New Beginnings

As a child, I learned the beautiful verse, The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.

While each day is a new beginning, there is something special about the new year. In truth, January 1 is really just another “new day,” but symbolically, it is a fresh start. We make plans, set goals, and feel a sense of closure of old habits and routines even though we know there is nothing magic about January 1.

2009 was a difficult year for many people I know, including me. Although I know that Friday is really just another day, I am looking forward to the symbolism of a new year and the promise that it brings. I may not be online again before then, so I wanted to leave you with several prayers that seem fitting. Each of these is from The Book of Common Prayer. I hope that they will give you peace and courage as you come into 2010.

Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so
move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the
people of this land], that barriers which divide us may
crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our
divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us,
in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront
one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work
together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, we thank you for making the earth fruitful, so
that it might produce what is needed for life: Bless those who
work in the fields; give us seasonable weather; and grant that
we may all share the fruits for the earth, rejoicing in your
goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Heavenly Father, we remember before you those who suffer
want and anxiety from lack of work. Guide the people of this
land so to use our public and private wealth that all may find
suitable and fulfilling employment, and receive just payment
for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Eternal God, bless all schools, colleges, and universities,
that they may be lively centers for sound learning,
new discovery, and the pursuit of wisdom;and grant that
those who teach and those who learn may find
you to be the source of all truth; through Jesus Christ our
Lord. Amen.

I love you all. Thank you for being a blessing in my life.

I hope . . .

I hope that I can be numbered among the faithful who come and adore him.

I hope that every member of my family will be there.

I hope that every one of my friends will be there.

Oh come, all ye faithful, joyful, and triumphant.

Sometimes beauty transcends translation.

We interrupt this songfest to bring you a special message

Stop what you’re doing right now and go read what Coleman has to say about technology.

Stop it right now.

Go read it.

Then go do something that does not involve technology. Breathe. Talk face-to-face. Take a walk in the woods and pay attention to how things look, feel, and smell. Send a short note to someone just thanking them for being in your life.

Pick a day over the next few weeks to just turn your phone off and stay off the internet.

Yes, I realize that I’m spreading this message via the internet. Life is full of ironies. Just do it anyway.

I love you all! Go be Jesus to someone!

I have high standards

Well — in at least some areas of life.

I was beginning to wonder if my standards were too high for the song O Holy Night, because I looked and looked and couldn’t find a version that I wanted to share with you. It’s a song that can either be beautiful or a disaster, depending on the skills of the singer. Good singers sometimes take advantage of it and turn it into a showcase for themselves and reach HIGH into the heavens and add notes that aren’t even in the song. A few people have had the audacity to change rhythms to suit their own fancy.

That’s just wrong. It’s a beautiful song in its own. Just sing it and let the beauty speak for itself.

I narrowed down the options and the top three were Luciano Pavarotti, Il Divo, and (of course) Josh Groban.

I really, really wanted to like the Pavarotti version, but his very accented enunciation just didn’t work with this song. Il Divo? Well . . . I got tired of their deep, meaningful looks out into space.

So Josh it is. Sweet Josh who brought my plants back to life. What a thoughtful young man!

My favorite name

My favorite name used for Jesus is Immanuel.

God with us.

It’s a rather awe-inspiring concept. A god who chooses to come and live among his people and experience life not as a god but as a man. To know limitations and pain and hunger and sorrow and heat and dirt and sickness and . . . the list could go on and on.

O Come, O Come Immanuel.

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