Advent is coming…

The rhythms of the Christian seasons help us know where we are supposed to be right now. While the Christmas shopping season which fuels our economy is already well underway, Advent begs us to stop and enjoy the Wintertide’s questions. Advent is a time of waiting and longing. We ask ourselves, what is it that we are working and waiting for? These are not idle questions, for in our working and waiting we give shape to our hopes for the big picture, the in-breaking Kingdom of God.

I find the coincidence of Advent and the Christmas shopping season deadly, for Advent reminds us of the many ways we are not fulfilled, we are not yet what we would like to be, that God’s kingdom is still adventing—it is still yet-to-arrive—while the shopping season seduces us by offering to fill our needs while equating generosity with purchasing.

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“Gray” Thursday? I ain’t even mad…

It’s that time of year once again, time for families to gather ‘round the big ol’ dining room table adorned with side dishes a-plenty, as the family matriarch brings in a massive stuffed turkey slathered in steaming gravy. Then the old man will rise and carve the great bird, dishing out plates to be passed from old to young. After which, a great sprawling indolence will commence.

Such has been the tradition in this country for decades, a tradition of feasting and thanking and feasting some more. But in the last few years, a new tradition has started to emerge… a tradition that involves hastening our the door at an unseemly hour to do battle along the shopping aisles for ridiculous markdowns on overpriced commercial goods.

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The Failure of Fear

In a secret wood only I know of (except, perhaps, for whatever ghosts of the Caddo tribe still roam these parts) there is a great clearing atop a hill rising well-above the surrounding treeline. It is clear for a hundred yards in every direction, save for a single lonely oak tree. From this height, you can see for what seems like hundreds of miles around. Looking even upward you have an obstructed view of the heavens that makes one feel as solitary as the first man ever born.

As often as time and opportunity permits, I like to tramp through these secret woods and climb to the top of this mystic hillock meadow. I like to stand atop the incline, and let the terror fill my soul in a gradual rise from the bottom of my feet to the upward expanse of my outreached arms. I go there when I want to feel pure fear.

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The story of Maj. Gen. Robert Lee Howze

Howze BIO

History records on New Year’s Day 1891 a U.S. Army lieutenant by the name of Robert Lee Howze displayed such bravery in action as to later be presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. After his time in the Indian Wars, Howze went on to a brilliant military career throughout the Spanish-American, Philippine-American, and First World Wars — eventually rising to the rank of a Major General — but his story began on an obscure Civil War-era outpost in a small Rusk County town.

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