The Holy Night of Birth

I grew up in the mountains of southwest Virginia where it was fairly common to have snow for Christmas.  My most wonderful memories are not of falling snow, but taking “nature hikes” in the moonlight after a satisfying meal of leftovers.  Whether the sky was clear and dark, or whether it was accented by puffy…

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The Party of the Year

Some people like parties more than others, but almost everyone will make an effort to celebrate a birthday, largely because it is an opportunity to honor a person close to us. Although God did not command we celebrate birthdays like He commanded the ancient Israelites to celebrate specific festivals, I have to think he is…

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Thankfulness Reset


Many of us have experienced surprising joy by simply adopting an attitude of being thankful. While it is more natural to have an initial “screaming meemies” response to difficulties, navigating to the other side of the issue generally elicits relief and gratefulness. That was where the Pilgrims found themselves after a devastating first year in…

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Permitting Reality to be Real

It is far too easy to read words on a page as informational, rather than becoming involved in the story to the degree of actually living it. The difference might be similar to reading about a bank robbery, versus personally experiencing the horrors of a mugging. A robbery is usually quickly forgotten by all except…

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The Purpose of the Desert

Biblically speaking, the desert represents wilderness, hardship, isolation, basic unmet needs, feeling lost, etc. Christ-followers typically use the analogy to describe difficult spiritual, emotional and physical times. None of us likes feeling that we’re in a desert, and a major goal becomes getting out. The longer our desert experience continues, the more likely we are…

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The Secret Holiness of Christmas


I’ve often wondered how it felt to be one of the shepherds that witnessed thousands of angels igniting the dark night sky in glorious, celebratory praise to our Savior being born. Those men had no pre-announcement or warning of any kind: the routine stillness of the evening punctuated by insect sounds and the crackle of…

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year


The famous song by the above title heralds Christmas as a romantic season of parties, traditions, singing, and general love and good will towards others. Written in 1963, it reflects the era of the mid-1900’s, making it even more romantic in this day of painful relationships, commercialism aimed at profit, the idolizing of Santa Claus,…

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Change of Venue


Vacations offer a vital opportunity to escape from the rigors and monotony of our daily lives to do something different. For some, that means challenging physical activity, for others it is exploring faraway places and cultures, and for still others it is rest and relaxation. Invariably, the nature of the change makes us more aware…

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