The practice of making New Year’s resolutions, at the very least, dates back to the Babylonian Empire. At the start of each New Year - and for them the new year started with the first planting in March - they would make promises to return borrowed items and pay their debts. The Romans began the New Year by making promises to the god Janus, for whom the month of January is named.
The setting is strange: a shelter for livestock.
The characters are common: an unwed pregnant woman and her fiancé
The story is simple: a baby is born
The theme is unimaginable: God is with us!
May the strange but common, simple yet unimaginable coming of Christ be experienced by you this Advent and Christmas season, and throughout the year.
Most folks believe our nation’s founders established the separation of church and state in order to keep religion out of politics. Religion, the rationale goes, is messy, irrational and the source of much instability and warfare. Our government would be better off without it. There are those, however, who believe the debate was not so much about keeping religion out of government, but how to best foster religion so it might be a source of wisdom and guidance for the new nation. Some believed a state sponsored religion, like the Church of England, was the best way to accomplish this; others believed religion free from government influence would be most effective. The latter won out.
At the end of a Trustees’ meeting the other evening one of the members observed a recent liveliness in the church. With the nursery school up and running the parish house is filled with the voices and laughter of children. Since the Neighborhood Music School began offering lessons in our church the sounds of stringed instruments have become part of the air we breathe in the afternoon.
Anya Powers is a person with whom we will become well acquainted beginning in September. She is our Yale Divinity School Intern for the 2018-2019 academic year. Anya is in the process of discerning weather or not to become ordained in the United Church of Christ. Her home church is in Boulder, CO. Anya’s resume is rich and varied, but a couple of things in particular leap out at me. She is a graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps, basic training at Quantico, VA, and will be coming to us fresh from U.S. Air Force basic training in Alabama.
It’s vacation time, has been for a while now. Like many others I’m looking forward to my time away from the regular rhythm of my job. I have a list of things I want to do when vacation rolls around. I want to spend more time with my family, read a couple of books - The Thin Light of Freedom by Edward Ayers and some fiction. I want to get outside more, make good food, swim in the ocean and paint.