We did something different this year on Christmas Eve.
In years past, we have visited my parents and my sister and had our Christmas with them on Christmas Eve. This year we did that on the Sunday before Christmas.
On Christmas Eve, we were just kind of lazy and enjoyed the day. My son had football workouts that morning because improvement doesn’t take a holiday. You can quote me on that one if you want to.
Then we capped it off with something we have never done.
We went to our church and did what is called “From the Cradle to the Cross.”
From about 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. anyone could go at their convenience and take communion. If you’re Baptist like me, you could have the Lord’s Supper.
It was a really neat time to sit and reflect with my family on the fact that Christmas is about a baby who grew up to sacrifice Himself so that our sins would be paid and we would have eternal life. And a lot more is wrapped up in all of that, but I don’t try to get too theological in these posts.
So, when I say what I’m about to say, I don’t want it to sound critical. I really enjoyed taking the bread and the juice. I really did.
But not as much as I could have.
Here’s the deal. I used a word earlier. It’s a word that I always thought was strange. I didn’t like using it. Why? Because I was a Baptist and Baptists weren’t supposed to like this word. At least they weren’t supposed to in my mind.
Sure, I was able to share this experience with my family, but I was not able to share it with the larger church family.
Communion ties into my One Word for last year. Communion is something that is meant to be done in community with your brothers and sisters. It is community coming together or a common union.
So, I did enjoy sharing that with my wife and kids. But I look forward to it even more with my church family.
I look forward to communion with them.
Do you think about community when you take communion?
On the chance that you are looking at blogs today, I wish you the Merriest of Christmases. May the Lord whose birth we celebrate grant you blessing today.
I am taking a break leading up to Christmas. This is an older post. The royal couple, who are currently expecting a child, had just become engaged. I hope I am a better writer now than then.
One of the big news items recently has been the engagement of Prince William of England. The royal family of England recently announced that William is engaged to Kate Middleton. The media frenzy has been incredible.
What is incredible to me is the attention this receives in the United States. It is almost as though we Americans think that England’s royalty is our royalty. It some ways it baffles me. Yet, it also tells me something.
It tells me that in our hearts, we want royalty. We want a king to rule over us. We really want to believe that there is someone that is born to a position of authority over us. We want to bow down before someone. Guess what? Christmas tells us we can.
Psalm 2 is a psalm that also serves as a messianic prophecy. It tells of God’s annointed, the Messiah, who is installed as king. The nations rage against him. He scoffs at His enemies. He defeats them. And He is worshipped.
That is what Christmas is really all about. The King came. He performed a work. He went home. Now, He is coming again. We, who are left behind, wait for Him to come back again. We wait for him to ultimately defeat His enemies. We wait to bow down in His presence. We wait to worship as we never have before.
This is what Christmas is all about. This is Christmas.
I am taking a break this weekend leading up to Christmas. This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago on another blog I wrote. I hadn’t committed to writing on a regular basis as you can tell from this post. I look at this one with fondness and I hope I have improved since 2010.
Christmas is hard.
Do you remember waiting as a kid for Christmas? It never could get here could it? When did you start getting really excited about Christmas as a kid? For me, it was when my grandma would get the Sears Christmas Wish Book. From October on I would sit there for hours looking through that book. Wishing. Waiting. Wanting.
Writing a blog is hard. I usually write one a week. I’ve committed myself to writing one a day through Christmas. It’s hard to sit down and write what you have on your heart and mind every day.
What I’m writing about was hard for a group of people. They were looking forward to the Messiah coming. Israel was waiting on the virgin born Son of god. They were waiting for Emmanuel. God with us. Wishing. Waiting. Wanting.
It’s hard for those of us who put our faith in the One whose coming we celebrate at this time of year. We are looking forward to Him coming back to us and for us some day. Wishing. Waiting. Wanting.
That’s what Christmas is all about. Wishing. Waiting. Wanting.
Have you ever found Christmas to be hard?
I was driving around to my house the other day when I saw a rare sight. It was one that sent a shiver up my spine. A van was pulling into my driveway.
Now, for many of you, that may not seem like a big deal. You live in the city or somewhere that isn’t too far off the beaten path.
Me? I live in a holler. Not a hollow. Nothing that fancy. A holler. So, as I am apt to do, my antenna went up.
Was it someone who wanted to visit the Christy set? Yes, the TV show Christy was filmed where I live around twenty years ago. People drive by quite often and ask if they can go visit the set. And, unfortunately, I have to say no. The condition of what was left behind is not in the best shape these days.
Nope. That wasn’t it. It was the other best guess when strangers come to my house.
It was the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Somehow they usually miss me. Maybe they try to avoid me now. One time they came by when I was building a deck over Memorial Day weekend. I was hot and sweaty and didn’t have time to talk. I just bear-hugged one of them and told him I loved him. I haven’t seen that fellow since.
This time it was a couple of ladies. They opened up with some niceties and pleasantries. Then they got to it.
“This time of year means a lot of things to a lot of people.” she said nice enough. “What does it mean to you?”
I paused for a second and said, “It means that God invaded the world in human form so that He could live a perfect life and die for our sins.”
From there she kept trying to show me in The Watchtower that Christmas really meant presents and family to me.
I told her that, yes indeed, we give gifts and spend time with family, but that Christmas is about Christ.
She tried to leave me her literature, but I declined. I told her that there really wasn’t a point since I wouldn’t read it anyway. I guess that isn’t true. I’ve read them before, just to see what their take on things are.
The thing about it is there were two or three takeaways I had from this experience.
Once, none of us like people cold calling us at home, whether it’s a vacuum cleaner salesman or a JW.
Second, I really need to prepare a bit because they will be back.
Finally, Christmas is about Jesus.
Have you ever had an interesting Christmas visit?
I’m looking back at some posts I wrote last year on Fridays leading up to Christmas. Here is one I wrote about our Christmas past. Follow this link to see what I wrote last year.
Watching Christmas movies is part of our tradition each year. Last year I wrote this post describing my five favorite Christmas movies. Please follow the link and share your favorites.
Today is my first Christmas blog post of the year. This will surprise many since we I started listening to Christmas music on November 1 and we began putting up our Christmas trees that first weekend of November. I mentioned this in social media and was criticized by a few people. Who knew that I have to adhere to the same Christmas traditions that others do in regard to waiting until Thanksgiving?
I tweeted out a few days ago that it was 40 days until Christmas. Guess what? I got a response. It just wasn’t the one I thought I would get. I fully expected someone to tell me to slow down or to hear groans. However, that’s not what I got. Instead, this was the feedback I received.
@LarryTheDeuce 40 days left until Dec 25, 2012 – Christmas /Think beyond the world! @AdvntConspiracy
Everything before the slash was my original tweet. After that was the response I received. Being somewhat of a smart aleck, I replied back, “Interesting that you knew what I was thinking.”
Listen, I don’t care if you or any of my fellow followers of Christ celebrate Christmas or not. It’s a choice that each of us need to make for ourselves. It’s not a biblical celebration, so it’s not required or prohibited for any of us. I happen to love Christmas so much that I begin the celebration at the beginning of November.
My issue with this is that the person assumed that I was thinking as the world would think.
Maybe I was. Maybe I wasn’t. Quite honestly, that message could be applied to a hundred thousand other things besides Christmas.
Basically, don’t think as the world thinks. But how do I think during the Christmas season?
At Christmas, the lights remind me that Christ is the light of the world.
The evergreen trees remind me that Christ promises everlasting life.
I like to sing Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.
I like Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time.
In other words, sometimes I think beyond the way the world thinks.
Sometimes I screw it up.
So do you.
But neither of us have to get in the other’s face and tell each other to think beyond the world.
The Holy Spirit is probably God enough to do that.
How do you think during the Christmas season?
I hope that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas. Please take time to celebrate our Savior’s birth and spend time with those you love.
I don’t know if you are familiar with Festivus.
It’s a fake holiday that was created by the dad of one the writers of Seinfeld. It made its appearance on the show and in the broader conscience of America in an episode called The Strike. The thought of Frank Costanza buying George a doll and failing, resulting in the creation of Festivus makes me laugh.
There are a few requirements of celebrating Festivus. First, you have to air your grievances with those you are celebrating with. This is different from the normal airing of grievances that occurs on a daily basis.
Next comes the feats of strength. Some form of wrestling is an outstanding way to achieve this one.
Finally, you must be on the lookout of the Festivus miracle.
And don’t forget the Festivus pole. This is simple an aluminum pole on a stand.
My friend, David, and I will be celebrating this today at lunch. We have plenty of grievances. I plan on putting David in a figure-four leglock. However, the Festivus miracles have already happened. Yesterday, I was told th at our washer had torn up while Jan and I were at work. After we got home, we found out that it was just a faulty setting. A Festivus miracle. My sports team, the University of Tennessee Volunteers, received the commitment of a five-star player who graduated high school early and will play immediatgely. It had to be the reach of the power of Festivus, right?
Of course, all of this is in fun. None of this is serious. David and I like to have this bit of fun every year.
Don’t forget what this season of the time is about. It’s really about the birth and arrival of Christ. Let this reality become a part of your life all year long. Don’t limit it to a few days toward the end of the year.
Do you celebrate Festivus? How do you celebrate it?