Christmas Day

On the way home from midnight service, we listened one more time to The Gaithers’ Christmas CD, The Greatest Story Ever Told, pulling into the driveway to the last delicate note of Mary, Did You Know, blessing us as our heads hit pillow approximately 1 am.  I am up ahead of Honey, talking to you in the pre-dawn morning light, waiting to grind the coffee beans.  We have exactly 7 gifts under the tree for the two of us.  The stockings each have DVDs, a jolly tradition to fatten the movie collection, and somebody got a new cologne to replace the Old Spice (finally).

Christmas. It is what it is, a day set aside to honor and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  We dress up, buy gifts, give to the poor, bake and cook and eat, send greeting cards and letters reporting the year on one page or just sign the card, and attend an extra worship service.

And this is good in its simplicity and adornment.

Then we diet or plan to diet.

I’ve posted many times my complaints of the Christmas machine, how it needs a face lift, a tweak here or there, that we should move the date, tear away the pagan symbols, etc.  I still want to move it, I still want to retire the jolly old elf. Greg Laurie, a prominent minister in California, suggested we at least eliminate gift exchange in a effort to tone down the unrealistic expectation factor for people who become depressed or in debt trying.  I don’t know if I agree with elimination, maybe reduce the pile under the tree and give more to those in need.

In short,

  • research states Jesus was conceived during the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, and born the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall.
  • Santa was originally a false god called Obed or Obid or some such name but is now publicized as a 19th century morph of Nicholas, born in Turkey in the early 300’s, who was a bishop in that early church father group, performed miracles, gave extravagantly to the needy, attended the Council of Nicaea from which he was thrown out and jailed for slapping another attendee who insisted Jesus wasn’t deity
  • from that Council, Constantine made Christianity legal, profitable, and state run, adopting nearly all the pagan symbols from Babylon BTW (and we know how God just loves Babylon), renaming them Christian to attract the multitudes to the new easy religion and pay taxes to him. He was baptized and allegedly converted. If that’s right, I’m going to have a serious discussion with him in heaven right after I scold Eve (poor Eve. Maybe she’s heard it already).

Christmas today resembles nothing of Jesus’ day, Constantine trashed all things Jewish and lest we forget, Christianity is grafted into (not from) the Judeac root, Jesus Himself.

In spite of it all, those who get it worship not the baby, but the existing risen Lord Jesus and rejoice, celebrating through gift exchange and fullness of food, sharing both in Jesus’ name.

The world has gone overboard, twisting each detail.  Christmas is an opportunity to profit, eat, drink, and be merry in all its temporary loud emptiness and glitter, avoiding the intent and meaning of Luke 2. It’s misplaced but we’ve mentioned that already.

(sigh) I can’t fix it.  But I can tell it better.  So can parents teach the real meaning, and please understand you are confusing your children when you let them actually truly believe in the unrecognizable morph of a false god, then a righteous servant of God into an elf in a red suit who can do magic.  Let’s have some fun with fairy tales but call them fairy tales, games if you wish. Consider this.  If they believe in Santa because you said to, and believe in Jesus because you said to, and find out Santa isn’t real, what about Jesus? Is He real or not?

The coffee is on.  The stockings beg attention.  One of my gifts is a tallit, a prayer shawl like those worn from Moses’ day, like in Jesus’ day, like He Himself wore.  I can hardly wait to see it.  I replaced Honey’s worn out Thompson Chain Reference study Bible.  What a blessing he wears out Bibles when years ago he didn’t open it.

May the peace of the season dwell in your hearts.  May your giving give all year. May the Messiah of the manger live in your homes.


Light of the world

The Bible has the patterns, or blueprint, of when Jesus was conceived, when He was born, and perhaps will return, and his sacrifice.  They’re laid out in the feasts given to Moses.

Because I have to get ready for work, I’ll add some detail when I get home, so stay tuned and don’t touch that dial.

In short, He was born in the fall, first day of the one week, 8 day Feast of Tabernacles or Booths, known also as Sukkot.  Being the Lamb of God, He died on Friday, the day before the high holy day of that year’s Passover, Saturday and Sabbath, giving up His spirit (voluntarily) at the precise hour lambs were being slaughtered in the temple — 3pm. That’s why they had to rush him to the tomb before sundown.

The scripture gives us the timing between Elizabeth and Mary.  Counting backward, the Light of the World came to us in Mary’s womb during Chanukah, a festival added only a few years before Jesus’ arrival and is also called The Feast of Lights.

Got it? Light of the world, Feast of Lights?

Therefore, December has great meaning associated with the coming of our savior.  But once again, through good ol’ Constantine’s hatred of the Jews, the date and the perception were manipulated to eliminate the real meaning and circumstance in order to de-Jew Christianity.

He was conceived in December.  He was born in the fall.  Consider also the feast of Trumpets is shortly before Tabernacles.  During Trumpets one of them the Trump of God.

“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more, when the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.”

We gentiles don’t have all the answers.  We are the grafted ones, the adopted.  It’s about time we paid attention to our Root.

the 25th of December

The 25th of December this year is just another day off. The Seattle kids got snowed in.  Their originating flight was delayed this morning at SeaTac eliminating connecting flights in two airports where more delays and cancellations were anticipated as they faced yet another wave of winter snot.  At the end of the day, the Chicago flight didn’t take off.  If they’d tried to get here, they’d be on the floor of O’hare at this moment — or at my nephew’s house in Sycamore, an hour west, but not here.  Rather than go through that, I’d prefer they are safe, warm, and comfortable at home.

From the CRS Report for Congress, “Congress, in several instances, created federal holidays after a sizable number of states had taken such action. In others, Congress took the lead. Each action emphasizes particular aspects of the American heritage that molded the United States as a people and a nation.”

In the spirit of Bill Cosby’s famous line, Congress brought this into our culture, congress can take it out anytime the votes are there to do it.  With an ever increasing anti-Christian socialist leaning in Washington, with all the Christmas wars going on over the traditional nativity scenes to celebrate the Congressionally declared holiday, when groups and individuals can demand we say one thing and not another e.g. “Merry Christmas,” don’t be surprised if Christmas is canceled by government.  There won’t need to be much more pressure.

We’ve had a government sanctioned Christianity-specific holiday for so long, we think it’s part of the Bill of Rights.  It’s not.  In fact, it still applies only to government employees.  It’s  not a federal law that you or I get December 25th off.  Our employers can and many do demand Christmas duty — hospitals, for instance.

Therefore, in light of these two points, that 1. it’s not a right and 2. it’s meaning and value is being chipped away by anti-Christian forces, we need to consider that Christmas, its name and its foundation, could easily morph into a generic Gift Day, or maybe be taken back to the pagan Winter Solstice.  The opposition doesn’t even want Santa. They claim he and his elves are too closely interwoven with Christianity. Shame on us for letting that happen!

Santa has always been as important as Cinderella in my house.  It is for the adults’ pleasure we tell children of magic and elves.  We love the sparkle in their eyes, of making pretend real.  We do them a disservice.  We lie.  It’s an abuse of their trust and innocence.  I cringe when I hear Christian parents, people who sing carols and tell the story of Jesus birth turn right around and throw the Santa crap at them.

I break rant here to acknowledge that there was a man named Nicholas who left gifts for good children.  He was such a good guy.  He went about doing good.  He was sainted.  He is not still alive, he does not live at the north pole, there are no toy making elves, or flying reindeer.

Make up your mind! It’s either a celebration of Jesus or it’s a secular holiday when we spend too much, eat too much, stress too much, and toss some loose change in a red bucket in front of the store where we continue to spend too much.

Yes, I’m upset over no family, again, the third Christmas in a row. It’s a family holiday after all, but this Santa tirade has been ongoing since my 20’s.  And just for the record, this is not Jesus’ birthday.  We all know that.  Christians chose December 25th about 1700 years ago for at least two reasons.  They wanted a special day to honor Him that was already a day off, they chose the winter solstice celebration day already going on and Christianized the symbols such as holly, the greenery, the yule log, and mistletoe in order to attract the pagans to the new Christian celebration of Jesus’ birthday. Plopping an angel on it doesn’t change much.

I agree that Jesus is the reason for the season. But don’t get on the soapbox of insisting it’s His birthday and then taking the kid to sit on Santa’s lap in a department store.  You’re embarrassing yourself and making us all look foolish.  December 25th is a traditional day pretty much drawn out of a hat to celebrate His first coming.  I don’t think He really minds that we got the date wrong.

But I have a strong hunch He doesn’t like sharing with Santa any more than He likes sharing His resurrection with rabbits and eggs.  (We’ve discussed the fertility worship in Babylon.  More of that — again — in April.)

Do your children a favor.  Make their eyes sparkle with the joy of Jesus’ love for us.  Share with them the magic of God’s incredible gift and how His Holy Spirit created a child in a way that hadn’t been done before and would never be done the same way again.

Santa is the story telling part, the pretending — like Cinderella and Snow White and Star Wars.  It’s no problem, it’s sparkly and fun, as long as they know it’s pretend.

Blessings and joy come from God, not Santa. Give credit where it’s due.


C’mon, tell the truth.

I used to think it would be fun to be in a crowd and when the inevitable hihowareyou greeting came, I would like to see what would happen if I answered “I have the flu” extending the “u” really close to the person who doesn’t really care how I am.  This is immature and will not happen.  Relax. Don’t do that even if you do have the flu–especially if you have the flu.  You shouldn’t be in a crowded room anyway.  Life isn’t as much fun when grown up.

This morning the usual, standard greeting was still “Hi, how are you.”  The difference between years ago and now is that I realize people really do mean it and if I were to answer with the truth, or even the standard fine, but just don’t move on, a conversation might happen, a nice conversation.  It is the way it is.

I said “Good morning, Dan.”  He asked “Hi, how are you?”  I answered “Fine.”  Then I turned around and walked back to him.  “I have a facial twitch, a toothache, and a sore heel.”  He laughed because I’m usually joking about life in general.  “No, really.  My left eye lower rim is twitching, the dentist’s assistance chipped a filling and I can’t bite down on it, and somebody broke into my house,  grabbed my right foot and injected broken glass and razor blades into the heel.”  He laughed harder.

Next would be “Have a nice day” but he was still laughing.  What could he say except “I hope you get better.”  What could I respond with except “Thanks” and hobble away.

On the way home from church, I tipped my head back and proceeded to doze off in that open mouth bobble headed sort of way as the car takes first a left curve, then a right, and so on.  Personally I think if the average East Tennessee driver had to deal with more than one or two one mile stretches of straight, flat pavement, he/she would start to shake uncontrollably and develop a facial twitch.  We made it home, I promptly kicked off the offending shoes and headed for the nap room.

What’s the date? The 14th of December?  Okay, I guess it’s time to start on the exterior illumination.  We have searched the shed, several drawers, a couple of closets and there are not enough lights.  After 35 years of marriage, you would think we would have an abundance of Christmas paraphernalia that we don’t need, not a shortage.  Wait.  We do have an abundance of stuff we haven’t used in several years.  Just not enough outdoor lights.  So the list of stuff to pick up just got longer.

The tree is still in the box under the dining room table.  The angel is hung.  Really.  We suspend her from a cup hook in the ceiling over the tree, she’s just treeless for another few days.  There are some lights on the back deck and an unplugged star on top of an aluminum pole and that’s it.  Like I say, we have a list which will probably be still laying on the counter when we both walk out of the house tomorrow morning.

Some fun news is that my friend Diana is sporting a pretty spanky diamond ring on her left hand.  So it’s been a pretty good day.  All said, the day was a blend of partially finished projects and a nap.

It’s only the 14th.

Good, good weekend, part one

It was a healing weekend after last week’s fun.  I was determined to buy the grandsons the Star Wars Clone voice synthesizer helmets.  I knew in the first place that the 5 yr old would love it.  I also knew the 2 year old wants everything the 5 year old has.  Property ownership has no boundaries for a 2 year old.  In spite of the manufacturer’s suggestion of 5+ , the 2 year old is getting his own.

Their dad pointed out that he doesn’t want to get into a pattern of duplicate gifting.  However … in this case … the probability of duplication is directly correlated to the toy’s level of cool.

The 2 year old is getting his own.  If it’s a bust, and the kid totally hates it, they have the receipt to exchange it.

Getting the helmets to them was trickier.

Black Friday is not on my plate.  I had to work anyway.  Since Wally’s is across the street, I can get what I need on lunch break.  That day I figured I’d push my way through the toy section to see if they were on sale.  First there weren’t crowds at 3pm.  Second, they were not marked down.  Sigh.  I put them in the cart anyway.  As soon as I put them in the back seat I thought of the shipping efforts.  That’s the first thing out of Honey’s mouth was his concern over shipping costs.  Okay, I’ll return them and go through Amazon.

Did you know Amazon doesn’t offer free super saving shipping options on toys?  I clicked my way through the process and was poised over the last key when I thought about going online with Target or Wally’s, pay for them and have the parents pick them up.  It didn’t take long to see that the online Target experience was going nowhere so I called the number.

(dial, dial, dial) Target Customer Service. How may I help you?

She was really nice and did everything she could to be helpful.  The outcome was less satisfactory.  They wouldn’t take my card number over the phone.  They would hold the merchandise for no more than 24 hours.  The south branch had none in stock but the north branch did.  The son couldn’t pick up anything when I called him as he was dashing through the snow to ring the Salvation Army bell for a couple of hours before he had to go to work.  The mommy was sitting under the 2 year old who had pink eye.  Glack!  Not the dreaded pink eye! So she wasn’t running any errands either.

After a few more phone calls, it was determined that not only would Target not take my Visa from me over the phone, they would not accept it from the son even with the 3 digit security number on the back even if he identified himself and had me on the phone with him.  You know, they and several thousand other people see him on television every night.  Being that recognizable and so easily found, he’s not likely to commit credit card fraud or identity theft  with his mother’s Visa card!

I told the nice girl how much I appreciated her efforts but that she should inform her superiors that I was one Amazon click away from not getting anything from Target.  Good grief.

Daddy picked up and paid for the helmets the next morning after dropping off the 5 yr old at kindergarten and the check is in the mail.  Really.

Tune in again soon for The Long Distance Nanny’s Adventure of the Plaid Flannel Pajamas.