I’m making stoles today — and this is an example of using a traditional color (green) in unexpected modern fabrics (batiks). The colors are more vibrant than they seem in this photo.
Jimmy Dodd was the adult guy with the Mouseketeers in the original Mickey Mouse Club. For reasons I cannot explain, the words of this song — which he sang at the end of the show the week or two after Christmas — have stayed with me since the 1950’s.
May the Angel of Happiness circle and hover above you tonight
And there on your rooftop discover a permanent place to alight.
May she save all the best of your wishes for Christmastime joy and for cheer
And place them afresh on your doorstep each day of the forthcoming year.
I was reminded this morning of the beautiful words of William Sloan Coffin, who was writing about the death of his young adult son. The circumstances were drastically different from the tragedy at Sandy Hook school, but the realty of faithful grieving is the same:
[when his son died …] God’s heart was the first of all our hearts to break.
For me, this poem by Madeleine L’Engle is what ushers in Advent.
This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child.
Even people who don’t pray, pray on Thanksgiving. We all thank God for family, friends, health, prosperity, and whatever else brings us joy, comfort, and companionship — which we almost always call “blessings.” I love hearing all of those prayers of thanksgiving, because I believe that gratitude is a primary attitude of faith.
But I have been wondering this weekend if we are forgetting something — confession. What if our Thanksgiving prayers included our admitting that we have ignored, declined, wasted, or misused many of the blessings that have arrived in our lives? If we believe that God is the source of everything, then we owe God an apology for our squandering of so many opportunities to enrich our own lives, the lives of our neighbors, and the health of the world.
So next November, let’s consider offering words of confession before we turn to our words of gratitude. In fact, let’s consider doing that every time we offer thanks.
As I have watched the political campaigns this year I am amazed and grateful for the women and men who are willing to submit themselves to scrutiny, criticism, invasion of privacy, misinterpretation, and various forms of “spin” in order to become public servants. I want to offer a prayer of thanksgiving and hope for these fellow citizens. (Parts of this prayer were offered in the Minnesota House of Representatives in January, 2009).
Gracious God, we ask your blessing for the women and men who serve in elective office. We thank you for the skills and energies they bring to their duties, and for their willingness to set aside other obligations and pleasures in order to serve. We thank you, too, for the families, colleagues, and staff who support them in their work. In this complicated and uneasy time of our history, we pray for:
- the blessing of outrage that many of our neighbors receive inadequate health care along with the blessing of civility in working together to find solutions;
- the blessing of impatience that many families still have unsafe and inadequate housing, along with the blessing of encouragement for new ideas to provide it;
- the blessing of shame for mediocre schools, outdated highways, and shabby facilities, along with the blessing of resolve to address those needs;
- the blessing of hope in imagining the future of our communities, along with the blessing of prudence in building and financing that future; and
- the blessing of loyalty in representing their constituencies, along with the blessing of courage in sometimes challenging their views.
I am twice a woman of the cloth –I am both a quilt maker and an ordained minister (in the United Church of Christ).
I’ll be writing here about both of my vocations — you can follow my posts about fabric and quilts, or you can follow the ones about faith and spirit. Actually — I hope you will read both of them!