Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ramblings on Christmas Morning

During the past few weeks, I, maybe like you, began to worry.  About what?  Well, my family of course - that they'd receive enough gifts this morning for it to feel like, well...Christmas.  I was worried more about them, right?  Not the way the situation would make me feel, right?

And my kids were so thankful for all the things they received.  They are so very appreciative.  Quite the opposite of the way I was as a child.  

I've found that I try to live vicariously through my children.  I anticipate let downs.  The thing is, they're much sweeter than I ever was.

And in the midst of my worry, I lose sight of how blessed I am.

Thank you, Jesus.  For the selfless gift of You.  For the traditions You redeemed.  For coming near.  

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Last Minute Shopping Idea #4

Shark Party Kit

...because your kid is not beat up at school enough already, try the Shark Party Kit!

Guarantee your child a "sound thrashing" at the bus stop.  After all, some of the best lessons are learned at the business end of a fist.  


Last Minute Shopping Idea #5

According to the website:

"Following in the footsteps of the graceful Hula dancers from Hawaii, the Hula female dancers maintain a svelte figure. The Hawaii Chair is designed to do all the work for you, without strenuous exercising for anyone who wants to achieve a good waistline and maintain a fit body."

"...frequent exercising with the Hawaii Chair promotes vigor without strenuous exercise."

I say the Hawaii Chair promotes the chutzpah of marketers to gullible, lazy people.  But who's to say it won't work, right?

And believe it or not, it's actually cheaper than one of thise high-end mixers!  Something to think about.

Get yours today!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Is Evil and So Are You

When I was a kid we always celebrated Halloween.  The usual stuff.  For a number of years, however, we've steered clear of the festivities.  We felt that we needed to keep ourselves and our kids away from the evil of the day.  

But I don't anymore.  

Jesus redeemed me.  

Jesus redeemed October 31st and December 25th.  

Jesus redeemed the air I'm currently breathing.

I like Shaun Groves' take on the redemption of Christmas, Halloween, and any other noun.

The way my family celebrates Christmas has everything to do with how we celebrate Halloween.  We’re trying to be consistent.

Every October I go into the attic and pull out two large plastic bins full of Halloween decorations and one even bigger one full of costume scraps: wigs, wings, hats, glasses, make-up and, of course, chaps.  We go all out for Halloween.  And this perplexes some folks.  You know the ones.

Some Christians get all in a tizzy about the pagan origins of Halloween.  Some of them hold an alternative celebration called “______________ Festival” at their church.  Others hand out tracts to trick-or-treaters.  Still others sit the holiday out all-together.

But our family celebrates Halloween.  Every year.  And not once have we sacrificed a virgin or pledged our allegiance to the Prince of Darkness.  But, yes, I suppose the naysayers are right: celebrating Halloween is a “slippery slope”.  Our celebration of Halloween, I guess, could, theoretically devolve into a celebration of the occult or teach our kids that evil isn’t something to be feared but something that’s fun.  I guess.  Maybe.  It’s possible.  Not likely, but…

But we celebrate it anyway because we’re in control of the celebration.  I can decide to dress my kids as a butterfly, Spiderman and a puppy and let them ask strangers for candy and at the same time I can not let them slaughter the neighbor’s dog on an altar.  See how that works?  Slippery slope accounted for.

And celebrating Halloween this way actually does something very positive: It redeems the day.  We, as a family, are doing something pretty miraculous when you think about it.  We’re taking a pagan celebration of evil (according to some folks) and turning it into a night of conversation and laughter with friends (about three dozen of us walking around the neighborhood) and getting seriously sugar buzzed at the same time.  Now, if Satan has anything to do with Halloween this probably ticks him off just a tad - all the fun and neighborliness.

Which brings us back to Christmas and gifts and consistency.  Christmas is a pagan holiday stolen, I mean redeemed by Christians.  Part of its celebration in America is gift giving.  Gift giving is a slippery slope too: It can admittedly lead to gluttony, debt, ingratitude, and can recast us as the central character of the Christmas story and greatly diminish the part Christ plays in the whole thing.  But, can Christmas - can gift giving - not be redeemed in the same way costumes and fake cobwebs can?

Now, I know this isn’t what some of you expected me to say in this series.  You expected me to say gift giving is a bad idea when there are so many poor kids in the world.  Wrong.  It’s a fantastic idea.  Sometimes it’s even kingdom-ish.  Giving people stuff can have transcendental meaning - don’t you feel that in the smile-inducing surprise of the unwrapping moment?  Don’t you see something supernatural and downright joyful in the hug and “thank you” that follows? The apostle Paul said it; I didn’t: Christ came to redeem all things.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you how we do the whole gift giving thing in our imperfect family.  And I’ll ask you then to tell us how you do it too?  That’s tomorrow.  Today?  Try to relax and enjoy yourself amidst all the slippery slopes lined with fear mongers.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Electric Bill Went Up Again

Techno Christmas from Utah.  Thought these broke through the clutter of tyical light displays.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Buying the Lie

"Gosh, I can do anything now!" she proclaimed to her friend as she raced down the exit from Disney's Rockin' Roller Coaster.   I watched from a distance as the mysteries of life began to unfold in her mind.  

...and it made me wonder, did that experience change her DNA?  Did that ride re-wire her brain to fire synapses that now re-route to new places?  Did anything really change?

...and how many lies do I disguise as impenetrable barriers to the next brave step of greatness in my life?

What are we waiting for?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You Better Walk With a Limp

I struggle with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  

I over-complicate.  

I over-simplify.

I don't have it figured out.

I never will.

And I'm so glad.

What do you struggle with?