Why we sing “Joy” and not “Happiness” to the World

Happiness is based on circumstances, joy is based on biblical truth.  In 1943 Nazi Germany, at the time  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote the quote below, he was under severe persecution from the Third Reich for courageously standing against Hitler. Bonhoeffer’s classic, The Cost of Discipleship, is well-worn on my bookshelf. Bonhoeffer’s devotion to Christ cost him … Continue reading Why we sing “Joy” and not “Happiness” to the World

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I often tell people that, within the context of Christian music, the words of most beloved hymns & carols boil down to this:  those lyrics are someone's story put to music. As with the heart-breaking story behind Horatio Spafford's It is Well, we would do well to familiarize ourselves with the drama that gives life … Continue reading I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

Silent Night? Not So Much…

Last night (Christmas Eve), before we all turned in, I shared with the family “the other side of the nativity.” Award-winning author, Philip Yancey, in his book, “The Jesus I Never Knew” shares, “Christmas cards of the religious genre typically depict a serene manger scene with Mary and Joseph surrounded by shepherds, animals, etc. All … Continue reading Silent Night? Not So Much…

The Gospel According to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

"I wear the chain I forged in life.... I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it." Jacob Marley The quote cited above, of course, is from Charles Dickens' beloved story, A Christmas Carol - a story … Continue reading The Gospel According to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”

Bethlehem Happened for One Reason: Calvary

From Philip Yancey's award-winning book, "The Jesus I Never Knew": "When the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci went to China in the sixteenth century, he brought along samples of religious art to illustrate the Christian story for people who had never heard it. The Chinese readily adopted portraits of the Virgin Mary holding her child, but … Continue reading Bethlehem Happened for One Reason: Calvary

Christ, Christmas & the Loss of a Child

Christmas, 2012, was the last time I helped decorate our tree. Since our 19 year old son, Jordan, died the following May, decorating the tree is something I/we have simply been unable to do. Our tree is not a "decorative showpiece" like you see so beautifully decorated in some homes. Almost every ornament on our … Continue reading Christ, Christmas & the Loss of a Child