December 16:  So, I’m on my Dad’s computer and this warning came up that I have to share with anyone and everyone that uses computers! Even the squirrels are a bit concerned!  Well, its called the Advent Virus!

   Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:
   A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
   An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
   A loss of interest in judging other people.
   A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
   A loss of interest in conflict.
   A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
   Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
   Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
   Frequent attacks of smiling.
   An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
   An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others, as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

December 9:  As a Sheltie I sure do a lot of waiting.  It seems every time my Dad steps out the door I know he’s gonna come back, so I wait and wait and wait and sometimes it seems like I wait forever.  BUT – when my Dad comes back through that door it makes my waiting all the worthwhile and I jump for joy and do that “happy dance,” so excited that we’re together again.  And you know what the coolest part is?  ….  My Dad is always just as excited to see me!!  Isn’t that awesome?!?!

Now that’s kinda what Advent is all about too; waiting.  We’re all waiting for that something special to come into our lives!  But too often I think, most people seem to be hurrying about looking for that perfect gift, putting up decorations and planning parties and dinners.  It’s easy to lose sight of the true significance of this season.  Advent is a time for joy and hope, of preparation and of waiting patiently for the coming of the Lord.  It is not only about the past, but also very much about the present and the future.

During these weeks of Advent, we are invited to look at our lives, at our relationship with God and with each other. It is a time of prayer and renewal, of letting Jesus enter our hearts and change our lives. Let us learn to recognize him among us and welcome him with joy, just like I welcome my Dad!!  And you know what?...   Our Lord is always more excited to find us waiting for him!! And that’s Christmas!!!!!!

December 2: My Dad’s been talking about the “end times” or a fancy theological word called ‘eschatology’. That is a fancy term that means we can live now in the light of Christ’s final victory, even though that victory is yet to be won. Let me give you an example.

Dan Bauman in his book, Dare to Believe, illustrates how we are to experience tomorrow’s joy today. He explains that, at Christmas time as a Youth, he always did a lot of snooping, trying to find the gift-wrapped presents and figure out what was in them. Some of you have undoubtedly done the same thing when you were young.

One year, he found a package that was easy to identify. The contents were golf clubs. His mother couldn’t put enough wrapping on the clubs to disguise them from her sneaky son. Bowman makes this observation: “When Mom wasn’t around, I would go and feel the package and shake it and pretend I was on the golf course. The point is, I was already enjoying the pleasure of the future event, namely the unveiling. I had my name on it. I knew what it was. Only Christmas would reveal it in its fullness.”

That’s realized eschatology--enjoying the wonder and the majesty of the victory, even though it is yet to be accomplished.  We live in a God-invaded world. Even though the final victory has yet to be won, we live in anticipation and assurance. So, Advent is here. Let the watch begin.

November 25:  I learn so much from the squirrels and rabbits and the many pesky friends I have in my Dad’s backyard/garden! Those squirrels really think that they are the greatest, that they reign as king of the backyard! Then there are the rabbits! They think they are so smart and they are royalty. Oh, then there’s this Ground Hog that frequents my Dad’s garden. He thinks he’s the king! Of course there are several cats that like to meander through the trees and bushes. Boy, do they have an attitude like they are the real king. 

So while I’m outside keeping the grounds safe for my Dad, I let the rabbits, squirrels and even the cats think they have royalty – but I really know who the real King is!!!!  Today’s feast of Christ the King is a beautiful feast reminding Shelties and every other living creature of what’s most important in our lives: Jesus the Christ!
May all of God’s creatures, large and small, find the time and place to honor, worship and acknowledge the true King today and forever! AMEN!!

For more of Maggie's musings, see our online bulletin archives.  Maggie's column appears on page 3.