Going Gaga Over Christmas

(I wrote this in a particularly snarky frame of mind, so if you aren’t in a good mood or are a Yankees fan, please back away from the computer and save reading this for another time. :-))

A Very Gaga Holiday Album CoverI know I spend way too much money at Amazon MP3…but I’ve been addicted to music since I first started developing my own collection. (Prior to that my tastes were my father’s…basically adult contemporary. It’s still music I enjoy and have great respect for, but at some point…with a 70’s teen…Olivia Newton John and Englebert Humperdink had to give way to Kansas and Journey—after a short detour into The Village People. Come on, you gotta admit “Y.M.C.A” and “Macho Man” are catchy!)

Either way, I check out Amazon MP3 at least once every 24 hours to see what their MP3 Daily Deal is. More often than not it is a genre I have little interest in (it’s often indie coffee-house type stuff), but it does mean that during each visit Amazon’s whizz-bang computer gets a shot at enticing me to buy something else I don’t really need, and it knows from my buying history I’m a pretty big fan of Christmas music. (If you check out my “Christmas Album ‘Must Haves’ (2011 Version)” you’ll see I am a traditionalist…give me the old standards sung by people who could have been my grandparents or great-grandparents.) One recent time when their page refreshed Amazon MP3 shocked me by suggesting “A Very Gaga Holiday” by…well…that’s pretty obvious. 🙂

Why shocked? [Read more…]

Yes, Virginia, There Is a Virgin Mary

Pregnancy Tests

I still fondly remember the night, about five years ago, when I went to brush my teeth for bed and Michelle said to me, "What would you say if I told you I thought I might be pregnant?"

I responded, "I'd say, ‘Why do you think that?'"

Without the forcing you to hear the rest of that story again, the punch line is that the awesome news was that she was, indeed, pregnant, and the following August Augie arrived.

The news of his pending arrival, however, was a surprise to both Michelle and me. Again…without forcing you to hear the story of why…we really had no reason to believe Michelle could get pregnant.

And we are definitely not the first…and won't be the last…parents-to-be to receive unexpected news of a nascent human whose arrival date is in less than nine months.

Perhaps a few men and women sitting before me have had a similar experience? 🙂

Positive pregnancy tests have led to myriad joyful and anxious surprises, haven't they?

Reason for Complete Astonishment

Which leads us to joining the Nativity Story at the point when the cast on stage is a young woman and an angel. Let's turn to Luke 1:26-33:

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Christmas Album “Must Haves” (2011 Version)

Okay…I really should be working on my sermon, but I figured I’d list my “must have” Christmas albums and songs (almost all available on Amazon MP3)…in no specific order:

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Halloween Crèche?

On a street quite familiar to those of us in Antrim who have needed medical or dental attention, there is a large outdoor crèche that helps bring a little Christ into Christmas during the holiday season–as it reminds us the Son of God, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23, ESV), “made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7). I cannot explain why, but I’ve always been partial to nativity sets—there is a peace and calm they project—the carol “Silent Night” comes to mind. And, as I ponder it more I think of another Christmas favorite, “Away in a Manger,” where we learn that “the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head” in a feeding trough because He had “no crib for His bed.” Perhaps the joy and warmth I experience listening to that piece is the same as was felt by “the stars in the bright sky” who “looked down where He lay” and saw “the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.” What a glorious sight!

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