The Grinch had it all figured out. Steal their stuff, steal their joy. That's how one thinks when one's heart is 2 or 3 sizes too small. But the singing on Christmas morning taught the Grinch about joy. It's not connected to things; it's connected to love. 

Even the grinchiest of Grinches can experience the transforming power of love. Today is the 3rd Sunday of Advent. As we rest in the joy of the promise of Christ, consider how we are transformed by God's love and for what purpose.

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations" (Isaiah 61:10-11).

God of hope,

you call us home from the exile of selfish oppression

to the freedom of justice,

the balm of healing,

and the joy of sharing.

Make us strong to join you in your holy work,

as friends of strangers and victims,

companions of those whom others shun,

and as the happiness of those whose hearts are broken.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ our Lord.



This snowglobe was given to me in 1990. And it still plays music. Three angels, two big and one small, join their voices with what appears to be a two horned unicorn (bicorn??). They sing JOY TO THE WORLD, although at an increased, revved up pace over the 30 years!

In the light of the morning, Lord : tune our hearts to sing your praise.

Psalm 65:5 – 8

Awesome things will you show us in your righteous­ness, O God of our salvation : O Hope of all the ends of the earth and of the seas that are far away.

You make fast the mountains by your power : they are girded about with might.

You still the roaring of the seas : the roaring of their waves, and the clamor of the ­peoples.

Those who dwell at the ends of the earth will tremble at your marvelous signs : you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy.

In the light of the morning, Lord : tune our hearts to sing your praise.


Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Amen.
Walk in the light, the beautiful light. Come where the dewdrops of mercy shine bright.
Shine all around us by day and by night. Jesus, the light of the world. O gracious Light, pure brightness of the ever-living Father in heaven, O ­Jesus Christ, holy and blessed!
May our minds be like that of Christ ­Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Therefore, God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of ­Jesus every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that ­Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
God, give us the lamp of love which never fails, that it may burn in us and shed its light on those around us. By its brightness give us a vision of that holy city where the true and never-failing Light, ­Jesus Christ, lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
May the Lord bless us and keep us from all harm, and may God lead us to eternal life. Amen.


Noah was at best a C- in a world of Ds and Fs. Instructed to build an ark to protect his own family, he never voiced concern about anyone else- or, for that matter, didn't waste any time thinking about the proper way for God to interact with God's creation. 
How did the flood impact Noah? His first action is to build an altar to worship, but immediately after he planted a vineyard, harvested the grapes, and passed out drunk. He exposed himself to his sons. Embarrassed, he cursed one of his sons.
For all of this, the writer of Genesis said God considered Noah to be righteous. Quite the low bar.
But the flood story isn't about Noah; it's about God. It's about God's response to the tragic loss of human life. It's about God's commitment to never oversee such destruction again. In the aftermath of the flood, God created a covenant relationship with humanity. There is mutual accountability. Because of the covenant started with Noah and renewed over multiple generations, later Abraham and Moses can both challenge God"s destructive impulses when they arise.
One difficult lesson we've learned over the course of the pandemic is, when it comes to human suffering, many people, many millions of people, simply do not care. Take care of our own; dismiss the slightest inconvenience as an affront to personal freedom. Our neighbors are as indifferent to the needs of others as Noah. 
God learned a valuable lesson about the value of human life in the face of unspeakable destruction. In the face of nearly 300,000 dead Americans, maybe we can experience a new birth of compassion. Advent is the time to tune our hearts to the rhythm of God's mercy and justice, away from our selfish impulses. We can do better.
God of hope,
you call us from the exile of our sin with the good news of restoration; you build a highway through the wilderness;
you come to us and bring us home. Comfort us with the expectation of your saving power, made known to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


“Passing the peace” is an ancient tradition whereby brothers and sisters in Christ share a hug or handshake, or a “holy kiss,” as a sign of our love. Often the embrace is accompanied by a wish for the “peace of Christ” to be with another. (This is often said out loud as greetings are exchanged.) It is also a sign that we have reconciled wrongs with one another and with anyone who might be holding something against us:
"Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings" (Rom. 16:16).
"All the brothers and sisters send greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss" (1 Cor. 16:20).
"Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you" (2 Cor. 13:12).
"Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss" (1 Thess. 5:26).
"Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ" (1 Peter 5:14). 
Physical contact while greeting one another is not wise today, although the need to exchange peaceful greetings with others is more important than ever.
Even if you say your midday prayer alone, take a moment to think of the ­people you need to connect with to share a joy, a confession, or a burden. The peace of Christ be with you.


Draw us into your love, Christ ­Jesus : and deliver us from fear.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Make us worthy, Lord, to serve our brothers and sisters throughout the world, who live and die in poverty and pain. Give them today, through our hands, their daily bread and, through our understanding, love; give peace and joy. Amen.
Blessed are the poor,
for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are the hungry,
for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall be shown mercy.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they are the children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteous­ness and justice, for great is their reward.
Come, Holy Spirit. We pray that your fruit would be in us : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
Soul of Christ, sanctify me;
body of Christ, save me;
blood of Christ, inebriate me;
water from the side of Christ, wash me;
passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good ­Jesus, hear me;
within your wounds hide me;
suffer me not to be separated from you; from the malicious enemy defend me; in the hour of my death call me,
and bid me come to you
that with your saints I may praise you forever and ever. Amen.
Through our lives and by our prayers : may your kingdom come!
(midday prayers, Dec 8, COMMON PRAYER)


Yesterday afternoon there was a gathering of families with (mostly) elementary aged children at church. They made crafts together: gingerbread houses, snowmen, and manger scenes created from gumdrops. It was the first time I had been around multiple families at once since March.
This snow globe filled with toys, and the activities at church yesterday, has me thinking about children at Christmas. The kids we know and love in our own families and churches and schools, and the children we do not know. The children who are well provided for and are healthy, and those in need of shelter, safety, and peace.
I found this prayer service written by Debi Tyree this morning. It's edited; you can find the entire service here:
Let us pray . . .
For the children of this world.
For infants who are not held in love.
For children who are abused physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
For the children in shelters throughout our nation and world.
For children who live in substandard housing, who live on the streets, and in war-torn nations.
For children who are hurting throughout our world and for children who mourn the loss of their childhood.
Let us pray . . .
For the child found in the hearts of the elderly.
For those who wait for human touch and for those who cry silent tears of loneliness.
For those who hunger to hear your word and for those who must choose between going hungry or going to the pharmacy.
For those who have separated themselves from their families and for those whose families have forgotten their elders.
We pray for the elders who still dream the dream of a world where the city streets are filled with God's children playing — God's world of peace.


When I did the Advent snow globe series five years ago, I didn't possess this one. I think Mom found it somewhere and said, "You know, if Frank ever does that again this might be a real curve ball." Thanks, Mom! Oh and not to be outdone, the giant poodle with gold antlers does not snow; it showers gold glitter. Of course it does. 
"O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand" Isaiah 64:8.
God is shaping each of us into something new- and there is only one of us. Whatever you are today, whoever you are, whatever you do: each of us is a precious child of God. Live into your beauty and uniqueness. 
Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Thou art the potter I am the clay
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting yielded and still
Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Search me and try me Master today
Whiter than snow Lord wash me just now
As in Thy presence humbly I bow
Have Thine own way Lord
Have Thine own way
Hold over my being absolute sway
Filled with Thy spirit till all can see
Christ only always living in me


Had a lie in this morning! I woke up to brilliant sunshine, after several days of gloomy weather (I'm not complaining; cold + dreary is my jam). Anyway, I imagine the relationship between snowmen and sunlight is complicated. And yet this guy is decked out in his Ray-Ban™ Wayfarers, embracing the coming of Christmas with joy.
"Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts.
Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.
Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky.
The LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.
Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps" (Psalm 85:8-13).
Not every day is as bright as today. Sunny or gloomy, whatever we are feeling, God is faithful. While we await the Lord's coming this Advent, meet each day with joy and anticipation. Listen, embrace God's faithfulness, receive the gift of salvation. Wear your sunglasses because that day will be the brightest ever. 🕶️☃️🌞