A Stress Free Christmas: Five Ways to Keep Santa in the Season

Happy holiday time has arrived. Way too many folks suffer unnecessary stress during this time, mainly because of a lack of focus on the really important center, which is, of course, Santa, gifts, family and fun. However, we all face multiple distractions which dilute the reasons for the season. So, below, you will five suggestions [Read More…]

The Bleak Midwinter: Why Sad Music at this Time of the Year?

I wrote this column last year and it turned out to be a huge hit on this blog, so decided to run it again this year. Dear Christmas Advice-Giver, Why are some of the religious Christmas Carols so sad when this is the season of happiness?  I mean, really, “In the Bleak Midwinter?” Nothing like [Read More…]

Every Child Born Changes the Entire World

Every child born changes the entire world. Whether eagerly longed for or dreaded, male or female, impoverished or ultra-wealthy, every child changes the world. Whether loaded with physical and mental challenges or worry-free healthy, a musical prodigy or profoundly tone-deaf, hair sunny-silky light or wildly curly/kinky dark, skin glorious ebony-rich to albino-like pale, every child [Read More…]

From Barren to Baby, Hope After Tragedy

As did many clergy, I faced a dilemma with this Sunday’s message after the events of Friday’s massacre of children. For Advent this year, I had decided to do a series I called “From Barren to Baby” and speak of some of Jesus’ ancestors, particularly those whose stories started with the barren woman scenario.  I [Read More…]

A Normal Day Interrupted by a Divine Appointment?

I woke yesterday with a sense of work-urgency informing my plans for the day.  It was the first day I had any real schedule freedom to do intensive work on the many messages that need to be prepared and delivered in the next 12 days. My Director of Worship and I have been working on [Read More…]

More on the Confusion Between Santa and God

This letter appeared in the “Dear Abby” advice column that was in the newspaper on December 8, 2012: DEAR ABBY: Last night I received a call from my almost-5-year-old granddaughter asking me for Santa Claus’ phone number. It seems she is very angry at her daddy for calling her a brat because she wouldn’t give [Read More…]

Christmas Advice Column: Why Sad Christmas Music?

Dear Christmas Advice-Giver, Why are some of the religious Christmas Carols so sad when this is the season of happiness?  I mean, really, “In the Bleak Midwinter?”  Nothing like a downer.  Aren’t we all supposed to be just super joyful right now?  And what does “bleak” mean anyway? Signed, “Bleakless” Dear Bleakless, Here’s the situation: [Read More…]

Santa is NOT Jesus!

I love Christmas music.  The great hymns and classical pieces fill my soul and some of the other lighter pieces add a nice touch of frivolity to the season.  But I have one major gripe. A few days ago, I was idly listening to some Christmas music on TV while halfway engaged in another task. [Read More…]

God With Us? Are You Sure?

I am convinced that, despite what I am sure will be countless calls to “Put Christ back into Christmas!” and other such yearly holiday pleas, most people really have no desire for God to actually show up during this season. We sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” With these words, we call for God to [Read More…]

This Time of the Year

Always at this time of the year, I find myself both looking forward to and dreading Christmas. I look forward to the music, to the lights and decorations. They remind me of angelic hosts announcing good news that God enters fully into human experience. I delight in the extra generosity that encourages us to look [Read More…]