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A Christmas Reading

The waiting is over, a child is born
The waiting is over, a Son is given
The waiting is over, the government is on his shoulders
The waiting is over, his name is Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

We light the first candle to remind us of hope in a dark place. We light the second candle to join heaven and earth in celebration. We light the third candle in thanks that the news has come to us. We light the fourth candle because God welcomes surprise visitors.

Tonight we light the Christ candle because the waiting is over.

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Wise Men from the East came asking for the king of the Jews. They followed the star. They gave elaborate gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They worshipped the child king.

We light the first candle and remember the message of hope the prophets talked about. We light the second candle and celebrate the good news of great joy the angels spoke of. We light the third candle and are thankful Christmas comes for ordinary people.

Today we light the fourth candle and are reminded that God welcomes unexpected visitors at Christmas.

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God sent angels to announce the Good News of great joy. News about a Savior to be born. News that caused heaven and earth to join together in celebration.

We light the first candle and remember the message of hope the prophets talked about.

Today, we light the second candle of Advent and celebrate this Good News shared by angels, Good News of glory in heaven and peace on earth.

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A Reading for Advent

The world was a dark place. God’s people had been lost in wilderness and in exile. And the people were unfaithful.

So the Lord planned for a messenger, a prophet to prepare the way. To prepare the way for the Lord to come.

We light this first candle of Advent and remember the message of hope that the prophets talked about. The hope that one would bring light into a dark place. The hope that we could be saved from our unfaithfulness.

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One week from today June 24, 7:00pm – 8:00pm there will be a program at the Mechanicsburg Public Library “A Conversation Beyond the Ordinary: Readings from Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now.” Here are the details from The Patriot News;

http://www.pennlive.com/events/event/a-conversation-beyond-the-ordinary-readings-from-participant-field-notes-from-here-and-now/320302/

For more information about the book, check this site http://www.fieldnotesfromhereandnow.com/

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On Tuesday evening, we gathered for the first public discussion about the book Participant.  I am still amazed that people are interested in talking about it.  Still surprised that anyone not my mom would buy it.  Flattered to find people carrying copies with worn pages and to hear folks say they intend to read it a second time.

It is especially interesting to hear others talk about their own response to the book.  Someone told me it was poetic.  Another called it “lush and lyrical.”  Some have used portions in a devotional way.  For others, the book reminded them of their own adventures they have experienced.  My aunt told me that anyone reading it will look at everything differently.

The evening started with readings from selections that were compatible with the season.  During our conversation, some wondered how the book came to be.  For me, it feels like many of these words had been in storage a long while and needed to be hung out in the fresh air to blow wherever the winds might take them.

I hope that these words remind readers to be attentive to the life that surrounds us.  Nature goes about its business, we go about ours.  The storyline seems to be in place, everything seems to be happening on schedule.  There is so much we might miss if we are not paying attention.  And then there is that text that many of us consider to be word of God.  It shows up unannounced, it enters our situation.  Without requesting permission, it barges in on our storyline and presents us with a different perspective.  Whether we choose to do something differently in response to this text is up to us.

Less invasive, but throughout the book, I cite a number of writers that live on my bookshelf.  I admit that I have not been a good host; have not even offered one of them a cup of coffee.  But every time I pull one from the shelf I expect them to speak to me and be ready to engage me in conversation.

A variety of subjects emerge in the book.  It may seem strange to discuss some of them in the same conversation with one another.  Yet, just as sure as tomorrow is connected to yesterday, what happened long ago cannot be separated from what is happening now.  Specific, familiar names and places intersect with ancient mysteries.  We have not left one compartment of time to start over in another.  We cannot help but be connected to the things that surround us.

Now, these words that have been collected together under the title Participant: Field Notes from Here and Now are blowing out in the open.  I will feel quite honored if they land with just a few who find them enjoyable.

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