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The world is scary, but fear not

We live in a scary world. Every morning, the news is filled with stories of natural disasters, carnage on roadways and diseases that we have not yet found a way to control. The beat goes on, and the reality of our own finitude is too intense to deny.

The Advent vs. Christmas debate

Perhaps society is to blame for the full-blown Christmas decorations that appear in churches as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey carcass is thrown into the pot for soup. After all, when Christmas shows up in stores as early as September, who can blame worshipers for wanting the sanctuary halls to be decked as well?

Who will decorate the church?

I’m too old to write to Santa. If I could, though, I’d ask the jolly elf for Barbie’s Dream Church. What? You’ve never heard of Barbie’s Dream Church? It’s a place where money flows as freely as volunteers, and the coffee actually tastes like coffee — rich and robust.

A Christmas Day reflection

It’s Christmas! Every time we celebrate Christmas, we affirm that the Kairos of God has arrived with the force of a hurricane yet the gentleness of a breeze.

Good news of great joy for shepherds, cab drivers

I was in a cab headed to the high-speed rail station, on my way to preach at a Taiwanese wedding. While the groom is a Christian, he had told me that his parents were not. The vocabulary we use in Taiwan, when preaching to Christians, can often be language that non-Christians don’t understand. As soon I got into the cab, I saw that the cab driver, Mr. Jwang, had a small statue of Buddha on his dashboard. So, I thought to myself, it might be good if Mr. Jwang could listen to my sermon and tell me which parts he did not understand. That way I would be sure that the groom’s family was able to understand.

A different kind of Christmas list

The turkey sandwiches were made, and hot chocolate filled our thermoses. We piled into the car and drove off for a family tradition: our day-after-Thanksgiving trek into the woods.

Blue Christmas: ’Tis the season — for depression

The holidays have been difficult for Christine Caton ever since her mother died — three days after Christmas. As an only child, with her father already gone, Caton experienced profound grief in losing her mom. The Christmas season only accentuated that grief.