Nov 29, 2006

a green christmas?

It's Christmas! Let's be Glad.
Sufjan Stevens

since its Christmas let's be glad.
even if your life's been bad.
there are presents to be had.

take a walk out in the snow.
and hear Santa's, "ho ho ho."
he's got a million miles to go.

la la la la la la ah

sing a carol to your mom.
'cause she knows what's going on.
and she knows if you've been bad or good.

and if you'll get what you deserve.
to be graded on the curve.
oh you got a lot of nerve.

la la la la la la ah

since the year is almost out
lift your hands and give a shout
there's a lot to shout about today

since its Christmas let's be glad.
even if the year's been bad.
there are presents to be had.
a promotion for your dad.
I've been thinking a lot about Christmas lately and how each year the consumerism that drives our Western idea of Christmas drives me almost as crazy as the buttery smooth vocals of the Christmas carols being played in the mall. But on a practical note, I'm wondering what Christmas should look like in the context of my immediate family? Lydia and I were talking about this the other day, and although the issue of Santa really won't need to be resolved for another year now (Noah doesn't know Santa from a hole in the wall at this point)... but I'm really wondering:

Should we allow Santa to bring gifts to our home at Christmas? I'm not proposing the kind of "Santa is evil" mindset, but rather, is it just a fun, mythical element of the Christmas season, or is it something that really contributes to the consumerism that drives our Christmas season, and is it ultimately a barrier to our ability to ever celebrate Christmas in a real way?

This is a difficult thing to resolve in my mind because I don't want to just jump on the fundy bandwagon and revoke my children of the joys of Santa, but i also really don't want them to be writing lists of everything they want for Christmas either-- that just seems wrong to me. The thing i would love to somehow get away from is the "Christmas=presents" mentality. The difficulty also lies in the fact that i know the parents' values are transferred to their children... and i do enjoy giving and receiving gifts, but i am also growing in my intentionality to make the gift giving/receiving a peripheral matter to Christmas, not the core of it.

anyone else processing stuff along these lines?
any thoughts?

Nov 27, 2006

Man vs. Nature

November 16th...
Vancouver gets nailed with rain for 2 days without letting up. I'm told that rain is a regular occurance here, which would lead me to believe that the city can handle it. However, this time the tricks of nature prevailed, causing mudslides to plunge into the watersheds that house Vancouver's water supply. Vancouver is forced into a "Boil Water Advisory". We are still boiling water.

Days of boiling water to date: 12
Nature: 1 / Vancouver: 0

November 27th...
Vancouver gets nailed with snow for 2 days without letting up. Snow is new turf for Vancouver. It shows when people look at you funny when you drive somewhere after it has snowed. The boiling water advisory was going great until we woke up this morning without power, but with a foot and a half of snow in its place. (**side note: the front porch makes for a great alternative to a refrigerator in the winter.)

Hours without power and heat: 13
Nature: 2 / Vancouver: 0

hmm... i wonder what's next...

(on a side note, check the previous post for the fun we were able to have in the snow... we are glad to get a taste of real winter!!!)

Nov 24, 2006

presently living in the past...

When we wonder why the language of traditional Christianity has lost its liberating power for [modern] man, we have to realize that most Christian preaching is still based on the presupposition that man sees himself as meaningfully integrated with a history in which God came to us in the past, is living under us in the present, and will come to liberate us in the future. But when man's historical consciousness is broken, the whole Christian message seems like a lecture about the great pioneers to a boy on an acid trip.

Henri Nouwen, The Wounded Healer

Nov 14, 2006

what do you expect?

"[We have] used our wealth, our literacy, our technology, and our progress, to create the thicket of unreality which stands between us and the facts of life... We want to believe these illusions because we suffer from extravagant expectations... When we pick up the newspaper at breakfast, we expect - we even demand - that it bring us momentous events since the night before...We expect our two-week vacations to be romantic, exotic, cheap, and effortless. We expect anything and everything. We expect the contradictory and the impossible. We expect compact cars which are spacious; luxurious cars which are economical. We expect to be rich and charitable, powerful and merciful, active and reflective, kind and competitive. We expect to be inspired by mediocre appeals for excellence, to be made literate by illiterate appeals for literacy, to "go to the church of our choice" and yet feel its guiding power over us, to revere God and to be God. Never have people been more the masters of their environment. Yet never has a people felt more deceived and disappointed. For never has a people expected so much more than the world could offer."

- Daniel J. Boorstin, The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America.

Nov 11, 2006


If God has made your cup sweet, drink it with grace; or even if he has made it bitter, drink it in communion with Him.
- Oswald Chambers

Nov 3, 2006

the language of creation

i first came across the following poem while reading an article by Eugene Peterson last year. it initially caught my attention, but i soon forgot about it until a couple months ago when i came across it again. it has been stuck in my mind ever since. i'm not poetic enough to grasp the entire depth of it, but i just love the resounding theme of all of creation employed to speak 'Christ'... because as man we are created in the image of God... the Imago Dei... Christ playing in ten thousand places.

to me this is beautiful.

by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89)

As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies dráw fláme;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell's
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves - goes itself; myself it speak and spells,
Crying Whát I do is me: for that I came.

Í say móre: the just man justices;
Kéeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God's eye what in God's eye he is -
Chríst - for Christ play in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men's faces.

Nov 1, 2006