Saturday, December 29, 2012

Les Miserables

We saw Les Mis today. It's long been one of my favorite musicals and just stories of redemption in general. For you die hard musical theater fans, you might agree with me that Russell Crowe was a weird choice for Javert. His singing (and acting of the role) left me wanting.

BUT--do NOT listen to critics who pan this movie. It is wonderful and there are nuances you'll catch in the movie that may have been missed in the stage production. It is a beautiful and heart wrenching film. We loved it...beyond loved it.The crown in our movie theater broke into applause at the end.

As I watched, it occurred to me that in life we all know Javerts...those who just cannot seem to grasp grace, even for themselves. And we all know Jean and women who have been changed by grace received and grace given. The capturing of that truth is a powerful force in this movie. I thought Hugh Jackman was fantastic. Anne Hathaway was wonderful as Fantine, Aaron Tveit was a great Enjorlas and it was so cool to see the original Jean Valjean, Colm Wilkinson, play the role of the priest. Very nice touch! One of my favorite movies in a long time.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Word Became Flesh...

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory!

Thanks to debbie Riggs for these awesome pictures from Sunday morning at Highland!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winter Humor

Q: What did one snowman say to the other snowman?

A: "Do you smell carrots?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Immanuel--God is With Us

Peace on earth, good will toward men…those words seem a little more difficult to swallow over the last few weeks, don’t they? We live in a dangerous world and in an unsettled time. It’s hard to imagine true peace anywhere on earth. But the same could be said 2000 years ago. Jesus was born into a dangerous world…a world where Harod was killing babies….lots and lots of them. A world where people were hungry and hurting and dying and broken. And he was then…and remains today... the Prince of Peace.

His very name--Emmanuel-- offers peace. The peace of presence. God with us. He’s here. Right here.

Often we think, if God were really here, these bad things would not happen. For example, I was reminded a few weeks ago by my buddy Jonathan about Joseph in the book of Genesis…kidnapped, sold into slavery, accused of sexual misconduct, sent to prison for trying to do the right thing…he spent most of his “good years” in prison before he was released to bigger and better things. But scripture tells us God was with him….through all of it. He was right there. When we think of God being WITH us…we usually don’t think that means we’ll be sitting in prison for 17 years or so.

We like to tidy up the Christmas story to fit into a nice ceramic nativity scene that we can display on our piano at home. But both the birth and life of Jesus were messy.

You know the song “Here I Am to Worship”? Think about those first few lines…”Light of the world, you stepped down into darkness, opened my eyes let me see, beauty that made this heart adore you; hope of a life spent with you.”  The Light stepped down right into darkness and He made it beautiful. He wanted to experience life like a human…to be born like a human, love like a human, laugh, cry, walk, and talk like a human. He wanted to experience our pain. And He did. He took it all. He didn't erase hardship, He intersected it! He bore it. And He is with us today. No matter where you are. No matter what you’ve done. He is bigger. He is bigger than our best moment or our worst mistake. 

As John 1 reads in the New Contemporary Version:

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it. He came to the world that was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to all who did accept him and believe in him he gave the right to become children of God. 

The Word became a human and lived among us. We saw his glory--the glory that belongs to the only Son of the Father--and he was full of grace and truth.”

Joy to the world, the Lord has come.

He has come to give us life in a world where there is much death.

He has come to bring us peace in a place where there is turmoil.

He has come to create hope for those who have lost it.

Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord...our maker.

He asks those who believe to come and worship.

But even if you have lost something precious to you - He wants you to come.

Even if you doubt that there is any chance for peace – Come.

Even if you don’t believe there is any kind of hope left for you – Come.

Come, bow down, and worship Jesus! For He is the love of God.

Come just as you are.  He wants to know you.  He wants you to know Him.

Let His mysterious holiness be unveiled, and this Christmas, may we find life, peace and hope as we celebrate Jesus...Immanuel, God With Us.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

"Here WIth Us" 2012

What a glorious weekend we had last weekend....couldn't have gone better. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make bring it all together. It was a wonderful night of worship!

Big thanks to Debbie Riggs of Pure Photography for most of these pics...the good ones are from her. :)

Backstage ready to begin

Anna Claire, Maddie, Elizabeth, and Kelsie backstage

Maddie and AC

I love this theater!

We began with a mash up of "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" and "Here I Am To Worship"

Alex and Kara from The Light Parade

The Magnificat sounded incredible in that theater with everyone singing together

Sheryl sang "Here With Us" and it was one of my favorite moments...beautiful with all the dancers too!

One of my favorite pics of Maddie--EVER!

Ella looked so pretty too!

kids singing "All Is Well" with the children's and adult choir

Christine sang "Wonderful" and it truly was...WONDERFUL!

Jonathan did a great job too

Finale with everyone singing "Emmanuel (Holy Manger Ground)"

Here are some videos from Sunday night...