Christmas: It’s Worth Celebrating

It’s about the poor and left out. That’s the main message of Christmas–doesn’t matter what religion or beliefs you hold, the center of this crazy, shopping-exhausted, fueled-by-adrenaline partied, frenzied decorated, over-the-top worship-extravaganzad day is that invisible, lonely, cast-out, poor and … Continue reading Christmas: It’s Worth Celebrating

More on the Confusion Between Santa and God

This letter appeared in the “Dear Abby” advice column that was in the newspaper on December 8, 2012: DEAR ABBY: Last night I received a call from my almost-5-year-old granddaughter asking me for Santa Claus’ phone number. It seems she is very angry at her daddy for calling her a brat because she wouldn’t give him a hug. She wants to tattle on her daddy to Santa. Her parents are not together. Her daddy’s involvement has been only within the last year. She seemed very upset about the incident, and I want to make sure “Santa” gives her a good … Continue reading More on the Confusion Between Santa and God

Prepare The Way

His voice cries out and says, “Get that road straight—the glory of the Lord is about to appear!” These words, loosely paraphrased, are from Isaiah 40, that beautiful passage that starts with, “Comfort, O comfort my people.” Several of the movements in Handel’s “Messiah” come from these great Scriptures. Rough and ready John the Baptist repeats this phrase hundreds of years later just as Jesus is getting ready to step into the public eye of ministry. John tells people to prepare the way by repenting, because the kingdom of heaven is near. The kingdom of heaven, the glory of God: … Continue reading Prepare The Way

God With Us? Are You Sure?

I am convinced that, despite what I am sure will be countless calls to “Put Christ back into Christmas!” and other such yearly holiday pleas, most people really have no desire for God to actually show up during this season. We sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” With these words, we call for God to be with us.  The tune touches us, the words sound good. But I wonder—yes I wonder. I wonder if we know what we are asking for when we sing these words. Personally, I think we expect a heavenly butler to show up and do our bidding. … Continue reading God With Us? Are You Sure?

This Time of the Year

Always at this time of the year, I find myself both looking forward to and dreading Christmas. I look forward to the music, to the lights and decorations. They remind me of angelic hosts announcing good news that God enters fully into human experience. I delight in the extra generosity that encourages us to look out for others especially at this time of the year. I am grateful for the parties and those who go to the trouble to host them and for the family gatherings that renew those precious ties to one another. I enjoy the pleasure some of … Continue reading This Time of the Year

Christmas Afternoon

It is late Christmas afternoon.  I’m alone in the house, listening to classical Christmas music, and doing so with a growing awareness that I am not the only one with a tendency to the minor key or to the tinge of sadness experienced by many during this season. We Christians properly celebrate the birth of Jesus now. Not that we know a date or time of year this child came into the world. Not that we really understand the how of it.  The idea of an Incarnation–of God becoming human–really is beyond our grasp and if accepted, must be accepted … Continue reading Christmas Afternoon

Santa as God: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “O Holy Night”

Santa is “freaky.”  That’s the conclusion the youth I work with on Wednesday nights reached. Last night, I had the youth compare two songs: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “O Holy Night.” When they actually looked carefully at the words of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” they immediately and as a group called out “freaky.”  It really bothered them that Santa was watching them while they slept.  That he appeared to know everything about them.  That he had punitive and reward power in his hands. Out of that song, they described Santa as male, fat, bearded, and … Continue reading Santa as God: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “O Holy Night”