Beginning Advent Traditions

Advent begins Sunday!

I’d like to say that this first Advent Sunday kicks off the Christmas season, but in the states, what kicks off the Christmas season is the day after Thanksgiving – Black Friday. The ads are out, the bargains have begun – shopping is in the air. Inundated with ads, talks of gifts, and memories of Santa, it is easy to fall into the cycle: sales, Santas and presents.

Did you know that repetition plays a huge role in our children’s learning process. Repetition is what helps them make sense of the world, what gives them security; it how they learn what is important. So, if year after year we repeat the cycle of sales and presents, taking only a few moments here and there to talk about the birth of Jesus are we inadvertently teaching our children that Christmas is about stuff?
Elevating Christ during Advent »

Resisting Change

Change is difficult…and people make it even more difficult. But, knowledge is power so understand why people resist change can make it easier for you and those you are helping through change:

  • The change was someone else’s idea
  • Their routine is disrupted
  • The unknown is scary
  • The purpose wasn’t communicated enough
  • The fear of failure
  • Change requires additional commitment

Serve Where You Are

On December 2, 1991 I became a soldier.

It took about 2 weeks to discover that I had steeped into a role for which I was not a good fit. It wasn’t about the discipline or the training. It wasn’t about the long nights or getting punished for something that a team member did or didn’t do. Sometimes we wind up in places where we almost immediately know we’re not going to stay.

But God has a plan.

I didn’t quit. I move forward in my job, became a linguist, went through several different training classes and served the majority of my enlistment as part of the 10th Mountain Division in upstate New York.

I’ll admit that living in a place where it snows from Halloween to Mother’s Day isn’t as attractive as it sounds. A 54 inch snow fall in a 2 day period is an interesting story to tell years later, but a but of a pain to live through. And a trip to Haiti for your 25th Birthday isn’t fun if you’re not sure you will be welcomed or shot.

But God has a plan.
Serving God’s Plan »

Buying Things ≠ Happiness

The countdown has begun and its hard to ignore.
Christmas displays have been up for weeks.
Circulars are arriving.
Amazon is counting down to Black Friday…

In the United States Christmas has been reduced to shopping and giving gifts – mostly gifts that never get used.

This Christmas consider giving a better gift. A gift of your time, a gift of your smile, a present of your presence.

This year I was blessed to be a part of two advent devotion projects, one created in partnership with Awana and another that was funded through kickstarter…but this isn’t just about a devotional.

This Christmas start a new tradition that includes special times with your spouse and with your children. For example, each Christmas we do a daily advent devotion – but to make things even more special we set aside certain days for activities. One of the first activities will be to make a list of things we could do and decide what we will do. Chances are we’ll make Christmas cookies for special helpers in our lives, play a game at a coffee shop, go on a date.

The exciting part isn’t just that I don’t know what else will happen; its that I’ll be with three of the most special people in the world. Despite the arguments, the tears, and the angry faces that the year could bring we will be focused on the joy of being with each other.

So what traditions are you looking forward to?

Cat’s in the Cradle

Tomorrow my oldest son turns 12.
It’s not really considered a milestone Birthday, but it is special to him because it is the only one he will have. It’s special to me because it marks the last year before he is officially a teenager.

I’m freaking out a little bit about that. Not as much as my wife, but a little. It’s not like it will be a big deal when we have a teenager, daily life will slowly morph and the new normal will be upon us, most likely with little fanfare. The part that freaks me out is that it means my time with him in our home is growing short.

We’ve done well as parents, but it is never easy to let go of control. Even now I wonder what is being talked about with friends at youth group and in other area of life. If I asked, I’m sure he would tell me, but I need to learn to let go and doing it a little at a time is the best course.

And, while I am a little freaked out, I am also eager to see what t he new year holds. He’s grown so much this year – physically, in his relationship with Christ, and how he relates to us and to his brother.

I’m sure that challenges lie ahead, but it has been such a blessing to be his dad that I’m looking forward to tackling those challenges with him.

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