Category Archives: Special Day

The First Christian was a Single Mother: Fear, Favour and Faith

By Carolyn Weber

For most of my childhood, I was raised by a single mom. When I consider my own fortunate position alongside a godly man, I have no1868223HighRes idea how she did it all. I continue to be surrounded by single moms, and remain highly sensitive to their survival situation. I am inspired by their endurance, their love, and their determination to make a better life for their children. Perhaps it has been this firsthand experience, then, that lead to my initial reaction to Mary’s own response to the preface of the Annunciation:

“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:26-28).

Then Luke tells us “Mary was greatly troubled at his words …” (Lk 1:29).

I’ll say!

Luke’s detail about Joseph and Mary being merely pledged to marry, and later not consummating their marriage, provides important confirmation of a virgin birth. It is the fulfillment of prophecy along with proof of the miracle of the immaculate conception. It also conveys just what a risk Mary faced, especially in her day and age. Joseph held the right to abandon her: she would have been ostracized from the community at the very least, justifiably killed at worst. We tend to forget this threat in the school pageant re-tellings of the Christmas story.

“But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God’” (Lk 1:30).
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God is Such a Show off: The Eagle and the Advent

by Carolyn Weber

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

Funny how some of the most momentous things happen when you are doing the most mundane of tasks.1835785LowRes

Where does the line blur between the moment and the momentous? When does one become the other? When does a moment become anointed?

How does it move from the near unconscious smooth assumption that one undertaking will follow another, to the arresting of time, space, thought, breath?

Trauma, impact, accident, cruelty, misfortune, all such things have this effect.

But wonder does too.

And awe.

Awe in that old sense of the word. In its original meaning. In the invocation of both fear and amazement, terror and wonder. Such paradox! This taking of the breath by the same hand that gave it to us. How to find words for this force that gives and takes away, whose ways are mysterious, whose peace surpasses all understanding?

I stand stalk still in the kitchen, a bunch of bananas clutched in one hand, a tinselly bag of Goldfish crackers crinkling in the other. Under my arm is tucked a roll of holly-patterned wrapping paper, since I just ran out last night. My knee cuts against the hard edge of a box of diapers, but I do not move.

Only moments before, I had been unloading groceries from the car – but not just any groceries. Christmas groceries. Groceries intended for parties and school events, for a large family dinner and days upon days of baking. Flour and eggs and baking soda and clinking jars of maraschino cherries. A gigantic frozen turkey, pre-stuffed, thank you very much, rolls off my counter with a bang, just missing the few extra boxes of chocolates I picked up on sale, for those last minute gifts.

I have been immersed in my equivalent of hunting and gathering for my family. I stand there sweating along with my floored turkey. The aisles of Costco and Walmart can be just as treacherous as the plains and forests for those armed with a tight budget.
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A Military Chaplain Remembers

By Pierre Bergeron

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This week at the National War Memorial in Ottawa

On Remembrance Day I’m deeply moved as I watch young and old veterans with watery eyes lay a wreath or a poppy on a tombstone as they remember the time, the place and how their buddies laid down their life in seas, foreign fields and beaches.

That’s why survivors of war have made a commitment to “the fallen” to remember them. God help us not to forget.

Remembrance Day is a special opportunity to remember and honour the thousands of leaders, men and women who surrendered their dreams and ambitions. They laid down their lives to defend the very principles of freedom that our nation enjoys and so many seem to take for granted.  This day is also an opportunity to be reminded of the painful scars our veterans carry hidden in their memories.

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