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Posts tagged "Christmas"

He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good…and Fills Your Stocking Anyway

He Knows If You’ve Been Bad or Good…and Fills Your Stocking Anyway

“Do you think Santa is actually real?”

My six-year-old asked my nine-year-old this question in the backseat of my car recently, and I tried to squelch the “of COURSE he is!” that was dying to escape from my throat.

The nine-year-old, who is the tallest innocent I’ve ever met, said that yes, he believed that Santa is real. The six-year-old had his hang-ups. “What would make you say that he isn’t?” I asked from the driver’s seat, imagining a list of logistical challenges that one man might have distributing gifts around the world.

Instead I got:

“I just can’t believe that he thinks we’re…

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December Playlist: Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2017

Bringing out the Christmas trappings early actually felt like a necessity this year. Hope you dig the mix.

You can find my other mixes on http://hbbj.holiday/ Enjoy!

Recommended Music: "Songs for Christmas Time" by Lowland Hum

Recommended Music: “Songs for Christmas Time” by Lowland Hum

Last Christmas my wife and I had a revelation that it seems everyone has, sooner or later. We actually started listening to Christmas music. “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire?!” We’re millennials. We barely know how to start a fire, much less roast chestnuts on an open one. Forget keeping Christ in Christmas; it sometimes seems like Christmas isn’t even in Christmas. And yet here I am this year, eagerly watching as city workers string up cedar garlands downtown, checking my weather app for LED snowflakes, caught up in the internal tug-of-war that this season always brings: the longing for,…

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A Story of the Unexpected: "Just What I Wanted" from This American Life

A Story of the Unexpected: “Just What I Wanted” from This American Life

This American Life’s recent Christmas episode, about gifts, told stories of mostly bad news: two of the three segments were about characters realizing that the thing they most wanted was bankrupt of what they actually needed. They were about expectations and disappointments, about human longing and our tendency to put our faith in the wrong things.

The first segment, however–the prologue–was the precise inverse: the thing we didn’t realize we wanted was the thing we needed most.

It’s a good story. It starts off with a Marine named Luke who, while serving in Ramadi, Iraq in 2005, spent his off-time watching Gilmore Girls.

Luke Huisenga: Yeah, I mean,…

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Shipwrecked at the Stable

Shipwrecked at the Stable

A heavy hitter from the champion of grace himself, Brennan Manning. This is an abbreviated version of his chapter in the Advent book, Watch for the Light. In it, Manning echoes Walker Percy in praising the wayfarer, the person who knows they are lost, and who knows that their survival depends upon nothing short of rescue. As he so powerfully depicts, though, our rescue looks a lot like defeat.

God entered into our world not with the crushing impact of unbearable glory, but in the way of weakness, vulnerability and need. On a wintry night in an obscure cave, the infant…

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"Mother and Child": Calling BS on the Expectations of "Silent Night"

“Mother and Child”: Calling BS on the Expectations of “Silent Night”

I used to love how the carol “Silent Night” captured my image of the season: peaceful, expectant, hopeful. Then I became an adult, and a parent, and Christmastime became anything but serene. I found myself singing words like “all is calm, all is bright” while looking around at other faces, wondering, “Does anyone else believe this nonsense?” When God saw fit to give me my own swaddled baby boy–then another–I related to Mary more than ever and felt that someone must speak up for her, because if I know anything about Christmas with a newborn (and I do; my kids…

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How to be a Cow in the "Lowly Cattle Shed"

How to be a Cow in the “Lowly Cattle Shed”

“The time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).

Ever since our August move to Southern California, the Getz family has been taking names. We’ve made great friends, my husband has crushed at his job, and I have balanced part-time work and parenthood like a damn Huggies commercial. Then, in the weeks before Thanksgiving, we hit a stumbling block that completely threw us out of the rat race. Without…

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Chameleon Jesus

Chameleon Jesus

catholicgx.org

Throwing in some last minute thoughts about Christmas before tree burning commences. The incarnation is, in a way, God being made in the image of man, which is part of the humiliation of Christ’s life. It seems to me that the cross begins at Christmas, when the second person of the Trinity is pushed out from between Mary’s unshaved legs, into a world of gravity and cold sores, a world where every passing day brings him closer to death. “If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying.”

With this in mind, I’d like to briefly throw out some thoughts on the trending White Jesus…

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Martin Luther vs. English Christmas Carols

Merry Happy Christmas!

Home But Not Alone

Home But Not Alone

Every year I assign myself the arduous task of watching my favorite Christmas movies. No, really–it’s hard! ABC Family and AMC, between them, have helped simplify things with their impressive array of holiday fare: all that’s left for me is to check the listings and set the DVR. But watching has gotten more complicated as the years have gone by. While I was single, or first married, Love Actually radiated from the TV while I ate a quiet dinner; Elf flew by as we enjoyed a glass of wine. Since I’ve had kids, my chosen films have aired in half-hour…

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Surviving the Albatross of a Disgustingly Perfect Christmas

Surviving the Albatross of a Disgustingly Perfect Christmas

Billboard’s Top 100 Holiday Songs for the week of December 26, 2015 is an interesting piece to ponder. On the surface, it’s a mere summary of what’s happening around the holidays at a radio station nearest you, a glimpse into the pop culture of a standard American holiday. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” takes number one: a song about romance in the winter and all the cheeriness that comes along with it. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the vast majority of the other 99 are not overtly religious either; they are about relationships, family, food, warm fires, happiness, joy,…

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Strange Gifts in the Season of Receiving

Strange Gifts in the Season of Receiving

This is an Advent reflection that came up in yesterday’s entry in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas. It comes from pastor and theologian William Willimon, who is discussing the misplaced emphasis on the “season of giving,” and the real reason for the season–receiving. 

In a society that makes strangers of us all, it is interesting what we do when a stranger gives us a gift.

And consider what we do at Christmas, the so-called season of giving. We enjoy thinking of ourselves as basically generous, benevolent, giving people. That’s one reason why everyone, even the nominally religious, loves Christmas. Christmas…

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