Salvation is Near

By The Rev. Dr. Karen Dorris  

“Now our salvation is nearer than when we first had faith.” Romans 13:11 CEB   The boxes of Christmas decorations came down from the attic about a week ago and I have enjoyed getting my house ready for the season. It always takes me a week because my decorations are full of memories. I can’t place any of them without remembering the joys of seasons past. Many of the ornaments on the Christmas tree were gifts, as were many of the nativities I love to place all over...


An Invitation to the Party

By The Rev. Dr. Tom Pace  

I drove down my street one evening and it was lined with cars. As I drove past a neighbor’s house, I looked through the windows, and there was a great party going on. People were laughing and kids were running around in the front yard. The front door was wide open, and I could hear the music playing. I felt a little twinge inside – “How fun! I want to go! Why wasn’t I invited?”   One image Jesus uses for the Kingdom of God is a party. The father throws a shindig for ...


God’s Battle Plan

By The Rev. Kip Gilts

Nehemiah had his Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem, three nemeses who repeatedly threatened the good work that he was commissioned to do. Their showdown comes to a beautiful crescendo when the prophet responds to his rivals, “I am doing a great work and cannot come down to you.” (Nehemiah 6:3) I have my own unwelcomed, yet familiar intruders. They are shame, guilt, and futility. Shame often comes to me reminding me of my brokenness, my own prejudice as I seek to eliminate ...


The Christmas Story Starts with Pain

By The Rev. David Dorn

Did you know the Christmas story as told by Luke, starts with pain… the pain of an elderly couple’s infertility? We often gloss over the intro to the Christmas story in order to get to the “good” parts, yet the way this story starts is equally beautiful and profound. 5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were righteous in ...


A Pagan Holiday

By The Rev. Dr. Tom Pace  

Christmas is, of course, an American pagan holiday. I don’t mean that disrespectfully – I love Christmas in all of its spiritual depth and with all its theological meanings attached. By pagan I mean that it is not a peculiarly religious holiday. Everyone – Christian believers and unbelievers and all the variations in between – celebrate Christmas. Of course there are those devoted to other faiths who do not celebrate the holiday at all. But the irreligious in America ...


The Makeshift Sled

By The Rev. Kip Gilts

One great thing about moving away from home as a teenager is that every time I return to Ohio I’m still a teenager, at least in my mind. So, there are times when I am a bit more impulsive and a bit less responsible than I am in Texas. Such was the setting for “The Makeshift Sled.” We had driven nearly 1,000 miles and were closing in on the Ohio border. The hills of Kentucky were getting less blue-green and whiter the farther north we drove. Finally, I could stand it no ...


They Went Home by Another Road

By The Rev. Dr. Charles R. Millikan  

One of the most intriguing stories we have at Christmas is the story of the Magi or the Wise Men coming to the manger to see the newborn Jesus. It’s intriguing for several reasons. First that they were looking for a star, which would announce his birth. Second, they followed that star, and even stopped by King Herod’s when they needed directions. Third, once seeing Jesus, they laid before him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. But it was in a dream, ...