Advent Reflection on Streams in the Desert and Shouts of Joy

Advent Reflection on Streams in the Desert and Shouts of Joy Psalm 126:1-6 Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. Psalm 126:4-5 Where I live in the Texas Hill Country, hundreds of creeks meander through the oak-covered hills, canyons, and ranches. A [Read More...]

Christmas according to Dickens: The First “Ebenezer Scrooge”

The churchyard of Elmley Castle Church, Worcestershire, Great Britain

Part 4 of series: Christmas According to Dickens The First “Ebenezer Scrooge” If I were to tell you that Charles Dickens wrote a story about a solitary, crotchety old man who despised both people and Christmas until some supernatural visitors came to him on Christmas Eve and taught him to have a new perspective on [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Saturday, December 10

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent Doodle for Saturday, December 10. For the last seven years, I have put up an online Advent calendar during the season of Advent. It featured pictures suitable for the season, matched with passages of Scripture. This year, I’m doing an online Advent Calendar once [Read More...]

The High Calling App Has Just Been Released

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I am pleased to announce the release of The High Calling app. As you may already know, TheHighCalling.org is a website and online community that is part of Foundations for Laity Renewal, where I work. Until now, you could visit The High Calling through your web browser. Thousands of people do this each month. Also, [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Friday, December 9

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent Doodle for Friday, December 9. For the last seven years, I have put up an online Advent calendar during the season of Advent. It featured pictures suitable for the season, matched with passages of Scripture. This year, I’m doing an online Advent Calendar once [Read More...]

The Real Business of Christmas, according to Charles Dickens

The two “portly gentlemen” from a stage production of A Christmas Carol in Omaha, Nebraska

Part 3 of series: Christmas According to Dickens The Real Business of Christmas, according to Charles Dickens In yesterday’s post I began to explain the impact of Charles Dickens, especially through A Christmas Carol, upon our celebrations of Christmas. In fact, it’s not too much of an exaggeration to describe him, in the words of [Read More...]

Free Audio Version of A Chrismas Carol by Dickens

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Here’s a great opportunity. It was brought to my attention by Craig Beard, who left a comment on my post a couple of days ago. christianaudio.com is giving away a free audio version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. As near as I can tell, this is truly free. No signing up for a [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Thursday, December 8

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent Doodle for Thursday, December 8. For the last seven years, I have put up an online Advent calendar during the season of Advent. It featured pictures suitable for the season, matched with passages of Scripture. This year, I’m doing an online Advent Calendar once [Read More...]

Charles Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas?

Charles Dickens at work

Part 2 of series: Christmas According to Dickens Dickens: The Man Who Invented Christmas? In 1988, the Sunday Telegraph of London gave Charles Dickens the title of “The Man Who Invented Christmas.” If you’re not familiar with the history of Christmas celebrations, this may seem like an enormous exaggeration. But when you look more closely, [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Wednesday, December 7

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent Doodle for Wednesday, December 7. For the last seven years, I have put up an online Advent calendar during the season of Advent. It featured pictures suitable for the season, matched with passages of Scripture. This year, I’m doing an online Advent Calendar once [Read More...]

Christmas According to Dickens: Introduction

Part 1 of series: Christmas According to Dickens Our Favorite Christmas Carol? If you were to ask people “What is your favorite Christmas carol?” you’d get a wide variety of answers. Many would offer up “Silent Night” or “Joy to the World.” Folks who count all Christmas songs as carols might mention “Winter Wonderland” or [Read More...]

In Praise of the Smell of Christmas Trees

One of my favorite, recent Christmas trees, a Fraser Fir. Not often sold in California, this variety is plentiful in Texas, though it is grown only in the southern Appalachians.

There’s nothing quite like a great smell. A smell has power like no other sensory experience, especially when it comes to memory. It’s well known that a certain smell can activate our memories like nothing else. That’s one of the main reasons I love fresh, genuine Christmas trees. These days, artificial Christmas trees are hardly [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Tuesday, December 6

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent Doodle for Tuesday, December 6. For the last seven years, I have put up an online Advent calendar during the season of Advent. It featured pictures suitable for the season, matched with passages of Scripture. This year, I’m doing an online Advent Calendar once [Read More...]

Christmas Takes the Lead: Merry Christmas 2 – Happy Holidays 1

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During Christmastime, oops, the holiday season, or, um, whatever, I find it interesting to observe the institutional gyrations as businesses, schools, and governments deal with the challenge of Christmas. Traditionally, of course, “Merry Christmas” prevailed, along with Christmas trees and even nativity scenes. But, in recent years, concerns about the feelings of non-Christian folk have [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Monday, December 5

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent Doodle for Monday, December 5. For the last seven years, I have put up an online Advent calendar during the season of Advent. It featured pictures suitable for the season, matched with passages of Scripture. This year, I’m doing an online Advent Calendar once [Read More...]

Why is Advent Like Learning to Ride a Bike?

Photo from Flickr:

Advent is like learning to ride a bike. No, you don’t have to wear a helmet. No, there is little risk that you will scrape your elbows. No, you don’t even need training wheels. Actually, I can think of several similarities between Advent and learning to ride a bike. For one thing, neither is really [Read More...]


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