“I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”― Albert Einstein
“Today the Magi gaze in deep wonder at what they see: heaven on earth, earth in heaven, man in God, God in man, one whom the whole universe cannot contain now enclosed in a tiny body.
As they look, they believe and do not question, as their symbolic gifts bear witness: incense for God, gold for a king, myrrh for one who is to die.” — Peter Chrysologus
On this day commemorating the Epiphany, may you open to wonder, discovery, and awe.
This world so easily hardens us but we are called to be softened, to love without measure, to be kind first.
May peace, joy and hope be stoked and awakened within so you can recognize your own epiphanies.
Followed by sharing your light with the world.
“Truth, by which the world is held together, has sprung from the earth, in order to be carried in a woman’s arms.” — St Augustine
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder
“The baby, the star, and the wise men: a story of gifts and radical gratitude. Joy to the world!”― Diana Butler Bass, Grateful: The Transformative Power of Giving Thanks
May the true meaning of home
Be yours today and each day
May the story of Christmas be given and received by all
May we carry on changed, renewed and filled with a peace that passes understanding.
“The overarching narrative of the Bible is that of humanity searching for home.”― Diana Butler Bass, Grounded: Finding God in the World. A Spiritual Revolution
“There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made know through Jesus Christ.”― Pascal
“Sometimes religion gets in the way of God.”― Bono
Suspend judgment, knowing, rightness.
No religion or rules.
Lectures or proclamations.
Ego or smallness.
Enter possibility, wonder and inquiry.
Crack the door just a bit to allow a sliver of light in.
Ponder the story.
A young woman pregnant, cast out.
A husband, not the father, who’s trying to find shelter.
A barn filled with animals and “blue-collar” shepherds not kings.
Witnessing and partaking in the birth of a baby, who happens to be the Savior of the world.
Who would believe it?
The footprints and fingerprints of God becoming human to enter our story.
To understand our struggles and be able to say “I know where you’ve been and I’m walking with you now.”
It’s ridiculous, beyond imagination and comprehension.
Pure unconditional love entering a world that would crucify Him, and still do to this day.
Any yet, and yet, it is not an old story that’s over, but one that continues to this very day.
Born again and again in our hearts, in nature, in the petal of a flower, in the smile of a stranger, in an embrace of a broken relationship being mended, in resentments melted by forgiveness.
If we could only accept the invitation to grace, hope, joy, mercy, peace.
Before you say no, ponder if not for 24 hours, for 24 minutes, even 24 seconds.
Create room in the Inn of your heart.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Open Heart. In whatever you celebrate that brings you beyond earthly bonds to touch the hem of heaven and return ready to take the action of love without condition.
“We must abandon the external height images in which the theistic God has historically been perceived and replace them with internal depth images of a deity who is not apart from us, but who is the very core and ground of all that is.” —Paul Tillich
“Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.” — Kris Kringle from Miracle on 34th Street
“Dear Editor— I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? – Virginia O’Hanlon
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.” – Letter to Santa, New York Sun in 1897
May the wonder of these coming days break through and open delight.
May love, generosity and devotion expose beauty and joy.
And may Santa Claus and Jesus be born in your heart.
Peace, hope, light to you and to all.
“Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.” – Francis B. Church Editor, New York Sun
“This is the homely heart of Incarnation, this meeting of God in man with men and women, this simple face of divine graciousness in ordinary life rather than in the hymns of church fathers or in the dry elaborations of theologians.”― Eugene Kennedy, Joy of Being Human
“Aliveness, he will teach, is a gift available to all by God’s grace. It flows not from taking, but giving, not from fear but from faith, not from conflict but from reconciliation, not from domination but from service. It isn’t found in the upper trappings of religion -rules and rituals, controversies and scruples, temples and traditions. No, it springs up from our innermost being like a fountain of living water. It intoxicates us lie the best wine ever and so turns life from disappointment into a banquet.”― Brian D. McLaren
No rules and regulations.
An invitation into the waiting, wandering and grace.
Open to all, owned by none.
Greater than our imagination, more substance than opinion.
May the story of Advent welcome you home to love, peace and light.
“Into this world, this demented inn
in which there is absolutely no room for him at all,
Christ comes uninvited.”― Thomas Merton
“Above all the grace and the gifts that Christ gives to his beloved is that of overcoming self.” – Francis of Assisi
“While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.” Francis of Assisi
In politics – public, work, personal – we create talking points. To win an argument. To sell our view. To get a vote. To get buy in for some corporate flavor of the month. To make “easy” money. To get more with less. Get rid of the old, bring in the new. Boiling down complex issues to sell the shortcut and scheme that will work this time. Make it simple. Even when it’s not, especially then.
If your philosophy can fit on a bumper sticker, it may be time to go a little deeper, to expand your view, to listen more and talk less. If we spent more time on listening points rather talking points, we might gain insight, understanding and connection. Finding substance through inquiry. Authenticity, belonging, understanding, patterns that lead to sustainable plans and outcomes.
We don’t have to boil everything down. Not everything is an argument. Conversation and listening lead to understanding, diversity and beauty. Spend more time honing your listening points rather than your talking points. Pay attention and listen to understand rather than craft a reply. Relationship over transaction. Right over righteousness. Compassion over correction. Empathy over apathy. Cast light, a single sunbeam.
“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.” – Francis of Assisi
“Nature, which makes nothing durable, always repeats itself so that nothing which it makes may be lost.” – Oscar Wilde
“Whose heart doth hold the Christmas glow Hath little need of Mistletoe; Who bears a smiling grace of mien Need waste no time on wreaths of green; Whose lips have words of comfort spread Needs not the holly-berries red – His very presence scatters wide The spirit of the Christmastide.”– John Kendrick Bangs
Not a day but a new beginning.
To carry forward.
To infuse into your very being.
Carry the generosity, awe, wonder, gratitude, joy, peace and light of Christmas forward.
To be made new.
And to bring it into a hungry world.
“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.” – Edna Ferber
“The earth has grown old with its burden of care, but at Christmas it always is young, the heart of the jewel burns lustrous and fair, and its soul full of music breaks the air, when the song of angels is sung.” – Phillips Brooks
“All thoughts, all passions, all delights Whatever stirs this mortal frame All are but ministers of Love And feed His sacred flame.” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
In a world that yells you’re not enough, not welcome, don’t belong, Christmas marks the end of isolation, aloneness, unworthiness, the beginning of acceptance, joy and love. Rejected from the start, no room at the Inn, Jesus comes to walk the same earth, experience the same judgment and though innocent, bears our own sins on the Cross to save the world. Fierce, reckless, unbelievable, undeserving love, grace and mercy.
Put down your rules, assumptions, opinions, ego, religion, judgment, comparison and flat familiar narratives for a moment. Open up to mere consideration of this fierce reckless love. Be held in the invitation, the welcoming, the homecoming, where nothing makes sense yet possibility lingers in inquiry, in imagination.
Change your answer, say yes and “make room at the Inn.” Don’t follow the crowd, break the rules, go off trail. Crack the door, open the window to wonder, contentment, delight, mystery, magnificence. Rest in the blessed assurance that you are never alone, never have been, nor will be.
That’s the message of Christmas – belonging, not just some, but all. Christmas demands more, gives more and transforms if we allow. Accept the invitation in your heart to come home where the hem of heaven kisses the earth this morning and each day going forward. Offered to each without reserve or measure.
Merry, Merry Christmas.
“There are four questions of value in life, Don Octavio. What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.” – Lord Byron
“Of all the seasons, winter is the most conducive to the great art of dormancy. This art requires an appreciation of semi-consciousness: the beautiful and necessary prelude to sleep – a special pleasure in itself that is all too often neglected, under-valued or looked down upon.” – Michael Leunig
“The earth was all before me. With a heart
Joyous, nor scared at its own liberty,
I look about; and should the chosen guide
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud,
I cannot miss my way.”― William Wordsworth, The Prelude
Christmas upon us.
Enter slowly and sit awhile.
Pause the busy.
Rest in the beauty.
Embrace time with family and friends.
Be present in each moment.
Witnessing the true gift of Christmas.
Christmas Eve, the prelude, the tipping point.
Spacious. Abundant. Sacred.
Joy. Peace. Light.
“God is in the details.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
“Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles.” – Edwin Louis Cole
In these last hours of Advent, prepare to enter Christmas through eyes and heart of a child. The waiting is over and the gift is arriving yet again to change the story, the trajectory, the future.
In wonder, love and joy, never miss the chance to pause from skating to plop down to make snow angels. To delight in the season and to carry it forward into the world. Generosity, kindness, compassion, understanding, inquiry, surprise, transformation, wanderlust, reverence, laughter, dancing, hope, singing, faith, color, trust, mystery, connection, snow angels. All gifts of this season. Open, invite it all in and in turn, give them all away freely. Be held and hold.
Merry Christmas. May we carry it forward when we return to ordinary days to transform them into extraordinary days.
“The Gospel comes in power and the Holy Spirit, with much assurance. If you call upon the name of the Lord, God will transform you on the inside, give you the shock of your life, and give you everlasting life on top of that.” – Ray Comfort