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Showing posts from November, 2012

Confessions of a Recovering Advent Purist

With this Sunday starting the four-week season in the church year called Advent, I've been giving a lot of thought to the way we (in the church) prepare for Christmas during Advent.  The season of Advent is meant to help us joyfully anticipate (but not prematurely celebrate) Christmas . Each word (joyfully…anticipate…Christmas) is important. So at the Falls Church Episcopal, beginning this Sunday, and over the first three weeks of Advent, Rev. Cathy and I will be doing a bit of a three-part sermon series, unpacking each of those three words a bit. (And assuming we can get the logistics worked out, I also hope to launch a 25-day email devotional journey called “Joyful Anticipation of Christmas,” which will allow anyone who wishes to subscribe to a daily email and embark, with others, on a 25-day email devotional journey,  helping you to make your Advent and Christmas all the more meaningful. Stay tuned about that.)  I’ll say more about the word “joyfully”

Is that a "feeling of gratitude" or an "action of Thanks-giving"?

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, I'd again like to share some thoughts about the difference between "feelings of gratitude" on the one hand, and "actions of thanksgiving" on the other. There's no better Bible story for making the distinction between "gratitude" and "thanksgiving" than the Gospel story of Jesus curing ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19) . In that passage, Jesus heals ten lepers of their disease. But only one of those cured lepers turns back to give thanks.   Now again, remember: ten lepers - ten different people - are cured of a dread disease, a disease that excluded them from society and reduced them to miserable lives as beggars. Can you imagine? - one minute they are suffering from deteriorating skin and are social outcasts, and the next minute, at the healing word of Jesus, all of a sudden their skin is smooth and they are on their way to the temple to be restored to society. The possib