It was only the second drink. Sloshing spinning slivers of silvery ice. Two pieces swimming just beneath the surface. Swirling around in synchrony glassed in an endless circle. A tiny shake from his fingers almighty kept them timelessly turning around each other. They crash into each other from time to time, bludgeon themselves against the invisible crystal wall to freedom, and then float lonely, smaller, melted a bit more than before. Drinking in their drift to nowhere, he watched them waste away. Water in the whiskey.

A new story always begins with the spirits of hopes and dreams. Leaping and flying, spinning and whirling, the tale is bound to go anywhere. In a fictional world of no consequences, the story can take shape any way the spirits lead. Creative heights, unthinkable depths, there are no boundaries where she can go. Soaring away from reality, another world is unveiled where deepest desires and questions are allowed to surface. But silently driving the distant words of story, truth and reality press her upon unsuspecting souls.

So, it is over. The big day has finally come and gone. All the preparation, all the work, all the decorations and festivities have been exhausted. What are we left with? An overflowing trash heap with empty amazon boxes and the remnants of wrapping paper. We have the memories, of course, memories of the kids unwrapping the presents and the smiles and the fun of sitting around in our PJ’s and just spending some time with the family. We have eaten more than our share of deserts and Christmas goodies.

If anyone experienced the sturm und drang of waiting and watching for God, it was Dietrich Bonhoeffer.[1]  Sitting in a prison cell, he hoped to be released, hoped for the war to end, hoped to spend Christmas with his family, hoped Jesus would descend with a blast of trumpets. Days turned to months and months rolled into years. While we want to think he was always happy, fulfilled by his faith in Christ, his letters show us the struggles of a real martyr in a real world.

By Paul Koch

The Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.’” – Genesis 4:6-7

Like many of you, I slowly heard the reports as they trickled in last Sunday about the slaughter of innocent people gathered for worship in a small Texas town whose name we had never known and now will never forget. My reaction was shockingly similar to how I reacted to the Vegas shootings just five weeks prior. I was saddened, confused, and frustrated. I could already envision how the political parties would be lining up on this or that side of the issue to use the tragedy to move legislation or condemn their political enemies. But through it all, I found myself lost in thoughts of what it must take do commit such an act.