Christ in Christmas



Some traditions need changed

 It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Perhaps.

To some people.

During the holiday season, we hear accusations of “culture wars” or “Christmas wars.” There are various stories of people complaining that some politician is calling the city’s decorations a “Holiday Tree” instead of a Christmas tree. Elementary students can’t sing traditional Christmas carols like “Angels We Have Heard On High,” only songs like “Jingle Bells.”

Christians get worked up over the scrubbing of Christ from Christmas. Secular people state that not everyone is celebrating the same thing.

On a similar note, my family enjoyed The Sing Off on NBC. The singers they bring in are so amazing. They had a Christmas special on December 5th, and it brought some of the most popular groups from the 3 seasons to perform. It was a very enjoyable performance, but I realized after a while that all of the songs were focused at the secular side of Christmas. I didn’t listen to every performance, so I may have missed something, but even though it was billed as Christmas and inspirational, there were no Christmas hymns. The groups may not be Christians, but some amazing songs come from the Christmas hymn tradition and would be great for acapella groups to tackle.

I am not here to throw another punch for the culture wars. I still enjoyed this special. It is still disappointing to listen to two hours of music without any classic hymns. It is sad to miss out on Christ in Christmas.

Secular people may point to the facts that Christianity superceded other pagan holidays or traditions over time to draw people to Church celebrations. Point taken! Guilty as charged.

I can’t change that fact. Still, we have hundreds of years of tradition for Christmas. Even though some traditions are relatively new, there is still background that has changed rapidly in the last several years.

I’m willing to share. I don’t care if a Christmas album has “Jingle Bells” or “White Christmas” on it. But I don’t want to see “O Holy Night” or “Go Tell It On The Mountain” relegated to church only though. Why can’t we all have time in December? How does that sound?

Christ in Christmas



Some traditions need changed

 It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Perhaps.

To some people.

During the holiday season, we hear accusations of “culture wars” or “Christmas wars.” There are various stories of people complaining that some politician is calling the city’s decorations a “Holiday Tree” instead of a Christmas tree. Elementary students can’t sing traditional Christmas carols like “Angels We Have Heard On High,” only songs like “Jingle Bells.”

Christians get worked up over the scrubbing of Christ from Christmas. Secular people state that not everyone is celebrating the same thing.

On a similar note, my family enjoyed The Sing Off on NBC. The singers they bring in are so amazing. They had a Christmas special on December 5th, and it brought some of the most popular groups from the 3 seasons to perform. It was a very enjoyable performance, but I realized after a while that all of the songs were focused at the secular side of Christmas. I didn’t listen to every performance, so I may have missed something, but even though it was billed as Christmas and inspirational, there were no Christmas hymns. The groups may not be Christians, but some amazing songs come from the Christmas hymn tradition and would be great for acapella groups to tackle.

I am not here to throw another punch for the culture wars. I still enjoyed this special. It is still disappointing to listen to two hours of music without any classic hymns. It is sad to miss out on Christ in Christmas.

Secular people may point to the facts that Christianity superceded other pagan holidays or traditions over time to draw people to Church celebrations. Point taken! Guilty as charged.

I can’t change that fact. Still, we have hundreds of years of tradition for Christmas. Even though some traditions are relatively new, there is still background that has changed rapidly in the last several years.

I’m willing to share. I don’t care if a Christmas album has “Jingle Bells” or “White Christmas” on it. But I don’t want to see “O Holy Night” or “Go Tell It On The Mountain” relegated to church only though. Why can’t we all have time in December? How does that sound?

O Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

O Holy Night

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O’er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Last Minute Christmas Gifts?

I’d like to provide the Spoiled for the Ordinary 2nd annual Alternative Gift Giving Guide. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect something for a loved one, maybe it is because they don’t need anything!

Instead of buying another unwanted trinket, consider donating on behalf of others and benefit those who really need it.

International Justice Mission – an organization providing justice, rescue, and rehabilitation for victims of the slave trade and sex trafficking.

World Vision – providing food and medical care around the world for years. One of the most respected charities out there.

Wonderfully Made Jewelry – do double duty! Find a beautiful jewelry piece for someone, made by rescued victims of trafficking. The jewelry may seem a little expensive, but it is not coming at the expense of sweat-shop labor.

Angel Tree by Prison Fellowship – Angel Tree provides presents to the children of prisoners, and is a way of showing hope to both the prisoner (who often feels guilty about not being able to provied for their kids) and the family left at home. Prison Fellowship offers many outreaches and services to prisoners all year.

Mercy Ships – these ships travel the world to offer medical, dental, and community development services to some of the poorest of all.

There are other worthy organizations out there, but most of these I’ve had experience with, and I know there is good return on your investment.

Be a blessing this Christmas season, and God bless you!

Last Minute Christmas Gifts?

I’d like to provide the Spoiled for the Ordinary 2nd annual Alternative Gift Giving Guide. If you’re having trouble finding the perfect something for a loved one, maybe it is because they don’t need anything!

Instead of buying another unwanted trinket, consider donating on behalf of others and benefit those who really need it.

International Justice Mission – an organization providing justice, rescue, and rehabilitation for victims of the slave trade and sex trafficking.

World Vision – providing food and medical care around the world for years. One of the most respected charities out there.

Wonderfully Made Jewelry – do double duty! Find a beautiful jewelry piece for someone, made by rescued victims of trafficking. The jewelry may seem a little expensive, but it is not coming at the expense of sweat-shop labor.

Angel Tree by Prison Fellowship – Angel Tree provides presents to the children of prisoners, and is a way of showing hope to both the prisoner (who often feels guilty about not being able to provied for their kids) and the family left at home. Prison Fellowship offers many outreaches and services to prisoners all year.

Mercy Ships – these ships travel the world to offer medical, dental, and community development services to some of the poorest of all.

There are other worthy organizations out there, but most of these I’ve had experience with, and I know there is good return on your investment.

Be a blessing this Christmas season, and God bless you!

I Celebrate the Day

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say
to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me,
in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize
that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I'll compare
the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

Relient k
I Celebrate the Day

I Celebrate the Day

And with this Christmas wish is missed
The point I could convey
If only I could find the words to say
to let You know how much You've touched my life
Because here is where You're finding me,
in the exact same place as New Year's eve
And from a lack of my persistency
We're less than half as close as I want to be

And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize
that You would be my Savior
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

And so this Christmas I'll compare
the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

Relient k
I Celebrate the Day

Alternative Christmas Gifts

Yesterday I mentioned my friend’s baby boutique, Lovely Lullabies Boutique, as an online option for Christmas shopping. If you don’t have anyone that is in baby mode that you need to shop for, and you’re frustrated about what to get them, I have a couple of suggestions.

Many of us in the West don’t really NEED anything. We have wish lists of the latest toys and gadgets, styles, or whatever. I am definitely talking about myself in this as well. What if we could give something that was meaningful and made a difference in people’s lives?

I have a couple of examples of things that can be done.

There is a new trend with charities that gives a concrete example of what is given, and it is a great opportunity for kids to see what they are doing with their gift. If you’ve got a family member that has everything, then you can also give something in their name via the charity.

World Vision is one of the best charities when it comes to financial accountability. They have a “gift catalog“, where you can give $25 dollars to by chicks for a village, or $250 worth of food for $50. The catalog explains how a $75 goat can be such a windfall for a family providing protein-rich milk, cheese and yogurt as well as the possibility of offspring. For just $30, 5 ducks can be provided, with eggs and extra ducklings to sell for money. It is an awesome opportunity to help those who really need the help, and again it is a concrete way of seeing the money spent, rather just sending a check into the void.

International Justice Mission is another of my favorite charities. They work on behalf of oppressed peoples in slavery and trafficking around the world, whether for sweat shops, forced prostitution, or other instances of injustice. They also have a freedom catalog. Gifts of $25 – $50 can buy a half or whole day of investigative work, which is needed to find the people in need and line up the proper government authorities to enforce the right laws, or aftercare for abused girls. The gifts here are a little more abstract, but still the money is going to a specific activity, which can be much more meaningful.

I hope people can consider these options in their gift-giving plans. I’m sure there are other charities out there that do similar things, these are just two of the charities I have chosen to support because I believe in their mission and trust their accountability. Since we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus, let’s remember His words about “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” (paraphrase of Matt 25:40)

Alternative Christmas Gifts

Yesterday I mentioned my friend’s baby boutique, Lovely Lullabies Boutique, as an online option for Christmas shopping. If you don’t have anyone that is in baby mode that you need to shop for, and you’re frustrated about what to get them, I have a couple of suggestions.

Many of us in the West don’t really NEED anything. We have wish lists of the latest toys and gadgets, styles, or whatever. I am definitely talking about myself in this as well. What if we could give something that was meaningful and made a difference in people’s lives?

I have a couple of examples of things that can be done.

There is a new trend with charities that gives a concrete example of what is given, and it is a great opportunity for kids to see what they are doing with their gift. If you’ve got a family member that has everything, then you can also give something in their name via the charity.

World Vision is one of the best charities when it comes to financial accountability. They have a “gift catalog“, where you can give $25 dollars to by chicks for a village, or $250 worth of food for $50. The catalog explains how a $75 goat can be such a windfall for a family providing protein-rich milk, cheese and yogurt as well as the possibility of offspring. For just $30, 5 ducks can be provided, with eggs and extra ducklings to sell for money. It is an awesome opportunity to help those who really need the help, and again it is a concrete way of seeing the money spent, rather just sending a check into the void.

International Justice Mission is another of my favorite charities. They work on behalf of oppressed peoples in slavery and trafficking around the world, whether for sweat shops, forced prostitution, or other instances of injustice. They also have a freedom catalog. Gifts of $25 – $50 can buy a half or whole day of investigative work, which is needed to find the people in need and line up the proper government authorities to enforce the right laws, or aftercare for abused girls. The gifts here are a little more abstract, but still the money is going to a specific activity, which can be much more meaningful.

I hope people can consider these options in their gift-giving plans. I’m sure there are other charities out there that do similar things, these are just two of the charities I have chosen to support because I believe in their mission and trust their accountability. Since we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus, let’s remember His words about “whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me.” (paraphrase of Matt 25:40)