Volume 17.12 | December 2016

  • Living the angels’ message

    In this weary world of ours, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the recurring bad news of terrorism, war, natural disasters, and suffering. The message of Christmas—peace on earth and goodwill toward men—has never been more relevant. And yet I know I sometimes feel my efforts are like a drop of water in the […]

  • The gift

    Christmas can be likened to a Christmas gift, where the giver is God, the gift is Jesus, and the recipient is both the whole world and each of us personally. The analogy is based on what is probably the best known and most important verse in the Bible, John 3:16. I’d heard the analogy many […]

  • God outdoes himself

    The baby’s first cry rings out, the umbilical cord is cut, and the proud parents and everyone else present—whether it’s an obstetrician and attendants in a gleaming hospital or a tribal midwife in a thatched hut—rejoice at the wonder they have just witnessed. The birth of Jesus on the first Christmas was all of that, […]

  • Through a glass darkly

    The Bible tells us that we see through a glass darkly. This refers to our limited ability to grasp the full spiritual realities of heaven, but I believe that our limited perception also affects our ability to fully understand the hearts of others who we encounter here and now. We often fail to see others […]

  • The sand clock

    I went to my desk on Christmas Eve morning to find that our beloved sand clock glass had somehow broken. I threw it away, then fished it out again to take one last dramatic photo. Sand clocks have always held a fascination for me, especially this one. It was a gift to my wife last […]

  • Giving Christmas

    It was Christmas Eve. I was in a hurry, trying to finish my work early and prepare for the evening with my family and friends, when the phone rang. I answered impatiently, “Yes, hello?” “Merry Christmas, Lilia!” the voice on the other end cheerfully exclaimed in accented English. “Cecilia?” I asked. “Merry Christmas! How are […]

  • Finding Christmas

    Just about everyone is excited to receive a gift. There is something wonderful about knowing that someone cared enough to think about what you would like, shopped for it or created it themselves, and gave it to you. There is also a special joy in giving gifts. When you find a gift that you know […]

  • Father to the fatherless

    “God is your father,” the young man said. “He came down at Christmas in human form. Through Jesus, you can know what God is like.” He looked at me with hopeful eyes, but I wasn’t convinced. “A father cares,” he continued.  “A father watches over you and is always there.” I stared and shook my […]

  • A multifaceted Savior

    I’ve been thinking how Christmas traditions vary not only from country to country, but from family to family. The food In some countries, the classic main dish is a ham or roast pork; in others, a turkey, goose, duck, chicken, codfish, tamales, pierogis, or an assortment of cheeses. An asado (barbecue) of a whole lamb, […]

  • A season for love

    Christmas is “the season of joy” and “a time of cheer.” But as Christmas comes around, do you find yourself experiencing things far from joy and cheer? If you look at each Christmas as needing to be bigger and better than the last, you’re probably anxiously filling up every moment with preparations toward that goal. […]