Because a "Christmas blog" can't last forever, it's time to move the focus back over to the main blog.
Because I ended on an exhortation to myself to continue celebrating Christmas beyond December 25, I'll keep the discussion going over there.
This page will stay linked, but I won't add to it -- at least not, maybe, until December 2016, Lord willing. The link will remain on the main page, so you are welcome to continue to "open" and share what's there. Merry Life, y'all!
Another Christmas comes to a close; Christmas 2015 has only few hours left to it.
In our family, that period between the meal and the end of the holiday is usually filled by dinner clean-up, dismantling Mount Boxmore, testing batteries, discussing returns, and playing games. Truthfully, this is when the afterglow is the sweetest and the most intense. Sure, there have been some moments of tension punctuated by unnecessarily sharp words or painted with frustrated tones, but for the most part, the most stressful hours are behind us. Now, memories of laughter, delight, surprise, thankfulness stir the embers in our hearts. Smiles are in excess, bellies are filled, and a few slumbering snores are heard about the house.
It's Christmas Eve, and this is the carol I have going through my head today. Nearly every verse contains a deep, theological truth, and with Catherine Winkworth's translation, expressed in eloquent and heavenly language. Here's a sample in the third:
Shall we still dread God's displeasure,
Who, to save, freely gave His most cherished Treasure?
To redeem us, He hath given
His own Son from the throne of His might in Heaven.
Don't judge. I know it seems a contradiction to post a collection of Christmas-themed television ads amidst a series of blog posts about the true and deeper and more significant meaning of Christmas. But hear me out.
But when I was a child, or more like a pre-teen, when what you wore back to school the day back from Christmas break was critical to your social standing, those Christmas ads actually gave this awkward youngster hope that, to some people, the season meant more than acceptance via labels, brands, and quantity.
What is a Wenceslas, and why do we sing about it at Christmas time? What is it about this jaunty little tune by John Mason Neale that has earned it a place in the Christmas carol repertoire as well as in the hearts of many for the past 160 years -- even though not a word about Christmas is mentioned anywhere in the lyrics?
For today's Christmas blog post, I am recommending one of the best Christmas sermons I've ever heard.
Nothing says home to me like being able to kick off my shoes. Home means my day's labors are done (even if I'm working from home) and nobody's standards but mine need be followed when it's time to relax -- and that translates into freeing my toes and feeling the ground beneath my feet.
Moonless darkness stands between.
Past, O Past, no more be seen!
But the Bethlehem star may lead me
To the sight of Him who freed me
From the self that I have been.
Make me pure, Lord: Thou are holy;
Make me meek, Lord: Thou wert lowly;
Now beginning, and alway:
Now begin, on Christmas day.
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
Aslan is on the move.
Imagine being a part of the resistance network in an occupied country, waiting for word from your commander to trickle down through the ranks. Imagine hearing that he has arrived behind enemy lines, that he is moving into position, setting up an operations base for an internal assault, an invasion from within.
It's always winter but never Christmas.
Linus, from The Charlie Brown Christmas Special
Christmas Wars aside, a grand puzzlement of the past fifty years is that Linus's recitation of Luke 2:8-14 from "The Charlie Brown Christmas Special" is still broadcast during prime time several times during the season.
From Thanks2Giving '15
Return to Thinking again
From Thanks2Giving '16
December 1: Being a Pilgrim for Christmas
December 2: Craving Christmas, Desiring Christ
December 3: Strangers on Christmas Day
December 4: Hail Redemption's Happy Dawn!
December 5: Eureka!
December 6: O Henry, the Magi, and the Gift
December 7: Christmas Impersonators
December 8: This Year's Best Christmas Ad?
December 9: Why So Much Joy?
December 10: Where is the Method in the Madness?
December 11: Waiting for Redemption
December 12: Winter for a Reason
December 13: A Special Little Christmas
December 14: Mary and Holy Merriment
December 15: The Christmas Eve Truce
December 16: His Name Shall Be Jesus
December 17: C.B. and the Meaning of Christmas
December 18: Peace, Not Peace
December 19: Moonless Darkness Stands Between
December 20: He Makes Room for Us
December 21: Speaking of Glory . . .
December 22: A Christmas Carol That's Not About Christmas
December 23: Lessons Learned from Lean Christmases
December 24: All My Heart This Night Rejoices
December 25: The Neverending Gift Exchange
A Concluding Note: Do Not Open Until Christmas 2016
Laura Miller, home for the holidays