Three Easy Steps to Beginning and Sustaining a Christian Meditation Practice this New Year

Come December, I find myself anxiously gripping the Church’s new liturgical year in vain; the harder I hold on, the quicker its meaning sifts through my clenched fists. Though I say I’m going to go deeper in my daily devotional practice, I won’t. Though I vow to embrace winter’s darkness in order to discover the inner divine Light, I don’t. Though I promise to focus on hope-peace-love-joy, it escapes me. Amid the seasonal to-dos of a market-driven culture, I find myself caught up in the world, not the tiny babe in a manger … Read the full article at Bearings.

Need a clear, accessible guide to holding three minutes of sacred space to experience God’s comforting presence and voice each day?

One Breath at a Time provides a step-by-step toolbox for beginning your practice in the new year. Read more here.

Why Loving Your Enemies is Hard, and How You Can Do It Three Minutes at a Time

This week, Pastor Brent Levy, of The Local Church and I recorded a short loving-kindness meditation break for Advent. Listen here. 

From The Local Church: Advent means “coming” or “arrival,” and it’s a season in which we not only wait for the hope of Christmas and the coming of the Christ child but also a time in which we also look ahead to the new creation and wait with expectation for that day when all things are made new. Advent is a time in between. And we know that reality.

Join me and Pastor Brent as we take three minutes to breath deeply and love graciously in this in between time. Listen here. 

Learn more about The Local Church and their ministries.

What the Christmas Nativity Story is Really About

(Featured image: Black Nativity, c. 2000, Xavier University)

What the Christmas Nativity Story is Really About

From New Dawning Light Advent Devotional, at Hope Rising, Day Twenty

Luke’s Gospel account of Jesus’s birth is not a bedtime story that calms boogeyman fears. The Advent narrative is a nightmare.

A poor, young, unwed minority couple head to a town to be documented in the era of a malicious king. The girl — a teen — is very pregnant. The boy, perhaps the same age, is not the baby’s father. She begins to labor en route. The motels are booked, and she’s forced to deliver in an animal stall with no medical treatment.

When the baby arrives, they learn they must flee. They become undocumented refugees seeking safety in a new land, because if they don’t, their son will be taken from them in the worst way.

Luke’s ancient narrative of Christ’s birth is a horror story. And yet, it feels so 2018. Advent is not about picturesque Christmas scenes of cozy upper-class families sipping hot cocoa by the fire. It’s a story about poverty, marginalization, and violence — and what it means for God to radically arrive as an infant with cards stacked against him from day one.

But here’s the happy ending: that homeless baby born in the manger to poor refugee parents? He’s Emmanuel. God with us. This is God who turns the world upside down. The last become first; the poor are rich, and love abounds. This God shows up in the most surprisingly humble way to remind us that we are not forgotten — but deeply loved.

That’s the real Advent story.

(Featured image: Black Nativity, c. 2000, Xavier University)