Jesus Isn’t Threatened by Your Christmas Gifts

Christmas is fast approaching and, not surprisingly, my kids are looking forward to seeing what’s under the tree. The girls, at least, are still young enough that they are waiting with bated breath to learn what treasures they’ll be receiving. I love this. I enjoy their anticipation and am excited to experience their joy as they unwrap what Aileen and I have bought for them. It promises to be a good morning. At the same time, I think we all …

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Merry Christmas

Good morning, and merry Christmas. I trust you are enjoying a sweet and meaningful holiday today. My family has two Christmas traditions: The at-home-in-Canada and the away-in-Chattanooga traditions. This year we are in Chattanooga where my family lives. Some friends of friends were kind enough to allow us access to their home while they are away, so we have a beautiful place to stay. We have already opened gifts and a bit later on will get together with my family–parents, …

The Great Christ Comet

What do we do about that pesky star? Inseparable from the narrative of Jesus’ birth is the “star of wonder, star of night / Star with royal beauty bright” that we sing about in our Christmas carols (and, of course, read about in the book of Matthew). What was that star? Where did it come from? If it was so unusual and magnificent that it could lead wise men from the East all the way to Bethlehem, why don’t we …

Merry Christmas

My family celebrates two very different kinds of Christmas. Some years we head down to the South, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to spend Christmas with my parents, my siblings, and their families. Other years we stay right here at home and keep things smaller and quieter. It is one of those stay-at-home years–we are at home and following our usual, treasured Christmas morning rituals: The kids woke up early, but managed to contain themselves until 7. The girls, that is. My …

Why We Know So Little About Jesus’ Birth

We know so little about Jesus’ birth. While it has been the subject of billions of dramatizations and endless speculations, the historian Luke gives it all of one sentence: “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” It is almost frustrating, isn’t it? If I had been writing the story of Jesus’ life, I would have written paragraphs …

No Low Too Low

No one expected that the Messiah would come how he came. Yes, the people knew that at some point God would send a Savior, but they could hardly have expected that he would be born to unknown parents and that he would enter this world in a barn. They would hardly have expected that their Messiah would be born in the lowest possible circumstances. Why was it important to God’s purpose that Jesus be born so low? There are many …

A Christmas Prayer

I am looking forward to Christmas this year. Though I have no great affection for the Christmas season and all its commercialization, I do love the day, and I love to celebrate it with my family. I have also been able to preach for the past couple of Sundays which has helped me focus on the unfathomable wonder of God made man. Yet of all I read and all I pondered, the sweetest might be this simple prayer by Robert …

Please Don’t Give Them Porn for Christmas

This Christmas a lot of children will receive porn from under the tree. It not what they wanted, and not what their parents intended for them to have. But they will get it anyway. The first iPod, the first tablet, the first laptop—these are today’s coming of age rituals. We give our daughter her first iPod and she responds with joy. While we know there is lots of bad stuff out there on the Internet, we never imagine that she—our …

Moroni From the Realms of Glory

You’ve got to be careful what you share online. Over the weekend Facebook and Twitter were suddenly inundated with links to a new recording of the Christmas hymn “Angels From the Realms of Glory” mashed up with “Angels We Have Heard on High.” It was recorded by The Piano Guys and features David Archuleta, a one-time runner up on American Idol. It is a creative recording that intersperses shots of the musicians with video taken to record the world’s largest …