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The Church has been singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” for nearly 11 centuries. It is the oldest Advent Hymn and deserves a place of prominence. This version is by Belle and Sebastian.

Mary’s song – Luke 1:46-55

“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.”

Creating Peace Where We Are: Devotions for Advent and Christmas 2008 and Epiphany 2009 beginning shortly after midnight.

“Peace on Earth” by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

Our short lives on earth are sowing time. If there were no resurrection of the dead, everything we live on earth would come to nothing. How can we believe in a God who loves us unconditionally if all the joys and pains of our lives are in vain, vanishing in the earth with our mortal flesh and bones? Because God loves us unconditionally, from eternity to eternity, God cannot allow our bodies – the same as that in which Jesus, his Son and our savior, appeared to us – to be lost in final destruction.

No, life on earth is the time when the seeds of the risen body are planted. Paul says: “What is sown is perishable, but what is raised is imperishable; what is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; what is sown is weak, but what is raised is powerful; what is sown is a natural body, and what is raised is a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44). This wonderful knowledge that nothing we live in our bodies is lived in vain holds a call for us to live every moment as a seed of eternity.

The wonderful knowledge, that nothing we live in our body is lived in vain, holds a call for us to live every moment as a seed of eternity.

Here I am in the middle of Thanksgiving-baking bliss, when I get a comment from Karen Hopper.

“When I first read your post, [“Someone once said racism is like cancer. It’s never totally wiped out, it’s in remission.”] I was in total agreement,” wrote Karen, “but never replied. Today I was on a fellow blogger’s site and found where she and her family were targeted. Her site is: Instances like this bring to reality this vile form of society. Unfortunately when it is someone you know, you find yourself becoming much more involved. That is a shame, and God forgive me because I should be there for everyone whether I am acquainted or not….”

It seems racism has reared it ugly head in the life of Rochelle Ritzi, who lives in Texas and is a fellow blogger. On her blog “Dream Bigger,” Rochelle, who is a pastor’s wife, shares her brush with “fame” as their family experiences first-hand the vandalism and racial slurs I spoke of earlier this week and is “in the news.” Rochelle’s young daughter Keilani had to be told what the N-word means to a racially mixed family. Rochelle told her daughter “the history of the word.”

If this is not all right with you, you might want to reconsider how big the problem of racism truly is in America today. If it’s okay, go back to your feast.

Racism is alive and well in America.   And some of us are starting to know what Blacks have known all along.

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say ‘thank you?'” – William A. Ward

“Thank God–every morning when you get up–that you have something to do which must be done, whether you like it or not. Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you a hundred virtues which the idle never know.” – Charles Kingsley

“To me, every hour of the day and night is an unspeakably perfect miracle.” – Walt Whitman

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Conservatives would like us to believe that racism is a thing of the past, or at least a thing of the past everywhere except in the South. Wrong.

Since the election racial incidents have been cited in many locations. This cross was burned in New Jersey.

AP Photo
“Someone took a family’s banner that congratulated Obama and burned it on a cross in their yard in Hardwick, N.J.”
“From California to Maine, police have documented a range of alleged crimes, from vandalism and vague threats to at least one physical attack. Insults and taunts have been delivered by adults, college students and second-graders.” Read more


“Barely three weeks after Americans elected their first black president amid a wave of interracial good feeling, a spasm of noose hangings, racist graffiti, vandalism and death threats is convulsing dozens of towns across the country as white extremists lash out at the new political order.

More than 200 hate-related incidents, including cross-burnings, assassination betting pools and effigies of President-elect Barack Obama, have been reported so far, according to law-enforcement authorities and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups. Racist Web sites are boasting that their servers are crashing under the weight of exponential increases in page views.

Even more ominously, America’s most potent symbol of racial hatred—the Ku Klux Klan—has begun to reassert itself, emerging from decades of disorganization and obscurity in a spate of recent violence.” Read more


Is this truly a sign of the fear in the hearts of people who think we should go back to the 50s?

“[“Mark Potok, the director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate crimes,”] said he believes there is “a large subset of white people in this country who feel that they are losing everything they know, that the country their forefathers built has somehow been stolen from them.”

How sad.


But “[m]ore than three-fourths of young women, those ages 18-29 and known as Generation Y, want incoming President Barack Obama to make civil rights and racial justice top priorities of his administration, a survey says.

While Obama’s election as the nation’s first black president was interpreted by many as a sign of racial progress, findings in the survey done for YWCA USA suggest that much work remains to be done.” Read More


It seems Martin Luther King Jr. hit the nail on the head. White people are satisfied with progress, but Black people want equality. Perhaps our young people are understanding this, even if we are not.

Racism is alive and well in the US. I am not happy to be right, but I am right.

The election of Obama is not only a sign of how far we have come but also of how much further we must go to establish equality.

“We shall overcome.”

Emphasis mine

I’d like to have several goodies baked by Thanksgiving, so I can concentrate on baking a turkey and enjoying family on Thursday. Lila will be here with Troy. And Victor will be here, too. To say nothing of the watching the Cowboys, who always play on Thanksgiving: a fact that matters at our house.

Sausage balls are baked and placed in the freezer, ready for heating. And I mixed up the dough for Ginger Snaps and Toll House Cookies, so I can bake them tomorrow. I also plan to bake some kind of bread. I’m leaning toward apple cheddar, but that’s subject to change. And I want to make a cheese ball. We’ll have crackers and cheese and nuts and candy, but I just have to put them on plates.

The turkey’s thawing in the fridge, next to the fresh cranberries and two cans of cranberry sauce and one of Mandarin oranges. I’m going to “cheat” a bit with instant potatoes, sweet potatoes, stove top stuffing and canned green beans. But we’ll feast.

Then on Friday, clean house. And decorate for Christmas.

Waiting patiently in expectation does not necessarily get easier as we become older. On the contrary, as we grow in age we are tempted to settle down in a routine way of living and say: “Well, I have seen it all. … There is nothing new under the sun. … I am just going to take it easy and take the days as they come.” But in this way our lives lose their creative tension. We no longer expect something really new to happen. We become cynical or self-satisfied or simply bored.

The challenge of aging is waiting with an ever-greater patience and an ever- stronger expectation. It is living with an eager hope. It is trusting that through Christ “we have been admitted into God’s favour … and look forward exultantly to God’s glory” (Romans 5:2).


It seems so few are waiting in expectation.  So many become conservative and reactionary with age and refuse to change or hope for the best.  Or if they do hope for the best, they fear for the worst, which cancels out their hope.  Seems so many forget God is in control.


I wake to
a mid-November
dusting of snow,

but warm sun
on silvered leaves
melts fleeting beauty.

November 2008