A journey

For whatever reason, building that Christmas tree the other day got me thinking about other Christmas themed builds. Mind you, I’m not usually a “Christmasy” kind of guy, but one has to admit the season is replete with imagery one can render in Lego.

So, here is my microscale build of Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem.

2015-12-16 18.13.28


Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Liberty, and Choices

Over the past several weeks, I’ve seen a lot of posts from a lot of people on the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Online Monday, all all the other money spending days before Christmas that have come to represent our holiday season.

I respect the sentiments of the people who want to salvage holidays and redirect the money spent on those days to other things. I also respect the liberty people exercise when they choose to work and shop on those days. Whether or not I choose to participate is irrelevant to what anyone else decides to do, and everyone should be at liberty to make their own choice.

But understand, that whatever you decide to do, you are making choices. Powerful choices.

You see, the most democratic action any person in the world engages in is how he or she spends money. In spending money, each person decides what, how much, and to whom his or her money should go. That choice reverberates with every person who touches every dollar someone spends and echoes around the world.

I could selfishly try to persuade people to spend money the way I think it should be spent, but the fact is that persuasion is just my opinion. Sure, I think people should shop as locally as possible, select merchants that treat their employees fairly and their customers honestly, and use their money to help their neighborhoods, communities, and states before anything else. But, I realize that opinion is just one among many.

I don’t care all that much if someone does or does not decide to shop on a certain day or a certain place so much as I care whether that person thought through what they were doing before they did it. What I want during this holiday shopping season–and during every other time anyone spends money–is for people to be aware of what their money is doing. As surely as I want people to vote with a full view of the consequences in mind, I want them to spend with the same way of thinking.

I suspect that, if people thought more about how they spent their money before they spent it, the world would look quite a bit different than it does. So, I challenge you: prove me right or prove me wrong. Think about it and be content with your choice.


Merry Christmas

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,a and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” John 1:1-5, 14, 16-18 ESV

Christmas Day 2010

A choir sings during the lighting of a 100 foot steel Christmas tree atop Aegibong Peak overlooking South Korea's border with North Korea. Image credit: Jo Yong-Hak/Reuters via The Christian Science Monitor

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

Every warrior’s boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.

–Isaiah 9:2-7, NIV, via Biblegateway.com


Christmas Eve 2010

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,  but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25, NIV, via Biblegateway.com

Peace. Hope. Love.

Those are the words, among others, that people use in their celebration of Christmas. We join in a universal longing for the end of strife among ourselves, among our nations, and with our God. We celebrate peace, hope, and love because that is what the nativity story says, and we want to believe it with all of our hearts.

But there is something more to this story of a baby, born of a virgin mother, announced by angels, and laid in a manger:

Atonement. Sacrifice. Death.

You see, baby Jesus was not just any baby, he was the answer to the pressing question of how we achieve peace, hope, and love. He was the one, born into the world at just the right time, while we were yet sinners, to pay the price no human could pay since that fateful day when Adam and Eve violated God’s first covenant with them. Jesus was born in a shadow, the shadow of the cross on which he would die.

Yet even that is not the end of the story, for in the life of this man whose birth we celebrate more than 2,000 years after it happened is an even greater promise:

Justification. Salvation. Eternity.

It is Jesus, laid in a manger at his birth and murdered on a cross in the prime of his life, who also defeated death and the power Satan exercised over us when we fell from God’s grace. It was Jesus who died the sacrificial death, finishing all that had to be finished, and who rose through the glorious power of God as the first fruits of who trust in God’s promises.

If you celebrate Christ’s Mass, it is this reality that you must face: peace, hope, and love with God , paid for with the blood of his only Son, and guaranteed to us by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

There is no other reason for this celebration because there is no other cause for hope.

Lord Jesus, come quickly to fulfill that hope for those who believe.