Doves have been an important symbol of peace for Christians since early biblical times. In 1944, when the United Church Crest was adopted, a dove representing “the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:10) whose transforming power has been a distinctive mark of Methodism” was placed at its peak.
A couple of years ago, my wife decided what she would give up for Lent was complaining about being tired and overworked. Amazingly, she discovered that once she stopped telling herself how tired and overworked she was, she felt a lot less tired and overworked! Changing how she talked actually changed her reality.
We can say things often enough that they start to actually determine reality rather than just describe it. They might be factually true, but they are unhelpful because of what they reinforce.
One of my all-time favourite compositions is Edward Elgar’s Op. 36 (popularly known as Enigma Variations). This piece is a love story where each movement is a tribute to one of Elgar’s friends. It is complex, playful, and heartfelt; it rouses my heart, my memory, and my imagination all at the same time. Starting when I was 14, my high-school concert band played an arrangement of the adagio movement, “Nimrod,” all the time as a warm-up piece. Eventually, the constant repetition started to dampen my enthusiasm and love for the music.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night…
As we enter into Advent, we bring to mind the birth of Christ and the mystery of the Incarnation. It’s a time when we become a little more awe-filled with the chaotic, gracious business that is Emmanuel – God-with-us.