Peace, Comfort, Hope – Br. James Koester

Br. James KoesterIsaiah 40: 1 – 11
Psalm 85: 1 – 2, 8 – 13
2 Peter 3: 8 – 15a
Mark 1: 1 – 8

Each year I get a little crankier and a little more annoyed by Christmas.

Now, don’t get me wrong, before you write me off as some kind of a monastic Scrooge, let me explain what I mean.

If truth be told, I actually love Christmas. I love the lights, and the tinsel, and the tree. I love the decorations, and the carols, and the crèche, and the baking, (perhaps especially the baking!). I love Christmas. What makes me cranky, and annoyed, is that what many people really just want are the lights, and the tinsel, and the tree. What many people really just want are the decorations, and the carols, and the crèche, and the baking. What many people really just want is the baby and the celebration. What many people don’t want is a saviour. But isn’t that the whole point of Christmas? And you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.[1]

For many, Christmas is about a cute, pudgy, sweet smelling baby, nestled in a bed of clean straw, in a romantically quaint, clean, rustic looking barn, amidst softly falling snow, much as we had yesterday. What they don’t want, is a saviour. And they don’t want a saviour, because that would suggest that we need saving. That would suggest that life isn’t all that we so often pretend it to be. And who wants to admit that life, especially my life, is not perfect, or that I can’t fix it? Read More

The Twelfth Day of Christmas

The Gift of Blessing

You are intended to be a blessing to God and to all that God has created. Be generous with the light that teems from your eyes; be generous with your words and actions in this flow of God’s blessing to God and to others.

 

 

The Eleventh Day of Christmas

The Gift of Peace

This offer and promise of Christ’s peace is here for the having. Receive it. Take it in as regularly and necessarily as you breathe. Breathe out fear; breathe in peace. Breathe out anger; breathe in peace. Breathe out sadness; breathe in peace.

 

 

The Tenth Day of Christmas

The Gift of Gratitude

If prayer – your relationship with God – in any way eludes you just now, simply pray your gratitude. Don’t miss the opportunity to pray and savor your gratitude for what is so clearly good in life. Be grateful for the gift of life.

 

 

The Ninth Day of Christmas

The Gift of Companionship

Perhaps Mary may be to you an ally as you face your own impossi- bilities to find the freedom to say yes to what is clearly and unavoidably being asked of you in life just now, to say, like Mary, “use me, take me, call me as you will.”

The Eighth Day of Christmas

The Gift of Humility

We can cultivate this gift, not by focusing on ourselves but rather on others, in the dignity we bestow on them. Make space for others in your heart as God makes space for you. Practice hesitation, a posture of holy listening to others’ lives.

 

The Seventh Day of Christmas

The Gift of a Name

How do you occupy your in- between time? These moments can be vacuous, and you may find your- self prone to obsess over all kinds of distractions or anxieties. Especially during these moments of space, you may find it inviting to breathe the name of Jesus.

 

The Fifth Day of Christmas

The Gift of Hope

Hope is fueled by the presence of God in our lives. But hope is also fueled by the future of God in our lives: a small seed that perhaps we cannot even see right now, planted by God into the ground of our being.

 

 

The Fourth Day of Christmas

The Gift of Joy

Joy is a gift; it’s a spiritual gift. Genenally speaking, if you want to receive a gift, don’t keep your hands in your pockets. Open your heart and open your hands to receive the gift of joy. Cooperate with God.

 

 

The Third Day of Christmas

The gift of Forgiveness

In English the verb forgive comes from the Latin perdonare, which means to give thoroughly and wholeheartedly. To forgive is to wholeheartedly give it up. It’s an offering, and act of “oblation.”