Don’t Say ‘Merry Christmas’

We sat on the floor in the middle of my son’s living room on Christmas morning, amid open boxes and scraps of torn wrapping paper. My grandsons, Eli and Josiah, laughed and played with new toys that had quickly become their favorites. Snatching Josiah into her lap as he danced across the floor in delight, my wife, Robin, hugged our youngest grandson and wished him, “Merry Christmas.”

Continue reading “Don’t Say ‘Merry Christmas’”

The Star

Background Passages: Genesis 1:14-20, Matthew 2:1-2, and 2 Timothy 1:8-10
An  Angel.
Sat beside the Creator.
Stardust smeared across its cheek
after a long day of placing planets and suns in place
under the watchful eye of God Almighty.
It surveyed the heavens.
Smile brightening.
Glancing at the Creator with a twinkle in its eyes,
“It’s good.”


The Creator.
Placed a hand on the Angel’s knee.
Shook His head.
“Not quite yet.”
One more thing to do.
One last heavenly body among
countless points of light.

A quiet word.
Wisps of ice and rock appear
in front of His face.
Spinning slowly.
on the backdrop of

The  Creator.
Gathered the formless mass into His hands.
Rolled the aggregate in His palms into a tight ball.
In deep concentration,
He looks into the universe
He just formed on this fourth day of conception.
Triangulating a position in a distant, inconspicuous galaxy
with the third planet from a remote sun
and a precise moment in time yet to come.

He nodded to His Angel.
Pointed into the depths of the cosmos.
“Take it…

In a flash the Angel carried it across universe and time.

“A little left,”
the Creator instructed.
The Angel shifted its position ever so slightly.
“Perfect,” said God.
give it a push.”

The small rock hurtled through space
beginning its protracted,
but crucial journey.
God leaned back.
The Angel suddenly by his side again.
The Creator lifted his chin.
Stretched out his arms
to encompass all He designed that day.
Turned to his Angel.
He said with a smile,
“It’s good.”


The Angel studied the rock on its course.
Pondering the point of its
placement at that
precise spot
in the universe.

Such a small object
tumbling through space.
Mundane by any standard.
Especially when compared to the splendor of the
star clusters,
supernovae and

It left him…

For time upon time,
the angel would check its progress.
Nothing spectacular.
Nothing of note.
Nothing to indicate its purpose.

It always left him…

One day as the Angel
watched and waited…
The ball of ice and rock,
pulled by the intense gravity of that
distant, yellow star,
reacted to its heat.
Ice cracked.
Broke off from the surface.

As it gained speed it left a
thin trail of frozen particles in its wake.
The residue grew brighter each passing day,
reflecting light from the star.
The tiny ball of ice and rock blossomed into its
God-planned existence as a large comet.
Its entire existence conceived for
this purpose and
this purpose only.

The Comet.
Caught in a death spiral by the gravity of the sun.
Glowed brightly.
Visible day and night.
Its light seemed to stand still
amid the incomparable beauty of a
God-created universe.

Locked for this time…
Inside an
undistinguished galaxy.
In an
isolated solar system.
Near an
indistinct planet.
Over an
insignificant country.
Above an
inconsequential village.

This “star,” to those who observed it more than 2,000 years ago,
pointed to
an inhospitable stable
in which lay an
indescribable child.
God’s only Son.

The Angel.
Watched events unfold.
No longer wondering.
Rather in awestruck wonder
of God’s revealed plan.
It looked in reverence at the Creator
as He looked in Love at the Creation.

The Angel whispered…
“It’s very good.”


Think about it.

The Star…
The stable
in Bethlehem.

The Star…
The shepherds
in the fields.

The Star…
The sages
from the East.

The Star…
The Savior
in the manger.

What perfect timing!
What intricate and eternal planning!

With the gentle push of an Angel
eons past,
God planned for the Star to reach that
specific spot in space
at that
special moment in time.
Pointing to the most beautiful
Creation in the entire expanse of
His immeasurable universe.

God sent His Son…
immaculately conceived and
human born…
not as an afterthought to a world that
unexpectedly broke away from Him.
Not as an attempt to correct His
botched effort at a perfect humanity.

The birth of His Son.
Written on God’s heart
as a planned intervention.
before time existed.
before human creation.
before we knew our need for Him.

His Son…
sent to redeem a world He knew from
inception would selfishly refuse the relationship
the Creator most desired with
His most beloved Creation.

When I look, really look, at
God’s creation…
His majesty evident
in all I see.
His mystery evolving
in so much I don’t fully understand.
It leaves me…

When I surrender, really surrender, to
Salvation’s Child…
His mercy evident
in His sacrifice.
Its miracle evolving
in so much I don’t fully understand.
I watch my life unfold…
no longer wondering.
Rather in in awestruck wonder
of God’s grace so freely offered through a Child
whose destiny lay on a cross.
My reconciliation.
My redemption.

Before the world was made.
The Creator put everything in motion.
Designed to come together at a
perfect place and point
in time.

For no other reason but to…
Give me a choice.
Give you a choice.

We can follow our own path or we can…
Follow the Light of the Star.
Find a Savior.

For no other reason…
that makes this a
Merry Christmas.

We look in reverence at the Creator
as He looks in Love at His Creation.
As believers in what He has done,
we whisper as did the Angel…

“It’s very good.”

Continue reading “The Star”

The Stable Boy

Background Passage: Luke 2:1-20
People flooded Bethlehem
in answer to the governor’s decree.
Returning to their home town to be taxed.
Travel made them…
Taxation made them…
Bellicose. Families poured into the
 City of David from all directions of the wind.
Swelling the population of the sleepy village,
well beyond its capacity.


Hospitality ruled.
Family and stranger
open home and business to the weary travelers.

 A stable boy.
Ten-years old.
All too skinny.
Almost skeletal.
A brush with a Roman chariot as a young boy
left him with a shattered leg that never healed properly.
Twisted at an awkward angle.
Weak and wobbly,
each step aided by a walking stick.

The stable boy
dodged through familiar streets.
Picked his way back and forth
from the town’s only inn
to the stable inside the rocky cave,
behind the mud-bricked building.

He spent his day…
Lugging belongings
to the rooms inside.
Leading beasts of burden
to the stalls out back.
Lifting water jars
to fill the troughs.
Laying fresh hay in the mangers
To feed the livestock.

Seen, but unseen.
Speaking, but never heard.

Long after the sun set,
The stable boy blew out a slow breath.
A sigh heavy with fatigue.
He leaned down.
Picked up a wooden bucket,
Turned it over.
Sat wearily upon it.
Pulled his knees to his chest.
Laid his head on his arms
Fell instantly asleep.

His mind registered the sound
long before his eyes blinked open.
The echoing clip clop of a donkey’s hooves
trudging through the rocky street.

A young man walked out of the shadows.
The flow of his robe could not conceal that he was
powerfully built by years of hard work.
Physical vitality betrayed only by the
exhaustion in his eyes.

The man led his donkey by a loose halter.
Upon the donkey a young woman.
Jostling back and forth with each
labored step of her animal.

The couple stopped at the door to the inn.
The man gently braced the woman
as she slid from the donkey’s back.
A kind smile and a quiet word
let her know they reached their destination.
She leaned against the donkey as
he stepped toward the front door.
With a crooked grin,
he placed a heavy hand on the
stable boy’s shoulder as he passed.
Squeezed it in a way that said,
“We made it,”
Walked inside without another word.

The stable boy stared at the woman.
He could not help himself.
Saw how young she was.
Could not imagine the difficulty of her journey.
Knew enough of the world to know…
she was ready to deliver her child.

She greeted the boy with a wave.
“Good evening.”
After the chaos of his day,
her words sounded like the melody of a meadowlark.

Before he could answer,
Her husband came out of the building
followed on his heels by the apologetic innkeeper
They spoke in whispered and urgent tones.
The stable boy listened to the muted conversation,
deliberately kept quiet and low to
avoid alarming the woman.

“Look at her,”
the man pleaded.
“She is due any day. I must find her a place to stay.
We’ve been everywhere else.
I can find no bed for her rest.”

“We have no room,”
said the man in sympathy,
all too aware of his unfulfilled responsibility as host.
The young man looked again at his wife.
Nodded his acceptance of a bad situation.
Shook the innkeeper’s hand.
Stepped toward his wife,
fatigue etched in his face and
his fallen shoulders
All too aware of his unfulfilled responsibility as husband.

said the innkeeper.
The young man turned back,
a faint glimmer of hope in his eyes.

Continue reading “The Stable Boy”