Monthly Archives: December 2010

The best gift of Christmas

The candle lit wall sconces provided the only light on this most holy night. The well-adorned sanctuary was the embodiment of Advent waiting patiently for the light of the Christ-child to set the sacred space aglow.

The faithful – those who were there often and those who had not been there for the entire year – came in an early and constant stream. I stood at the door as was my practice and welcomed and thanked each for being a part of the celebration of the birth of our Lord.

Weaving her way through the obstacle course of giants that surrounded her, Sara planted herself at my feet, tugged on my robe and proudly proclaimed, “I have a gift for you!”  As I leaned down to take it from her small outstretched hand she snapped it back and with a very precocious smile pulled me close.

“There is actually nothing in the box,” she whispered. “I remembered what you said last year that the best gift at Christmas is always Jesus.  So the empty box isn’t really empty because I am giving you the gift of Jesus.”  With that she walked away as abruptly as she had approached me.

Standing there a bit dazed from the “little angel” I had just encountered, I became overwhelmingly aware that I, in fact, had just received the best gift of Christmas!

May you and all those you love embrace and enjoy Jesus, the best gift of Christmas.

(Download the bulletin insert for distribution in your community.
The insert is available in English, Hmong, and Spanish.)

We are called to be “a waiting people”

When I was a kid and it was time for a haircut my dad would take us to
Roy, the local barber. We would sit in a chair, listen to the men chat,
and anxiously wait our turn, not for the haircut, but for the lollipop
that came afterward.

When I got a tooth ache, I went to Dr. Lemmon. For a fever it was Dr.
Wood; broken glasses, Dr. Warren. I never remember my parents making
appointments. We just showed up and waited our turn.

Today, when I get my haircut, go to the doctor or, of all things, have
tires put on my car, I call ahead for an appointment. The reason? In part
because the small-town-show-up-when-you-want is no longer a
reality regardless of the size of the town. Yet, it also has to do a great
deal with me.

In my mind I make appointments in order to be as efficient as possible. My expectation is that if I am supposed to get my tires put on at 4:30,
then I should get my tires on at 4:30 – not 4:42! With this said, I don’t
think I am necessarily an impatient person by nature; I would just rather
not spend a lot of time waiting.

And that is why I not only love Advent but sincerely need Advent. It
annually reminds that waiting is not only an important life discipline, it
is a critical spiritual discipline. “Wait for God, be strong and let your
heart take courage, wait for God” Psalm 27:14.

Humorously, what often helps me center on our call to be a waiting people
is remembering Roy, the barber, and the promise of a succulent treat!

Applications available for Episcopal Church young adults seeking adventure, ministry, special calling

This just in from the Episcopal Church Young Adults Services Corps…

Applications for one-year assignments throughout the Anglican Communion are being accepted from young adults 21 – 30 years old for the Episcopal Church Young Adults Service Corps (YASC).

“We are seeking young adults who are looking for a challenging and transformational experience and want to be a part of what God is doing in the world,” noted David Copley, Episcopal Church Mission Personnel Officer.

Known internationally as YASCers, the young adults provide service while learning about a new culture and work on vocation, all while providing a spiritual commitment.

Application deadline is January 6, 2011.

Applications are available here:

The application seeks information on education, church involvement, interests and skills, employment information, placement and matching information, and references.

As part of the application process, applicants are invited to a discernment retreat, after which a committee matches gifts and interests with opportunities for YASCers to serve in over 20 countries around the world.

“YASC brings young adults into the life of the worldwide Anglican Communion and into the daily work of a local community,” Copley noted.

For more information on becoming a Young Adult Service Corps worker (YASC) contact Michelle Jobson at or 212-716-6124.

All YASCers maintain personal blogs relating their experiences throughout Anglican Communion.  Take a look here: