First Thoughts, Monday December 8th

IMG_1232Happy second week of Advent.  Last night, around the dining room table, house aglow with Christmas lights, we lit the Peace Candle together with our boyz and some of out close friends.  It was a lovely ceremony.

The very essence of nativity peace is the belief in Immanuel which simply means “God with us.”

In Isaiah 7:14 it says:

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

The Jesus story hinges on God becoming one of us, on personally taking on cells and molecules, on entering the very vulgarity of existence: molecularly no more significant than a pine tree, a swamp or a slug.

IMG_1241An then walking among us.

Recently, I asked, through my Facebook page, for people to tell me when God feels “with them.”  I received HUNDREDS of answers.

Here are some of them.  The list is long, but if you take a moment to read them, you may be surprised by the impact it will have on your soul.

When is God with you?  Answers:

Home, vacation with family, eyes of children, miracle of birth, long drives, my neighborhood, under bridges where friends outside sleep, woods, dark places, under stars, church, birthing room, kindergarten classrooms, dance floor, Zumba class, in bed, the coast, front porch, bonfire, near water, the beach, my chair in my room, around a table with friends, while painting or drawing, breweries, book stores, in my piano studio, concerts, in my car, walking to the bus, between classes, in the shower, in bed, while doing dishes, subway, classroom, rock club for a show, Drive-In, 3am breakfast, Mt. Angel Monastery, central Oregon, kitchen, abortion clinics, nighttime outside, in silence and solitude, in the mundane, in the barn, by the stream, in my pain, in my waking, when I least expect it, outer space, driving, with others, reading theology, at communion table, on a long run, while fishing, the mountains, in a painting, Emergency Room, on my couch, while teaching art, riding my bicycles, art museum, when my heart is humble, in stress over a new job, in darkness, in fear, sailing, skiing, on my motorcycle, hiking in the gorge, on airplanes, on trains, on ships, at Crater Lake, waterfalls, anywhere in Scotland, in prison, on the street, in line at the food bank, unemployment office, while waiting for a diagnosis, Convalescent center, while wondering how it all fell apart, in grief, in loss, in morning prayer, dancing with my wife, when I forget to look for God, when I am fitfully looking for God, in the woods, at DreamGivers Inn, in the eyes of my children, ocean, mountains, in sleep, when sick, in the shower, airport security lines, while reading angry emails, my garden, church retreats, foxholes, long drive, city bus, Cathedrals, during takeoff, doctor’s office, in the waiting room, relationships, at the altar, divorce court, graveyard, foster home, in a child waiting for adoption, therapy, the Grotto, slums, on public transit, prison, in my office, while consoling someone in crisis, under bridges and underpasses, methadone clinic, court houses, hospitals, funerals, in thick loneliness, in a mommy-time-out, bathroom, in the middle of the night, counseling sessions, in the ER, in pain, in my point of need, first thing in the morning, Safeway parking lot, in a panic attach, a nightmare, board room, in a regret, other people, in tender moments with my children, open terrace, in the mall, looking outside.

Blessed Monday.  Blessed Advent.

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