Monday, December 24, 2007

Silent night

Aside from the dogs' grumbling a little at the occasional street noise, it's dead silent here tonight. Or rather, it's a live silence, as if the earth is waiting. Outside, the sky is clear and cold, and the moon is brilliant and nearly full. Next to the moon shines Mars, so close to the earth tonight that it shines more brightly than any star I can see.

J., his mother, and his sister have gone to bed. The kids are sleeping elsewhere, to free up beds for family, and will be back in the morning. I am treasuring what is left of Christmas Eve, as the world and I wait for Jesus to be born yet again.

For the last week or so I've been engrossed in Matthew Fox's book, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, a wonderful overview of Creation spirituality. I'm really loving the book, but every now and then the author says something that sends me spinning off on a tangent with memories of childhood, and then I realize that fifteen minutes have passed and I haven't read another word. But Fox's view of the spiritual interrelatedness of all things makes perfect sense to a person who picks up rocks and stones and brings them home. I have been doing this for years, and I can't tell you why -- but I have a whole collection of rocks from various places. I'm hardly a rock expert; I have no idea what they're made of, for example. All I can say is that it seemed important to pick them up and stick them in my pocket. I guess they speak to me in some way. I have a few on my desk, and they seem perfectly pleased to be here.

(I know, I know, you're all thinking, Man, she needs to get out more. Point taken!)

I guess that's why I love the language of the Psalms, where nature seems so conscious and alive. In the Psalm for tonight, Psalm 96, for example, we read:

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea thunder and all that is in it;
let the field be joyful and all that is therein.

Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy
before the LORD when he comes,
when he comes to judge the earth.

I may just open the curtain here and take another look at Mars, my own personal Star of Bethlehem on this holy night, and wait (again) for Jesus.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

An unaccustomed calm

What's this about? It's 5 days before Christmas, I have all my presents wrapped, and I'm feeling a stillness that I haven't felt in Advent before. A watchfulness that I'm not used to. Normally, on December 19, I'm running madly from pillar to post, trying desperately to tie up all the loose ends. Either I have no loose ends this year, or I have decided to let them all hang. The latter, I think.

This is not like me; or maybe this is the real me. I have been struggling with things at church for so long that perhaps I have forgotten what a deep breath feels like. How peaceful it can feel to cut yourself adrift with another shore in your spyglass. Advent is the season of hope, after all.

Even so come, Lord Jesus.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

Doing the happy dance in New Jersey!

Make all the jokes you want to about the Turnpike and the mob, but I LOVE New Jersey!

In this state we have not executed anyone since 1963 ... and we may never execute anyone else. This is from the KYW newsradio website, and I have been waiting to read it for years:

The New Jersey state senate has approved a measure outlawing the death penalty in that state. If this measure becomes law, New Jersey would be the first state to abolish the death penalty since the US Supreme Court allowed states to reinstate it in 1976. A vote is expected in the state Assembly on Thursday, and Governor Corzine has said he will sign the bill into law.

Yee hah! I have felt for years that the death penalty is barbaric, insupportable, unevenly applied in the courts ... a tragedy. Tonight I'm saying a prayer for all those legislators who have voted to outlaw judicial murder. May NJ be the first of many states to take this step.

So this proud Jersey girl is praying for Thursday's vote ... and asking you to pray with her!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Blue blue Christmas ...

This year, Christmas will be blue at our house.

"Not gold?" asked J., with a memory of having purchased lots of gold ornaments last year. "Not red?"

"No," I said, handing him several blue garlands for the tree. The tree will be mainly blue, with lots and lots of white lights, glass icicles, and glass raindrops. I also have a blue-accented wreath, which will find its place on the living-room wall the next time J. goes out to play tennis. And there are blue candles. And blue lamp oil in the lamps.

J. looked around in dismay. "Blue isn't even a Christmas color."

"It is now," I answered.

OK. Maybe I have overdone it. Next year I will be more restrained.

Maybe next year will be green.