Her head bobbed at the tune while watching the animated princess. And then the chorus came. "Let it go. Let it go."
My heart melted, wishing she was mine. Wishing she could sing that song every day for the rest of my life.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
God's ways are not our ways. Perhaps nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the incarnation of God's Son, Jesus. His birth was that of a commoner and his death was that of a criminal. He was born in the company of animals in a stable.
I've sung the word a thousand times. Maybe more. I can recall many moments, the carol rolling off my lips. Standing outside homes in the chilly night, singing inside nursing homes to old men with welling tears, or in darkened santuaries.
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. As the song goes, "it's themost wonderful time of the year". But, for some people, Christmas can be a miserable time. Many have lost a loved one, suffered the end of a significant relationship, or even had a severe personal loss of income or health and Christmas is a just another reminder of what they no longer have.
I was in a restaurant the other day when the waiter brought my check with the cheery wish, "Happy holidays!" Retailers and media alike speak of this as the "holiday season." Santa Claus and his reindeer take turns in store windows alongside Christmas trees, toys, and tinsel. An observer from Mars could be forgiven for wondering why we call this season "Christ"mas.
This is the season of gifts. From Thanksgiving to Christmas giving gifts dominates much of our lives. If no gifts were given many businesses would fail, many hearts would be broken, many faces would be sad. God made us to be gift givers.
A few years ago, the kooky characters on the TV-show Seinfeld tried their best to promote a new holiday - Festivus, "for the rest of us." It was a non-traditional, non-religious holiday in December that began with an "airing of grievances." For many reasons, it never really gained traction beyond its original farcical intent.
But the angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. Luke 2:10-11
The first widespread usage of the greeting Merry Christmas apparently began in 1843 with the publishing of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Not surprisingly, the greeting first appeared on Christmas cards that same year.
As we sit down to feast with our families this holiday, the blessing might well include a word of thanks to the men and women of our armed forces. While we celebrate our national holiday in the warmth and comfort of homes, they serve at grave peril in faraway places like Afghanistan.
Like most of you, I'll gather around a table this Thanksgiving with family and friends. I'll have the privilege of being with my mother, my sister and her husband, and my favorite niece and nephew - I only have two! For several weeks, I've been looking forward to this chance to be with my family-to relax, and catch up, and to laugh with one another.
"How to survive Thanksgiving" articles have populated the Internet this week. Most assume that the problem with Thanksgiving is family members you don't see the rest of the year. So contributors have these suggestions: feed your family lots of tryptophan-laced turkey and hope they fall asleep; treat them as if they were strangers; take a hike during the day to be alone for a while; and bribe the kids to hug their relatives and help with dishes.
Much planning goes into preparing for a successful Black Friday. Cash flow is carefully monitored. Credit limits are pushed to the max. Intricate strategies for timing and storage of products are worked and reworked. The stress levels are high.
Pentecost Sunday is a commemoration and celebration of the receiving of the Holy Spirit by the early church. John the Baptist prophesied of the first Pentecost when Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire (Matthew 3:11).