The Innocence of the Lord’s Birth

The Lord was born on Earth — on our planet. Once upon a time, our Savior, the Lord God Jesus Christ, walked on this very surface. He was born as an infant, a tiny, helpless baby: dependent on the willingness of a young woman and a young man to take care of Him. I cannot begin to wrap my mind around that!

Every year, it hits me that this really happened. Our savior was a real human. At one point, He was so small that He could not speak words. At one point, our Savior was learning how to walk! When I was a child, I asked my father if Jesus, as an infant, could have looked at a tree and already known what it was. Even as a child, I was thinking about how it could be that the God of the universe was once an infant! And He was born for us. My heart feels the awe of it.

Christmas is often overwhelming for many: the stress of getting everything done combined with far too much sugar and not enough sleep. However, my experience has shifted drastically. I still cry from too much sugar, not enough sleep, and the pressure of getting it all done, but the most overwhelming feeling in December is awe. I think about the reality of the Christmas story and what it took for everyone to play his or her part. Jesus Himself is obviously the most important focus of the story. How often do we think of the Lord’s innocence: the trust it took for Him to come as an infant, dependent on the innocence of others to do their part? He was dependent on the willingness of others to trust in the Divine and eternal plan. This is true innocence: a willingness to be led by the Lord. It is not naivete or guiltlessness. It is trust!

Mary’s willingness is another strong focus: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord, let it be to me according to thy word.” I am amazed by the innocence and trust it required to accept this magnificent job with humility. Motherhood is one of the highest uses there is — especially to mother Jesus Christ. Continue reading The Innocence of the Lord’s Birth

A Christmas Carol

A while ago, someone contributed a piece here about music or singing in a choir; I pondered whether I might submit my own attempt at a song one day. Here is that song and its story.

Back in 1992, at the suggestion of a composer friend, I wrote the carol below. The following year, he had set the words to music and led our village choir to sing it during the candlelit village carol service. This year, surprised at how long ago I’d written them, I sent the lyrics to our village newsletter for the December edition. (An acquaintance stopped me in the street the other day to say how much she liked them – that was a treat!)

There are many common themes in the carols of different Christian churches. I’d wanted to get some New Church ideas of what Christmas is about out into my part of the world, so anyone with an open heart might recognize whatever truth I managed to encompass in the words. It needed to be fairly short. It needed to touch on some of those common themes, but in a new way. I wanted to sow little seeds of New Church thought without being obvious about it. And I wanted it to feel positive. So with that in mind, do you think I accomplished what I’d hoped to?

At Christmas, at Christmas do we really know
Why the celebrations give us such a glow?
Can we sense the angels joining earth to heaven?
Have we understood yet why this gift was given?
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.

At Christmas, at Christmas God came to the world.
Quietly, in darkness, wonderment unfurled.
Lowly manger baby, Jesus – gift of gold –
Brought his love to guide us safely to his fold.
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.

At Christmas, at Christmas life can start anew
If we change the pattern seen in what we do.
Show good will, and cherish those we come to know.
Nurture love for others – heaven’s peace will grow.
Let us learn a lesson from that tiny boy – innocence and wonder open us to joy.

Mary, Did You Know?

Since I was a child, I have always been interested in religion. I was fortunate to have fine ministers sent to Tucson, Arizona, where I grew up: Rev. Harold Cranch, Rev. Douglas Taylor and Rev. Geoffrey Howard. They all taught me, inspired me and answered my questions with serious attention to my growing interest in how to tell others about what we believe in the New Church.

Doug Taylor gave me an answer to people who say they have never heard of my church, or my religion. I say, “Well this is your lucky day!” Later Doug pulled me aside when I was in Bryn Athyn to tell me a new way he explains what the New Church is all about. He said that he quotes John 16, where Jesus says, “I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now … these things I have spoken in parables, but the time will come when I shall no more speak to you in parables, but I shall show you plainly of the Father.” What if this is what he wanted to tell us! Wouldn’t you want to know what it is?

Recently, I discovered another idea in my random reading that struck me with a new understanding of the First and Second Advents and what the New Church is all about. I can hardly wait to share the idea with a Christian friend, or a New Church comrade, such as a reader of the New Christian Woman posts. God willing, it will enlighten our mutual enjoyment of the coming Christmas season.

Here it is. In a little pamphlet, “The Visible God” by Erik Sandstrom, an explanation of the First Advent and the Second Advent is given that is as simple as it is profound: “Now, the Lord’s advents into the world were modes of His revealing Himself. In His first advent, he took on Flesh, so that he might show Himself among men, and work among them. And in His second advent He caused all that He accomplished while in the Flesh to be described and explained, in order that the glory wherewith He glorified His Human might shine forth. He ever had infinite glory and power. But it is now, in the second advent, that that glory and power have been revealed in fullness.” Continue reading Mary, Did You Know?

Who Am I?

In 1989, due to a decrease in viewers, the British television show Doctor Who was suspended. For those who are unfamiliar with the popular BBC production, the basic idea of the show is that “the Doctor” is a humanoid alien who has a spaceship that can travel through time and space and has a particular liking for earth and its people. He also has the ability to avoid death by “regenerating” into a new body if/when he sustains a deadly injury.

In an attempt to reboot the series, a movie was produced in 1996 featuring a new Doctor that would be the show’s eighth reincarnation. It was a British-American-Canadian production and is notorious for its low quality. It is considered by fans to be a bit of a blemish on the show’s reputation. At the very beginning we see the last doctor of the tv series regenerate into the eighth doctor. It is a very melodramatic and drawn out scene. Upon awakening into the world, the new doctor stumbles around an abandoned hospital in a sheet because… he has amnesia? Finally he dramatically falls to his knees crying out: “WHO AM I?”

I’m sure the directors were trying to depict an emotional moment to pull the old audience into this new imagining of the story, but sadly the only emotion that the scene evokes is laughter. This very long story was all to say that recently I have been thinking of this moment in the movie and been surprised at how much I feel like begging the universe to answer this same query: Who am I? Continue reading Who Am I?