Christmas, faith

Unexpected Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone!!!

This Christmas has definitely been WAY different for my family. This is probably the first time in my 35 years that I have not celebrated Christmas with relatives or friends. One of my sons and I found out we have the flu earlier this week, so our plans of Christmas gatherings had to be abandoned.

It’s Christmas Eve night and normally we would have been at my grandma’s house with my extended family enjoying yummy finger foods and exchanging Christmas gifts. Instead my little family of four was sitting– well, in reality our youngest son wasn’t doing much sitting– all together on one couch watching “The Nativity Story.” It wasn’t the hooplah of family and gifts. It was something simple and unexpected. Sounds a little like the true story of Christmas.

Speaking of unexpected– here’s one of my favorite non-traditional Christmas songs, “Labor of Love,” on my favorite non-traditional Christmas album, Behold the Lamb of God.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

faith, music

A Thanksgiving Song– Especially for Moms

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I’ve been listening to the song “Planting Trees” several times today just thinking about my parents– my mother in particular– and all those who have poured into me and invested in my life– some for a season, others throughout my life. I’m truly thankful for all of them today!

The story behind this song is that Andrew Peterson was at a retreat with his wife in a breakout group where the question was asked, “How are you shedding light in the darkness in a practical way in your life?” Andrew is a gifted songwriter and novelist, so his answer came easily. I want “…to tell the truth in the most beautiful way that I can think to tell it,” he said. Andrew admitted to worrying about his wife Jamie’s answer. When it became Jamie’s turn, she said, “I’m shedding light in the darkness by raising these three children in the Lord.” Andrew said it helped those in the breakout group to “…realize that the only real work that matters in the world is the love of Christ that you pour into other people…that is the surest defense against the darkness.” Listen to Andrew’s full story behind this song here.

“Planting Trees” lyrics:

We chose the spot
We dug the hole
We laid the maples in the ground
To have and hold

As autumn falls
To winter’s sleep
We pray that somehow in the spring
The roots grow deep

And many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn

He took a plane
To Africa
He gathered up into his arms
An orphan son

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
This tree will spread its branches out
And bless the dawn

So sit down and write that letter
Sign up and join the fight
Sink in to all that matters
Step out into the light

Let go of all that’s passing
Lift up the least of these
Lean into something lasting
Planting trees, hmm, yeah

She rises up
As morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake

And her heart is so full
It overflows
She waters us with love
And the children grow

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn

These trees will spread their branches out
And bless someone

faith, marriage, music

Day 5: “Dancing in the Minefields”

Andrew Peterson is probably my favorite songwriter of all time. It was easy to choose his song “Dancing in the Minefields” as a follow up from yesterday’s post on marriage. This song reminds me of something my dear friend Anne used to say: “It’s often the hardest things that are the best things.” That is certainly true of my marriage.

Here’s Andrew’s description of the song:

In December of 2009 my wife and I celebrated fifteen years of marriage. A few days later, we got in a silly argument and I wrote this song after she went to bed. Marriage, see, was God’s idea. It’s one of the most potent metaphors in all of Scripture for the way God loves us and the way we’re to let ourselves be loved by him. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. To the contrary, it’s fraught with peril. Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self—the good news is, in Christ that marriage involves at least as many resurrections. We lay our lives down and enter this perilous dance with another human being who has done the same. Why should we expect to emerge unscathed? 

In another interview about this song, Andrew said:

Marriage is a perilous journey. If it hasn’t been yet, get ready because it will get hard. It is a crucible, and an important lesson to learn how to lay down our lives for another person. Just because it is hard doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Some young people have a tendency to think marriage is a cake walk. They’ll say, “Other people fight, we don’t fight.” You need to know that if you are in an intimate relationship with someone there will be arguments. There will be tension. Mountains are moving in your soul and you’ll have scars. That’s part of God’s design and that makes marriage beautiful.

Find “Dancing in the Minefields” Lyrics here.