Archives For holidays

You know I love sweet little baby Jesus.babyjesus

Sweet little eight pound, six ounce, newborn baby Jesus.

And that little baby in the manger is the reason for Christmas, right?

Well, here’s the thing.  I love Christmas.  I love baby Jesus.  But I’ve rediscovered something recently, through conversations with friends and singing old songs and revisiting well-worn stories.  Sure, Christmas isn’t just about shopping and toys and eggnog.  But Christmas also isn’t just about a baby in a manger, arms outstretched like he’s in a classical painting.  It isn’t just about a mom looking reverently at her baby, looking positively divine, mere moments after giving birth.

What if even our Nativity scenes and songs about that baby even missed the point of Christmas?  What if we’ve managed to turn sweet little baby Jesus into an eight pound idol?

I think I’ve relearned something that just might save my Christmas this year…

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I genuinely love Christmas…

I feel your pain, buddy.

I feel your pain, buddy.

Well, I try to love Christmas.  I try really hard.

Because between the decorations that have been on display at Home Depot since Halloween and the Black Thursday insanity and the stress of shopping and social events, I have a love-hate relationship with the holiday now.  Christmas has become hard to love.

Of course, there are a lot of people who are trying to combat the disease that plagues Christmas by waging a war on Jesus’ behalf.  There are signs in my neighborhood yards now that say:

“Merry Christmas! (Happy Birthday, Jesus!)”

Yeah, if you didn’t catch the “Christ” in bold, they spell it out for you by wishing Jesus a happy birthday.

And of course, there is the annual tradition of demanding that store clerks wish us “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”  After all, Jesus said, “Why do you wish each other Happy Holidays?  Do not even the pagans do that?”

It’s all in the name of “keeping Christ in Christmas.”

But I ask you: does Christ even want to be kept in Christmas?  Did we ask him in the first place?

Maybe it would be best if we just left Jesus out of the whole thing altogether.

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What do you do when your kids find out…022_acs_041_santa_4

…the awful truth…

…you know, about Christmas?  About Santa?

I’m not a parent, but as a teacher, I can identify with all the other teachers out there.  It’s that time of year when kids restart the eternal debate.  On the one side, the kids who still possess their childlike faith.  On the other side, the kids who possess only worldly cynicism.  Both sides will argue endlessly until a teacher threatens to cancel Christmas.  Funny how both sides seem to believe a teacher can do that when presents are on the line.

Maybe the eternal Santa debate is good practice for the future when kids will feel the need to defend their faith from all perceived threats (or debunk someone else’s faith because anyone whose beliefs are contrary to their own is seen as a threat.)

As a non-parent, I fantasize now and again about some of the momentous days my children might one day have and how I might handle them.  The day they learn the truth about Santa is not a day I dread but anticipate.  Here’s why.

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John Lennon said that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.09-03-25

I think he was right.  For better or worse, the events that shape and mold us the most are often the ones that sneak up on us.

This week, life happened.  I’ll try to keep things brief.

My wife was sick over the weekend.  Like, sicker than she’s ever been.  But Monday, she was much worse.  And Tuesday, she was worse still.  We were up all night, the both of us.  And when we went to our doctor and they could not get a blood pressure reading, we knew we were in trouble.

Now, I sit here next to my wife in her hospital bed.  She was so dehydrated when I brought her that her blood looked like syrup.  It took an hour of repeated sticking to get any blood to drip.  But her body is distended with excess fluid.  She is extremely painful and anxious.  And as for me, I watch helplessly.  I bring her things she needs but I don’t feel like much help.

And this is all related to our journey to becoming parents, the awful side effect of fertility treatments. Yes, there is a steep price to pay for some of us.  You know the risks when you read the fine print, but you don’t really count on it.  Our doctor says she is only her second patient in eight years to react this severely.

Yes, we covet your prayers.  But even in this midst of this, something else is happening.  Something to be thankful for.

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christ_crucified_by_carnegriff-d2zlj0n

Life After Art is available next Monday! Remember, when you order your copy, forward your receipt to LifeAfterArtBook.com for three other freebies from me and Moody Publishers.

The customer is always right.

That’s the saying.  Even though it’s not true.  Customers are usually wrong.  But we say that the customer is right and set out to satisfy them so we’ll keep their business.  It’s really a mantra of capitalism.  Give the customer what they want so they’ll keep giving us their money.  Whatever it takes.

But the smartest businesses don’t give customers what they want.

And neither should churches…especially this weekend.

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In preparation for the release of Life After Art, I’ve finally started a Facebook page.  If you haven’t already, join me with a “Like.” (I don’t mind “Shares” either!)

If and when Kate Middleton gives birth, everyone will know about it.  Obviously.

Yet, when it happens, some people will still get a birth announcement.  Because that’s what proud new parents do.  They snap a pic of the baby and send it to their friends who stick the photo on their fridge.

It’s events like births and weddings that clarify who is on our inner circle.  Those are the people who get the invitations and the announcements.  Those are the people we want to know our good news.

No one will need a birth announcement from the royal family.  But some people will get one anyway, and they will know that they are part of the inner circle.

The funny thing about Christmas is who turned out to be part of God’s inner circle, and who was left out.  And it makes me wonder if I’m part of God’s inner circle.

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