Sunday, December 8, 2019


Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. -- Romans 15:7
Welcome is one of the nicest words.  It is full of hospitality and portends receiving what we need, be it shelter, food, a resting place, warmth, acceptance, or tea and good conversation.  Paul implies here that when we welcome another, we welcome the beauty and wonder of God into our midst.  He explicitly says to welcome as Christ welcomed us.  Have you ever thought about the ways Christ has welcomed you?  Have you ever sensed being welcomed by Christ?  If you have had that feeling/sense, it is what incarnation feels like.  Incarnation is what we celebrate at Christmas and what all the looking for it during Advent is about.  Incarnation is where our needs and hopes, which most often exist as a thought in our head or as some ethereal concept, become real, experienced, and appreciated.  Often the depth of appreciation we feel is tied to how in need we are when someone welcomes us and provides us just what we were needing.

The holidays are often a time when people are more generous.  Food banks fill up.  Community meals are served for the hungry.  Money is donated to charitable organizations.  All of these acts are acts of welcome.  All of them are ways Christ welcomes each of us -- in our own place, in our own particular need.  It is always odd to me that welcoming and generosity take place so readily during the holidays, while during the rest of the year there is often more grumbling and complaining -- about the poor and homeless (in particular.) 

Welcome isn't just an act that we do for or receive from others.  Many of us could use learning how to welcome ourselves.  Anxiety, stress, regrets, feeling unworthy are all emotional needs where a welcome would be welcome.  There is a meditation practice taught by Catherine Bourgeault called Welcoming Prayer.  It is a meditation process where you take what you are feeling and you spend some quiet time scanning for where in your body you are feeling it.  Feelings have a residence in various locations in our bodies.  When we've located it welcome it and then thank that body part for welcoming and holding those feelings for us.  We stay with those thoughts as long as it takes to appreciate what that body part does for us when we are stressed.  Finally, after our thanks are given we can take our leave and let it go.  I have found it a remarkably powerful practice.  Oftentimes, just connecting the body with the feeling is all it takes to remove the distress that the thought/feeling was causing.

May we welcome the stranger, the friend, our own beloved self and pour us a cup of tea by the fire of Christ's love.  Amen.

Actionable Suggestions:

  1. Welcome yourself with a spa day, or by giving yourself a break from this busy season. 
  2. Think of a friend or someone who you haven't seen for awhile and give them a call or an invitation.

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