Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

During every Christmas break brave young teens leave the comforts of home, new tech, and movies to come to Bible Quizzing Boot Camp. Enduring little sleep and cold rooms, they study the Scripture, many of them memorizing what
they had not dared attempt before. Many a year I was one of these teens, though I confess I participated in that particular boot camp mostly because of my father’s influence. Willing adults put aside work to assist these kids because they truly believe in the importance of this ministry. This year I returned as an adult to help out. As always I led worship. By request I learned and played that song I’ve been obsessed with–How Many Kings–followed by In Christ Alone. They are beautiful songs that sing of the wonder and majesty and sacrifice of God. They tell a story with inescapable presence.

When you read any good adventure story–be it spy, mystery, fantasy, science-fiction, or just plain fiction–authors notoriously unweave a plot that started over a decade ago. This is sure fire hit with readers and it intrigues us writers too. Perhaps unwittingly we are drawn to this type if tale because the greatest story ever told possesses the same elements. A prophecy given at almost the beginning of the world, fulfilled in Christ’s birth, leading towards the great return if our Lord!


Read Full Post »

I was reading about Joseph. Strangely enough it has been over a year since I read Genesis (after reading the Old Testament in a semester for school, I took a break and switched to the New Testament. Then I covered Psalms, Proverbs, and some of the Prophets. Now I am finally back to Genesis) so the stories are more fresh than they have been in a long time.

At some point while he was in slavery, Joseph was forced to choose: whether he would trust God had a plan despite the fact that his world was literally falling apart, or whether he would grow bitter for the things that had happened. Maybe we could justify Joseph being resentful and untrusting; but he wasn’t. His choice to throw his life into the hands of the Almighty shaped Joseph into the man that would save the world–literally.

And then I got thinking about Mary. The shame and rejection she must have borne; the questions and fear that must have plagued her. She carried the greatest Gift, yet her road would never be easy again. She had to make that same choice: to trust God or to run? (Note: when Jonah ran, it didn’t work out so well. Part of what I preach about when I go to youth groups is that yes, the road can be difficult when you are following God; but God’s plans are the best for us. He wants us to have the best life possible so following His plan is always better.)

As New Years rolls along, Americans everywhere think about what resolutions they will make. This requires a fair amount of reflection, and it’s easy to get lost in that reflection. We can begin to doubt whether God’s plan is really best for us–sometimes subconsciously, sometimes overtly. I definitely think that Joseph and Mary had to keep making that choice to trust again and again, but I do believe that there was a moment when they surrendered themselves–for better or worse–into the hand of God. We must do the same.

I talk about this a lot in the Xsardis Chronicles, and I sum it up with the word, ‘kiash’: a prayer for victory and an acceptance of the cost and the results, whatever they may be. Joseph and Mary’s roads were not easy or bump-free, but God was trustworthy for them. He was trustworthy for Jonah too, even though the prophet didn’t like it. Joseph and Mary’s decision to stand affected so many others. Just look at Christmas. Just look at the cross.

So, are you ready to stand?

Read Full Post »

No, I don’t believe in Santa Clause. Yes, I strongly believe we should put the ‘Christ’ back in ‘Christmas’. But as a fantasy lover and author, I have to say from a purely fictional standpoint, the magic of Santa spreading cheer and goodwill throughout the world is just about amazing. I get into Christmas. You can probably tell.

So today when I pulled into the gas station and I met Citgo Santa I was beaming for an hour. Citgo should sell gas, right? Well this year its selling Christmas trees too. A jolly round man with a fluffy beard pumps gas. As he said, “Hello, deary’ his eyes twinkled and his smile radiated. When he handed me my receipt, I got a candy cane too. I think he knew he made my day, so he smiled all the more.

Citgo Santa may not have dressed up like Santa, but he certainly was Santa-like in his looks and his cheerful viewpoint. Clearly he spreads that goodwill in winter and summer and fall and spring. He has a terrible job. He pumps gas in the heat and the cold; the snow and the rain. Yet, his smile is real–and to the benefit of all around him. If only we all could be a little more like Citgo Santa!

Read Full Post »

With the holidays approaching, my sister Kate and I were talking about what this year might look like for our family. With three kids out of the house, Christmas and Thanksgiving are not as simple as they once were. It is interesting to find out that while I loved Christmas and disliked Thanksgiving, she loved Thanksgiving. Her favorite time was cooking with my mom. My favorite part about Christmas was seeing everyone in their pajamas (with all the comfort and happiness implied in that).

Kids see things differently. Those differences of perspectives are the personalities that make stories and life so interesting. Use those differences to make the characters more diverse. Just a thought for writers out there…

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts