Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Miscellaneous

- Got to be honest, I started to feel a little sad when Christmas was over. I LOVE this time of year ... by far my favorite part of year ... and I was sad to see it all come to an end. But, as I started thinking about it, I realized that Carol and I did our absolute best to make this Christmas a special experience for our kids. We started the new tradition of an advent calendar, which our kids LOVED! We drove around looking at Christmas lights several times. We told the Christmas story numerous times to our kids using our nativity (they kept on asking to hear it so we kept on telling it). As I reflect on this past Christmas, I don't think we could have done any more to make it a special experience for our family. So, a little sad to see it all come to an end ... yes. But, so glad we did our best to make it special.

- We celebrated Christmas 2 times this year. Our family Christmas was on Thursday (12/23). We spent Christmas day with extended family in Illinois. Carol and I both got "special" presents on the two Christmas days. On the Thursday night she caught some type of stomach flu and was sick all night on the 23rd. On Christmas night I promptly caught some type of stomach flu and was sick during the night. I'm sure we both would have gladly returned those gifts. I was driving back from Illinois on Christmas night when I started feeling sick. Thankfully I made it home in time before the worst of it hit. Thankfully, while we're both not quite up to par, we're feeling much better.

- Kids just bring a whole new freshness to Christmas. The whole wonder of the season is renewed. My heart was just full of joy as I saw the excitement in our kids' eyes when they saw the presents under the tree and when they were able to open up the gifts. I was full of gratitude and realize how blessed we truly are as a family.

Here is Mercy opening up one of her gifts at Aunt Marcia's house.

Grandma Fern got Ezra an Iron Man for Christmas. The kid loves action figures!

To celebrate our family Christmas we did lunch in Shipshewana at Jo Jo's pretzels. Below are a couple of pics of the kids there.

Torah sort of looked like a big marshmallow in her winter suit!

- I watched an interesting debate on C-SPAN last night (I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever said that). But, it was a debate on "Is religion a force for good in the world?" The debate was between Tony Blair (taking the side for religion) and Christopher Hitchens (an atheist taking the side against religion). It was really interesting stuff. Christopher Hitchens was very smart, very funny, and very articulate. Tony Blair wasn't quite as funny, but just as smart and just as articulate (although I'm not sure he was the right person to use on the side of "religion.") I finished the program really desiring to live a life that represents God well. As an imperfect person I realize that I'm going to mess up and misrepresent God at times. But, my desire is to be the best reflection of God that I can be and in my mistakes allow God's grace to shine. I was also struck with how our pride gets in the way of so much. Mr. Hitchens kept on commenting on how to truly be a follower of God in Christianity you have to be willing to totally surrender yourself to a Supreme Being but in so doing you give up all of your rights to think freely and rationally. He said he just simply could not do such a thing. He is certainly right in the sense that following God means surrendering our lives to Him. That's not an easy thing, and I think it's pride that keeps people from doing it. I also think that religious people full of pride have done a lot of damage in the world. Maybe that's why the Bible says that God HATES pride. It's the thing that keeps us from Him and it's the thing that causes us to misrepresent Him in so many ways.

- Carol got me the book Decision Points by George W. Bush for Christmas. I've read about 100 pages of it so far and I really enjoy it. I'm curious to see the process behind some of the decisions President Bush made ... good and bad.

- I get to take a little time off this week to celebrate 8 years of marriage with my beautiful wife. I'm so incredibly grateful for her. I'm more and more thankful for her every day and am so happy that I was the one she said "yes" too.

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