2014

  • 01.Magical.season

    Magical season

    A few years ago, a very talented friend of mine spent untold hours building a wonderfully intricate Christmas model out of salt dough. The centerpiece was the stable, but the scene stretched well beyond that, deep into Bethlehem and the surrounding countryside. The buildings were painted, the streets were strewn with very fine gravel, there […]

  • 02.SHINY-RED-APPLES

    Shiny red apples

    Christmas 1984 was our family’s third Christmas away from Europe, and the remote village in eastern India where we had moved to help as volunteers had become a second home. After some initial difficulty in adjusting to such a different climate and culture, we soon came to appreciate the wonderful people we lived around and […]

  • 03.timeless-carols

    Timeless carols

    Something I’ve always loved about Christmas is listening to and singing the beautiful Christmas carols that have been written over the centuries. I like them so much that I often listen to them at other times throughout the year. Many are masterpieces and deeply moving. Recently, when looking online for the words to some of […]

  • 04.he-come-to-us

    He came to us

    Recently, I was reading about the history of Christmas and where our various Christmas traditions come from, including ones that may have originated in pagan rituals or festivals, and it struck me that one of the most fundamental truths about Jesus is how He accepts each of us where we’re at. Jesus says that He’ll […]

  • 05.repainting-angel

    Repainting the angel

    The statuette of an angel holding the hand of a little boy had been placed on a neglected back shelf in an antique shop. It was covered with soot and dust, lost amidst the clutter of jars, dishes, and ornaments. A man browsing through the shop discovered the figurine and had an inspiration: He would […]

  • 06.Christmas-shoes-best

    The Christmas shoes

    The Christmas season—undoubtedly my favorite season of the year—holds many unforgettable memories. It was on a snowy December day when I was six years old that our family flew home to the U.S. from the Philippines, where we had been missionaries for the previous several years. This was the first time I met my grandparents […]

  • 07.those.shepherds

    Those dirty shepherds

    “There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”—Luke 2:8 NIV When I was a child, one of my favorite pictures of Jesus depicted Him as the Good Shepherd, carrying a lamb around His shoulders. If you’re like me, you might have expected that those shepherds watching their […]

  • 08.sky-ballet

    Sky ballet

    It was Christmas morning, and my wife and I were enjoying a break at the end of what had been a hectic December. The view from our hotel balcony—a pristine lake surrounded by snowcapped mountains—was idyllic, but as an avid bird watcher, it’s what was happening above that caught my interest. Several large flocks of […]

  • 09.gifts-for-jesus

    1,001 gifts for Jesus

    Last Christmas, the magical spark never came. I was bothered by all the commercialism that plagues our city months in advance. Somewhere between the flashy ads in magazines and feeling I didn’t have much to offer Jesus due to the limitations of our circumstances, I lost my enthusiasm. I wasn’t looking forward to decorating the […]

  • 10.what.would.birthday.boy.like

    What would the Birthday Boy like?

    I love my birthday and everything that comes with it—especially the many congratulatory phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook wishes, and greeting cards from family and friends. For that one day, everything is about me—my favorite food, where I’d like to go, what I’d like to do, basically whatever I want. I love to bask […]

  • 11.the.baby.who.changed.world

    The Baby who changed the world

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16 NIV God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.—1 John 5:11 NIV Wander on life’s highway Wait for a star so bright; Wake […]

  • 12.december

    December: the extraordinary month

    December is a month of extras. There’s usually extra preparation work to do at home, extra visitors, and extra expenses. Most of us get extra time off from studies or jobs. Many churches see extra people in their pews. Charities receive extra donations, even extra volunteers. We may eat and drink extra this month, and […]