Imaging God
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Imaging God

Picture God. We might have a mental picture, but the commandment against graven images tells us not to limit God with our pictures. The Scriptures are full of metaphors to help us relate to God: Father, King, Lord, Shepherd, Rock. When theologians describe God, they often use negatives. God is independent, immutable, infinite, indivisible, and…

Christmas Oranges
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Christmas Oranges

My childhood church Christmas pageants ended with the distribution of treat bags to all the children. Capping a collection of nuts, hard Christmas candies, and chocolate drops was a mandarin orange. As a child I first searched for the longest cinnamon-flavoured ribbon and counted the number of chocolate drops; only later would my attention turn…

Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum
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Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum

It was an annual tradition back in my days at College Street Public School. Every Friday morning from mid-November until Christmas break, the whole school – grades one through eight – crammed into a makeshift auditorium. We had no gym back then, only two adjacent classrooms with a removable wall between them. Chairs and desks…

Madonna Alley
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Madonna Alley

The property we move to when the baby is 18 months old borders a grassy, city-owned alley. It is a secret garden, a lost green plot turned into a tiny community park. Eight properties back onto this narrow stretch of land. Neighbors take turns mowing the grass, half-heartedly tending the gardens, letting their dogs run…

The coming kingdom
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The coming kingdom

During Advent and Christmas, we celebrate the first coming of Jesus Christ into the world. The ancient creeds and the Reformation confessions tell us that Jesus is God incarnate, the second person of the Trinity, whom the Father sent to live among us, to take upon himself our sins, to pay the price for them…

Risky business
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Risky business

Most of us have grown weary of living life in a state of semi-panic and cautious concern. The COVID-19 pandemic has grown old.We knew that it could go on for a while, but seriously? Christmas is fast approaching, and we can almost taste the bitterness of the one-year anniversary. At this point, we can’t blame…

Homesick
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Homesick

I’m thinking of home during this holiday season. Usually preparations are being made for the annual pow wow back in my home community, Wauzhushk Onigum First Nation near Kenora, Ont. This year I won’t be able to go back … travel restrictions and all. I will miss the sound of the drum and watching the…

A uniquely illustrated Christmas tale
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A uniquely illustrated Christmas tale

Young Jo, her infant brother, and ill, single mother are cast out into the elements on Christmas Eve. Though Jo plans to leave town on a bus with her family, the fierce, unruly winter wind pushes them in the direction of Franklin Murdoch’s barn and house. Jo is afraid of the man, known in the community as mean and crusty; the death of his wife and baby on a Christmas Eve long ago had apparently turned him into a nasty person.

The Great Frost of 2020
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The Great Frost of 2020

The winter of 1709 was a killer. In England it was called “The Great Frost.” In France it was called “Le Grand Hiver.” Over three weeks in early January, temperatures dropped across Europe to levels not seen in 500 years. The Mediterranean Sea froze. Trees exploded. Livestock died in the barns. In Switzerland, wolves prowled…