Seasons

Feed your spirit with these stories and articles that explore the milestones of our church year.

The wobbly manger

—by Venice R. Williams ...she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:7). The manger captivated me as a child. Each year I anxiously awaited the approach of the...

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Great Thanksgiving

—by Kathryn Haueisen But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery (Matthew 5:32). …but if you do not forgive others, neither will your...

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The fellowship divine

—by Linda Post Bushkofsky It was my first trimester of college, and I sang soprano in the chapel choir. That normally meant weekly rehearsals and the regular Sunday morning commitment. But that fall there were at least four memorial services held in our college chapel...

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Prodigal Singing

—by Betty E. Landis As we rounded the curve of the con­course, a child’s cries ricocheted off the tiled bathroom walls, into the carpeted gate area. It was ear­ly morning, and the howling was getting louder. Women and chil­dren spilled out of the bathroom with...

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Alleluia! Hallelujah!

by Meghan Johnston Aelabouni— In the last few weeks of my grand­mother’s life, while she was still alert enough to talk with us, she started recalling old memories: her childhood in New Jersey, seeing the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall and a certain snowy night...

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Ash and oil

—by Jordan Miller-Stubbendick When mixing ashes, the trick is to use just a little oil and go slowly. Too much oil, and they become a soupy mess, stuck at the bottom of a greenish-yel­low shimmer. If there’s too little, add more just a few drops at a time. The only...

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‘Tis the season…for hospitality

By Anne Basye— Make a list of twenty things that matter deeply to you: your children, your parents, your congregation…your great grandmother’s tea set... Are you up to 20 yet? Now cross off five of them. Cross off five more. And then another five. “When you’re a...

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When wolves come to dinner

by Liv Larson Andrews— A wolf killed my uncle’s favorite llama. She was old and weak, with dark brown hair and kind eyes that would follow his truck up the dirt driveway. For many years my uncle has kept eight or nine llamas on his plot of Montana hill­side. One...

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Maybe you’re not feeling Advent-y

By Michelle Derusha— I’m not feeling very Advent-y this Advent. I don’t have that sense of anticipation—the expectation that is often present in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I’m not feeling all close and cozy with Jesus or particularly prayerful or joyous or...

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The songs of Advent

by Kathryn A. Kleinhans— Advent is a season of waiting, but not just waiting. Advent is also a season of anticipation and preparation. Anticipation reminds us that we are waiting for something that is worth waiting for. Preparation reminds us that waiting is not idle...

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An “Oh yeah” Advent

by Sarah Carson— Recently I needed to clean out my medicine cabinet. On one shelf were prescriptions from ailments past—pain medications, antibiotics, several jars of cranberry cap­sules (there must have been some sale at the pharmacy when I needed those!). On another...

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Just notice

by Cara Strickland When I’m overwhelmed by my feelings, my schedule or my circumstances, my therapist often tells me to “just notice.” As I begin to slow down and focus, I see things more clearly. Often, this motivates me to action, but perhaps more often, I am...

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Mountains with many faces

by Liv Larson Andrews for saints Florence, Leonard, Thomas and Pamela Over the phone, Grandma Florence’s voice was weary. “I just don’t know if I can do it anymore,” she said. “Do what?” I asked. “Say the creed.” “Oh.” My 95-year-old grandmother explained how she felt...

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A geography of hope

by Elizabeth Hunter Have you ever ended up somewhere with no clear idea of how you got there? Maybe not just on a road, but in your family, congregation, career or community? While rolling through routines, the landscapes of home, office, school, church, forest, city...

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Time to reflect

—by Linda Post Bushkofsky There’s something so compelling about the Ash Wednesday liturgy. It begins with the extended con­fession of sins where we acknowledge our unfaithfulness, pride, hypocrisy, self-indulgence, indifference, and prejudice, to name but a few of the...

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Just notice: Walking into Lent with Martha

by Cara Strickland When I’m overwhelmed by feelings, schedules or circumstances, my therapist often tells me to "just notice." As I slow down and focus, I see things more clearly. This can motivate me to action, but perhaps more often, I am content to linger,...

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A true, blue Christmas

by Kathleen Kastilahn Betty Landis recalls the December some dozen years ago when, as a seminarian, she struggled with four diagnoses of cancer in her family. It’s also when she first attended a Blue Christmas service. “I soaked it in,” Landis said. Now pastor of St....

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Thankofferings: A season of gratitude

by Emma Crossen Gratitude is popular in November, though it usually goes by another name--Thanksgiving. Giving thanks often turns into giving other gifts. Charities raise most of their money at this time of year. Volunteers observe the holiday by serving a meal at a...

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