The planet Earth in an elliptical orbit that takes a little over 365 days (rotations of the planet) to complete. While it does this, it sort of "wobbles" relative to the sun, so the North Pole is closer to the sun at one point of this journey, while the South Pole is closest at a point approximately six months later.
Think about this for a second. How often do you see a sign, hear a carol, listen to a sermon, hang an ornament, or do something else in this season and encounter the term "Joy." How great our Joy?" "Joy. Joy Joy!"
At a time when words like "fact," and "truth' are often treated as essentially meaningless, how should we understand a more elusive word, like "peace?" This Advent season, after all, finds us in the midst of what people are calling a "post-fact" world. Calmly and rationally examining our politics, relationships, or faith is *so* "twentieth-century" these days! Now that we're admitting to that — and many of us are only grudgingly admitting to it — how do we find it within ourselves to understand "peace" as a concept?
This Advent is an interesting one because where, as in every year, it calls us to anticipate the coming of Christ as an event that accentuates "Hope," "Peace," "Joy," and "Love," this year's edition of the story comes at a time where many of us are struggling to feel any of those things. It can get pretty hard to write and teach about Hope, when everyone around you is feeling hopeless
Before I was baptized, the most important question I had was how to say the Lord’s Prayer. I memorized it in the back of my mother’s black Volvo staring up at the stars as we drove through the country, coming home from a visit to my grandfather who hat sat me on his knee and asked me about my decision to follow God.
I don't know about the rest of you, but it has recently come to my attention that I am getting old. I've been looking into it, and have discovered that there has never been a time in which I was as old as I am now, so there may be something to that theory. Nevertheless, as I talk to other people who have made similar discoveries, some peculiar themes have emerged. You may be one of these folks, but in case you are not, you might want to look into your current age compared to what it was a year ago.
Ideas are important
Of course, ideas are important
Ideas help us
Understand the world
Organize our thoughts
Build a theory of our lives
When an idea is more important
Your fellow human being
“Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say … 'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart, or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”
All of us will face times in our lives when we need to rely on this gift from our ancestors. All of us will face times when we will need words of sorrow and expressions of loneliness, because the things we face are painful and they leave us broken in ways we didn’t know we could break.
As a committed nerd - or maybe one who needs to be committed - I really enjoy a program that I used to call "table games night." Many people play table games, particularly when it's dark or they cannot give out, but if can sometimes be difficult to find a large enough group to play cards or some boxed games on a regular basis.