Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve is Here. Already. Wow.


What a busy, stressful season. Lots of excitement and anticipation of wonder and wonderful things. Lots of challenges. Lots of demands on our time. Lots of Love.

I invite you all to take some time out, come partake of our annual Candlelight Christmas Eve service at Bethel.
It promises to be a beautiful, blessed event, and I hope that you will all to come join in the story and the music.

Christmas Eve Service at Bethel
 Music and Candlelight
7pm Thursday December 24th, 2015
Bethel Congregational Church, UCC
536 N Euclid Ave, Ontario, CA 91762


Christmas  -  along with many traditions nd other winter holidays:
Las Posadas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Dewali, Winter Solstice.

 Busy. Exciting. Anticipatory.  

What an exhausting time.

It's been a challenging season for many. On the surface, it's a season of celebration and joy. But whether because of personal loss, grief, illness, injury, financial challenges, job loss, or just the difficult tasks of everyday living, the holiday season is often not all happiness and light. It is often a stressful, difficult time.

And yet, we persevere. We hope. We live. We share. We seek the light.
And the light seeks us.

The challenge is to embrace the hope and the light, and then, be it and share it.

Share it in a very real and tangible way.

Not just by posting cute kittens and puppies on Facebook (but please do - it may brighten someone's day!). But also by living that light and love in out communities. One on one. One person at a time. Help someone. Whether you know them or not.

Help someone.
Even small things count.

A cup of water. A quarter. Maybe a dollar.
Some gas. A room for the night. A coat. A bowl of soup.
Help someone fix something, or clean something.
Give of your time.
Forgive a debt, or an offense.
Apologize to someone if you have wronged them.
Accept someone's apology.
Pay back a debt.
Say "Thank-you" to someone who helps you, and mean it.
Accept someone.
Believe in someone, and tell them so.

If you are one of the "lucky ones", one of the blessed, share your blessings. That's how blessings (and people) grow.

Along these lines, last year at this time I came across this poem, and shared it. I am sharing it again this year. There simply can never be too much sharing!

"Blue Christmas", published at

I close today as I share with you here the entire entry from the page referenced above.

Here is the text from the daily devotional page "A Blue Christmas Poem", with an introduction by John Stuart.

Psalm 42:5-6a – Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God. (NIV)

"Christmas can be a painful and lonely time for some people. At our candlelight service, we light a Blue Christmas candle for those who are grieving, hurting, or ill during the festive season. This poem is recited as the blue candle is lit. It's a very meaningful and emotional time for some members in our congregation." ...John Stuart

A Blue Christmas Poem

There's no room at Christmas for sadness,
There's no place for hearts that are blue.
All the world wants to hear
Is a word full of cheer,
Not a sigh, not a tear, not from you.

There's no room at Christmas for loneliness,
There's no place for your emptiness and grief.
All the world wants is peace,
Mistletoe and Christmas trees,
Not a heartache that mars its beliefs.

There's no room at Christmas for sickness,
There's no place or time to be ill.
All the world wants is health,
Prosperity and wealth,
Not a pain that can spoil its goodwill.

There's no room at Christmas for Jesus,
There's no place for His family, too,
All the world would not share,
No one seems to really care,
A stable will just have to do.

Yes, there's room at Christmas for sadness,
There's a place in God's heart for you.
For He knows pain and loss,
Which He felt on the cross,
So this candle is lit here for you…
For Christ knows what it's like to be blue.

Monday, December 7, 2015

I shared this with my congregation after Paris - and I share it again today.

So what can I do? 

I may not have the power of political leaders to make the decisions that will change the world.

If nothing else, what is in my power is to send out this spirit of love and peace from my heart to the world. 

To pray that those who need comfort will feel comfort it. Those who feel lonely and isolated will feel the presence of the God and the knowledge that we do care what happens to them. Those who feel conflict and hate will be touched by the spirit and have their hearts opened to love and peace. And that those in power will make inspired peaceful decisions.

So where is God in all of this? 

God is in you, opening your eyes and heart to understand and share in the love and peace that is offered. 

God is in the humanity you feel and express to those whose lives are in turmoil. 

God is in the humanity shown to refugees and those living in fear and pain. 

God is in the prayers that you share that hatred will be transformed into love. 

God is in the people who stand up and say “Not in my name.” 

God is in the response of each of us, if we so choose.