The wobbly manger

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 Advent season and […]

Great Thanksgiving

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 Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:15). For those of us […]

The fellowship divine

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 (deaths of retired professors, if I recall correctly), and the […]

Prodigal Singing

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 expressions of determination more pronounced than the typical I-must-get-to-my-gate look. […]

Alleluia! Hallelujah!

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 she spent during World War II decorating the church […]

Ash and oil

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 way I can ever get […]

‘Tis the season…for hospitality

‘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 refugee, you can only take five things with […]

When wolves come to dinner

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 winter, this wolf, large and […]

Maybe you’re not feeling Advent-y

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 even spiritual. I’m just…here. Slogging. Going through the motions. It can […]

The songs of Advent

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 time; there are things we can do to get ready […]