Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Just discovered a band called ‘Paper Tongues.’  Here’s a great Christmas song from them. Hope you like it.

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Stuffology

Posted: December 4, 2008 in Uncategorized
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The Christmas season is truly the best time of year to share the Good News. Even in Seattle where Christmas has long ago become a holiday of irreligious proportions, the once common wish of “Merry Christmas” is still heard through waves of holiday greetings like a wisp of pure air in smoke filled bar. As Christ’s Goodness is slowly pushed out of the English vernacular the need for that same Goodness grows rapidly. We live in a society that greatly desires the no-strings-attached love of the God of the Universe but seeks it out in the self focused instantly gratifying addiction of Stuff. Whether that Stuff comes in the form of tangible merchandise neatly placed under a Christmas tree or the emotional feelings of having people around us, it all comes at a great cost. We are consistently attracted to what we can purchase, with coin, time or soul. Stuffology should become a Bible college major helping us to understand the fascination with stuff and the purchase of that stuff. Why can’t we accept a free gift, the free gift of Grace? We have been enslaved by the great demon of Stuff and his evil sister of Purchase. Our “humanness” has trouble accepting a gift that has no expectations attached to it. We feel a great need to purchase all things.

As Christ-followers, we are anomalies in that; we believe the greatest Gift ever given requires nothing in a purchasing return.

LeftOvers #2

Posted: December 27, 2007 in Of Spiritual Things
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(This is the second of a many part Blog and part of the message I am giving Dec. 30th at Pleasant Valley Church in Winona, MN and thoughts for a book I would love to write. If you want to check this blog often, click on the RSS feed link on the very bottom of this page, then this site will be put in your “feeds” drop down in your explorer bar or favorites. Hope you can figure it out.)

      Leftovers, where ever you find them in your life, make a huge statement about the life that you live.  If, like our family Christmas celebration, there are an abundant of leftovers in every dish it is a definite sign that we have more than enough in other areas of our lives too. Leftovers make a statement, “We are not living in abject poverty, we have enough to feed ourselves and leftovers for later.”  The remains of every meal at my home is quickly put into a container and tossed into the marvelous cooling invention of the early 1900s, the Fridge, not be mistaken for The Fridge.  We often have a leftover shmorgasbord for dinner replacing the exquisite meals Kristine usually makes.

      If you have just sat down to a Christmas meal with your neighbors and the vittles on the table are spread out in front of you and your mouth is watering like a puppy of Pavlov’s and you look around and notice that there might not be enough, you may think to yourself that you should take smaller portions to start with and maybe seconds if there is some leftover. If the plates are scraped clean and the turkey bones are cleaned off and everyone is looking for more, this may indicate that you really don’t have enough in other areas of life also. Maybe you are living in poverty. Where there are no leftovers there are needs. 

     Often in America the opposite can be regrettably true. There can be lots of leftovers, in fact there can be more leftovers than can be used. If any amount of food is thrown away after a meal you have way too much. I have a friend who refuses to eat leftovers, he hates them. He also complains about not having enough money at times.  Honestly he has too much money and no matter how much he complains about not having enough, as long as he is throwing leftovers out he will always have to much money. It would be amazing to find out how much food the affluent throw away that could feed the poverty stricken. Dueteronomy 24:19 is all about leaving the leftovers behind for the poor.

     Leftover Cuisine

     My favorite leftover meal is lasagna, in fact Kristine will make more on purpose because it is so good on the second day. Mashed potatoes also score high on the list, not as leftover mashed potatoes but fried potato patties, hmmm.  Some times I just put a bunch of random stuff on a plate and toss it into the microwave for a quick, “Can you Guess What This Is?” dinner. Having a fridge is truly a blessing when it comes to preserving leftovers, although the fridge can be a curse too. I remember my dad would get pretty peeved whenever he would find a container of food in the depths of the fridge that was taking on a life form of its own. He didn’t have much in his fridge growing up so that kind of waste just wasn’t acceptable. Some leftover food needs to be heated up in the oven to keep it a touch crispy. Microwaved pizza gets soggy.

      Isn’t it interesting that God gave the Israelites Manna to eat, but told them not to have any leftovers. They were to get just the right amount, if they saved it over night until morning it was full of maggots. I’ll bet it only took one time to figure that out. Exodus 16 tells that story.  It seems God could have been trying to teach them to be content with what they have and to trust God to bring more the next day.  There was always enough and never too much. A time with no leftovers. They were only thinking about their stomachs at the time God provided the manna, but there is so much more to leftovers than food. There is also belonging, finances and spiritual, all of which the Israelites had just the right amount of throughout the forty years they roamed in the sands of the middle east.

Can it be that the right amount of leftovers in each of these four areas are always provided…no need and no waste?  That exploration will be next.

LeftOvers #1

Posted: December 27, 2007 in Of Spiritual Things
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(This is the first of a many part Blog and part of the message I am giving Dec. 30th at Pleasant Valley Church in Winona, MN and thoughts for a book I would love to write. If you want to check this blog often, click on the RSS feed link on the very bottom of this page, then this site will be put in your “feeds” drop down in your explorer bar or favorites. Hope you can figure it out.)

     Our ’98 Chevy Venture was bloated like a popcorn bag in a microwave with gifts, snow pants, coats, hats, mittens, boats, several changes of clothes, traveling food, Christmas food, snacks and goodies, toys, blankets, pillows, boxes of wrapped gifts and some how we managed to squeeze in our four boys and Kristine and I, as we headed out for Grampa’s house, several hours away through dangerous blizzard-like conditions and past multiple stranded motorists deep in I-90’s ditches.  The white nuckle drive ended after a few hundred, “Are we there Yets?” and a bag of corn chips.

   We were in Worthington, MN, Kristine’s home town, for Christmas with Kristine’s entire family; Grampa and Gramma, two brothers, a sister, their spouses and twelve nieces and nephews and one extended wife – that would be Jenna the wife of the oldest nephew, Ryan. With all of those kids, sixteen in total, we borrowed a church’s gym for our Christmas day celebration.  Lots of room to run and all without breaking anything in Grampa’s house. Lots of games. Lots of presents. Lots of food. Lots of Love. 

Lots of Leftovers.

     When it comes to American Christmas celebrations leftovers are expected, if not encouraged. After the Patriarchal Prayer the ladies set out the smorgasbord of celebratory victuals that attracted hungry revelers like bees to an open can of pop on a warm summer day. Some how by the end of the line my plate was over flowing with all the scrumptious Christmas fodder it could support. The aroma in my nostrils matched the taste on my tongue which caused me to eat way to the point of explosion. But, as with all Christmas traditions, I didn’t stop eating when I was full.  There were many leftovers. Leftovers that were screaming, “Eat me!” So I obliged. I didn’t want to make one of the sister-in-laws feel bad, so I made sure I ate a lot of everything.  Throughout the day the leftovers remained available and my stomach continued to swell.

     Food isn’t the only leftover at Christmas time.  Last year we bought lots of toys for our kids for Christmas, only to discover that they only played with one, and the others got destroyed or sold at the next summer’s garage sales. This year there’s no leftover toys, we only bought them one thing, which has turned out to be a great decision.  A recent article suspected that a billion dollars worth of gifts will be unwanted at Christmas and will be returned, sold on Ebay, or put under the bed to collect dust until it’s thrown away.

     Sadly most of those gifts are stacked on top of the already massive credit card crisis, or possibly it’s an epidemic. This year we were determined not to go into debt buying presents. We wanted some money to be leftover. To make this possible a budget and cash in hand was the best way.  I know we are being forced into using debit and CC cards now, but I cherish the days of receiving change from a purchase. Leftover money is always a good thing, and if a bit of discipline is coupled with it the piggy bank could pay for next year’s Christmas presents.

    I couldn’t talk about Christmas Leftovers without mentioning the greatest Leftover of Christmas. Love. I cherish the days leading up to the 25th when cheer is in the air. It seems that people give a bit more of themselves and are slightly more grace filled. It sounds so cliche-ish, but it’s true, we all treat each other a bit better throughout December. Then January rolls around and the Grinch comes back to town. I love the Christmas season because there are lights on trees and decorations all over the town. There’s lots of love to go around, like a glimpse of what it could be if only we could capture the leftover love and spread it around throughout the rest of the year. The truth is, there is plenty of leftover love, the problem is its just not used.

It’s not about having leftovers, it’s about using leftovers.

     Leftovers.  There is a lot of meaning in leftovers…something I will be exploring in the next few entries. I believe that God is the God of Leftovers.