Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Most Unusual Christmas

I just read a post by Matt at The Church of No People about Christmas Vegans. They are the people who make you feel guilty for the way you celebrate Christmas (could also apply to other cultural/religious holidays). It made me reflect back on some memorable Christmases past.

There was the Christmas when we were deep into reconstruction on our old farmhouse and we learned of a missionary family (with 4 kids) who needed a place to stay during the month of December. We invited them to stay with us and our 7 year old son. One of our daughters had just gotten married after Thanksgiving, so her bedroom was available, and we moved our son into a hallway. His bedroom became a dormatory for three of the other kids, while their baby slept in their room. Our oldest daughter was coming home from college for Christmas, and we had constructed a new bedroom for her in the new basement. There was no flooring in the new kitchen or dining room, just plywood subfloor. The original kitchen was a "black hole" in the middle of the house, with the living room just beyond. Carpenters coming every day. And into that mess, we inserted 6 more people (strangers), our college student daughter, and also a German student from the local Bible school. She got the cot in Gail's room. Everybody was stretched, or compressed, depending upon how you looked at it. It was a truly memorable Christmas. Probably the kind with which Jesus could identify.

What was your most memorable Christmas experience?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

100 Things Meme

Blogging for the lazy blogger....Just the thing when I'm too busy to think! This came by way of Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church (and he's not too busy to think!). Just copy the list and highlight the things you've done. Give your readers MUCH more than they ever wanted to know about you.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars (backyard camping)
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii (layover on the way to Asia--I've never seen it by daylight!)
5. Watched a meteor shower (while sleeping under the stars)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm (best done in August from the front porch)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (needlework)
15. Adopted a child (37 years ago...seems like yesterday!)
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables (and canned or froze them)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight (not recently, though)
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (easy to do when you're self-employed)
24. Built a snow fort (with tunnels)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse (a little scary--I was just a kid and not expecting it)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (I prefer sunsets :) to sunrises)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (Alaska)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (majestic, but noisy)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (the North of England & Holland)
35. Seen an Amish community (in Indiana)
36. Taught yourself a new language (bits of Spanish)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. (Contentment is a blessing from the Lord)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (Lake Michigan)
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain (it must have been raining at least one of those times)
53. Played in the mud (no kissing, just mud)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (the cheap date of the '60's...only thing cheaper was a walk along Lake Michigan)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (1. sold antiques 2. Scents of Home...custom-blended potpourri, eye pillows, designer decorator pillows, beeswax ornaments)
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (does selling cookies at 4-H bake sales count?)
62. Gone whale watching (in Alaska)
63. Got flowers for no reason (the first dandelions of the season from my kids and grandkids)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (O positive)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (not on purpose!)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (belonging to my children)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (in my foot)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (willow green '66 Chevy Nova--what were we thinking?)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (always the worst possible pose)
85. Read the entire Bible (what a blessing to begin to see the whole picture!)
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox (also measles, mumps, German measles)
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (my Dad this past August)
94. Had a baby (birthed 2, adopted 1--adopting is easier on the figure :))
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a mobile phone
99. Been stung by a bee (now that hurt!)
100. Read an entire book in one day (one of those days when I "called in sick")

That actually took longer than thinking. Now you try it, and tell me a little about yourself.
BTW---I'd like to know more about the lurker from Tempe, AZ.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Rebel Jesus

Lately I've been listening to Christmas songs and have been thinking a lot about how we approach not only the Incarnation of our Lord, but His on-going incarnation in believers today. How do we live out Christ's life on earth? How do we live His love and sacrifice before the world today?

The song that really convicted me to examine my own life is one that Jackson Brown sings on the Chieftains' "Bells of Dublin" album. Read the lyrics and tell me what you think.

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
As the sky darkens and freezes
They’ll be gathering around the hearths and tales
Giving thanks for all God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus

Well they call him by the prince of peace
And they call him by the savior
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
And their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worshiped in
From a temple to a robbers den
In the words of the rebel Jesus

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They’d get the same as the rebel Jesus

But please forgive me if I seem
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
We have need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus.

Did that make you uncomfortable? Also, check out my post at Adven-urous.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Blog Comment Day

For those of you participating in blog comment day, you might check out the following blogs:

They are in no particular order, and it's a pretty eclectic list of interesting blogs. I've already commented on some of them--maybe you'd like to, too.

Get your mind stretched!