Advent’s Peace

It was the big bang. No theory here when it feels as if the very cosmos is bumping and smashing and whirling into itself. From Middle America to Australia to our very Center for care. Everywhere something hurling at us threatening to knock us down or at least suck the very air out of our lungs.

“What’s the theme this Sunday?” Peace, I say. Peace.

The air is thick with the irony of this. He half smiles and says, “That’s perfect. That’s perfect for our Advent theme: All this Glory.”

His voice held the slightest trace of sarcasm but more of him said this in convinced truth.

In the middle of our mess there is majesty

It has been a trying week and it’s like God, isn’t it, to prepare us for what’s to come. To allow us turmoil before a message of Peace? As if he’s asking us, really? Do you really know my peace?

We have struggled to feel this peace, the one that brings calm to our soul and spirit. But his words are true and He is Peace in the midst of this mess. He is the reason we say, All This Glory.

We made a tree of pictures this year. Past years we’ve taken photo’s of the men and hung them on the tree but we had a different idea. The kind that I throw out to Randal and he makes it better, makes it work.

xmas tree of photos

He painted the outline of a Christmas tree on the glass wall separating the main activity room from the dining room. A place where everyone would see. We took photo’s of the men and staff. Just casually walking around one day snapping them on my phone. We missed a few I’m sure and some staff declined. Then we filled in the tree with their faces.

men pg 13

page 10

Perry JOY


I took a picture of our tree of pictures and posted it to Facebook. A few of the men commented but it was Carlos who wrote, “All we got there are miracles and dreams come true.” Carlos knows because he’s one of those miracles. Over three years clean and sober, an encouragement to many.

Others joined in agreeing this is the Miracle Tree and so it is.

men's pics page 2

Because chaos and noise and friction and anger and fear can try to stop peace, they can try to prevent miracles, but the Rescuer has come. In the middle of a messy stable or messy heart, there are miracles and where there are miracles, there is Peace.

The Prince of Peace. Immanuel, God with us. Because, of course, He is.

Check out some of our activities during Advent season on our YouTube channel.

Advent Week 2: When Love Comes to Town

nativity when love comes to town

We talk about childbirth, the hours in labor, the pain that is soon forgotten for most. We share our stories of being 3 weeks overdue or a month early. Of how unprepared we were and the wonders an automatic baby swing can do to induce sleep.

We are filled with questions the books don’t seem to answer and can we trust the advice of an earlier generation?

What we do know, is that in the midst of sleep deprivation, smells you thought impossible from someone so little and cute, and the 5th time you’ve wiped spit up off your shirt in one day, in the midst of all this chaos and mess, love has come.

You are smitten beyond words. There aren’t enough synonyms to describe the deep feelings you have when you look at the, sleeping, face. The eyelashes that are as delicate as snowflakes. The skin softer than any silk you’ve run your hands across and those fingers….especially the crooked pinky fingers like your dad had. Those. The visible sign she’s mine. Ours. Love has come and won’t let go.



Neighbors have wrapped palm trees in lights. Inflatable Santa’s and Snowmen list in the wind. A few have nativity figures on their lawns. A display is advancing down our street. Signs of a season begging for signs of love.

It’s been a tough week in our country. Violence, protests, sadness and grief and questions of why. Love seems silent.

At times, the silence is closer. Grief and loss, unanswered questions that strike deep in our lives. Cancer, addiction, divorce, Alzheimer’s, death, financial devastation, job loss. Our hurts scream louder than love. We want a Jesus, a Savior who will save. “Save us from our hurt and pain and disappointment!”, we cry.

We want that magical love that grips our hearts like the way our baby took hold and never let go. The love that could kiss away the tears and scrapes and make it all better. That’s what we want from this babe, this Christ child on that silent and holy night.

“Jesus didn’t come to fix it all. He came to be with us in it all.”Jamie Wright

Love is here. Quiet, in hushed tones, begging our cries to soften so we can hear love’s presence. Immanuel. God with us. 


We will celebrate this with our men today. Another candle will be lit and words read. John will make his offering as he rat-a-tat-tats  on Little Drummer Boy.

This is our worship, our ushering in Love not just in the decorations but in our lives. Right into the chaos and pain we will pause to still ourselves and welcome Love, Immanuel, God with us.


Merry Christmas


The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to the marriage bed, Joseph discovered she was pregnant. (It was by the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t know that.) Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced.

While he was trying to figure a way out, he had a dream. God’s angel spoke in the dream: “Joseph, son of David, don’t hesitate to get married. Mary’s pregnancy is Spirit-conceived. God’s Holy Spirit has made her pregnant. She will bring a son to birth, and when she does, you, Joseph, will name him Jesus—‘God saves’—because he will save his people from their sins.” This would bring the prophet’s embryonic sermon to full term:

Watch for this—a virgin will get pregnant and bear a son;
They will name him Immanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).

Matthew 1:19-21 the Message