Sisters in Scripture
For God still loves the world...    12/23/2020
For God still loves the world...
Inspired by Christianity Today, Cover December 2020
Waiting for Christmas 2020
Our recent Advent retreat caused me to realize that in today’s world of uncertainty, I have never felt closer to the long-ago world into which God the Father chose to send his Son, a time of tremendous political, economic and religious turmoil.   

Our current condition of global pandemic seems unprecedented, though I have found myself considering of late another dark time, 76 years ago, when my own 20-year-old father spent Christmas in a snowy fox-hole during the Battle of the Bulge. (He said he never got warm again) 

That winter of 1944, immediate danger and an uncertain future loomed large for him and for family waiting at home. Danger and uncertainty loom large once again, feeling terribly real and close at hand. 
Such was the case long ago in that ancient time when, "the angel Gabriel was sent by God to the town of Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph. And the virgin's name was Mary." 

It seems God chooses to come into unwelcoming places, the very places that most desperately need God-with-us, Emmanuel. "For God so loved the world that He sent his Son.." 

The best news for all in this year of longing is that God still loves the world and has every intention of once again showing up. 

Thank You

For the past six months, as my adjustment to Covid-19, I have sent out newsletters every other Wednesday. Like all of us, I began without knowing for how long. Like many of us, I have been blessed and changed by doing so. 

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Vicarious Sorrow    12/09/2020
Have you ever had it happen that in a world of suffering, you hear of one singular loss that simply breaks your heart? And it isn’t even someone near or dear or, perhaps, known. But this pain, this sorrow crushes, pierces, lays you low when numbers and headlines do not. 

Vicarious Sorrow. It is as real as the Vicarious Joy I wrote of earlier. It cannot be wished, denied, or ignored away and it should not be. Just as we are meant to delight in, embrace, and experience joy with one another, so, too, is sorrow best shared. Like a social distance hug, we feel it in our hearts but cannot reach out with our arms. What are we to do? 
Vicariously welcome the sorrow and the one who is sorrowing. Let them climb onto your lap like a child, hold them close and comfort them. Embrace them without any whispers that seek to explain, compare, or solve. Just be still and be present. The same One who created tender hearts and gave us the gift of tears is with us in that holding, lending consolation and strength. Feel with, feel for, feel sad. It takes as long as it takes. When the child is comforted and climbs back down, that is enough.

Do not burden yourself beyond this time you are called to. This sorrow is not yours personally to carry forever. There are bigger Hands for that. Rest assured those are strong-fingered hands.

There are times we are compelled to further action. But sometimes, compassion is just what is needed, is what we are called to do, and all that we can do. Let us not underestimate its power to heal beyond our knowing. 

There may even be times when the child who needs to climb up into your lap is your very self. Be as tender in that case as toward the small child—perhaps open your heart to the small child you once were and still are. Heaven knows—and heaven does know, we are all in need of such tenderness at times. 

Blessings on you in this season of darkness, in this Advent of expectation. We are awaiting Something holy and He will come.   

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