointment to express his …

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Room For All

He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.’   (Lk. 4:17-18) One of church’s receptionists buzzed to tell me that she had a woman on the phone that demanded to talk with …

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Words of Encouragement

When he had gone through those regions and had given the believers much encouragement, he came to Greece…   (Acts 20:2) Paul returned to the congregations he had founded because he knew they needed support.  He encouraged them by saying that Jesus was always with them, proud of their efforts, and would share their struggles. Paul …

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