Friday, December 23, 2011

Ashamed of the Presents?

Why is it that I can go to a nice resale shop and find all sorts of very nice things that I'm thrilled to buy for Christmas presents ... and then later start having misgivings about making a present out of something used?

When the kids were little, it didn't faze me in the least. At least, not for the toys or clothes or books that were going to stay in our house. But now that there are family members to whom I did not give birth, I wonder what they'll think. I can give myself the speech that it's okay; I can give myself the speech that this is simply how we live and what we can afford; I can give myself the speech that Christmas is over-commercialized. And yet, there is a smidge of shame that lurks in my heart over the resale-shop presents.

For All People

We spent a lot of time in Bible class yesterday looking at the canticles of Luke 1-2. We also saw how these songs lifted from the word given before. Mary's Magnificat is similar to Hannah's song and the song of Habakkuk. Zechariah's Benedictus begins with the words which end Book Four of the psalter, and the rest of the song is drawn from other psalms and prophets.

Pastor pointed out how Simeon's song borrows from what the angel told the shepherds. (Remember: the shepherds made all those events widely known.) There were plenty of messiah-figures showing up in Palestine over the years, exciting the Jews' passion to kick Roman butt. But would this messiah be for everyone? Heck no -- he'd restore the Jews to their place of supremacy.

But that messiah wasn't the one God had in store.

God had promised Abraham that all the nations of the world would be blessed in his Seed. When the angels proclaimed the glad tidings to the shepherds, they too said the news was "a great joy which shall be for all people." Ah ha! That lines up with what God had said 2000 years earlier. And then Simeon shows up in the temple on the right day, singing about the "salvation which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people." Simeon knew the veracity of the shepherds' story because it was in sync with God's promises handed down through the centuries.

The word of the Lord never fails.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Usually --but not always-- the winter solstice (the "Official First Day of Winter") lands on December 21. My 2011 calendar says that winter begins on Wednesday the 21st. This morning in chapel, the headmaster pointed out that today (Thursday the 22nd) was the first day of winter.


So I did a little checking. Turns out that solstice was last night at 11:30 pm our time, but 12:30 am Eastern time. Thus is explained the discrepancy in dates; those who control the media in the country are mostly in the Eastern time zone.

Either way, we've turned the corner in the solar system and are on our way to more sunlight!

What the Women Told

In the resurrection accounts, the women are told to go tell the disciples ... what?

In two Gospel accounts, they were to tell that Jesus would go before them into Galilee and that they would see him. In another story, the women were reminded that they ought not to be surprised about the empty tomb; after all, Jesus had told them this was all going to happen. And in John's account, Jesus gave Magdalena a message for the guys about His ascension, including that He was calling them His brothers.

Pastor pointed out recently that the "go tell them" was not just the bald facts of the resurrection, not just the location of the meet-up point in Galilee. It also included telling the apostles that they need not fear, that their Lord was not holding their betrayals against them, and that His death and resurrection had to take place.

"Do not be afraid."

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


In prayer, we don't give God information He doesn't already know. In prayer, we're not trying to get God to change His mind and do things our way because, well, we honestly think He's botching it up and needs to amend His plans to suit us.

In prayer, we want to align our will with His. We know that "What God Ordains Is Always Good," but we need to come to believe that. In prayer, we meditate on the catechism and the psalms and His promises, and speak back to God what He has first spoken to us.

I'm trying to figure out how prayer chains work into that. If someone I know is worried about an ill relative, I will pray for faith for my friend and that God would preserve the ill person in the Faith. I will also pray for temporal healing if it is God's will. But the main thing is always that God's will to draw people to Himself is accomplished.

So is that what prayer requests and prayer chains are concerned with?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Signing the Recall Petition ... or Not

If you are suspicious that wrong names might show up on the petition to Recall Governor Walker, there are two things to look into.

First, if you have some time to help, you can volunteer to input data from the petitions. The Government Accountability Board has said they have no intention of verifying signatures. So somebody has to do it. We can join in that effort.

Second (and much easier) is to check to ensure your own name hasn't been signed by someone else. Go to the "no-sign registration" page. Sign up. If your name shows up on a petition that you didn't sign, you will be notified. It also says that you'll be notified if your address shows up. That will be important lest Harry Jones and Bob Smith and Julie Andrews and Betty Rubble are listed as signers from my address.

We need a statewide effort to stop the fraud. Please take a couple of minutes to do your part. You might want to consider this even if you no longer live in Wisconsin but did recently, just to make sure no one signs on your behalf at your former address or by using your maiden name.

Signing someone else's name. Inventing non-existent people to sign a petition. Non-residents lying about an in-state address. The lack of ethics is mind-boggling.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Facing It Again

In theory, if you've already been through something bad once, you should know that you managed to survive it. Then why is it that the prospect of enduring the same thing again (such as the death of a loved one, or a toothache) is so daunting? Why does the fear of having to face those pains again seem even worse than having faced them the first time?

It's dumb. It's just dumb.
But that doesn't mean it's not real.