Longing For More

Written by Susan Dunk “O little town of Bethlehem,” is one of those Christmas carols I don’t sing too often. To be clear, it’s a beautiful song, it just feels like I’m singing to a town…instead of the Babe of that town. However, in that classic Christmas song lies a lyric that sums up Advent in a phrase: Yet in thy dark streets shineth The everlasting Light The hopes and fears of all the years Are met in thee tonight This is the meaning of Advent …into the darkness shone a great… Read More

Security Blankets and Sufficient Grace

In the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas special, Linus begins to recite from Luke chapter 2. As he quotes the angelic announcement in the passage, the gift of God’s grace is revealed in the birth of the Christ child, signifying that we because could never ascend to God, God descended to us. As he is doing this, Linus does the unthinkable – he drops is security blanket. Linus was never without that security blanket. Artist Charles Schultz gives us something worth pondering here: The gospel frees us to drop our security blankets. It’s… Read More

Alone in the Dark

As a city slicker, I had no idea what darkness was until I drove at night in a prairie province a few hours away from the city. A few years ago I was speaking in a small town a few hours drive outside of Winnipeg. I landed in frigid Manitoba around 10PM and drove off from the airport in the smallest, cheapest rental car my money could buy. Once the city lights were no longer visible in the rear view mirror, I discovered what “alone in the dark” truly means. I was the only car on the #3 Highway… Read More

Grace Came Down (part 3)

“Always winter, never Christmas.” Mr. Beaver Author and Christian apologist, CS Lewis was once an atheist who, in his words, was ‘very angry that God did not exist.’ After coming to faith he authored many books including the Narnia series, which is rich in allegory to the Christian faith. The White Witch brought an eternal winter upon Narnia, which as Mr. Beaver pointed out, never culminated in a celebration of Christmas. As events unfold, the snow in Narnia begins to melt. Through a long, intense and inquisitive journey, Lewis came to faith in God… Read More

Grace Came Down (part 2)

  God coming to us at Christmas encapsulates the essence of Christian faith: we don’t make ourselves strong and then work our way up to a strong God. The strong God made Himself weak to save the weak, so that in Him – we could be strong. I’ve said it a lot this Christmas season and I’m going to put God’s grace on repeat here. The babe in  the manger provides a striking commentary on God’s grace: We don’t meet God ½ way. We can’t meet God ½ way. Christ came all the… Read More

Grace Came Down (Part 1)

The word advent means ‘arrival’. We live life between advents. The church celebrates that Christ came to redeem us in grace in His first advent and anticipates that He will restore all things by grace in His second. This past Sunday I read from Genesis 6, which might seem like an odd text to use to launch the church into the first of four Sundays leading up to Christmas. The passage takes place before the great flood when the human race led was spiralling into a free-fall of darkness. The passage makes it clear that even though the… Read More

How The Monster Got In

One day earlier this fall, our family woke up to a rainy, grey, Saturday. The formation of the clouds, the hue in the sky and the constant drizzle in the air meant that the conditions were perfect for a Netflix marathon. Susan and the kids watched the entire season of Stranger Things that day. I would have joined them, but my obsessive need to start and finish smaller projects on the same day kept me upstairs painting. I’m not claiming any moral high ground here. I wanted to binge with them, only coming… Read More

Yawning at Grace

Christ came at Christmas to save us from our sin. Yep. Pass the chocolate almonds. I hate to admit this, but I’ve yawned at grace more than I’d care to admit. When we’re convinced our sins are little, we tire of Jesus. We’ve been there, done that, bought the Sola Gratia T-shirt. Now there is a popular grace theology that interrupts at this point and says, “Hold on! There’s no condemnation. Stop talking about yourself like that. You’re not a sinner – you used to be a sinner.” According to Paul’s theology,… Read More