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Why I Don’t Do Christmas Anymore

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I’ve decided I’m not going to decorate for Christmas anymore. I made the mistake of putting up our tree with the kids this weekend, and it was a disaster. While I’d love to be instilling happy memories for the kids in our annual Christmas decorating, I’m afraid the opposite could well be true. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that there was much fighting, and in the end we had two broken ornaments and two children in tears. So much for quality family time. Who needs this, anyhow? So I’m done. No more decorating for me.

(Click here to continue reading the original post from the website Raising Godly Children.)

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Countdown to Christmas

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There are 22 shopping days until Christmas (as of the posting of this blog). Xmasclock.com even has an official countdown, down to the second, if you’re really curious. And before then, there are presents to buy and wrap, cards to mail, decorating to do, cookies to bake, concerts to attend, parties to plan… Sigh. And all this in only 22 days? It’s enough to make a person want to curl up and hibernate until it’s all over. And in all the shuffle of the month of December, it’s very easy to lose sight of the season of the church year called Advent. Advent is a short season—only four weeks at most. And many of us would love to make Advent more meaningful if only there was time to do it. Well, good news. Here are a few links to activities that require no planning and very little time to incorporate them into your family’s routine:

Continue reading “Countdown to Christmas”

A Modern-Day Good Samaritan Story

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I groaned as I saw the flashing construction vehicles and the line of red brake lights ahead of me. I was taking my son to school, and we hadn’t left early enough to allow for delays like this. Some cars were already doing U-turns, presumably to go another route. But our detour option was a much longer way, so I decided to wait a few minutes before making a knee-jerk reaction. Sure enough, a minute later the cars ahead of me slowly started inching forward. Whew. But as I approached the cause of the backup, I could see this wasn’t just construction. There was a car with a smashed front end sitting in the middle of the four-lane road, and there was a man lying on the ground next to the driver’s side, two construction workers kneeling beside him. Clearly, the accident had happened very recently, since the emergency workers hadn’t yet shown up. It was a horrifying feeling to pass right by the man on the ground, not knowing his condition or even if he was alive. My son and I prayed for him and for the others involved in the accident, and we were fairly silent the rest of the drive, until my son said, “You know, Mr. Smith would have stopped to see if he could help.” It was an innocent observation; he didn’t mean it as a guilt trip, but I was convicted nonetheless. I should have stopped, but I didn’t. It was a modern-day parable of the Good Samaritan, and I was the priest passing by on the other side.

Continue reading “A Modern-Day Good Samaritan Story”

McDonald’s Evangelism

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I was sitting in McDonald’s with an hour to get some work done. I had my large coffee, my iPad was open and ready, and my Bible sat next to me on the table. I relished the opportunity to be alone and work without distractions. Only…wait. That guy over there. He’s looking at me. He looks like he wants something. Shoot. Look down, Ruth. Act busy. You shouldn’t have made eye contact. Drat. Now he’s coming over, limping slightly as he walks. It’s cold and rainy outside, and he has an umbrella he’s sort of using as a cane. Okay. Sigh. He’s at my table. Here we go.

Continue reading “McDonald’s Evangelism”

Calling All Adults: Grow Up

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My middle schooler’s band concert was quite possibly the worst concert I’ve ever attended. Oh, don’t get me wrong. The middle schoolers did a great job. They’ve worked hard all year, and their songs were terrific. It was neat to see the progress they’ve made, and I was proud of my sixth grader and his classmates. No, it wasn’t the kids who made the concert so terrible. It was their parents.

Continue reading “Calling All Adults: Grow Up”

A Letter to My Teenage Son

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Dear Son,

This weekend you turned 14. Congratulations! You are turning into a young man right before my eyes. You are a bright and talented individual with your own unique personality. I am proud of the young man you are now, and excited to see the man you will become. I suppose it’s only natural at a birthday for a mom to stop and reflect on the passage of time, so indulge me for a few minutes and allow me to impart some wisdom from one generation to the next.

Continue reading “A Letter to My Teenage Son”

Are We Failing Our Kids?

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“There seems to be a general sense that the current generation of parents in America is failing their children. We aren’t preparing our kids for adulthood or teaching them the life and social skills they need to know. Kids are in something of a crisis, growing up not knowing how to be grown up.”

Do you ever worry that you’re failing your children? I do. And sadly, many parents are failing their kids, but not necessarily in the way you might expect. Read more about it in this article I wrote for Raising Godly Children, Are We Failing Our Kids?

This is the Year

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This is the year I stick to my diet.

This year I’m gonna get into an exercise routine.

This is the year I finally lose those extra pounds.

Most people start a new year off with high hopes and good resolutions, and many resolutions center around one’s health. Gyms do their best business around the end of December and beginning of January, because so many people join as motivation for a New Year’s resolution. This is all fine and good. There’s nothing wrong with committing to a healthier lifestyle. But what if we took our spiritual health as seriously as we take our physical health? What would those resolutions look like?

Continue reading “This is the Year”

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Christmas isn’t about pomp and pageantry. It’s not about the gifts or the feast or how many people are in church. Christmas is all about God’s grace.

Sure, we get that, but what does that mean? To get a full picture of “grace,” join me in taking a look at the word in Greek. In this article I wrote for the Concordia Publishing House blog “The Word Endures,” I explore the nuances of God Extending Grace to us at Christmas and beyond.

 

Photo is A Blessed Birth by Carol VanHook

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