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

Photo from

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...]

Online Advent Calendar for Sunday, December 4

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent Doodle for Sunday, December 4. 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...]

Advent Reflection on Forgiveness and Hope

Advent Reflection on Forgiveness and Hope Psalm 130:1-8 LORD, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive? But you offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear you. Psalm 130:3-4 Psalm 130 begins with a desperate cry for help. The psalmist calls out to God “from the depths of [Read More...]

How Can You Be Polite When You’re Talking To (Not On, but To) Your Phone?

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Now we have a new challenge to our social order and general peace of mind: people talking to (not on, but to) their phones, their “virtual assistants,” if you will. This problem was highlighted in an article in the New York Times, “Virtual Assistants Raise New Issues of Phone Etiquette” by Nick Wingfield. Here’s is [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Saturday, December 3

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent Doodle for Saturday, December 3. 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...]

How Exercise Helps You Think Better

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It’s not uncommon these days to hear pop psychologists, fitness gurus, and even serious scientists claim that exercise helps us think better. There is some connection, it is asserted, between physical exercise and the brain. Now, we are beginning to understand this connection, which supports the notion that exercise actually helps us to think better. [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Friday, December 2

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent doodle for Friday, December 2. 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...]

Score at the End of the Second Inning: McDonalds 2, San Francisco 1

Photo from WikiCommons

San Francisco was leading at the end of the first inning by a score of 1-0. I think San Francisco thought they had won the game, beating McDonalds soundly. But it turns out that there are more innings to be played, and McDonalds is leading at the end of the second. Let me explain what [Read More...]

Should You Ask Santa for a Tablet or an E-reader?

From WikiCommons

“Should you ask Santa for a tablet or an e-reader?” Edward C. Baig, writing for USA Today, recently asked this question in an article the evaluates the relative benefits and limits of tablets and e-readers. His article does an excellent job laying out the specifics and making recommendations. If you’re thinking about purchasing a tablet [Read More...]

Online Advent Calendar for Thursday, December 1

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent doodle for Thursday, December 1. 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...]

Online Advent Calendar for Wednesday, November 30

Click on the image to the right to see the Advent doodle for Wednesday, November 30. 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...]


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