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Advent, Food, and Me

I fasted once this week. I don’t say that for a pat on the back. In fact, I’m not a good faster for several reasons. First, I wasn’t fasting primarily for spiritual reasons. Last week was Thanksgiving and, well, I ate. Also, I’m about to quit breastfeeding, and, well, that burns calories. I still have about 10 more pounds of…

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It’s NOT Groundhog Day

It’s February 2nd, but it’s NOT Groundhog Day. It’s 40 days after Christmas, and though we’re looking around and wondering how much longer this winter will last, it’s NOT Groundhog Day. It’s February 2nd, 40 days after Christmas, and it’s the Feast of the Presentation, when we celebrate the day Jesus was presented in the temple (Luke 2:22-40). It’s a day to…

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Praying in the New Year

It was New Year’s Eve, 1995. I had just graduated from college that May and moved to Asunción Paraguay in July for my first adult job as a kindergarten teacher.  It was summer in the southern hemisphere, and we were on summer break at a time when I was used to cold temperatures and piles of snow in my native New…

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Bittersweet: The Annunciation and Good Friday

March 25th. The day we always celebrate the Annunciation—that incredible day when Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she’d be pregnant, 9 months before we celebrate Jesus’ birth. But this year, the day of Annunciation is also Good Friday for the Western church. While we celebrate the Annunciation, we mourn the Good Friday. Bittersweet. Earthly beginning, and then an…

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Breaking Up Is Good (too)

The purity culture of my youth tells me that the best love story is the one where I marry the first man I ever date. To my chagrin, I have a messy break-up with that athletic high school boy that I loved. Will I forever have second best? My sister meets a man in college, dates and marries him. As…

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Give up Coffee?

When I was growing up, I thought Lent was just something Roman Catholics did—my friends gave up chocolate, and I judged them for being legalistic. My church was clearly better—perfectly disconnected from the church calendar, our Holy Week was simply two Sunday services. I had no idea what I was missing! In college, a few friends challenged me to try…

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Weep For It

Today, friends, we ponder our death, we ponder our mortality, we ponder our sin. Perhaps some of you want to jump right to forgiveness, thinking that pondering our sin is legalistic, that thinking about death is depressing, that confessing our sin is hardly necessary. I implore you, this morning, to consider that just as Christ was in the tomb for three days…

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