Each year, at the Lessons and Carols service our church holds for Christmas Eve, I deliver a short homily. It generally comes between the stories of the Annunciation and the birth of Christ, and the main theme that I press home is, “Pay attention!” There are many miraculous parts of the Christmas story, but Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus is straightforward, even a bit dull. “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.” There are no angels (those come later!), no lights shining down from heaven to mark this as different from any other birth. This is the moment around which all of human history revolves, but if we aren’t paying attention we are likely to miss it.

In the winter of 2022, it felt like the message from that homily was God’s special word to me. It was as if the Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me: “Cultivate wonder.” Those words were amplified by several of the gifts I received that Christmas, particularly a book of poems by Mary Oliver. Here is an excerpt from her poem Sometimes:

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

That is good advice for a poet. It is also good instruction for a pastor. It is what I hope I do each week when I approach the scriptures with the intent of sharing God’s Word with a group of faithful Christ-followers or when I sit and listen to a person tell me what God is doing in their life. Pay attention. God is moving here, and you wouldn’t want to miss it.

The photographs, poems, and stories that I share on this web site are an attempt to continue responding faithfully to God’s prompt. May everything here point to the One who is the source of all that is wonderful.