Merry Christmas (2016)

Magi pointing to the starIt is past midnight here in Strasburg, Colorado…so we have crossed into Christmas Day. In a world where minute-by-minute (and overall) life can seem quite askew…Christmas reminds us of a Savior that came to set everything right. To bring peace on earth and goodwill to men.

Merry Christmas and our love to all! 

Merry Christmas!

Happy Holidays lights

The stockings are emptied; the gifts are open. What remains is more important: time with loved ones.

Merry Christmas signPerhaps the greatest gift the Lord gave us in 2015 is a new home in a new town. From the first day we visited Strasburg, Colorado, we have seen the beauty of its land and its people. That beauty is what inspired, and continues to inspire, Strasburg Rocks!

Happy Holidays lights by the Strasburg Convenience StoreWe are slowly unearthing all that Strasburg and the surrounding area has to offer; it is like unwrapping magnificent gifts year-round. One of the more recent discoveries was the annual Christmas celebration downtown. We were remiss then in not photographing the beautiful decorations along Strasburg’s main thoroughfare, but hopefully have made it up with a video of driving through the town late Christmas Eve (or early this Christmas morning, depending on your perspective):

Wooden carolers in front of the Strasburg Post OfficeNow, we stated that the greatest gift God blessed us with in 2015 was a home (not just a house) in Strasburg…but, of course, it pales in comparison to the greatest gift ever bestowed; one that was for all who will accept it. The 50th anniversary of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” makes it apropos to remember that sacrifice from above with the same words that Linus used when Charles Shultz bucked precedent and included these verses in a Christmas special: [Read more…]

Christmas Album “Must Haves” (2015 Version)

Countdown2.Christmas vinyl albumI seem to do this post later and later each holiday season…but I did start listening to Christmas music earlier in 2015! 🙂

Either way, here is my annual “Christmas Album ‘Must Haves.'” Year-to-year it doesn’t vary much, but I’ve added a few, reorganized a bit, and made sure the links are up-to-date. Also, everything I mention here (plus a whole bunch more) plays on Countdown2.Christmas Radio, my year-round Internet Christmas radio station. I received an interesting note yesterday from a listener:

Who, What are you? We just found your station this morning. It is wonderful. Thank you for making our Christmas more enjoyable.

If you, like that person, enjoy classic, traditional Christmas music with some other great holiday tunes mixed in…then you’ll love Countdown2.Christmas Radio.

Well, enough of the preamble! Here is 2015’s Christmas Album “Must Haves” divided into groups in that will help you, if you are just starting you collection, to know what to get first.

Top 5:

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Wishing You a Crazy Christmas

NativityLast night I saw some posts on Facebook where people lamented they were having trouble getting into the Christmas spirit. I cannot claim to have that issue given, this year, I created a somewhat popular Christmas radio station and…of course!…have provided my yearly Christmas album must haves. 🙂

However, over the past day or so as I thought of what I would write for my yearly Christmas message, I was “coming up short.” What to write about? What could I say beyond what has already been said?  In reality there is little I could say that hasn’t already been said by those far more gifted with words, and I still like the simplicity of what I wrote in 2013. Luckily, this morning (once again) Charlie Daniels tweeted something I thought worth sharing, even on a day as special as this:

My Christmas wish
May your table be bountiful, your cup overflowing and your heart brimming with the peace that passes all understanding.

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Christmas Album “Must Haves” (2014 Version)

Countdown2.Christmas vinyl albumAnother Thanksgiving has past, which means I can openly listen to Christmas music again!

Time now for my yearly list of Christmas album “must haves”…which is alway last year’s with some tweaks. I mean, you don’t honestly expect my taste in Christmas music to change drastically year-to-year do you?! 🙂

Now…before I unveil this year’s “winners”…I should note that if you love Christmas music as much as I do, every album listed below can be heard on my brand new Countdown2.Christmas Radio station. As of writing this post, it has only been around a couple weeks…and…for instance…at one point today we had 246 listeners all over the world. Give it a listen, will you?

Finally…I realize this list is growing…and if you are starting your collection it might be a bit much to ask you to get them all. So, this year I’m going to give you the top ten-ish in groups of five-ish. Hopefully that will be more helpful than confusing. 🙂

Top 5:

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Cloverton’s “Hallelujah”

ClovertonI am a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas music, but I am very proud to break that habit with the addition of five songs by Cloverton to the Countdown2.Christmas Radio playlist. I’m sure a lot of it is Lance Stafford’s unique voice, but I can’t say enough about how the whole band takes Christmas classics and…somehow…gets me to hear what I’ve never heard before in the songs’ messages.

Even though I have listened to (and have sung) them so many, many times during my 50 years on this earth.

Sadly, the tune with which I discovered them (“Hallelujah”) is not available for airplay yet, but you can enjoy it on YouTube:

May their talents bless you as they have blessed me as we all remember the reason for the season.

Cross posted on Countdown2.Christmas.

Video of the Week

Okay, I know I haven’t been doing these weekly…and that it’s a bit early for this one…but boy do I love it when Mark Lowry and the Gaither Vocal Band sing “Mary Did You Know?”…

Like Christmas Music? Try radio.countdown2.christmas

Santa with treeOur sister Christmas site is countdown2.christmas, and it now has it’s own Christmas music station thanks to Radionomy! Although a bit more is mixed in, its playlist is based on our “Christmas Album Must Haves”. Trust me, it’s the best Christmas music on this planet :-), so you should give it a listen: http://radio.countdown2.christmas (Yes, there is really a .christmas domain extension now…)

countdown2.christmas

When I should have been relaxing, I grabbed a new .christmas domain and made a countdown to Christmas (countdown2.christmas) site for those of us who wish Christmas was year-round. 🙂

“…Being Born in the Likeness of Men…”

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn (Luke 2:1-7, English Standard Version).

The birth of Christ

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:5-11).

Merry Christmas from Traditores (http://traditores.org), Traditores Radio (http://tradio.in), Alan Fahrner, and the Fahrner family.

May you find (or become closer to) the One who "emptied himself, by taking on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men" and was "laid in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn."

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

A Johnny Cash Christmas

Well, after that last post you deserve something back in the right spirit…

Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ.

Merry Christmas!

12 Days of Christmas Mashed-Up

Not a religious Christmas music performance, but entertaining…

Hat tip Hot Air.

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!

Christmas Album “Must Haves” (2013 Version)

People singingOne of the things I love most about Thanksgiving is that I can stop being clandestine about playing Christmas music. 🙂

This year’s list is pretty much last year’s list because, sadly, no new Christmas albums came out in 2013 that interested me greatly. However, this has become an annual list…and I’ll sneak in a couple more MP3 collections you should consider getting (Amazon MP3 has developed an intriguing “The Christmas Classics Album” series)…

First, the "must have" albums:

Some singles:

And, new to my collection this year is “The Classic Christmas Album” by Johnny Cash. I have to listen a bit before I decide it belongs in my “must haves.” 🙂

(I am a huge fan of Johnny Cash…but nobody gets a buy into my Christmas music list! :-))

You may also want to see what Ella Fitzgerald, Martina McBride, Louis Armstrong, Carole King (isn’t she Jewish?), Amy Grant, The Jackson 5, Pink Martini, Andre Rieu, and Celine Dione have done.

Well, there you go…what’s on your list? Let me know…I always love a great excuse to buy more music! 🙂

And, if you don’t know Jesus Christ, this would be a great season to find out how a carpenter’s son changed history.  Spoiler: it’s because He wasn’t just a carpenter’s son. 🙂

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours!

P.S.  With Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis…you just need to find a good collection for the money.  With some of the other ones you’ll want to make sure you get the album I specifically listed…with a couple of them, not all their Christmas albums are good, especially if you like traditional arrangements as I do…

Christmas Album “Must Haves” (2012 Version)

My list of Christmas album “must haves” are pretty much the same as last year. Let’s just say that…err…being under-employed means Ramen Noodles are a better purchase with a few bucks then even the most inexpensive Amazon MP3 download…although I have convinced my wife to at least let me spend a couple dollars. 🙂

First, the "must have" albums:

Some singles:

A few non-“must haves”…but worth giving a listen (like Michael W. Smith, these four are all Christian artists…which you gotta admit makes sense given the “reason for the season”):

And 2012’s “honorable mention” that might end up on next year’s official list:

Now, I probably could have created a decently long list of honorable mentions if I didn’t limit it to what I bought this holiday season, so you may also want to see what Ella Fitzgerald, Martina McBride, Louis Armstrong, Carole King (isn’t she Jewish?), Amy Grant, The Jackson 5, Pink Martini, Andre Rieu, and Celine Dione have done.

Well, there you go…what’s on your list? Let me know…I always love a great excuse to buy more music! 🙂

Now, if you don’t know Jesus Christ, this would be a great season to find out how a carpenter’s son changed history.  Spoiler: it’s because He wasn’t just a carpenter’s son. 🙂

Look past how we Christians have represented our Savior so badly over the ages and instead listen to the voice of One who is truly worthy of your worship…and not only at Christmas…but every day of the year.

Finally…a very Merry Christmas to you and yours…

P.S.  With Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Elvis…you just need to find a good collection for the money.  With some of the other ones you’ll want to make sure you get the album I specifically listed…with a couple of them, not all their Christmas albums are good, especially if you like traditional arrangements as I do…

P.P.S.  The Christmas tree pictured in this post was decorated by none other than my awesome 5 year-old Augie and my beautiful wife Michelle…

How’s that Coulomb Force Working Out for You?

VISION

Well, we've made it to the last letter of my VISION for the Antrim Church of Christ. First, a quick review of the first five letters:

  • V — Values — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will only get our values from the Bible and that we will value heavenly things more than earthly ones.
  • I — Integrity — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will always have integrity.
  • S — Seriousness — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will take our calling seriously.
  • I — Intimacy — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will have greater intimacy.
  • O — One — My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that we will be one.

And Christmas Day is appropriate for the N, because N stands for nucleus and nucleus represents the One whose birth we are commemorating…and celebrating…today.

My vision for the Antrim Church of Christ is that Jesus will be our nucleus.

Atomic Theory

The problem with choosing a metaphor for anything is that there is always a point at which it falls apart. All the more true when the object of your metaphor is an infinite, perfect being. However, as long as we don't try to take it too far, saying Jesus is our nucleus is a great word picture. As I mentioned in my original VISION sermon:

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