My experience in Amsterdam is that cyclists ride where the hell they like and aim in a state of rage at all pedestrians while ringing their bell loudly, the concept of avoiding people being foreign to them.My dream holiday would be a) a ticket to Amsterdam b) immunity from prosecution and c) a baseball bat.
The hand of God is wonderfully evident at those times when He pens stories whose lines we ourselves are far too fearful to pen or whose imaginations are far too limited to envision. And I would unashamedly suggest that the Christmas story is that very story.
But I don't like it, okay? I don't like how everything is changing. It's like when you're a kid, you think that things like the holidays are meant to show you how things always stay the same, how you have the same celebration year after year, and that's why it's so special. But the older you get, the more you realize that, yes, there are all these things that link you to the past, and you're using the same words and singing the same songs that have always been there for you, but each time, things have shifted, and you have to deal with that shift. Because maybe you don't notice it every single day. Maybe it's only on days like today that you notice it a lot. And I know I'm supposed to be able to deal with that, but I'm not sure I can deal with that.--David Levithan (p. 201 in galley)
Why in the world have we never found what we’re really looking for? Because what we need is often the very thing we won’t accept. And sadly, in turning away the God we need, we need to understand that we have chosen to live without everything we need.
Is my faith so terribly pathetic that I have diminished God to the point that I doubt His ability to survive in the very world that He came to save? Indeed, I have done exactly that. And all I need to do to beat that mentality is to remember that a baby born in a manger with every disadvantage imaginable stills lives today.
The worst defeat of all is to surrender without having been defeated. And it is Christmas that obliterates both.
After that I went home and Sally put what was left of me to bed; next day, being a Christian family, we saluted the happy morn with the Hell and Hades of a row because I wouldn't get up and go to early service, my sister being quite determined that even if I didn't get up. I shouldn't sleep.
Given the lethal enormity of sin and the inestimable value of a single soul, a baby in a manger and a man on a cross makes more sense that anything else I will ever be able to possibly imagine.
Cuba has nine official National Public HolidaysJanuary 1st - Liberation Day & New Year’s Liberation Day is also called “Triunfo de la Revolucion.” This day celebrates the removal of dictator Batista from power and the start of Fidel Castro’s power.January 2nd - Victory of the Armed Forces A holiday commemorating its revolution’s history. Good Friday Good Friday became a national holiday following the visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The first Good Friday recognized as a holiday was in 2014, according to Granma, the Official Body Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. May 1st - International Labour Day Called “Dia de los Trabajadores,” Havana-Guide.com noted there are many celebrations this holiday, including “speeches on the ‘Plaza de la Revolucion’ celebrating the work force and the Communist party.”July 25th till 27th - Commemmoration of the Assault to Moncada/National Rebellion Day This three-day long holiday remembers the 1953 capture and exile of Fidel Castro, according to VisitarCuba. This happened near Santiago in the Moncada army barracks. This week is also celebrated with carnivals in Santiago as the saint day of St. James (Santiago).October 19th - Independence Day, “Dia de la Independencia” Independence Day celebrates the early independence of Cuba in 1868, when Carlos Manuel Cespedes freed his slaves and began the War of Independence against Spain, according to Travel Cuba. December 25, 2017 - Christmas, “Natividad” Christmas has only recently been re-established as a holiday due to Pope John Paul’s visit in 1998.
More often than not, the foolishness of our humanity drives us to destroy the very things that we need to keep ourselves from destroying ourselves. And because that’s the case, God will never allow us to destroy Christmas.
What was that? Valentine's Day? Her heart gave a little skip at the thought, she had never spent it in a romantic way before, usually the day meant sending and receiving cute Cupid cards and heart shaped sugar candies, but it was all in a platonic celebration of friendship. This time, it would not be like that, it would be ... special.
Through the eyes of men an utterly irrational birth followed by a terribly improbable execution are miscues of the most pathetic sort. And all I can say is that I’m immeasurably thankful that I’ve been given access to the eyes of God.
Twas the night before Christmas And the moon was sitting high The kids were in bed, Kissed and snuggled in tight The gifts were all wrapped There was love in the air It only came once So it was handled with careThe curtains were drawn The cookies were bit It was time to blow out All those candles we’d litThe kids would soon wake With laughter in their hearts We had a big day ahead And early it would startLaughter’s and squeals Jumps on the bed Screaming, “Get up”! “Get up!” as they fledWrappings and ribbons Thrown everywhere“Oh, I love you Mom and Dad!”Neither did spareFamily arrives, Carolers sing Stories were told Of childhood memories This was true loveTrue love was in the air And it only came once So it was handled with careNow the gifts have been opened And the food is all gone The songs were all sung And the guests have gone homeIt was time to get back To life’s normal things It was time to put away All that the holidays bringYou'll go to your office She'll go to her room He'll reach for his game I guess I'll grab the broom Christmas had come And Christmas had went It only comes once a year But it is time well spent
If a father does not altogether embrace a life of uncompromised sacrifice as the core of all principles by which he nurtures his children, he is a father by birth only and no power on earth can ever or will ever make that sufficient.
It's funny to think that Christmas — a time known for its joyful togetherness — can be the loneliest time of the year for some.
Maybe we can help. Where are you from? I've never seen you around here before. And, how did you get that cut? Where are you staying?” He shook his head and giggled. “Are you the police? You ask a lot of questions Phoenix.” “No. I just ... never mind.” I wanted to know more about him. The way those sparkly green eyes gazed at me. The way his dimples sunk deep into his cheeks, as he smiled and said my name with his deep voice.
God’s decision to reach out in such dramatic fashion as to lay all rightful privilege aside and be born into abject destitution tells us that His passion for us exceeds our desire for Him. And maybe we should commit to evening that up a bit.
Relaxation is good, holidays are necessary, but there is nothing as rewarding and healthy as doing what you love and loving what you do. Our honest toil should inspire and satisfy us.
I can only begin the process of saving myself when I surrender to the reality that I can’t. And what greater place to surrender that reality than to an infant who surrendered Himself to me so that I might surrender myself to Him.
We’ve yet to comprehend the impervious reality that to gain ‘life’ we have to do the most scandalous thing imaginable, and that is to work ‘against’ the whole of our humanity and give everything away. And yet to give everything away is to work ‘with’ the whole of God’s character.
Christmas is such a time of struggle anyway, crammed with busy and hurry and the expectation that you will be joyful, no matter what. Then, if you’re like me, when you just sit quietly, just be, and let yourself feel what you feel, the guilt creeps in. Because you’re alive and the world is big, and you should be feeling some freakin’ Christmas spirit.