Posts with the category “advent-2020”

Christmas (Sarah Brandt)
by Aaron Achartz on December 25th, 2020
In this world,hate never yet dispelled hate.Only love dispels hate.This is the law,ancient and inexhaustible.                        - Buddha “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is a familiar and commonly heard Bible verse. When I was in elementary school, a boy in my class teased me about my last name: Pugh. It is pronounced “Pew” and rhymes with few. Each and every day on the playground, he w...  Read More
Christmas Eve (Susan Ault)
by Aaron Achartz on December 24th, 2020
Excuse me, please.  But it’s Christmas Eve and I must go home -- if only for five minutes and only in my thoughts.  I have to go back on Christmas Eve.  I haven’t been there for many, many years.  Still, I have never really been away. Every Christmas, there is a string of events that takes me home.  It starts with the Christmas decorations showing up in the stores.  Then it’s the carols on the rad...  Read More
Advent Sonnet (Rolf Olson)
by Aaron Achartz on December 23rd, 2020
In this season of frigid days with darkAnd colder nights, the family gathers near,Rekindling older holidays to sparkMemories of ones we've always held dear.Around the house and the kitchen tableOur hearts, both young and old, feel freer, lighterThan when we're left alone.  By this we're ableTo find our Christmas dreams burn much brighter.Sometimes the ones around the table are thereIn only thought...  Read More
An Advent Story: Part 4 (Aaron Achartz)
by Aaron Achartz on December 22nd, 2020
The flashing lights of the emergency vehicles lit the square. Even at two in the morning, a small crowd had gathered. They stood together, huddled against the cold and dark, and whispered conjectures. They knew whose tractor it was.The large metal soldier, which had stood prominent in the daylight, lay disfigured on the icy concrete. The carefully cast face flattened to an indistinguishable lump. ...  Read More
Love is Born (Karen Saboe)
by Aaron Achartz on December 21st, 2020
This will be a sign to you: “You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see t...  Read More
LOVE (Anne Englert)
by Aaron Achartz on December 20th, 2020
You are precious and honored in my sight,    and I love you.  (Isaiah 43:4)I have loved you with an everlasting love;    therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.  (Jeremiah 31:3)I pledged myself to you and entered into a covenant with you.  (Ezekiel 16:8)I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and in justice,      in love and compassion.  (Hosea 2:19)These a...  Read More
Caspar (Rolf Olson)
by Aaron Achartz on December 19th, 2020
Balthasar and Melchior were bedded down already on the other side of the dimming campfire, and the camels had stopped their plaintive mumbling.  All was quiet on that dark night. For two days we had been traveling slowly westward under cloudy skies becoming less sure of our course for each mile we covered. Already, our homes were five days’ journey behind us. The clouds had seemed to roll in every...  Read More
South Korean Christmas (Susan Ault)
by Aaron Achartz on December 18th, 2020
From Kyong S. an English language learner from South Korea in Susan Ault’s classThe Republic of Korea allowed December 25 as a national holiday.  Therefore, from Christmas Eve until the next day, the 25th, it can be considered as a Christmas holiday.  There is nothing like a Christmas holiday like the West.  So Christmas doesn’t bring the whole family together. All Christians are judged before Chr...  Read More
Meditation (Sarah Brandt)
by Aaron Achartz on December 17th, 2020
“Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul.It is a daily admission of one’s weakness…And so, it is better in prayer to have a heartwithout words than words without a heart.”                                                            -GandhiThe news spread from 38th and Chicago.A video showing brutality and blatant disregard for the sanctity of life.Wrong versus right. Love versus hate.What...  Read More
A Melty Fortress (Rolf Olson)
by Aaron Achartz on December 16th, 2020
A snowy fortress stood on the edge of townAcross the street from Richard’s house aroundFour blocks from home, in the drifted westWhere winds would give winter clothes a test.We built the sturdy fort, my brother PaulAnd many friends, with hidden keep, and allThe hardened walls we knew would never failSince they were iced by water from many a pailWe’d lugged across the street from Richard’s home.One...  Read More
An Advent Story - Part 3 (Aaron Achartz)
by Aaron Achartz on December 15th, 2020
The hinges on the wooden door groaned. The morning light shone into the sanctuary from the eastern stained glass windows, casting spots of color which shimmered across the pews and aisles.The church stood quiet. Empty. He sighed softly under his breath.He crept forward, his boots echoing and leaving clumps of slushy snow on the flagstone floor. Every instinct told him to keep the silence here. He ...  Read More
I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve (Karen Saboe)
by Aaron Achartz on December 14th, 2020
“Please Grandma, will you sing ‘I am so Glad Each Christmas Eve?’”JEG ER SÅ GLAD HVER JULEKVELDJeg er så glad hver julekveld,For da ble Jesus født,Da lyste stjernen som en sol,Og engler sang så søtt.Can you hear her?  Can you hear Grandma singing?   What was it about listening to that song in Norwegian that stilled those of us gathered around the piano each Christmas Eve?  That deep alto voice, fl...  Read More
FAITH (Anne Englert)
by Aaron Achartz on December 13th, 2020
Have you noticed how often in the Gospel writings Jesus talks about faith?  Sometimes he commends individuals for their faith:When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith.”  (Matthew 8:10)Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed ins...  Read More
Elizabeth (Rolf Olson)
by Aaron Achartz on December 12th, 2020
Zechariah and I had been childless for so long that we had made our peace with it.  For a priest of his importance, it was embarrassing for my husband, but he took it as God’s will for his life and, like I said, had made his peace.  We had no hopes for a child, but one astounding day he came home, breathless and agitated. God’s messenger had visited him while he was serving at the temple, and afte...  Read More
Frohe Weihnachten (Susan Ault)
by Aaron Achartz on December 11th, 2020
“Merry Christmas” in German: “Frohe Weihnachten”  by Ursula S., a student in Susan Ault’s English Language Learner course for Hopkins schools. When I was a little girl, we lived in a small town in Bavaria, southern Germany, with my twin sister and an older sister.  We would celebrate St. Nicholas (Santa Claus) on the 6th of December.  It was a special day for us.  That was when St. Nicholas came t...  Read More
Struggle and Tears (Sarah Brandt)
by Aaron Achartz on December 10th, 2020
Life has meaning only in the struggles.Triumph or defeat is in the hands of the Gods.So let us celebrate the struggles.                                    -Swahili Warrior Song I get up in the morning and head off to a job that I love. As a pediatrician, it is truly miraculous to be along for the ride as a needy infant (who only sleeps when held) becomes an opinionated toddler (“No! Mine!”) then c...  Read More
Cookies (Rolf Olson)
by Aaron Achartz on December 9th, 2020
Coming through the back door, the smellOf fresh molasses cookies cast its spellOn my brother and me home from school.Mom had dozens in the kitchen to cool.We knew the ones done to a perfect turnWere for guests and neighbors, not ours to earn,Ask for, or sneak when we came through the door,But even the burned ones had us asking for more.They say hope springs eternal in the human breast;I think that...  Read More
An Advent Story - Part 2 (Aaron Achartz)
by Aaron Achartz on December 8th, 2020
Joe walked up to the snow plastered red door. The snow fell more heavily and the wind blew more strongly every minute. He took a deep breath to steady himself.Normally, he’d turn to Miriam for support. But he couldn’t look at her right now. His chest was tight and his lip hurt from biting it so much. He blamed himself for their predicament. He hoped that his old friend would be willing to talk to ...  Read More
Hope in the Darkness (Karen Saboe)
by Aaron Achartz on December 7th, 2020
Waiting…  searching…  longing…for the Savior.Light breaking through the darkness.                              Hope revealed.“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,  and in his word I put my hope.I wait for the Lord  more than watchmen wait for the  morning,  more than watchmen wait for the  morning.”   Psalm 130:5-6 NIVWaiting…  searching…  longing…Light.Hope.The message of a Savior born to u...  Read More
HOPE (Anne Englert)
by Aaron Achartz on December 6th, 2020
Why are you cast down, O my soul,    and why are you disquieted within me?                      Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,    my help and my God.   (Psalm 42:5)Spera in Deo (Hope in God) is the motto of the college my daughter Heather attended: Hope College in Holland, Michigan.  Their emblem is an anchor, and that image comes from another Bible verse: “We have this hope as an anch...  Read More
A Shepherd (Rolf Olson)
by Aaron Achartz on December 5th, 2020
Old Caesar started growling into the darkness that cold December night. I keep that dog around because first, we get a little warning whenever some animal might be prowling around at night on the edges of the resting flock, and second, I liked being able to tell ‘Caesar’ to shift his lazy bones or to throw a few scraps at him from our meal at the fire. I am sick of the Romans and their proud parad...  Read More
A Christmas Memory (Susan Ault)
by Aaron Achartz on December 4th, 2020
[This piece was provided by Susan Ault's mother who is 92 years old. Prior to the pandemic she golfed most days, loved bowling and enjoyed traveling the world.]It all began with the Christmas ‘Wishbooks’ coming in the mail.  Oh, how we poured over those pages knowing they were for our eyes only!  Soon, practicing for the annual country school program began.  The usual carols, skits and solos were ...  Read More
Now the Work of Christmas Begins (Sarah Brandt)
by Aaron Achartz on December 3rd, 2020
When the song of the angels is stilled,when the star in the sky is gone,when the kings and princes are home,when the shepherds are back with their flocks,the work of Christmas begins:to find the lost,to heal the broken,to feed the hungry,to release the prisoner,to rebuild the nations,to bring peace among the people,to make music in the heart.                        by Howard Thurman My heart flutt...  Read More
Snowflake Poem (Rolf Olson)
by Aaron Achartz on December 2nd, 2020
snow graphic by Oana Mihaela Trif from  Read More
An Advent Story - Part 1 (Aaron Achartz)
by Aaron Achartz on December 1st, 2020
The snow swirled around the black Equinox. Out of the chaos of the frozen flakes, the centerline of the highway flickered past. Joe Carver leaned forward, staring into the maelstrom. A green sign loomed out of the darkness. Branchwatch – 5 miles.  Read More
Peace (Karen Saboe)
by Aaron Achartz on November 30th, 2020
When I think of experiencing peace within my soul, I think of the experience of being in the grandeur of the mountains.  Read More
PEACE (Anne Englert)
by Aaron Achartz on November 29th, 2020
God’s peace is something we are invited to receive and experience, and it is also something we are called to pursue and “make.” What does the word peace mean to you?  Read More