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Showing posts from December, 2006

The Lights of Waterbury, Connecticut

While I was taking the photos for this essay, three people stopped to tell me that Waterbury is beautiful. So they know what I know, and we believe it together. They made my night. Their comments brought to mind a conversation I had with a friend yesterday in which he said our opinions of the world are really just projections of how we feel about ourselves. By that reasoning, if you see the beauty in Waterbury, it's because you know the beauty in yourself. The world is perfect, truly. The lights of Christmas and the ordinary street lights are one light, really--one beautiful, perfect light. God bless.

Winter Solstice Sheds Light on the Spirit

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Leaving the intensity of Rockefeller Center with its Christmas fanfare of lit trees and angels, giant snowflakes sliding down skyscrapers, jolly music, vast throng of revelers, and cops, cops, cops, at every turn to protect the commercial heart of Christmas from the bad guys, we made our way to New York's Cathedral of St. John the Divine to hear Paul Winter's 27th Annual Winter Solstice. There we saw no cops--just nice Episcopaleans handing out programs and taking tickets.

We found a better world right inside this one, the wide open heart of Christmas outside the shopping mecca of New York City. St John's was packed with 900 listeners who closed their eyes in this darkened house of God and opened their hearts, the better to see, hear, and feel the Spirit in the magnificent music of the Paul Winter Consort and Renato Braz, a musician and singer from Brazil.

There was no better place to be. Before the concert began, I thought how the cathedral builders went about their work wi…

Glory streaming

I wrote and animated this reflection following two events: a Zen Buddhist retreat weekend and instruction on how to sign the carol "Silent Night." In a sweet and fleeting moment, I realized as I heard the words to this carol that God's grace is fleeting and beautiful and always mysterious.

An Epiphany at Advent

Every time Jesus opened his mouth to speak a kind word, to teach, to heal, or to laugh, he took his life in his hands. He was a thinker, a teacher of wisdom, an amazing man with a bright and light heart. So of course he was always in trouble. He did not play by the book--Roman or Jewish. He was an iconoclast, a happy freak who, like Buddah, believed life was good, good food was good, being healed was good, and loving was good. He was alone on the road, to be sure.

The Good News was the good news and the happy news, but his preaching it meant his taking his life in his hands.

And his mother knew it. Perhaps the nails that would someday rip the tender flesh and delicate bones of her son's hands were never far from his mind. Perhaps that's why she raised him to realize the wellspring of joy in his own heart.

Tonight, as I watched Mary Chamiec-Case of Newtown, Connecticut, teach my daughter's choir how to sign the carol "Silent Night," the loneliness of Jesus' life,…

To honor children who have died

The Worldwide Candle Lighting in memory of all children who have died is held annually the second Sunday in December, this year December 10. The Compassionate Friends Worldwide Candle Lighting unites family and friends around the globe as they light candles for one hour to honor and remember children who have died at any age from any cause.

As candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time, hundreds of thousands of persons commemorate and honor children in a way that transcends all ethnic, cultural, religious, and political boundaries. Believed to be the largest mass candle lighting on the globe, the Worldwide Candle Lighting creates a virtual 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. Hundreds of formal candle lighting events are held and thousands of informal candle lightings are conducted in homes as families gather in quiet remembrance of children who have died, but will never be forgotten.

To learn more visit The Compassionate Friends national website at www.compassionate…

Three-legged camels

When Bing sings "I’ll Be Home for Christmas" at the height of World War II, he’s a GI talking about returning home in his heart. There’s no other way for him to get to that perfect place. In his heart, he finds the love and warmth he needs—we hope—to stave off the cold and loneliness.

The song has survived both the War and Bing because Christmas, like a mighty hand shaking up our snow-globe world, has a way of turning up memories of love and home. (More)

A love-in for a new generation

Did you hear the one about the California couple who want the world to come together on the Winter Solstice as a gesture of peace and love? I'm short on details--I read the story quickly when I saw it in the paper and ignored it all together when it came by way of a blogger comment--but I know the bottom line is that their goal is that this universal orgasm will shake the world with love.(More)