Focus At Christmas

I read a daily devotional by Brennan Manning called Devotions For Ragamuffins. It is indispensable to me as a source of encouragement and a lens to focus my perspective through on a daily basis. The month of December features a number of devotions focused on Christmas and the one that I read this morning really struck a chord with me because of its emphasis on what really should be more widely recognized as a central tenet of the Christmas holiday season and Christianity as a whole throughout the year:

The wailing Infant bears witness to a God whose Word is fresh and alive, who is not the defender of the old, the already settled, the well established and familiar. The God we encounter in Jesus is free from preoccupation with his own glory, free to be for us, free to be gracious, free to love and let be.

This Christmas such a God might well expect us to be creatively responsive and thus truly Christlike. Indeed, He might call us to set free captives bound by loneliness and isolation, to share our hope with prisoners of gloom and despair, to invite the unlovely to our table, to celebrate our freedom in forgetfulness about our comfort and convenience, to cry the gospel by ministering to widows and orphans, to be the Church by bringing soup to the poor, to ignore conventional expectations, to call His Son out of Egypt once more.

How we interact with and serve those who are less educated, less popular, less cultured and who have less money says a great deal about who we are as people and where our focus is. The real meaning of Christmas is found in facing those who feel like they have the least reason to celebrate.


First posted 12/20/08

Broken Christmas

Broken Christmas.

Visions Of “Noël”

I just wrote a poem in class today in order to model to my fifth grade students how they can borrow the forms and structures of one poem and adapt it to their own purpose. The poem I wrote was excerpted from this one which I really liked and thought I’d share.

The original excerpt follows:

When clustered sparks

Of many-colored fire

Appear at night

In ordinary windows

We hear and sing

The customary carols

They bring us ragged miracles

And hay and candles

And flowering weeds of poetry

That are loved all the more

Because they are so common

—from “Noël”

by Anne Porter

My poem: “Visions Of”

They sprinkled down

Red-green sugar twinkled sweet

On dough that was

Shaped by old cookie cutters

In the oven

Traditions baked through down deep

Oft’ eaten with milk before sleep

Little feet that creep

And hands that sneak one more frosted treat

Memories rekindled

With each familiar taste

BIG STAR’S THIRD Live Tribute Show Review

My review of the 12/10/10 BIG STAR’S THIRD tribute show that Mike Mills played in featured on Mike Mills Tribute

Holiday Soundtrack Part 2: Holy Night by Kevin Max

Holiday Soundtrack Part 2: Holy Night by Kevin Max.