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Heartnotes

Christmas Blues? It is a strange paradox that Christmas, the celebration of love in human community, can also stir in us feelings of despair and loneliness.  But maybe it’s not so strange after all.  Christmas gets right in our face with the reality that love, kindness, and tender vulnerability are…

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Heartnotes

You Are the Love of Christmas  —

There’s a story about a man who, having passed from this earthly life, was standing at the proverbial Pearly Gates, seeking admittance from St. Peter.  The man, eager to get in, rolls out all of his many accomplishments, citing credentials, career successes, lofty job titles, service boards–ad infinitum.  But St. Peter is hesitant.  He doesn’t seem satisfied that it is enough for him to open the gates.  The man waits anxiously as St. Peter takes out his own records, poring through them with frowning wrinkled brow.  Then with a great, warm smile, St. Peter suddenly looks up, gazing deeply into the increasingly fearful man’s eyes.  “Ah,” St. Peter exclaims, “my records show that it was you who every day took time in the park to watch the sun come up and throw out seeds for the birds.  Is this accurate?  Was that you?”  Timidly the man replies, “Yes, but I hoped you wouldn’t have recorded that–it was so frivolous of me, just a private joy–not productive!”  But St. Peter grinning, throws open the huge gates, “My son, in truth nothing can keep you out of God’s Kingdom–I was going to open the gates for you no matter what.  But I wanted you first to see yourself the way God sees and loves you–not for your many outer achievements–which are indeed good and a testament to your hard work and dedication.  Yet my son, God looks so much deeper.  God sees your heart.  Come on in.  You and all are most welcome here!  This is the Kingdom of Love.”

You are the love of Christmas.  Give that gift from the Christ in you into the Christ in everyone you encounter.  That’s what Jesus teaches us. That is the Christmas message.  That is what opens the gates into God’s Kingdom of Love.

In the Love and Light of the Christ,

Rev. Anna

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Heartnotes

The Way to the Manger –           It took quite a bit of courage and effort on the part of a whole lot of people to actually get the infant Jesus born and into that manger.  His parents, his aunt and uncle, his community, his ancestors, shepherds,…

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Heartnotes

Are You Ready for Christmas? – – –

The best Christmas I ever had was when I decided not to “do Christmas” and went instead to visit friends in Colorado for a snow vacation.  Leaving behind the familiar holiday routines refreshed me and gave me a whole new perspective.  You see, before, I hadn’t known that the way I celebrate Christmas is a choice not an obligation.  Leaving behind the harness of “have to’s” opened up spiritual space in me.  The old tensions that used to haunt the holidays dissolved.  The sticky ties melted.  Since that time years ago I have continued to grow in my holiday readiness.  I have the freedom to be present to the season in ways that are peace-filled, deeply nourishing, and growth-full.  How about you–are you ready for Christmas?  Advent begins with Faith and Hope–the willingness to believe in and rely on the possibility and probability of good.  Faith and Hope propel us to step out into greater self-respect and greater love for all around us.  They are the beginning of the Christ’s birth in us.  Faith and Hope can become very real for you this Advent as you take action on behalf of your own spiritual growth.  Here’s a suggestion – inventory your readiness for a fulfilling Christmas.  Make a list of all your “holiday have-to’s.”  Take your list into prayer and ask our great and loving God to reveal to you if there is anything you are ready to release.  If so, gently cross it off!  With courage and humility ask God to remove it, not just from your list, but from you–and turn it over.  And be sure to ask God to fill that now cleared out space in you with what genuinely nourishes you and expands the aliveness of everyone around you.  You will be amazed at how lovingly God works.  You will be amazed at what happens to, in, and through you.  And you’ll be ready for Christmas!

In the Love and Light of the Christ,

Rev. Anna

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