Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holding On To A Moment

I don't really have a point to this blog except to stamp a moment in time and share it with you.

It's officially Christmas Eve in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States, 2:11am to be more precise. My wife and I finished wrapping all the presents we lavished on our boys (too many...just little things mainly, but a lot of things to open...the joy of watching them receive is more a gift to us I'm sure...but that's another blog) and for the rest of my family. We watched the tail end of the 1999 A Christmas Carol and the Nativity Story twice before we finished wrapping. We wrap slowly. And now I should be in bed. I need to shower first and we plan to get up at 6 to make sure we are all prepped when Daniel wakes up and walks downstairs. I'm looking at 3 hours of sleep...but the only lights on in the house are the tree and the mantle above the fireplace. All is quiet except for the clock on the wall and I just can't bring myself to sleep yet. I love how we mark this season. It's truly beautiful to me. The Music, the food, the movies, the decorations, the candles...and we do it all (except for the lights on the outside, never got around to that) but I certainly don't think we allow it to take our focus away from The Real Reason like pop-Christian-culture seems to be trying to tell us we do.

All these things mark the season. Just like pumpkins in October, Turkey and Pilgrims in November, Blueberry pie and fireworks in July and Shamrock Shakes from McDonalds in March! December is just my favorite and I'm a little sad when it has to end, the tree comes down and I don't replace it with anything. But the absence of the things that mark only make them sweeter come next December 1st. The beautiful truth is that our God is with us Jan 1-Dec 31, our God made flesh, our God come to live among us, our God who bought us back to Himself!

Redemption. What an incredible and beautiful concept.

And what a beautiful night. :) Thanks for listening.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Minute Angels

I've been enjoying a December at home, unlike some of my hard working colleagues out and about on tours this Christmas, and while I love to perform Christmas music and get the itch for the tour bus (vans and airports aren't itchy) life, I am absolutely Loving being home and finding a rhythm with my wife and kids. I did play with Glory Revealed December 6th here in the Atlanta area which is always a blast, and had a concert outside of Wichita, Kansas last week (a special little intimate concert with just me a guitar and a piano...that I ended with Silent Night!) but beside that, I've been home, trying to keep margin, make cookies, finish the end-of-year family home video, catch up on photo albums, brainstorm Christmas presents for loved ones, plan for next year, reading influentially worthwhile books, write good songs and make sure that I enjoy it all without missing out on the beauty of the season.

Sidenote...if we make an effort to keep Jesus the focal point of our lives all year round, we may not need to feel the pressure to 'make sure we focus on Jesus this month.' It's kinda nice to look forward to simple things, like the fact that the Christmas lights can make your house look really pretty, egg nog tastes awesome and making dozens of cookies is finally socially acceptable, all the while never forgetting that the reason WE celebrate this time of year is GOD became one of us in order to save us. Pretty outstanding: even in June.

So yesterday, enjoying our margin, I began chatting with a good friend of mine about how he looks just like a TV show host who inspired us to make a Sicilian Pizza for dinner. He jokingly invited himself over to join us, and I said, "sweet, come over!" (I still say sweet) His wife was at Bible study so he brought over the kids: we ate some homemade pizza, decorated some cookies with a LOT of sprinkles, sang, danced and just talked like good friends do.

There's a certain energy in a spontaneous evening that is so much more fun to me than something that has been on the calendar for weeks. I highly recommend the last minute invite.