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The Book Thief
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
On Gold Mountain
Bread & Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter
City of Tranquil Light: A Novel
The Distant Land of My Father
The Paris Wife
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Fall of Giants
World Without End
A Stolen Life
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Pillars of the Earth
Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
The Road
Trials of the Earth: The Autobiography of Mary Hamilton
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal
Cutting for Stone

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Entries in angel (2)


holy & human

The Divine wrapped on flesh and entered our world. We celebrate this mammoth event with Christmas. We acknowledge the waiting with Advent. 

I’ve been musing the incarnation. 

As I talked about it with friends, I realized that even the term “incarnation” should be reserved for the event when the seed of God entered a woman and produced Jesus. It is holy. That holy. But what’s got me going is that God’s spirit dwells in me... a sort of little “i” incarnation. Or, let’s don’t call it that, it’s something else. What do we call it? 

In the timeline, after Jesus ministered here on earth, he ascended into Heaven. He said he would not leave us as orphans and he sent the Holy Spirit a little while later. That Holy Spirit indwells me. That’s what it is... an indwelling.

His Spirit communes with my spirit. The spark of life. The holy in the human. 

This morning before dawn, I lit the Winter Forrest candle and turned on the Christmas tree lights. My hands smelled like OxyClean from the t-shirts I soaked in the sink just before I sat down with my Advent book. And I began to read about Zechariah, a herald of Advent. 

The laughter bubbled up from deep within me as I pictured him gesturing wildly to the breathless audience outside the Holy of Holies. You know he went in there at risk to his own life. They put a bell on his robe and a rope around his leg so they could pull him out if he keeled over. He must have jumped so at the sight of Gabriel there by the alter that he almost burned his robe with the incense. Gabriel announced that old man Zechariah would have a son, John the Baptist. Ole Zech didn’t believe. He said, “How can I know this is true?” Gabriel struck him mute because he did not believe. And out Zech goes to try to tell the audience why he can’t speak and why he is wild with anticipation and why his robe is smoldering.

I’m so thankful Zechariah is included in this story and his unbelief is no stumbling block for the gospel. Zechariah is a herald of Advent to us. And if Advent is nothing else, it is the celebration of the collision of the holy and the human.


broken angel

Things break.

Here on earth, everything breaks, wears out, corrodes. This morning I found this favored angel from the nativity scene with his wings discarded nearby. Sam owned up to wrestling with Gabriel. A new Christmas scene is written in the McMurray house. 

Last month goes down in history as one of the most horrible in my life. My mother landed in the hospital with a life-threatening MRSA infection. A situation with a family member sat in my gut and my mind constantly replayed the scene. What if I had said that? What if I had pointed out this? Friends in crisis. Conflicts. Disease. Death. Dreary grey weather. November had it all.

Through all of this, God called my heart heavenward. Confident of his presence with me, I breathed prayers like the Jesus one. Inhale and say, “Jesus Christ, son of God.” Exhale and say,  “have mercy on me a sinner.” One day as I ran to my car late to meet someone, a rainbow appeared through the gray dreary clouds. I gasped aloud. Awe. 

On the same day, I drove down a gorgeous Tennessee back road and something at the tree-line caught my eye. A horse? No. I saw the antlers. It was the biggest buck I have ever seen majestically ruling ore the plain. I pulled over and watched it from a distance. Awe.

To see something extraordinary and to try to put words around it is to muse.

Awe is the first step to worship. If I understand something, I will never think myself smaller than it. I am learning that life is hard and there is good in the hard and hard in the good. 

The angel proclaimed peace (wholeness) on earth, good news to men. His wings dazzled the shepherds. They fell on their faces in worship. 

Things may break here on earth but there will come a day when it will all be new.