Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Year!

What a week! In the midst of the busyness, I was thinking about this blog. What should I write about for the New Year?

I could write about the newness that can be found in Christ–a new beginning, a second chance for everyone. I could write about resolutions, and why we seem to be so driven to make them at this time of year. Or we could look at the celebration of the new year and how, all over the world, people are exalting in hope.

But things got more and more busy. … So instead I’ll simply leave you with a few predictions for the New Year: Keep Reading

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Thursday Intermission

Throughout the Christmas season, there was one non-Christmas song that stayed in my mind: Chris Tomlin’s “Jesus Messiah.” We sang it at church; we used it at a small group party alongside the carols; my husband and I sang it together around the house.

The version I share here includes some of Tomlin’s thoughts on the song. Although it isn’t a Christmas song, it speaks to what Christmas means.

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Shepherds, Giraffes and a King

“On the night Jesus was born, shepherds were watching their sheep. Suddenly, an angel stood before them, and God’s light shined all around. The angel said, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring joyful news to all people.
Today, in the town of Bethlehem, a
Savior has been born! He is lying in a manger.’ ”

–The Beginner’s Bible

One of my favorite Christmas memories is of something that took place almost two decades ago, when our older son was a preschooler. He was a rough-and-tumble boy with big brown eyes and a jumble of blond curls. He was usually happy, and was curious about a lot of things. (I learned more about dinosaurs and types of trucks during that time than I thought possible!)

One of the things he loved was Christmas. We made cards and crafts together. We baked cookies. He liked to wrap gifts. They didn’t always look terribly polished, but they definitely looked like they were wrapped with love.

And he loved the Nativity story. We read it from several different versions and books, and sometimes he “read” it to his stuffed animals or the cat.

It was important to us that our children not see God as far away and unreachable; one expression of this was that we had a sturdy Nativity set, one that could withstand little hands.

As the Christmas season wore on that year, more and more animals made an appearance at our manger. There were the cows and sheep, horses and goats from his farm set.

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Thursday Intermission

Are you ready for Christmas? Or are you rushing around, trying to finish the shopping, the wrapping, the decorating, the baking? Perhaps what you need
is a …

Thursday Intermission!

Today’s video break reminds us that Christmas is a celebration. Sit back and enjoy:

And, as a bonus, a Hanukkah favorite by the Maccabeats.

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Gifts Worth Bringing

Since it’s almost Christmas I am, naturally, focusing on the Book of Numbers.

As I continue my journey of listening through the Old Testament, I’m reminded of one of the advantages of reading versus listening.

There are several, of course: You can more readily review when reading. You can stop to look up a word, or find your place on a map, or to see what someone else has to say abut a passage, or compare it with another translation.

However, there’s one other benefit to reading that I hadn’t considered: Skimming.

Keep reading

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The Promise of Christmas

Do you remember what it’s like to be a child at Christmas?

The letters to Santa, filled with childish wishes; the carols that make up the sound of the season; the Christmas trees; the cookies; the school concerts and parties; the excitement of creating gifts for the family; the solemnity of the Christmas Eve service; the absolute certainty that you could not possibly fall asleep on Christmas Eve …

And the hopes and dreams of what might be under the tree on Christmas morning!

It isn’t just children who dream at Christmas. Like Israel, yearning for a Messiah; like the shepherds who raced to see what the angels proclaimed; like the magi who followed a star to embrace a King; so do we long for the promise of Christmas.

For One who can heal,

For One who can restore,

For One who can forgive,

For One who can transform.

What is the promise of Christmas?

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”

–Luke 2:11

For you … this day … a Savior!

Let your heart yearn for Him … race after Him … embrace Him. That’s how we can truly celebrate Christmas.

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Thursday Intermission

Welcome to this week’s Thursday Intermission! Shopping, wrapping, baking … You could certainly use a break this week, right? Here’s the story of the Nativity … updated.

And here are some interviews with a few experts:

Kids on Christmas from Central Films on Vimeo.

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