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Manger

As we wait in hope for the light of Christ to come, we can do our best to ensure our heart is less a bustle of activity, and more a humble manger, a suitable place for giving birth to our Lord Jesus Christ.

-Br. Nicholas Bartoli, SSJE

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Savior

The truth is, we all need a savior, because the world isn’t all that we know it can be. It wasn’t then and it’s not now. It wasn’t for Isaiah, and it isn’t for us. It wasn’t for the psalmist, and it isn’t for us. Life isn’t what we frequently pretend it to be; nor is the world. And that’s the whole point of Christmas. 

-Br. James Koester, SSJE

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Wait

Everything in creation requires a time of gestation: canyons took millions of years to be formed by rivers of water; the oldest known Sequoia tree is said to have taken 3,266 years to grow; babies are not ready to be delivered at conception. I would say that it is a part of God’s order to wait.

-Br. Jim Woodrum, SSJE

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Blessing

I wonder if you can receive these words: that you are a blessing to God, and that God is intent on your being a channel of blessing, the blessing of God’s light and life and love to all that surrounds you. Can you receive that: that you are a blessing?

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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Receive

As we live in this season of Advent, awaiting the coming of the Lord, we might examine our hearts to see if they are truly open. Are we open to God speaking to us in the language of everyday events? Are we willing to hear God’s admonitions and to accept God’s guidance, or are we happier to justify our selfish behaviors and chart our own way in life? May the Lord find in us hearts that are open and ready to receive him, whenever and however he chooses to come to us.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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Wake Up

Have you ever had the experience of driving for several hours, and someone wakes up in the car and says, “Have we been through (a certain town)?” And although you’re driving, you just can’t remember. I drove through that whole town and don’t remember a thing. We can live our lives like that – half-asleep, daydreaming through life. Jesus says, no, stay awake. Don’t live your life half asleep.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Open Wide – Br. Luke Ditewig

Play

Br. Luke DitewigLuke 3:1-6

Shopping these days feels like sensory overload. We’re bombarded with messages: Your home can be the best with these trees, ornaments, garlands, and nicknacks. Here’s the present for you. Get ready—Christmas is coming! December and year round, our culture tells us to look good and to have the right stuff. That what we have and how we look determines who we are.

We want to have our living spaces in order before anyone comes over. Don’t drop by because it—and I—might not be together. This is hard for me. I have always strived to keep my rooms organized with my loose ends and junk nicely hidden under the bed, in the closet, or under carefully draped fabric.

While it may not be an orderly space, what’s particularly important to your presenting image? We’re taught to consider what we wear, the stuff we own, the people we know, the places we’ve been, and what we have done. We consider what we let others see and for what they don’t see. Get ready—someone is looking at us!

In our Gospel text, someone is coming. God comes to John in the wilderness: not a fun place out in nature, but a harsh land where few people go. John looks odd, dressed in camel’s hair eating locusts and honey as Matthew and Mark tell us. An odd man in an odd place, and lots of people came from all around the region. John is not fancy nor fashionable, but many people listen and do what he invites. John is not the awaited guest; he points to Jesus. Get ready—God is coming! Read More

Patience

What grows tall and strong must also grow slowly and deep, or it will tumble… Depth takes time. I would say that God has all the time in the world. Though we live in a culture and time that so highly values instant access to everything, at least in the spiritual realm it seems to me we can only bear a little at a time.

-Br. Curtis Almquist, SSJE

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Embrace

Christ’s hand hovers, preparing to grip our hearts. To be angry, to sigh, to be baffled, to shed tears; these are all acceptable. As long as we look to the hand of God with expectation that it will come to embrace us, we maintain our faith and joy.

-Br. Lucas Hall, SSJE

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Injustice

The poor do not exist to supplement the wealth of the powerful. Wealthy corporations who depend on the labor of underpaid employees, many of them in third world countries, are padding their pockets with the sweat of the poor. If we are serious about repentance we must be prepared to speak up, to challenge economic and political injustice wherever we find it.

-Br. David Vryhof, SSJE

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