Keep Herod in Christmas

Three candlesThis full Advent season continues. We will have an opportunity to celebrate the long life of Virginia Herbert on Saturday at 1:00 PM. Virginia was our oldest member, a woman of intelligence, grace and wisdom and a great teacher. Saturday evening at 7:00 PM, the iSing Silicon Valley Girlchoir will offer “Thankful,” a holiday concert at Mission Santa Clara on the Santa Clara University Campus.

On Sunday, our journey takes a strange turn as we are invited to “Keep Herod in Christmas.” This hardly seems like an appropriate focus for this time of year, especially on the Sunday when the watchword is traditionally “joy.” There is little joy associated with the murderous despot who ruled the region when and where Jesus was born. The ancient king is best (or is it worst?) remembered for slaughtering the baby boys of Bethlehem in hopes of eliminating the Messiah before he could even get started. Brian McLaren insists that it is important to remember that “We do not live in an ideal world. To be alive in the adventure of Jesus…is to refuse to bow to all the Herods and all their ruthless regimes – and to reserve our loyalty for a better king and a better kingdom.” We will continue to search out joy as we walk this road together.

Our Advent experiment in spiritual direction will conclude this Sunday with the focus “Be Born in Us Today – Enter In.” Each person is invited throughout this week to engage in the ancient discipline of “examen,” that is, asking at some point in each day, “Where did I experience God today?” “Where did I feel God absent?” Keep a record of your observations, if you’d like. Then, on Sunday, bring something – anything you find symbolic of your experience – to share with the group. It could be a story, a poem, a photograph, a found, created or treasured object or a simple reflection. Be as free and creative as you’d like. Where does God enter into your life   Where do you find a block? This is the rhythm of our spiritual life.

Sunday afternoon we will gather in the Parlor at 4:00 PM to form caroling groups, heading out to bring some seasonal joy to members and friends of the church who do not get out so easily or regularly. Then it’s back to the church for chili and cheer around the table. If you have friends and relations who love to sing songs of the season, bring them along. The more the merrier!

See you Sunday at 10:00 AM. Invite a family member, friend, colleague, neighbor or stranger to share the morning with you – and come back at 4:00 PM to bring a little “Joy to the World.”

God grant us more light, more love, more life as we journey together.   Pastor Rick