Things I Think

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29 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    Hang in there, this too will pass. Then you get to handle all the returns 😉

    I’m not a big proponent of the way Christmas is presented or done, especially in our society. So I really don’t have anything to say about it.

  2. today in my world there’s too much snow and too much to get done, bored children and harried, exhausted parents, clogged septic systems, thousands in their expensive mountain digs with no power and snow up to their arm pits, several folk have been killed by falling snow-laden trees over the last two weeks and DMW’s request for prayer reflects way beyond desperation … i’m sitting here, trying to get my second wind, load my car and head off to join the family and do traditions that i wish i’d never started – i hope to revive a tradition from my childhood tonight and read the (real) Christmas story before bedtime

    i think that i’ve figured out where we’ve gone wrong … it all began with Disney and the magic kingdom … i don’t mean that as a flippancy either … now when i was a child … 🙄 …. that was during WW2, so that had something to do with the subdued celebrations in my memory … a wreath on your door and a tree in the window was considered decorating for Christmas and holidays was the word used for the 4th of July and Labor Day
    there were turkey or ham dinners, bowls of hard candy and unshelled mixed nuts complete with the nutcracker thing (i actually remember men sitting cracking nuts and conversing on the best technique for cracking the shell and leaving the meat intact ) and Bing Crosby singing babababoo style and a call to hear those sleigh bells jingaling (we never did)

    if there’s anybody here besides me today … pray for Michael and DMW and, if mama is out there in your kitchen sweating, her eyes glazed over, go ask her, “how can i help” or if she’s already told you how, go do it …

    God will provide and tomorrow’s trials are going to be sufficient again – Christmas belongs to us and we’re waiting for that Day of the biggest Hallelujah Chorus ever – oh how i wish we could catch the magic of that

  3. Covered says:

    EM, you are special! You took me to a place that seems so long ago and far away. I miss those days. Nuts and fruit in a stocking and happy to have it. Thanks for sharing, Merry Christmas

  4. Papias says:

    1, 9, 10 – I am becoming more and more aware of the need to take a collective breath and have a drink after Christmas is declared DONE. You know, sometime after dinner is done and we are all sitting around the fire and are content with spending time with those around us.

    Of course, tonight we have Christmas Eve service to do, and hoping that my little one will stay still long enough to let me enjoy it.
    And then, after putting the kids to bed tonight putting together their toys without getting mad at each other.
    Then waking up WAY too early tomorrow and having to tell the little ones to wait before tearing open their gifts until we are able to get our houseguest up.
    Watching thier faces light up with each gift, while I take pics and cradle my coffee, all the while knowing that we don’t have the money to get each anything.
    My wife spending all day in the kitchen making WAY too much food.

    That’s what Christmas means to me.

    4-8 – SO much tragedy, and so aware of the emptiness of the the reasonings. When did we lose the sense of saying “I don’t know..” and being OK with that?

  5. #8
    So, then, explain to me why there are killings in church buildings?
    Explain to me why there is persecution of believers chronicled throughout history that completely refutes the idea of “God’s hand of protection”?

    When we stop mixing mythology with the Good News about Jesus, and about Who He is (worthy of being followed without supposed magic protection for His followers), perhaps the unbelievers in our paths will give Him a hearing because we’re no longer selling malarkey

  6. I am perfectly fine with the way Christmas is done in our country. We are a bunch of cry babies – if we don’t have something to complain about, we are miserable.

    Does anyone think Christmas commercialism is new? I watched Miracle on 34th Street the other night – 1947 – it is an anti commercialism movie- bemoaning the loss of the meaning of Christmas. There is nothing new under the sun.

    Learn to separate the two. Have the sacred Christmas and alongside, have the Santa Christmas.

    Perhaps liturgical churches do it better as we add Advent mid week services to go along with the 4 Advent Sundays before Christmas(the season of Advent is not Christmas) – along with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.

    In between it all, you do your shopping(we did 90% online this year) and have a barn burner Christmas day… with no obligation to be “religious”.

  7. Actually it’s not Christmas Eve until the evening – so, for right now, Happy last day of Advent. 🙂

    For those who do not know, the 12 days of Christmas follow Christmas Day – so, if you are doing it right, Christmas is just beginning!

  8. BrianD says:

    Number eight:

  9. Chile says:

    I hear you, Michael, in that retail jobs at Christmas can be joy stealers. We once had a Tech retail job for a few Christmas seasons. It wasn’t easy.

    Yet, I still like Christmas.

    For numerous reasons we’ve had to be deliberately simple in our Christmas celebrations. We are not having a “barn burner” this year (though we have in the past.). Instead we are having a practical one, filling some needs our kids have.

    The part I like is sitting by the fire together, a chance to look at my grown children while they can still come home, visits to our favorite frozen mountain lake, a drive to see the lights, our sorry rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas” song with our own words, and a moment to think about the birth of Jesus the Christ.

    I love how Christmas reminds us to think of others. It might not be much, but those moments of wishing others a Merry Christmas have a little magic in them.

  10. nomans says:

    Cracks me up that you managed to seamlessly reference a colonoscopy in your Christmas eve edition of things i think.
    Merry Christmas, beautiful blog family.

  11. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    So, then, explain to me why there are killings in church buildings?
    Explain to me why there is persecution of believers chronicled throughout history that completely refutes the idea of “God’s hand of protection”?

    When we stop mixing mythology with the Good News about Jesus, and about Who He is (worthy of being followed without supposed magic protection for His followers), perhaps the unbelievers in our paths will give Him a hearing because we’re no longer selling malarkey”


  12. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Xmas is becoming less and less important for me, I no longer buy a bunch of presents, I no longer decorate for it so I’m weaning myself off the commercial aspect of the holiday. I will still have Xmas eve dinner with brethren and my kids tonite and family tomorrow but even that has been reduced. Just a couple of years ago me and my kids went to three houses on XMAS day and now we go to just one.

  13. Babylon's Dread says:

    Not my favorit TIT of all time but I haven’t been working retail… but a few thoughts from the peanut gallery. # 5 Every issue is a Christian issue and I am sure you know that. It is just not clear as to how this one applies. Some of us are gunning others not so much. #7 If it doesn’t work at a graveside then maybe it isn’t correct but that is why many of us abandoned Calvinism as an adequate explanation of God’s ways. # 8 Christian Zionists are trying to tell me exactly how and why God’s judgement works. I am still waiting for one of them to tell me how we will know when we have kissed them properly.

    And Merry Christmas Phoenix Scrooge. Affectionately intended of course.

    Rudolph the Red Dread

  14. Dave Rolph says:

    I have as many bad feelings about Christmas as anyone, but still love the holiday because the glory of the incarnation, when the Word became flesh, trumps everything else. I love having the privilege of telling people about God’s love at a time when they expect something religious. Christmas is our best opportunity to explain who Jesus is to people who haven’t met Him.

    But at Christmas my heart goes out to people who are in pain, and I feel your pain too.

  15. Paige says:

    Our family celebrates Christmas Adam! When the kids were little and pastor Dad was gone for Christmas Eve service and Christmas Day community dinner, the kids invented Christmas Adam = Dec 23rd. The tradition stuck. We have outdoor lights, a decorated tree, lots of Nativity scenes, an old old Advent banner & a lovely dinner with as many as we can collect around the table. Gifts only for the young kids. I’ve told my ‘kids’ for decades that any time I get to see them, it’s a holiday to me. We’ll have a brunch on the 25th with traditional waffles, strawberries and whipped cream. My sons are angry atheists, but they still love family traditions….and I can’t help but think it speaks to their inner spirit. God bless!

  16. Paige says:

    I read a book this week about Mother Theresa and the Sisters of Charity. I loved the concept of treating every person as if Jesus were inside them (no matter how repulsive) and looking at every act of kindness as if it is a touch of Jesus. One of Mother’s comments was ‘I believe that one act of kindness (to the dying) has the power to undo a lifetime of misery”. I really don’t think I can go wrong with this sort of attitude and perspective in this life.

  17. Fly on a Wall says:

    This has been a lean Christmas for me, the first that I can remember. I thought I’d be sad, but I’m having a GREAT time. I think it’s because I’m not out shopping, with a bunch of other people, spending money I don’t have, on people who don’t even want a gift (admit, how many of us enjoy getting gifts?). Instead I have a lot more time on my hands (unemployment) to go enjoy the things I love (hiking, walking around, enjoying decorations, spending time with my beloved) and I’m not going to be up all night wrapping presents or getting ready for a big holiday meal.

    I was in prayer the other day, and this thought came to me: there’s no harsher slave master than money. If only we can be content and live in a society without the constant need for more money… how happy would we be?

    Michael: I’m not being callous, I’m so sorry black December has been difficult for you and everyone else working in retail. I hope that you’ll get to enjoy your Christmas and reap from your hard work. God bless.

  18. Alex says:

    I sent Rolph and Chuck Smith a Lump of Coal for Christmas…but it didn’t go through.

    …great time with my wife and kids and friends tonight…we have an annual tradition of seeing a huge Christmas light display in a small town near us. It’s a pretty awesome display for a sleepy little city. They’ve outdone themselves (again).

    BTW, Santa Claus isn’t real. The Wizard of Oz is a man behind the curtain and Common Miracles might be common, but they ain’t no miracle…other than it’s a miracle how stupid people are so easily duped for so long.

    Gun Control: Both hands on the gun, Weaver style or Tactical stance and keep the front site on target.

    Merry Christmas to all…(the Hyper-Calvinist “all”)…and to all a good night! 🙂 😆

  19. It;s obvious that Alex got into the egg nog one too many times tonight.

  20. Ixtlan says:

    Weaver style, definitely Weaver style.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  21. Stryker says:

    #7 This whole ‘glory of God’ thing seems to be a very random anchor point to build a theology on.. Jesus is the glory of God. If anything else is, then He has hidden it deeply, beyond our perception, and any speculation on what glorifies God is just that; speculation

    Anyway friends, I hope you all have a blessed 12 days of Christmas..

  22. brian says:

    This will most likely seal my apostasy from the faith but I prayed God would heal and restore CS to those that were hurt in his ministry. About weapon control, I struggle with it, back in my Liberal days I said ban them all, then I met many weapon collectors, hunters etc, even militia type folks. They were actually very kind and caring folks who would come running if there was a fire, or an emergency. I have had a weapon pulled on me a few times in my life, never has law enforcement actually cared to be honest. The fact that I did not die on the scene proved that point. So do I want a weapon, I am not sure, but do I want a third party to have a weapon, I hope so. If that makes sense. I tend to have such things as water, emergency supplies to offer to others, of course this to marks my apostasy as I should be ready to take a life that would take from me. I have not been able to achieve that spirituality. Another spiritual failing on my part. I get that, in spades. To offer even more rank heresy I dont want to see people suffer at all, trust me that point is heresy with a vengeance.

    I think on the Birth of Jesus, I hope it is true, I really do, I want it to be, I cant even get that right in my apostasy which we all know has happened. But I still hope, which too marks my rank heresy. You know from the very cheap seats it is a very strange religion it really is.

  23. brian says:

    Another all nighter, old news for me, but I wish you all a very merry Christmas and the blessings of sleep. I really do, just a simple good night sleep. I know I would give alot for that.

  24. Tom Stipe says:

    Even though it is a lot of work for many people to open the church and make it ready for guests on Christmas Eve, the privilege of preaching the sacrifice of Jesus sent to this earth is still awesome. I can’t believe sometimes that I still get to do it. Even through the fatigue of the holidays, the listening souls and their shining faces make it well worth it. I am a fortunate man. We are having a white Christmas this morning in Colorado. Sometimes the simple things make the most sense.

  25. Fly on a Wall says:

    Brian: I don’t know if you’re being sarcastic, I’m new here but apostacy means leaving/renouncing the faith… do you no longer believe in Jesus? If that’s so, I’m very sorry to hear, that grieves me deeply. If you’re comfortable, I’d like to hear your story. I’d like to know why you’ve walked away from the faith. I won’t judge, as I’ve wanted to walk away many times myself. It’s a difficult time to keep running the race, sometimes I think we’re running off a spiritual cliff!

    I’m sorry to hear about your insomnia too. I’m plagued with it myself.

    As for Chuck Smith, my personal revelation has been that Calvary Chapel is done, stick a fork in it. It will never regain its glory days. If we’re really honest with ourselves, when was the last time a CC really inspired you? When was the last time Chuck personally came to you and gave you a hug and prayed with you? Yeah… exactly.

    And reading Alex’s blog, it’s very unnerving to see the “human” side of Papa Chuck, but if I’m to be honest, it’s always been there. Reconciliation? Well… he has to admit to abuse first before there’s reconciliation and that won’t happen. I’m not holding my breath, the CC system is a dead horse. Papa Smith is collecting on the interest of good things he’s done 20 years ago. It can’t last forever.

  26. #7 and 8: These “answers” are getting so tiresome. Is Dobson becoming another Pat RobertsonWhat the so-called christian spokespeople (and me too) need to do is just shut up and weep with those who weep.

    I so appreciated the Christmas Eve message at our church. The tragic events in the news as well as some close-to-home troubles that will never even make the local paper, along with various thoughts/feelings/questions that are on so many people’s minds, were acknowledged for what they are, with no “reasons” why or prophecies of impending judgement. Our need of the peace that only the Prince of Peace offers through His death and resurrection was the focus. No sugar-coating, no damning, no posturing, no promises of prosperity or a problem-free existence…just Jesus.

  27. With Pastor Tom I rejoice in the privilege to preach Jesus Incarnate God and his passion on Christmas to a full house and another near so…

  28. Fly,
    “As for Chuck Smith, my personal revelation…”

    I am quite curious about your “personal revelation.” Could you go in to some detail – especially the source?

    I personally have never trusted anyone who tells me they have a source of “personal” revelation – but perhaps you can convince me to change my mind.

  29. FWIW – been following the PhxP for some time now – since back in the days of the CC survivors’ focus
    i think (dunno) that God moves … and moves on …
    those who think that theirs is the only true expression of the teachings of the Faith may or may not be correct, BUT most of the population of planet (the USA in particular has not felt comfortable walking in cold to mainline churches for the past 50 or so years, so God went outside the disciplined and well organized church bodies (He knows what He’s doing), netted quite a varied catch of souls using some not so holy men of God and some who were just saying the words because they played well, perhaps … but whatever it took/takes, God hunts down His own and then we stumble and cry and persevere and move closer to Him even in our complaints and griefs … war is messy and the enemy won’t quit … Revelation 12:12

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