Well, I’m back

Merry Christmas!

For the longest time (since 2005) this blog was based on software I had written called “Bloo” (hence the name). I realized sometime early last year that it was probably time to move on. Bloo did a good job. I was even kind of proud of it. There are still a few blogs out there that run on it. But, it is essentially “abandonware” now; I haven’t released anything new on it since December, 2011.

So, I have written a utility that converts a Bloo blog to WordPress. I converted this space once before to WordPress, then backed it out, but now I’m doing it for real. And this, the very first Bloo blog, is the very first blog to be converted to WordPress. I will shake things out here for awhile and then release the code so that anyone else who would like to convert can.

I’ll have to play with the theme or find a new theme as well, most likely.

In other news, I am (at least hoping to be) “back” in the blogosphere. I’m hoping to find my voice here in this little corner. And I can’t believe I just used the phrase “find my voice”.

Merry Christmas. God loves you!

Pie Jesu

I think this song is amazingly beautiful. We heard it at our son’s Junior High choir concert the other day. The video below is of Sissel singing it.

Pie Jesu – Andrew Lloyd Webber

Pie Jesu, Pie Jesu

Pie Jesu, Pie Jesu

Qui tollis peccata mundi

Dona eis requiem

Dona eis requiem

Lord, have mercy

Lord, have mercy

You who take away the sins of the world

Grant them rest

Grant them rest

Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei

Agnus Dei, Agnus Dei

Qui tollis peccata mundi

Dona eis requiem

Dona eis requiem

Sempiternam, sempiternam requiem

Lamb of God, Lamb of God

Lamb of God, Lamb of God

You who take away the sins of the world

Grant them rest

Grant them rest

rest everlasting, everlasting

“Completely unmanageable”

Wickle over at A True Believer’s Blog offers a profound view of why Christmas is, often times, a holiday we prefer over Easter.

My pastor speculated that it’s because it’s really easy to deal with the baby in the manger. There He is, being born, there are shepherds around because God loves poor people, there are angels because it’s a big deal, and magi because they’re there to celebrate. Great. We can deal with this.

Once you take that baby and make Him into a man, He becomes harder to handle. He said things, He did things, and He called us to be changed. Then, He died and came back out of the tomb.

God out of the tomb is completely unmanageable. We can’t hold that one back, limit Him, or try to pretend that it’s just a nice story. The Nativity can be trivialized and tamed – the Resurrection can’t.

There is talk about how to “keep Christ is Christmas,” or whether Christians should observe Christmas at all, and just about everything in between.

For my own part, I think that it’s fine to observe Christmas as a remembrance of the event. But while we’re at it, let’s remember that the Incarnation of God on earth wasn’t an end unto itself. He came to the earth to live, teach, die, and rise again. He didn’t stay in the manger.

That’s part of why I was so excited to see the second chorus of “What Child is This?” when I read it. Right there in the Christmas song, it reminded us that He came not to be born as a baby and stop there, but to be pierced with nails and a spear (among the other things that ripped His flesh that day). It wasn’t His birth that redeems us, it was His death.

Yes, by all means, celebrate the birth. The birth of Jesus is the beginning of the process that leads us to the death and resurrection, which is what makes it possible for any of us to have eternal life.

But let’s never forget that ours isn’t a God in a manger, He didn’t stay wrapped up in swaddling clothes, and He sure wasn’t a baby forever.

Regarding the second verse of “What Child Is This”, mentioned above, here it is:

Why lies He in such mean estate,

Where ox and ass are feeding?

Good Christians, fear, for sinners here

The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,

The cross be borne for me, for you.

Hail, hail the Word made flesh,

The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Praise Him for His incarnation!

The Incarnation

The Incarnation, by Denise Day Spencer:

He stands,

poised on the brink of two worlds:

One, land of eternal day,

the other, earth of mire and clay.

Behind Him,

legions of heavenly host,

bright faces covered, praising,

all chanting, voices raising.

Before Him,

chaos yawning, swift and deep,

known, yet unknown. Fear unfurling,

death and darkness churning, swirling.

He turns.

One last look at golden glory.

The Three part; He is now One.

The Father’s voice says, “Go well, my Son.”

He leaps

into the abyss.

His next memory will be a Mother’s kiss.

~ Denise Day Spencer, January 1999

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Grateful hat tip and Christmas Blessings to the Internet Monk.

“Without Jesus, Christmas is an empty shell”

An excellent reminder from Sherry:

Without Jesus, Christmas is an empty shell, not much to celebrate. Some of us can keep the shell game going for a long time; some even choose the empty shells instead of working to hang onto the real thing. But Christmas is about Christ, even if he wasn’t really born in December, even if you have questions and doubts, even if you’re messy or suffering or full of fear and even depression.

You can celebrate an empty Christmas and try to fill it yourself with material things and friends and family and whatever else happens to come along, but eventually, one Christmas, I predict that you’ll come up with a hollow place right at the center of your Christmas, right at the center of your life. And the only one who can fill that hole is Jesus Himself, the Word made Flesh who came to live among us full of grace and truth. If you don’t believe in that Truth, if you’re not sure Jesus really came to save sinners, then it’s worth your time and energy and material wealth to go on a search to find out if it might, possibly, maybe, under any circumstances be true after all.

On this Christmas Eve, I wish you a full Christmas, full of grace and truth, full of Jesus. Because He’s what Christmas is all about.

Weak, and needing deliverance

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses . . . – Hebrews 4:15a

Today my own weakness and inability to fix what ails me and those around me is at the forefront of my mind. I need deliverance and the hope of the Savior.

I always need His rescue. Always have. It’s just that I don’t always realize it.

Today I do.

Below is the final portion of the iMonk’s latest Advent post. I’m formatting it below like the poetry that it is (and, of course, you should go read the whole thing).

The Mood of Advent: We All Need A Savior

When the day dawns

let us all receive him

We go to the manger and worship

We give to him our gifts

We take his light to the poor

Until then, we are the poor

the weak

the blind

the lonely

the guilty

and the desperate

We light candles

because we who are in darkness

are in need

of a great light

We need a savior

So we wait amidst the ruins

we protect the lights we hold

in hope

We sing to one who is coming

We look and wonder

We pray for his star to take us

once again

to the miracle

Come, Lord Jesus.

“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.