Merry Christmas, Happy New Years and all the fine stuff…

[image from krisdecurtis]

In what is a most time-honored tradition around these sorts, I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  This past year has been a very interesting year in my life and I’m looking forward to an even more interesting year.  I wish, like others I could have a nice cute picture of my family up here but in my household we define “Christmas busy” and usually don’t get around to getting our pictures done until late Christmas day.  Maybe I’ll get something up then (probably not).

Enjoy your holidays, don’t freeze, eat carefully, laugh with family, and check out what Christmas is really all about.  Thanks for sticking around!

What I like most about Christmas…

Well, the little contest I ran on my blog has drawn to a close and I had the really tough job of picking a winner from two entries. Either that means that some super evil henchman bent on burying my existence kept the post hidden from all of the people on the internets (except for two people) OR the 40+ readers of my blog are actually robots who don’t get music (maybe I need to offer a case of WD-40 as a prize for the next contest).  Um, yeah.  Ha!  Nevertheless as promised, I picked a winner for the iTunes Christmas Music songs AND have written a post with their answer.

The winner was Thomas, who wrote:

What I like about Christmas is the joy it brings to everyone and how the holiday spirit seems to cheer up even grumpy people. Mostly Christmas is all about the kids though. You can’t beat the way their little faces light up while they are opening presents.

Congratulations Thomas (I don’t have a link to a website from him but if I get one I’ll add it in here)!  You have the fine distinction of being the first person to win the very FIRST contest on my blog!  WOW!  Someday that may be really significant…

What do you think of Thomas’s answer?  Do you agree?

I have to agree with seeing kids faces light up.  I get joy out of watching my kids open gifts as well.  My joy is mixed with a little bit of hope though.  Hope, that for my kids, Christmas isn’t just about the presents.  Hope that they truly get the significance of the miracle of Incarnation, of the gifts that really matter from our Heavenly Father.  I hope that they don’t grow up only thinking about what they’ll get but more importantly what they’ll give.  Thing is, as I hope for this,  I realize that a huge part of that hope being fulfilled in their lives is if it’s being fulfilled in mine AND if I give them opportunities to join with me in it.

So, what do I like most about Christmas?  Of course, Christmas is a reminder of the birth of Christ and yes, I like that celebration (but really,  is it something that should ONLY be celebrated on a single day?)  but assuming that’s a given, what I really like most about Christmas is the in-between times.  The times when I’m just. doing. nothing.

So you missed the contest?  I’m still interested in hearing what you like most about Christmas…

Want 10 Free Christmas Songs from iTunes?

Okay, I subscribe to this service from the folks at Catalyst called “Filter” and that subscription includes periodic mailings from them of goodies – books, magazines, music and whatnot.  Well, I just received my first package from them.  Included in this package is a nice Itunes music card (from Integrity Christmas Sampler) granting 10 free song downloads from the Itunes Store.  Only problem is,  it’s only good for the US store.  Bummer 🙁

On the bright side it provides a nice gift I can pass on to any of my U.S. based readers who might be interested.  So, here’s how it’s gonna work.  Leave a comment here answering the question “What do you like most about Christmas?”  At 12 noon tomorrow (Tuesday December 22nd I will pick one person’s answer that I like the most as the winner.  Not only will the winner receive the gift card but I’ll also turn their comment into a post (with linky’s to their website*).  And….. go!

*Disclaimer:  I will only post a linky to a family-safe (or safe for work) website.

UPDATE: The winner has been chosen!  Jump here for details.

Merry Christmas 2008!

It’s that time of year again where I get woken early by my kids and mumble, “just 5 more minutes” while they are bouncing up and down on their Daddy’s tortured body.   It’s that time of year again when I finally roll out of bed and half fall down to the stairs with a big smile on my face as I look forward to seeing my children gleefully shred wrapping paper with wonder in their eyes at the gifts they’ve received.  It’s that time of year again when my wife and I look at each other with that understanding and gratitude for the blessing of sharing this moment with our children and just the wonder of being together.  It’s that time of year again when I’m reminded that if it weren’t for the incarnation, the most extravagant gift of God in Jesus Christ – that none of this would be possible.

Hope you had a great day today folks with family and friends!

On a side note, I probably won’t be responding to comments etc. around here that much for the next couple of weeks.  I’m heading off to the Ukraine on a missions trip.  I’m joining a team from my church to visit and help some orphanages over there.  I’m going to try to post some pics and notes on my trip while there – but it all depends on what my online access is like.