The War on Christmas, a New Leaf Publishing Group Launch Team Review

 Book Reviews, Celebration, Christ, Church, Faith, Holidays  Comments Off on The War on Christmas, a New Leaf Publishing Group Launch Team Review
Oct 302013
 

I was given a copy of The War on Christmas edited by Bodie Hodges for the purposes of this review. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Christmas.

Growing up I never realized that there could be so much controversy and raw emotion of the mention of celebrating such a thing. We always celebrated with a tree, presents, decorations, and a great meal. We would go to church and participate in the services and it was always great when we got to do the readings in the preceding Sundays for the lighting of the Advent candle on the wreath. It was a time filled with wonder and even some mystery.

I was an adult and married when I learned that more than one group of people chose not to celebrate Christmas at all. After doing some research, I wasn’t sure what to believe. I felt that both sides to the argument over whether or not to celebrate Christmas had some valid points and both sides were taking scriptures out of context to prove their point. I hate proof-texting.  And it really is bothersome when it is hard to draw your own conclusion because both sides are so compelling.

So, it was with great excitement that I got to review The War on Christmas, edited by Bodie Hodges. This book takes a good hard look at Christmas and the controversies surrounding it.

The War on Christmas takes a good long look at the origins of our modern celebration of the holiday, where did these particular decorations come from? What really happened the night Christ was born? What are the Greek translations of the words used in Scripture and do they line up with our modern words? Did the church hijack pagan celebrations in an attempt to “Christianize” them? Are we expressly forbidden from celebrating Christmas, or do we have the freedom to do so? Do we worship at the alter of consumerism or do we keep our focus on Christ, his Birth and ultimately the reason He was born? Do our Christmas celebrations point to the Savior, or do they point to self?

The War on Christmas is very easy to read and follow along with the major points. The text is set up in three columns, which I did find a bit choppy for the speed at which I read, but it works very well for the format of the book. The pages are a muted shade of pale blue and are thicker than most pages in other books. The book is full of gorgeous pictures which really add to the points being made. This would make an excellent gift book due to the design of it alone.  This book would make a superb gift for a pastor, teacher, lay person, and seeker. I would also highly suggest reading this book to understand the theological implications of Christmas and the reasons why you have chosen to celebrate or not.

Personally, we came to the conclusion years ago that Christmas is fine. It is fine to take a dedicated time to focus on the birth of our Savior, to dwell on what He has done for us from Creation to the Cross and beyond. Christmas is a great time of year to reach out and witness to our neighbors and point them to Christ and the reasons He came for us. It opens doors that may otherwise be closed to us. However, I won’t condemn those who have chosen to have no part in commemorating the Savior’s birth. As long as you have researched it for yourself, prayed over what you have found and are ready to give solid reasons for why you believe that. For us, it came down to the heart issue, as it should for everyone. We couldn’t find any place in scripture where it says not to commemorate our Savior’s birth or to do so. The Israelites had holidays commemorating their history (aside from the Biblically commanded feasts, they celebrate Hanukah among others, as a way to remember where they’ve come from, the miracles they were given and to celebrate their heritage), and as Christians I see no reason not to do the same. If it weren’t for Christ being born, none of us would be having this argument anyway.

 

Sep 252013
 

And I still miss you. You would have been about seven and a half now.

Rarely does a day go by when I don’t think of you in some form or another.

Would you look like what your daddy did at this age?

Would you be taking apart the electronics and putting them back together like he did?

Would you get psyched up over getting to watch Star Wars like he does?

I imagine what you would look like in a family photograph wearing a bow tie that matches your dad’s. And perhaps a cute vest.

Some nights I wish you could run to me and give me a hug and I could tuck you in and wish you a goodnight.

I wish I could have gotten to see your eyes light up as you learn something new in school, memorize a new Bible verse and excitedly show off your new projects the way your sister’s eyes do.

Your sisters found out about you by the way. They ask about you sometimes. You’ve taught them about the hope of heaven.

Though your life was too short, and I never got to properly hold and snuggle you here on earth, you did serve a purpose with your existence. Thank you for blessing mine and your daddy’s lives for the amount of time that you did. Through you we learned just how tenuous life is. Just how precious life is. And what it means to have faith even when your world is crashing down around you and that when you lose what you thought was yours (but really wasn’t to start with) there is still hope. Hope in the Creator of all things for Him to work good out of the situation even though the days are dark and bleak.

I am not the same person I was when we got pregnant with you sweet Avery. Thank you for that. I couldn’t have stayed the way I was then. It was because of you I finally had the courage and support from your dad to become who I am now and continue on to who I am meant to be.

So today, we celebrate you sweet child. A child that by the worlds’ standards never truly existed. Today we make it a point to love more, have more fun and remember what is truly important in life. Your sisters and I will go to Happy Hour at Sonic and raise our glasses to you. Because life on this earth is short and we need to find the little things to celebrate.

Until I hold you heaven, I will continue to love you. May I be worthy of having been your mother.

Love,
Mommy

Singing Quietly in Small Group

 Beans, Celebration, Faith, family  Comments Off on Singing Quietly in Small Group
Oct 242012
 

Sunday night we went to our small group. As is our custom, before the children go to another room with a college aged babysitter, we all gather in our host’s living room to sing some songs of praise and adoration. The Beans sat on my lap and snuggled with me as we sang Chris Tomlin’s 10,000 Reasons. It is always such a joy getting to share these experiences with our children. The kids are learning how to conduct themselves in an orderly manner during services, they are learning the songs and learning how to lift their voices in praise to our Creator. Sunday night was a heart melting moment. Turns out, Beans knows all of the words to 10,000 Reasons. I had no clue. She sat and snuggled in my lap and sang every word with us. Hearing her sing was a total melt into a puddle moment. I knew the Bugs knew that song and she always joins in singing at the top of her lungs, with much gusto. Beans is more reserved than her sister, so her singing like that in public is a rarity.

Have you shared such a moment as that with your children? Have you been so filled that you thought your heart would burst with joy while melting in the sweetness at the same time?

Happy Father’s Day!!!!

 Celebration, family, Hubbs  Comments Off on Happy Father’s Day!!!!
Jun 172012
 

The girls, each kissing Daddy's cheeks

Happy Father’s day to HubbaHubba. Thank you for being the dad you are to the Beans and the Bugs. I couldn’t have asked for a better man to be the father of our children than you are.

Thank you for loving your daughters. Thank you for playing with them. Thank you for taking the time to listen to them. Thank you for making them laugh. Thank you for disciplining them.  Thank you for being the kind of husband I hope they marry someday. Thank you for training them in the way they should go. Thank you for making time for us. Thank you for answering the call of God in your life. Thank you for being the great dad that you are.

Love,

Your ever loving and faithful wife and mother of your children..

May 222012
 

What a difference a year makes.

On this day a year ago, it was like any ordinary day. And what I wouldn’t give to go back in time and keep it that way.

It was a day of relief as our tax return had finally come in a few days before, I had gotten to stock up on groceries and had gotten to order our homeschooling curriculum for the upcoming year. We attended church that morning and life was looking up. We even got to eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch as a special treat.

That evening, you know what happened. The town of Joplin was nearly wiped off the map. We had friends lose their homes, cars and nearly their lives that evening. At 5:41 we lost our aense of normalcy, my girls lost a lot of their innocence and we all felt violated.

However, when people started to emerge from the wreckage, something extraordinary happened. We all started to band together to start the recovery process immediately. Neighbors were out searching for neighbors. People who didn’t lose their homes showed up to dig through the rubble and clear streets. Churches opened their doors. We had supplies and people show up to help in an amazingly short period of time.

I look back and still feel the shock and horror of May 22,2011. I’m reminded of it every time we have to drive through town. Every time we pass the hulk of what used to be St. John’s I hear my eldest ask the question of “If God is good, then why did He let the tornadod happen?” Bugs asked that at the age of four. No four-year-old should ever have those thoughts come into their head. Every time we have a storm, I remember the girls cuddling in my lap the entire day after because they were terrified. Their dad was woeking relief at the church, the radio was on so I could get some sense of what was going on, and I had never felt so alone in my life as that day.

And yet, through the horrendous event of the tornado, so much good has come from that day. I can look back now, a year later, and and while I will forever have the bad memories, I can see the hand of God through it all. More good has come through this tragedy than I could have ever expected.

People got over themselves and served selflessly from that day on. We all banded together to clear debris, serve meals, distrubute needed items. Neighbors who never spoke to each other were now talking and helping each other out.

Churches who formerly would have nothing to do with each other were now meeting in each other’s buildings and aiding each other and the community together. It was amazing to witness the community of faith come together and be the church. To ignore their doctrinal differences and fulfill what we had been commanded to do. It was the way the church should be all of the time.

People were more open to hearing about matters of faith and were more receptive to the gospel. People who never would have darkened the doors of a church building were coming in for help, and while they were given things they needed physically, they were given living water. I wonder how many seeds were planted because of the tornado. How many people came to a saving knowledge of Christ because of it?

I know for us personally, and a lot of others, we value our families more. Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of how blessed we have been. Not just with physical stuff, but with each other, our health and our faith. We hold our possessions less tightly now. Having things doesn’t matter now. It is our relationships that do.

Driving through town is still hard. However, it is getting easier as time goes on. You can watch the rebirth of Joplin daily now. Many businesses have rebuilt or relocated or are in the process of it. New homes are springing up from what was once fields of debris. Joplin is finding her new normal. We’ve discovered our new sense of community pride. We have discovered hope and faith and love through this experience that has bound us together.

While I wouldn’t wish for a catastrophe like this to affect anyone, I do wish everyone could experience the brotherhood of Joplin. The binding together, setting aside of agendas and the renewal of community that we have experienced. It is like nothing I have ever seen before.

So today, on this one year anniversary, please hug your loved ones closer, look for the gift that is today and be thankful for the multitude of blessings we share in. May we remember the past, yet also at the same time look towards the future with hope, preserverance and our faith. Not only faith in our fellow man, but faith in our Creator and Savior. The One who has sustained us through this dark time and on into a brighter future. It is with Hope that we continue on.