Here's ten observations from this Christmas season. Thus far, anyhow.
1) Have you noticed that fewer and fewer homes are decorated with Christmas lights nowadays? It's been quite a dramatic decline over the last few years. Yet very much on the rise are homes decorated for Halloween. Significant? You better believe it.
2) Our Christmas this year has been enriched beyond measure by presenting the Yuletide version of "When Swing Was King" in nursing homes and other facilities. The residents have expressed the warmest gratitude to us for these programs. They declare over and again that the delightful music of the big band era, the interesting and ironic stories told about the songs and the bandleaders, and the wonderful photographs from the days of their youth constitute the best Christmas present they've had in years.
3) Our Christmas season is always so busy and we truly love entertaining and ministering to friends. Still, having a night with just the two of us -- sipping hot chocolate and watching "The Polar Express" -- was really terrific.
4) Our Christmas season dinner parties always feature one or two brand new menu items. The one getting the most applause this year is a sweet & sour apricot glaze for use with ham. (12 ounces of apricot preserves, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, pepper to taste -- all heated slowly until ready to serve.)
5) The magic of going into a toy store at Christmas is gone. There are so few wholesome, inexpensive toys compared to the plethora of video games -- video games that will keep a kid agitated in mind and spirit but all-too-sedentary in body. Where are the basketballs and jump ropes, the roller skates and hula hoops, the Frisbees and bikes?
6) We just learned the count for Christmas Day's dinner party has gone up to18. Oh, for an expandable dining room!
7) Why did so much of the "Christmas music" playing in the mall that Claire and I strolled through yesterday sound so much like what I hear pounding from pimped-out cars at stoplights? Where are Bing, Nat and Perry when we need them?
8) There are now two days before Christmas officially starts. (Claire and I celebrate all 12 days of Christmas and Epiphany). Our plan of action? Visit Mom. Dig out from the snowfall after it comes. Drive to Lincoln for Christmas Eve breakfast. Do some of the preparations for Christmas dinner. Create a toy theater production as our part of Christmas Day entertainment. Build a fire. Do some reading and watch a couple of Christmas movies. Nice.
9) On Monday morning, I implored the employees of the abortion mill to please reconsider their part in this grisly, wicked business. "How, in this wonderful, holy season can you keep helping this abortionist kill babies? Please reconsider what you're doing. Come instead to the manger like the shepherds and the wise men. Come and be cleansed by taking Him as your Savior." How many, many Christmas seasons have I made entreaties like this?
10) I'm generally a very sound sleeper. So why is it that during the Christmas season I'm often awakened in the middle of the night and prompted to go out in the living room, turn on the Christmas tree lights and just sit awhile. I drink a soda while I'm sitting there. I pray. I reminisce. And I soak up the special feelings that Christmastime gives -- wonder, hope, joy and gratitude but also regret, nostalgia, mourning and a longing for the full revelation of Jesus Christ, the great day when the "wars within and without" will cease and my new, glorified body will be clothed in righteousness. Even so, come Lord Jesus.