Saturday, December 13, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Ok, so I ordered this book, recommended by the beautiful Lauren Brooks, called Celebrating the Christian Year. Amazing book. I have had so much fun learning about our holiday traditions and where they come from. Do you know where the Santa tradition comes from?
In the year 280, a man named Nicholas was born in Myra, a small village by the Mediterranean Sea. He was born to very wealthy parents, who both died when he was nine years old. Nicholas became a Christian when he went to live with his uncle after his parents' death. When Nicholas became an adult, he had a friend who lost his job as a shipping merchant. His daughters were devastated because it meant he wouldn't have a dowry for them to get married. Nicholas grieved with them over this, and decided to use his own resources to bless them. In the middle of the night, he dropped a bag of gold coins through the open window of the oldest daughters' room. Some fell into a stocking that had been hung out to dry (where we get our "stocking" tradition), and some landed on the floor and in the girls' shoes (where some get the "shoe" tradition). Nicholas became so addicted to giving that from then on he set out to use his resources to bless and serve others. He spent the rest of his life caring for the poor. Nicholas died on December 6, 343 AD. Many began to celebrate that day as St. Nicholas Day, wherein they would practice charitable giving.
And from there, St. Nicholas took on many changes, until he has become our present-day Santa, a "jolly old elf" who has become an instrument of teaching children that if they are good, they will be rewarded and if they are bad, they will be punished. Christmas, for many, has become all about commercialism and getting, with very little giving.
Some other facts:
1. The name Kris Kringle came when Martin Luther decided that instead of celebrating St. Nicholas, we should be celebrating Christ, the ultimate giver, so his name was changed to "Christkindl" which became Kris Kringle.
2. Ever wondered where the chocolate gold coins in a gold mesh bag came from? They represent Nicholas' bag of gold.
3. What about gingerbread? Well, Nicholas used to bake bread and mix in sugar and spices, to give out to all the children.
If you're interested in learning more, get the book!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I almost died tonight. One of those, that could've been me, I could've been dead kind of nights. I was headed home from my pastor's house. I was on 16th Street, you know the street that goes by all those mansions (in Glen Iris). Anyway, I was on a straightaway, with a sharp left curve coming up. As I'm about to make the curve, a car comes barreling through from the other direction, crosses the yellow line right at the curve, and rams into a telephone pole. The telephone pole comes completely down, falls into the street and is spewing sparks everywhere from the wires. A wire lands next to my car.
If I had driven three seconds faster, he would've pummeled into me. I can't imagine I would've survived. This is one of those moments where you realize how little control you have over the events of your life, when you live and when you die. God is completely sovereign. Tonight, he chose for me to live. And for that, I am grateful.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
So I've been thinking a lot about the orphan this week. Been thinking and wondering what God says and thinks about orphans. (Lam. 5:3, Hosea 14:3, John 14:18, James 1:27)
I heard a sermon (from one of the leaders of World Vision) on the plight of orphans around the world. The man was saying that God has a heart for the orphan. He said it was because He made every human being and values His creation, His image. And while this is true, I think it goes deeper than this.
I've been learning how all of Scripture points to Christ. From Genesis to Revelation, it's all centered around Christ. I don't think God's words about orphans is any exception. It's all meant to point to Him. In investing in orphans, or even adopting one, we get a tangible picture of a spiritual reality. We are hopeless without Christ. We see that before He delivered us, we had no hope in the world. And the best part...He didn't have to. Just like an adoptive father doesn't have to, HE didn't have to. What a wonderfully humbling reality.
Comment on this post with any insights on this. I'd love to hear from you!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Here are some pics from our recent camping trip to Cheaha. We had a great time in spite of the cold. I so enjoyed getting to know folks from my church. Let me just say that the people of Redeemer Community Church are just plain cool. I'll end with a quote from Britney, "My hands are so cold they're hot."