A ‘Buy Nothing Christmas’

Dec 5, 2017 by

A few years ago some Canadian Mennonites came up with the idea of “Buy Nothing Christmas.” Check out their website at buynothingchristmas.org. With humor they direct you to a “Buy Nothing Catalogue”...

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Kriss: Waiting with a smartphone during Advent

Dec 4, 2017 by

Advent is about waiting. The two most celebrated portions of the church year, Lent and Advent, both feature a similar framework of preparing and waiting. In Spanish, the verb for waiting (esperar) has the same...

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Oil for our lamps

Dec 4, 2017 by

In Jesus’ parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25, the women get drowsy and fall asleep while waiting for the bridegroom, who is running late. It’s not an Advent parable, but it is a warning for those who...

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Grow joy this Christmas

Nov 28, 2017 by

The Eternal God planted a garden in the east in Eden—a place of utter delight—and placed the man whom He had sculpted there. In this garden, He made the ground pregnant with life—bursting forth with...

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Mary’s song: ordained for mercy

Dec 23, 2016 by

This is an edited version of a sermon Isaac Villegas preached Dec. 11 at the ordination service for Theda Good at First Mennonite Church of Denver. Good is the first openly LGBT person ordained in Mennonite...

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Hanukkah lights at Christmastime

Dec 21, 2016 by

First there was Jehovah — the creator and grand designer of the universe as we know it. Emanating from God was Judaism, the systems of traditions God wanted his people to embrace. Finally, Jesus came as the...

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Embrace the darkness

Dec 19, 2016 by

Hens lose their egg-laying gusto as the days get shorter. Rather than offer a winter respite to her flock, my wife chose brainwashing over relief. Already in October she festooned the chicken run with...

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Opinion: At Standing Rock, God heard our cries for justice

Dec 19, 2016 by and

On the second Sunday of Advent, I was part of a historic celebration of the power of nonviolent resistance. At Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, thousands of voices cried out in America’s wilderness. Sunday,...

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MCC Christmas message: Pray with us for peace

Dec 15, 2016 by , and

Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace. Sleep in heavenly peace. Exactly 200 years ago, in the...

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How to celebrate Advent like Mary

Dec 5, 2016 by

To celebrate Jesus’ coming, Mary did not light Advent candles or put up a Christmas tree. Not that there’s anything wrong with these things. At church, we’re counting the four weeks before Christmas by...

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Waiting for liberation

Dec 5, 2016 by

Jesus was born into a community of second-class citizens waiting for a liberator. Those who experienced the first Advent endured the weight of oppression — the Roman Empire’s occupation of Judea. Those of...

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Bible: Saviors and forerunners

Dec 5, 2016 by

The story announcing the birth of John the Baptist begins in Luke 1:5. Both Zechariah the priest and his wife, Elizabeth, lived “blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord.”...

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Kehrberg: Strategies for Scrooge

Dec 5, 2016 by

Santa knows that we’re God’s children, that makes everything right. — Gene Autry, “Here Comes Santa Claus” I considered writing some kind of reflection on the political climate here in the United...

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Waiting for God to act

Nov 29, 2016 by

Advent is for waiting. As we tell the story of redemption through the church calendar we begin our telling of the sacred story, not with doing, not with celebrating, but with waiting — waiting for God to...

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What comes next?

Oct 10, 2016 by

Cooling temperatures and autumnal scenes signal the home stretch of election season for Americans. By now, most are weary of the fear, tribalism and vitriol associated with the presidential campaign. The...

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It’s time for Christmas

Jul 18, 2016 by

At Christmas time we give gifts to people we love and to people we do not know. At Christmas time we stop trying to get even with people who have hurt us and instead we focus on showing kindness, even to...

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Frightening light

Dec 24, 2015 by

The “rising sun” came unexpectedly and unobtrusively upon those living in darkness. It was a very small light in a very ordinary place. A baby. Of all things. A baby boy. Which didn’t seem very...

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Bethlehem: beauty and brutality

Dec 23, 2015 by

The Sunday before Advent, I was preaching in Bethlehem. While there, a Palestinian friend I’ve known for nearly 20 years and who shares my appreciation for Orthodox icons gave me the wonderful gifts of a...

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These long Advent nights

Dec 22, 2015 by

And maybe this is what heroism looks like nowadays: occasionally high-profile heroism in public but mostly just painstaking mastery of arcane policy, stubborn perseverance year after year for a cause, empathy...

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Reality, grief, hope

Dec 21, 2015 by

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!” My morning mantra comes by rote rather than conviction. A sip of orange ginger tea calms me, but only for a moment. My spirit slides...

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Christmas celebration as protest

Dec 17, 2015 by

“In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.” (Luke 2:1) The words are so familiar that we don’t give them a second thought. But this is how...

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An Advent call to Jesus’ way: hospitality, generosity, peace, love

Dec 11, 2015 by and

By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us . . . to guide our feet into the way of peace. — Luke 1:78-79 During this season of Advent, we wait expectantly for the coming of...

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O come, o come

Dec 8, 2015 by

I don’t know about you, but the sense of “waiting” this Advent season is feeling much more palpable than in past years. I have certainly had seasons when reflecting back over the year...

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The Bible’s final words

Dec 7, 2015 by

I have a thing about endings. For me, the last few lines of a book or TV show or movie make or break it. The final words are the capstone, a revelation of what the writer believes was really the heart of her...

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Waiting for restoration

Dec 7, 2015 by

Not just a short wintertime season, Advent is always with us. Every day, some manifestation of creation’s groaning (Rom. 8:18-25) appears and causes outrage — or, alternatively, not as much outrage as it...

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