December 29

Life is full of endings and beginnings.  The end of a way of life or of a project or of anything is the beginning of whatever is next.  Let us look with hope at what this next year will bring for us.  Let us embrace with joy the gifts of each day as we follow our Lord Jesus Christ.

"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope."    Jeremiah 29:11

"You are the light of the world.  A city built on a hill cannot be hid.  No one after lighting a lamp puts it under a bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."   Matthew 5: 14-16


December 27

Father, bless me and make me a blessing.

Take time to list the blessings in your life...

What blessings in your life provided the experience of joy, friendship, support, love and faith?

What blessings in your life provided purpose, contentment, study, wonder, pause and trust?

What blessings in your life were a surprise, detour, change, new direction, or new opportunity?

What blessings in your life were from a neighbor, doctor, stranger, co-worker, friend or family member?

Take time to list the blessings in your life...


December 25

Heavenly father, remind us throughout all the stress of the holiday season to prepare for the coming of your son Jesus Christ. Let us enjoy time with family and friends and remember the reverence behind the season. Remember the story, remember the joy, remember the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and our Savior. Let us not be focused by the gifts we've received, but let us enjoy giving gifts to others. Remember most importantly that Jesus is the Reason for the season.



December 23

Come and Worship!

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story,
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the new born King!
(Angels from the Realms of Glory, Lyrics by James Montgomery, 1816. Music by Henry Smart. In the public domain.)

Towson United Methodist Church
Christmas Eve Services at 4 pm, 7 pm and 11 pm.

Come and worship!


December 21

Thank you, Lord God, for those who are more talented than I am.  Thank you that I can hear and see those who bring such joy with music this Christmas season.  Thank you for the genius that caused persons to invent instruments that make sounds of wonder.  Thank you for the silence between notes and the rhythm and melody and harmony.  Amen.


December 19

               One of the sayings we often hear when some disaster befalls us, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” I know a version of that which has become one of my favorite sayings, “When life gives you lemons, make grape juice, and then sit back and let the world wonder how you did it.”
                Sometimes I think that sums up God’s attitude toward His creation. Not that God is malicious and delights in doling out assorted miseries; rather, that God does all these wonderful things so that we can wonder – and delight – in how He did them all.
                We are finite beings with a finite lifespan, and trying to comprehend an infinite God is clearly impossible. There are so many things in this world, from dazzling sunsets and starry nights and vast expanses of ocean to the warmth of a smile, the love of a pet, and what most of us would consider “ordinary,” that there is much for us to wonder about. How did God do all this? But that could be missing the point. Maybe the point of all this not to wonder how God did it, but to be lost in the wonder and delight of the fact that He did it.
                In this season of Advent, as we anticipate the coming of the birth of Jesus Christ, let us remember one of the greatest wonders of all: that God sent His Son into the world to redeem us, and that He came in the humble guise of a baby. That, perhaps, is the greatest wonder of them all.

Lord, You have created us to wonder at all the marvelous things you have done. Help us to keep that sense of wonder as we hail the birth of Jesus this Advent season. Amen.


December 17

I'm tired and it's only December 17th!  So, I pause for a bit and consider how tired Mary and Joseph must have been on their journey to Bethlehem, especially Mary.  I remember how tiring it was to be at the end of a pregnancy.  I remember how tired I was of being pregnant, and yet how fearful of the process of giving birth and then caring for a newborn.  How amazing that God, the very creator and sustainer of the universe, could be the baby whom Joseph and Mary awaited on that journey so long ago.

"Since Joseph belonged to David's house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David's city, called Bethlehem, in Judea.  He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant."  Luke 2: 4-5

Lord, please be with all of us who are tired today.  Especially be with those who are awaiting a child.  Enfold them in your arms and help them to know that you  understand that waiting time.  You have waited for humanity to turn to you and be welcomed as daughters and sons.  Thank you for your patience and love.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


December 15

I don't know a whole lot about sheep.  I have met a few sheep, and I had some conversation with a delightful couple who were shepherds.  I also worked briefly with a man who was literally a rocket scientist, but who also kept a herd of sheep. This man was letting us use 3 or 4 of his sheep for a Live Nativity.  However, a couple of the sheep were close to giving birth.  His concern for them and how we would treat them was tender and sweet.  Frankly, I thought they were stubborn and dirty, but he obviously loved them.  We were gentle and careful with the sheep, and they both gave birth to healthy lambs without any trouble not long after they played their roles in our enactment of Christ's birth.

My conversations with the older couple about their sheep taught me that shepherding is often about the art of understanding relationships and how change in one area creates change in another.  My time with the scientist shepherd taught me more about loving those who are limited in their ability to return love or to understand how the actions of their shepherd were acts of love.

Gracious and loving Shepherd, you are ever vigilant on our behalf.  You take care of us in ways that we don't see.  Please help us to trust you and be gentle with us in our stubborn and sheep-like ways.  Amen.


December 11

Our theme for worship last week was questions.  It is better than OK to ask God questions.  Asking questions is how we learn.  It is also how we struggle with hard issues in our lives.  Asking questions is a way that we live with integrity: we admit that we need help and that our knowledge and our lives aren't perfect.  The really hard part is not getting a clear answer or not getting the answer we want.  We like to believe that we can understand anything if we only work hard enough or long enough, but that isn't true.  Some things we will never understand in this life.  Can we still trust God in our unknowing?  Joseph and Mary did!

Lord, you are almighty and all knowing.  Please help us in our limitations and in our frustrations with those limits.  Help us to trust you at all times.  In Jesus' name, Amen.


December 9

Several times in the last few days, someone has said to me, "Christmas time
is so stressful". December is typically filled with such activities as shopping
for gifts, wrapping gifts, decorating, extra baking, and holiday concerts
and parties. Add these to an already busy schedule and the result is stress.
Instead of spending time preparing for the birth of Christ, the
Light of the world, people lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.
Christ brings God's promise of hope, love, and joy, but to experience these,
we must spend time with God.

Let's not forget Christ this Advent season.

Dear Father, Guide our activities during this Advent season. Help us take time
to be in the presence of God, so we can experience the joy of Christ's coming.


December 7

I grew up in a rural area where I could see tons of stars on crisp winter nights.  I miss seeing that, now that I'm living in a more urban area with light pollution.  But- I know the stars are there.  I do see many stars, but I know that there are many, many more that I cannot see.

There is much of God which I can know, but there is so much more which I am unable to comprehend.  Still, I know that God is there and I can trust in God's steady presence.

Thank you, Lord, for those things which I can see and know.  Thank you even more for those things which I cannot see and which are beyond my limits to know.  In the name of the unknowable Word, our Lord, Jesus, Amen.


December 5


Yesterday we were talking at work ... the 3rd floor staff ... it was the end of the day, saying goodbye to each other.  When asking what each other was up to over the weekend we realized that there are only 3 weekends left until Christmas.  YIKES!  

I prefer to create my Christmas gifts, I just like the uniqueness of the gift.  While I am sewing or throwing clay or soldering stained glass or knitting I think and pray for the person.  My niece asked me to crochet a blanket for her -- that won't be done before Christmas -- but I am looking forward to picking out the right yarn and thinking and praying for her while I crochet.

But three weekends left?
Jesus' birth
the love is overwhelming
ready or not 
the love is unconditional
here it comes!


December 3

        Lately, I have not welcomed the first  awareness of morning when I have wakened up!  I’ve had numerous important responsibilities to fulfill—forms to fill out with hard to get  data; phone calls to make that were  likely to lead to more phone calls;  not one but numerous task areas to be completed, so that a step forward in one offered little satisfaction.  I’d wake up not rested and ready for the day, but restless and challenged by all  that needed to be done.  The day looked foreboding while lying there in bed.

            But each day I realized that as I got up and started to get organized, that feeling of being overwhelmed faded.  I instinctively started humming a hymn in my mind, and remembered some favorite scripture about God’s loving presence, and I was awake enough to be aware it was not just a day being faced by me, but by God and me.  God was not a task-master there to keep me focused, but the loving mentor sustaining me in carrying out the day’s responsibilities.  In short, it was more pleasant to be up and about with God than to be in bed waking up and facing the day all by myself.

            No wonder God is spoken of in the Bible as a shelter, a light, a guide, a parent, a friend.  Larger than all the challenges, the perils, the responsibilities, the tough choices, the disappointments of the world in each  new day is the presence of the living God, the loving Lord!

            Thank God for the sustaining positives that fill our days when we face them with God!


December 1

This is a difficult day for our country as the pains and wounds of decades of racial, economic and social injustice have come into play for everyone through the events in Ferguson, MO.     Let us join today in prayer for people in Ferguson and around the country who are working to act peacefully in a tense situation.  It is important to step back and remember that the overwhelming majority of the population there and around the country support engaging in peaceful demonstrations and do not condone violence in any form.  At the same time, we are reminded that it is very difficult for someone to know what it is to be in another’s shoes.  It takes time and a good deal of energy to try and understand another’s experience.  We sometimes think that we do, only to find out that our assumptions can be completely wrong.   

     Fortunately, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  Jesus comes as one of us – all of us.  He came into a world of suffering and injustice to make clear that God is for us, not against us, and that nothing can separate us from God’s love.  Jesus’ heart was for the poor, the sick, the captives and the oppressed.  He came to identify with those most in need and to bring reconciliation and hope.  I encourage us to look to him today and to see him in the faces of the many people of Ferguson.

     We will have various points of view regarding the outcome of the Grand Jury’s deliberations.  However, let us not lose sight that the divisions within our culture continue to be real and they cry out to be addressed.  The church has a unique place of trust in our society and can be a place to hold the difficult conversations which need to be held.  Let’s make opportunities to be in honest dialogue in a context of mutual acceptance.  Greater understanding can come as we all open ourselves to listen, hear and allow ourselves to be blessed by deepening our understanding of each other.