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Posts tagged "Christmas"

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

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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 partly why the whole thing is so painful and embarrassing. It seems to me that in a weird way the cross begins at Christmas, when the second person of the Trinity is squeezed into skin. He is pushed out from between Mary’s unshaved legs, into a world of gravity and cold sores, and every passing day brings him closer to death. “If you’re not busy being born, you’re busy dying” (Dylan).

With this in mind, I’d…

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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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There’s No Santa Claus, Charlotte, but #GodisGood- andYouCanTrustHim

There’s No Santa Claus, Charlotte, but #GodisGood- andYouCanTrustHim

In my 31 years of life, I’ve had two run-ins with the real Santa Claus. I know what you’re thinking: “Aha, she’s going somewhere funny with this. She didn’t really see Santa Claus!”

WELL I DID!

And I didn’t just “see” him. I saw him twice.

Santa Sighting #1

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m a six-year old who stays up pretty much every night sweating, concocting terrible, horrific stories in my mind (i.e. death by headless horseman, an unseasonal tornado, or undetected appendicitis). As per usual, the rest of the family is long since asleep. Suddenly, I hear a clatter on the roof. My…

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The Life, Death, Life Cycle

The Life, Death, Life Cycle

We are now up to our necks in Advent, two candles burning. We’ve got lights on the tree and parties dead ahead. It’s a season of waiting, as we all know, but in a lot of ways, between leafless trees and dry skin, it’s also a season of dying. Because there has to be some sort of death before there can be life, some sort of struggle before triumph. You can’t celebrate a championship unless there were teams to beat. You can’t celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary unless there was something challenging about that course of life. Christmas is a…

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Giving Up the Ghost Dance

Giving Up the Ghost Dance

This Advent I’m going Southern and weird for my daily devotional. I’ll be standing in this season of anticipation and light with a copy of Rodger Lyle Brown’s Ghost Dancing on the Cracker Circuit placed firmly in my hand.

In the early 1990’s Brown traveled the southeastern United States visiting Mayberry Days, hillbilly festivals, and street parades that celebrate Hernando De Soto. You know, “fun” stuff for southern white folks. He documents a people trying desperately to hang onto their past:

I’d been to a Rattlesnake Roundup, Swine Time, the North Carolina Tobacco Festival of Clarkton, Inc., and now the International Banana…

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Happy Birthday Baby Jesus 2015

hbbj2015