Merry Christmas from Art, Life & Faith!

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As you celebrate the joy of Christ at Christmas with family and friends, I hope you experience the fullness of God’s grace, peace and lavish love for you! My prayer for you is that God cultivates in you a deeper love for him and every person you encounter in the coming year.

“Let your prayer be that He, the living Vine, shall link you so close to himself that your heart will sing: He is my Vine and I am His branch–I want nothing more–now I have the everlasting Vine. You are my Vine and I am Your branch. It is enough, my soul is satisfied.” Andrew Murray

Merry Christmas,

Joey

After Advent: What’s Ahead in 2013?

Now that Christmas is over, you might be asking yourself, “What’s ahead in 2013?” As we consider the coming New Year, I want to encourage us to ask ourselves, “How are we to live in these days after advent?” Though we are loading up our trashcans with torn Christmas wrapping, I think it’s critical we just don’t blow by Christmas. 

My friend and art colleague, Cam Anderson, the president of Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA), wrote this thoughtful Christmas reflection that has much to say about the coming new year and how we live in the hope of the Christ’s coming Kingdom. Cam’s letter reminded me, though Advent celebrates the anticipated arrival of Christ at Christmas, as followers of Christ, we are to daily live under the rule of Christ as we anticipate His final coming.

I hope you enjoy this guest post by Cam. Take a few minutes to remind yourself whose you are in Christ and whose Kingdom you really belong to. Read on…

afteradventwhatsaheadin2013

A Christmas Prayer

During Christmas, Thanksgiving, and other holidays, I’m often “the guy” called upon to lead everyone in a prayer before the big meal. Praying with my family is a gift and a privilege, but I must confess, I’m often at a loss for words about what to say. How do you beat the Christmas story? (Not that God has any real competitors.) It’s pretty tough to surpass the eloquence of Isaiah and the simplicity found in the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, or John. So instead, I offer you a prayer for this Christmas written long ago by a famous author…

Waiting for Christmas

In these final days leading up to Christmas, I spent a several hours in a hospital waiting room. It wasn’t the same maternity ward Joseph was searching for, dashing all over Bethlehem in the middle of the night with Mary in tow. Though my dad used to spend a lot of time in a waiting room a la seven kids, a waiting room was where he, my older sister Colleen and I were camped this week as we waited for my mom in surgery. My seventy-something mother, bless her soul, had a three hour rotator cuff surgery. Get this: she injured her shoulder at physical therapy. She’ll be going back to physical therapy for physical therapy on the shoulder she injured at physical therapy! You been in a waiting room lately?

Holy is a Four-Letter Word

Growing up Catholic, I walked into a lot of old churches and cathedrals. The lingering smells of incense, the glow of red votive candles and the overwhelming presence of Jesus hanging on the cross front and center above the altar made it very clear that this sacred space was a holy place. You don’t always get that walking into minimalist Protestant churches with bare walls or big screens in movie theater-like auditoriums. In Catholic churches, the idea or should I say “the sense of” holy permeates the place. When you walk into St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, you know you’re in a holy place. You’re not at the Regal 21 screen multiplex.

Holy and the idea of holy is a word that most of us just don’t get. For many years in my spiritual journey, holiness has often seemed like a long walk in the desert with no real destination in sight.