Garrison Keillor once said that Christmastime is a gift that Christians give to the “spiritual but not religious” crowd. In truth, you can navigate this entire month and participate in a lot of activities that have nothing to do with the incarnation of God in human flesh.
Do government buildings in your town have religious artwork at this time of year? “Holiday” times like these are the fault lines between the tectonic plates of a secular government and the Christian... Read More
One of the definitions of the word culture is the sum of all the group behaviors that people do without thinking about them. Or knowing why they do them.
Ever since mid-October you and I have been in the grip of cultural forces that we neither fully understand nor control. It’s called the “Christmas” season, though it could probably be better described as the “Santamas” season. As the decades and centuries have rolled by, the holiday has acquired a lot... Read More
The incessant song reminds us: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Is that true for you—or not? While we’d all love to have the sit-around-the-fireplace, hearts-full-of-love-and-laughter moments, the reality is often different. For many, this is not a joy to the world, fa-la-la-la-la time of year.
20% of people suffer from the winter blues or full-blown depression. That’s why December, the month of tidings of comfort and joy, is also Seasonal Depression Awareness Month.1
Most people plan to... Read More
Thrivent magazine recently featured two articles by writer Molly Culbertson that I thought were full of common sense about personal finances. I know too many people who are in constant financial hot water. Every parent of young adult children struggles to pass on financial wisdom, with very mixed results. In this coming holiday season, people I love are going to overspend out of fear, guilt, pressure from others, or personal impulses, and they will be getting nasty shocks when the... Read More
I’m amazed at how much I used to care about the little details of Christmas, in a mostly self-serving way. (Disgusting evidence here.)
Truth be told, God has worked on me and he still does, especially every time I have a “good” idea that actually isn’t . . . because of what it will cost my joy and sanity.
Here’s the thing: Fussing over details and enjoying Christmasy things is not straight-up sin. I’m not here to make you feel... Read More
Every time I prepare for a holiday, I scramble like a crazy woman to make sure the house is clean and the food is prepped and ready. (My family will verify.) So, frankly, when I hear I need to use Advent to prepare my heart for Christmas, I get a little overwhelmed thinking of how long that to-do list could be.
This year it dawned on me that the best family times are the ones where I keep things simple.... Read More
So how did you like the election? Are you exulting? grieving? bewildered? all of the above? The election of Mr. Trump motivated extremists on the right to spray-paint some racist slogans on walls, while the lefties took to the streets chanting, “Not my president.”
I’ve voted in 12 presidential elections, and I can’t remember any like this one. Our country seems more polarized and bitter than ever before. Neither can I remember an election where so many people told me... Read More
There are times when I’m proud to be an American. And then there are days like Black Friday.
I can hardly stand hearing the day called that. Although it reminds us of the terminology used when the Great Depression began, it actually refers to the time of year when businesses can finally get into the black (i.e., be profitable). The media frenzy that stokes our already out-of-control consumerism on the day after Thanksgiving is a national embarrassment. We must look... Read More
Have you seen the newest recipient of Japan’s Good Design Grand Award? It’s a map. That might seem strange when you hear that the 2015 award went to the design for a personal mobility chair, and a robotic arm won in 2014.
So . . . a map? Really? Well, this map is different. The map of the world that most of us have grown up with actually doesn’t give the proper perspective of this planet. Greenland and Antarctica have... Read More
Carey Nieuwhof is the founding pastor of Connexus Church north of Toronto. He blogs often about churches and church leadership. A friend sent me a recent post that I found significant and would like to share some of his information with you (Google his name to read more of his stuff). Why are even committed church members attending less often?
1. Greater affluence. Making more money is good, right? Well, maybe. It’s a sad corollary that the more financially secure... Read More