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A recipe for welcome

A recipe for welcome

She escaped Saigon, found a home in Ohio and today teaches Sunday school in Texas. by Kathryn Haueisen HOURS BEFORE SAIGON FELL in April 1975, Eva Nguyen’s family crowded into the last C-130 cargo plane to airlift people out as the North Vietnamese approached the...

A hand when we’re falling

A hand when we’re falling

by Elise Seyfried We can all be guardrails. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME you fell out of bed? For a toddler just graduating from the confines of a crib, the answer might be, “Yesterday!” However, for us slightly older folks, sleeping without rolling off the side of the...

What makes us worthy?

What makes us worthy?

by Karris Golden The fact that we are all children of God. THERE ARE THINGS I BELIEVE, based on information, feelings and experiences, that make sense to me. I can define and describe these beliefs, even if I cannot fully or adequately explain my reasons. Likewise,...

Warming up to Leviticus

Warming up to Leviticus

Learning why this book matters by Jennifer Ginn WHO LOVES THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS? Given the challenge to study an Old Testament book, most people of faith would skip Leviticus every time. It’s legalistic, full of the blood of sacrificed animals being spattered on...

Worthy, grateful, healing

Worthy, grateful, healing

by Dorothy Probst READING THROUGH THE BIBLE, with a guided plan last year, I was struck by the book of Leviticus. Prior to this, I’d quickly skimmed the pages of this Old Testament book, bored with Israel’s detailed sacrifices to God, as I understood God to be “back...

Sharing our gifts

Sharing our gifts

by Linda Post Bushkofsky MY FATHER WAS A WELL-LOVED rural letter carrier, so when it came to Christmas, people on his route would remember him with all kinds of gifts. Throughout December, Dad would receive homemade fudge and fruitcake, bottles of aftershave, boxes of...

This Advent, be an auntie

This Advent, be an auntie

by Lisa A. Smith THE FIRST TIME I BECAME PREGNANT, I found out early Christmas morning. Perched on the side of the bathtub, I held my breath, waiting to see how many lines would appear on the test stick. There were two lines! I was elated. I told no one. I had stuff...

Wonderfully hidden

Wonderfully hidden

by Elise Seyfried God, unlike camouflaged creatures, really wants to be found. “Those who have found God in the cross of Jesus Christ know how wonderfully God hides himself in this world and how he is closest precisely when we believe him to be most distant.” —...

Animals & Advent

Animals & Advent

by Elizabeth Hunter A CHILDHOOD NEIGHBOR, EVA, was known for her beautiful flower garden and care for unwanted, stray and hurt dogs—usually six or seven at a time. My siblings and I spent a lot of time at Eva’s, helping her with the garden and the dogs. She showed us...

Advent devotional: Good things come in small packages

Advent devotional: Good things come in small packages

by Becca Ehrlich We Americans often have way more stuff than we actually need. The average American home has 300,000 things in it. As a country, we are constantly adding to our possessions, and building bigger and bigger homes to fit everything. No matter how much we...

My faith and my plate

My faith and my plate

What if we felt a sense of responsibility, rather than dominion? by Maggie Olson EVERY BELIEVER HAS A DIFFERENT WAY of living out their faith. Our diverse spiritual practices are as rich and beautiful as humanity itself. Some people volunteer at their city’s food...

The assurance of things hoped for

The assurance of things hoped for

by Venice Williams I KNOW WHAT IT MEANS to “walk by faith.” Faith has carried me through a number of challenging situations on my life journey. However, one beautiful afternoon last June, it wasn’t just about walking “by” faith. That afternoon was a moment of walking...

The way of the rescue dog

The way of the rescue dog

It’s the best model I’ve seen of faith. by Abigail Accettura I BEGAN VOLUNTEERING for One Tail at a Time, a Chicago-based animal shelter, only partly out of a desire to help animals in need. The much larger reason? I was desperate. Desperate for something to do to...

Creating community

Creating community

Refugees from Ukraine find comfort, community in Romania By Emily Sollie “SAVA REMEMBERS,” SAYS KATERYNA, a mother of three. She fled her hometown of Kharkiv with her husband and children in the first days of the war. “We were hoping maybe he wouldn’t. But he told me...

Celebrating the season

Celebrating the season

by Linda Post Bushkofsky I GREW UP IN NORTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA, in the mountains where the fall colors are outstanding. They do not always receive the same publicity that New England trees do, but they are beautiful, nonetheless. When I moved to the Upper Midwest, I...

Strange guests

Strange guests

God’s hospitality extends to creepy-crawlies too. by Christa Von Zychlin O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. … creeping things innumerable… living things both small and great. …and Leviathan that...

Oak sentinels

Oak sentinels

by Catherine Malotky GOD OF GRACE AND BEAUTY, for more than two decades I have begun my day with a walk in the same wooded park near my home. Situated on glacial moraine, the park has a lake at its center that was once a giant block of ice as tall as the highest...

Ground rules

Ground rules

by Elizabeth Hunter I’M CURIOUS: HOW MANY of your early memories involve nature? My earliest memory, from when I was a toddler, is of being in a boat on a lake. Another early memory involves a friend the same age as me, who waved each day, whispered hello and quite...