“And that’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown”

Tonight we watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. I love that show and I still get chills when I hear Linus reading the Christmas story.

Though I think only Blake and I made it to the end of the little half-hour special — Jill being fatigued and my daughters unimpressed with mid 20th century production values and the slower-paced demand on new-millenium attention spans — I still consider this little show the jewel among all Christmas specials.

Lord Jesus, thank You so much for coming to our rescue. We were so lost . . .

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.

“Strengthen the weak hands . . .”

I’ve been so thankful for Isaiah 35 lately.

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;

the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;

it shall blossom abundantly

and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,

the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord,

the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,

and make firm the feeble knees.

Say to those who have an anxious heart,

“Be strong; fear not!

Behold, your God

will come with vengeance,

with the recompense of God.

He will come and save you.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

then shall the lame man leap like a deer,

and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

For waters break forth in the wilderness,

and streams in the desert;

the burning sand shall become a pool,

and the thirsty ground springs of water;

in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down,

the grass shall become reeds and rushes.

And a highway shall be there,

and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;

the unclean shall not pass over it.

It shall belong to those who walk on the way;

even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.

No lion shall be there,

nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;

they shall not be found there,

but the redeemed shall walk there.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return

and come to Zion with singing;

everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;

they shall obtain gladness and joy,

and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Overheard over at Gospel Driven Church

Hey, today, why not pray that God will overfill your cup with grace. So when Uncle So-and-so is picking on you, when Grandma is comparing you with your more successful cousin, when Mom or Dad is doing that passive aggressive thing about why you don’t come home more often (when you happen to be home right now! gosh! :-), endure. Endure and respond with love.

Make it your little secret. Inside you will feel like you’re winning a secret battle.

Vomit grace all over the table, horn-o’-plenty centerpiece and all. Be Jesus at that table and overturn it with kindness.

From Jared’s Thanksgiving encouragement post. Go read the whole thing.

Overheard in the comments on another blog

“Can someone tell me what a post-modern hermeneutic is?”

I silently thanked the commenter who wrote this, because I was wondering the same thing; someone upthread had talked about a “post-modern hermeneutic coming to the rescue”.

Putting the descriptor “post-modern” in front of anything generally means that I’ll be confused by what follows.

Heart check

“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,

“‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;

we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’

– Matthew 11:16-17

“Those who have a heart to criticize, will find something to criticize.” – David Guzik

The iMonk’s Sanity Verses

For your edification, I give you the iMonk’s Sanity Verses. Great stuff.

I particularly liked this one:

Philippians 3:12-16 If any passage deserves the title of “The Sanity Verses,” Paul’s words of determination to be free from the past through Christ certainly fit the bill. What strikes me about these familiar encouragements is the relation to “maturity.” If we are mature, we will think this way. Refusing to give the failures of the past- the ministry failures, the personal failures- to Christ is immaturity. It is the junior high boy who says he can handle everything himself. It is the twenty-something college student who believes his anger and brandishing words make a difference. It is the emotional immature Christian who lives off his personal dramas, forever portraying himself as a victim to manipulate the sympathies of his friends because he is afraid they really don’t like him.

The “mature” Christian moves on. He gives it to Christ- the mess, the garbage, the failure, the refusals to believe, the rejections of the Gospel- and goes to the next chapter. There is no maturity in punishing yourself. There is no maturity in burnout, broken health and divorce. There is no maturity in choosing to refight meaningless battles that amount to the raging of an undisciplined ego or a wasted war with fools. Listen to Christ. Move on, even if it’s hard. Even if it’s a strain. Listen to the voice of the Spirit telling you that God doesn’t hate you. He loves you. You aren’t garbage and you aren’t here on earth to waste your life in meaningless suffering. If there is to be suffering, let it be for joy, not for madness or bitterness.

Move on. Give Christ the mess and take the gift of another day, another chance.