Monthly Archives: December 2012

Thursday Intermission

I hope you’ve been enjoying a wonderful Christmas season. For us, it’s been a good time of connecting with family and friends.

It’s also been snowy!

I’ll be taking a brief break from posting, but will be back soon. See you in the new year!

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For You!

It’s one of the most familiar verses concerning the birth of Christ, the part where the angels tell the shepherds about His birth:

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:11, KJV

It’s read in churches, it’s quoted on Christmas cards, it’s even part of Linus’ speech in “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

But sometimes the familiar is easily missed; the eye glides along as the mind thinks about other things. So how about a less traditional rendering?

This very day, in the town of David, there was born for you a Deliverer who is the Messiah, the Lord. – Complete Jewish Bible

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. – The Message

“Unto you!”

“Born for you!”

“It’s meant for everybody, worldwide!”

Tomorrow there will, I hope, be loved ones for you to embrace, goodies for you to enjoy, gifts for you to unwrap, songs for you to sing. But in the midst of the fun and the excitement that we create for one another, remember the heart of Christmas:

A Son was born,

a Savior arrived,

a Deliverer appeared—for you!


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Thursday Intermission

Happy Thursday! Time for an intermission, a break from your busy week. I know what you’re thinking: “The last week before Christmas, busy? Nah …”

I’ve been saving this one for you. I love not only the music, but the enthusiasm with which he plays. This is the Piano Guys in “Carol of the Bells (for 12 Cellos).”

And yes, this one’s an ad. But it’s worth watching.

This last one is especially for those with cats. For you, this will land somewhere on a sliding scale between comedy and documentary.

I hope your week is going well. May the busyness subside so you can enjoy some quiet times of contemplation and anticipation.

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Praying for Newtown

“Hey, Sweetie, time to get up.”

“Breakfast is ready!”

“I’ll be praying for you with your test today.”

“Did you brush your teeth?”

“Don’t forget your gloves!”

“I love you. Have a great day!”

Mornings used to be like that for me. I had two little boys to get ready for school. Clothes were selected the night before, homework placed into backpacks—we did whatever we could to make the mornings less hectic, less like chasing a greyhound by running on a treadmill.

It took a lot of focus to get the boys to the bus stop on time. Unfortunately, my attention-challenged guys weren’t very good at focus. And all the great, long stories they had forgotten to tell the night before tried to tumble out over breakfast.

But we made it. My favorite part of the morning came just before they launched out the door and into their days—a quick hug and kiss goodbye. I tried to pray for them briefly before they left; sometimes that didn’t happen, so I prayed for them while waving goodbye.

And every afternoon I looked forward to their return. There was a snack for them, and a chance to hear about their days at school.

I can’t imagine the pain if, one day, they hadn’t come home.

Hopefully there will be discussions, and action, about the state of mental health care in this country. There are currently many conversations about the group planning to picket the funerals of the children and adults killed at Newtown. But I don’t imagine that any of these discussions will reach into the hearts of these parents or the families of those killed.

Frankly, I don’t know how to help. There are places to send money; there are probably places to send words and thoughts of condolence. But for the last few days all I’ve been able to do for those families is to hug my sons a little extra … and pray for God’s comfort for those who have lost little ones, or spouses, or teachers, or friends.

May God’s peace and compassion envelop them.

May the God of hope in the midst of despair, the God of compassion and of abundant love, be real to them.

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The Landfill Harmonic: The Oldest Story, Told Anew

Once upon a time, a small village rested on a hill. It wasn’t just any hill; it was a massive, vast, unending pile … of trash. The people of the village—the slum—spent their days picking through the trash, looking for things they could sell.

And the children of the town? They could help pick through the landfill, looking for things to sell. Or there were always drugs or gangs to get involved with.

Throwaway village. Throwaway pastimes. Throwaway people.

But one day something else came into the village: Music. A director and a teacher came to bring music to the children. There was just one problem. They soon had more students than instruments.

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Thursday Intermission

Happy Thursday!

I love Christmas music (probably because I don’t work in a mall). In case you’re getting a little tired of the usual carols and “Jingle Bells,” here’s a wonderfully low-tech version of “Bethlehamian Rhapsody.”

And if you somehow missed the video of the flash mob at Redondo Beach, CA, here you go:

Happy Advent!

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Shepherds, Giraffes and a King

Nativity Set

Nativity Set (Photo credit: Sebastian Bergmann)

“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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