The Best Gift (Christmas Story Part 2)

Dear Friends, we are now in that odd time zone between Christmas and the New Year when no one really knows what day it is and none of us has had a healthy meal in days. This year I have found myself reminiscing about Christmases of old. (Or of olde, if you go far enough back). I love those old decorations, the songs, the old family movies and photos. I love the old fashioned Christmas imagery, like the lady in the picture at left. She is mailing out Christmas cards the old fashioned way...without email. I am thinking about all of the Christmases I have experienced up until now. It seems that each one is clear in my memory. But today, I am thinking about one in particular. It was the y

All the Best Gifts (Christmas Story, Part 1)

A wise person once said, "All the best gifts involve an element of surprise."  Actually, that wise person was my pastor, and  the occasion was yesterday's Christmas Eve Service. He went on to remind us of Ralphie, the little boy we all know from A Christmas Story.  All he wanted that Christmas long ago was a  BB gun.  No, an "official Red Ryder carbine action 200-range-shot model air rifle."  Please?  Nah.  "You'll shoot your eye out." Well, as most of us know, Ralphie DID get his rifle.  But not before he opened every gift under the tree first, and felt the utter disappointment that every child feels when their most beloved toy is not found under the tree.  His father saved his special gift

It's the Most Wonderful Time...

It's the most wonderful tiiiiime….of the year. You can just hear Andy Williams belting out that line (well, if you are over a certain age). And what is that time of year? Christmas! And with all of the shopping, decorating, and 24/7 Christmas music, you might think it really is Christmas already. But today I would like to remind you that Christmas, as a church season, begins on the December 25 and lasts for twelve days. (You've probably heard a song about that too). The time of year that we are in is called Advent, and today is the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is a time for waiting. This waiting time has many shades of meaning in the modern church. We remember the historical sign

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