Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Time

Merry Christmas!!

More than one person this year has told me they are becoming some what of a "scrooge" about Christmas. I think they have a good reason to be.

There are some things I enjoy about Christmas. My fiance's love languages include gifts, so I know that it is a time that I get to remind her that I am in fact thinking about her when she is not around. Now that I don't live at home, it is really great to spend concentrated time with my family. Travel, while stressful at times, is mostly adventurous.

But I am beginning to be overwhelmed with this nagging feeling that a solid 65% of the things that I do surrounding Christmas have little or nothing to do with the "reason for the season"... (and by typing that, I think I threw up in my mouth a little bit).

I don't think this feeling is limited to Christmas either. Bunnies and little fluffy yellow chicks have more to do with Easter than death and resurrection.

Others have felt this discontentment. They have stared movements like the advent conspiracy. While this is a great movement, I get the feeling that this can at times pull the focus of Christmas to a third meaningful, yet ancillary direction. The logic goes something like, "we want people to see Christmas as selfless, so let's pull the conversation towards redirection of funds towards social causes." While I would never say that social causes aren't important, it is also a divergence from the true nature of the season.

The center of Christmas is not anything else we have made it.
It is the irony of the incarnation, the fulfillment of promise, and it is the beginning of the end.

I guess I want a holiday or a time of year or something that will remind me of how wonderful this is and so often this holiday is about so many other things.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Baptism Audio Recording

After a little bit of trouble-shooting and internet research, I figured out how to post and stream an audio file here on the blog. Here is the audio recording of my baptism in November. Feel free to take a listen and here my testimony. The recording is only about 3-1/2 minutes long...but when I was reading my testimony in front of the congregation, standing in waist-deep water, it felt like an eternity! (Note - the recording below can only be listened to in internet explorer)


Sunday, December 21, 2008

missions coffee

So it wasn't exactly a missions coffee but Bethany and I met with a couple that is with WorldVenture. We had a great time talking to them about the challenges and joys of ministry life. Often, for me anyway, it is easy to see our missions goals as something very far off and disconnected instead of some thing that we are consistently working towards. This was a good reminder that God is continuing to lead us in this direction. It was good to get to see their perspective and to hear their story. I am really excited to see where God has for us!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I guest posted on my brother's photography blog photography exposure. It was pretty fun to take a thought and an image and put them together. If you have a second you should look at some of his other images, they are pretty amazing.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanksgiving Up North

We enjoyed a very jam-packed, fun-filled thanksgiving weekend with Nate's family and our friends up in Minnesota last weekend. It was a great 5 days of quality time with people we care about! Highlights included:
  • Lots of delicious food at Aunt Diane and Uncle Steve's house, along with a game of dominoes
  • A family trip to the Minnesota Zoo
  • A visit to the CnC Christmas party
  • Food and fun at Matt & Lizz Stendera's with Joe, Meg and Nikki
  • Eating dinner and playing Loaded Questions with Nate & Emily Manaen and Scott & Amy Whitmore
  • Decorating a tree and eating pie with the Minnesota Veermans
  • Sharing wedding details and updates with Nate's parents
  • Going to see the new bond flick, "Quantum of Solace"
Here are some photo highlights...

Steve masters the art of carving the turkey

Nate's brother, Evan, and his girlfriend, Anna

All of the grandkids (or future grandkids)

Anna shows her best side

A rousing game of mexican train dominoes

Posing in the shark exhibit at the Minnesota Zoo

The "awkward turtle"

Some kind of bear at the zoo that was adobably sleeping with his legs hanging straight down over a tree branch