Merry Christmas from TWW!

"For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace."

Isaiah 9:6 (NASB) Adoration of the Shepherds

One of the unexpected blessings of blogging for Dee and me has been to get acquainted with wonderful folks from around the world.  Several years ago we received an e-mail from someone named Matt Redmond.  It was one of those e-mails I will never forget, for he understood what we are trying to accomplish here at TWW. 

Matt has since launched his own blog called Echoes and Stars and has authored a book called The God of the Mundane which Dee reviewed.  You can read Matt's biography here.

Recently, Matt featured the following post on his blog, and we wanted to share it with our readers on Christmas Day.

Christmas is for those who hate it most

Four years ago I wrote this little article. It’s my favorite of anything I’ve written. One reason is I hear from people throughout the year about how helpful it has been. Usually it’s around Christmas, but I also hear from folks in July. But really I love it the most because there is so much of me in it – so much of my own hopes. I need what’s in this little piece as much as anyone. This year more than any.

It’s been a hard year culminating in a lot of lessons learned. Christmas will be difficult for a few different reasons. I’ve never not looked forward to Christmas, but this year I’m tempted. So I need to hear this as much as anyone.

I wrote this as a pastor and now I repost as one who hopes to be one again. A pastor to meet people in their hurt and offer them the very hope I’m clinging to.


We are now accustomed to hearing how Christmas is difficult for many people. The story of Scrooge and his problems with the season is no longer anecdotal. It is now par for the course. Maybe this has always been the case. Maybe the joy of the season has always been a thorn in the side of those who can scarcely imagine joy.

Not too long ago, I heard from one of these people about how difficult Christmas would be because of some heartbreak in their family. There was utter hopelessness and devastation. Christmas would be impossible to enjoy because of the freshness of the pain. It’s been a story hard to forget.

I get it. I mean, it makes sense. Christmas is a time in which there is a lot of heavily concentrated family time. The holidays can be tense in even the best of circumstances. Maneuvering through the land mines of various personalities can be hard even if there is no cancer, divorce or empty seat at the table. What makes it the most wonderful time of the year for one is also what makes it the most brutal time of the year for another. My own family has not been immune to this phenomenon.

I’d like to push back against this idea a little. Gently. I think we have it all backwards. We have it sunk deep into our collective cultural consciousness that Christmas is for the happy people. You know, those with idyllic family situations enjoyed around stocking-strewn hearth dreams. Christmas is for healthy people who laugh easily and at all the right times, right? The successful and the beautiful, who live in suburban bliss, can easily enjoy the holidays. They are beaming after watching a Christmas classic curled up on the couch as a family in front of their ginormous flat-screen drinking perfectly mixed hot cocoa. We live and act as if this is who should be enjoying Christmas.

But this is so damnably backwards. Christmas – the great story of the incarnation of the Rescuer – is for everyone, especially those who need a rescue. Jesus was born as a baby to know the pain and sympathize with our weaknesses. Jesus was made to be like us so that in his resurrection we can be made like him; free from the fear of death and the pain of loss. Jesus’ first recorded worshippers were not of the beautiful class. They were poor, most-likely ugly shepherds; beat down by life and labor. They had been looked down on over many a nose.

Jesus came for those who look in the mirror and see ugliness. Jesus came for daughters whose fathers never told them they were beautiful. Christmas is for those who go to “wing night” alone. Christmas is for those whose lives have been wrecked by cancer and the thought of another Christmas seems like an impossible dream. Christmas is for those who would be nothing but lonely if not for social media. Christmas is for those whose marriages have careened against the retaining wall and are threatening to flip over the edge. Christmas is for the son, whose father keeps giving him hunting gear when the son wants art materials. Christmas is for smokers who cannot quit even in the face of a death sentence. Christmas is for whores, adulterers and porn stars who long for love in every wrong place. Christmas is for college students who are sitting in the midst of family and already cannot wait to get out for another drink. Christmas is for those who traffic in failed dreams. Christmas is for those who have squandered the family name and fortune – they want ‘home’ but cannot imagine a gracious reception. Christmas is for parents watching their children’s marriage fall into disarray.

Christmas is really about the gospel of grace for those who need it. Because of all that Christ has done on the cross, the manger becomes the most hopeful place in a Universe darkened with hopelessness. In the irony of all ironies, Christmas is for those who will find it the hardest to enjoy. It really is for those who hate it the most.

As we celebrate Christmas, may we remember the true meaning of this special day and give thanks to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Two years ago Dee and I traveled to Enid, Oklahoma to meet Wade and Rachelle Burleson.  While there, we enjoyed Emmanuel Enid's Christmas Pageant, which the congregation has put on for many years.  It was a wonderful presentation which concluded with Wade explaining how Jesus is found in every book of the Bible.  Here is a clip from this year's pageant.

Blessings to you and yours for a joyous Christmas! 

Hallelujah, Christ is born!

Lydia's Corner:   Isaiah 37:1-38:22   Galatians 6:1-18   Psalm 65:1-13   Proverbs 23:24


Merry Christmas from TWW! — 18 Comments

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    Happy holidays! 😉

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    And Merry Christmas!

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    'Tis all about grace; even for those who (we think) may not deserve it.

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    Merry Christmas to Dee, to Deb and to everyone here!

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    Lots going on here with family, so this message is timely, and oh, so needed. If we don't have the Lord and His grace, we have nothing. Merry Christmas!

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    Merry Christmas from someone who worked all day today!

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    Deebs!! Merry Christmas from Fresno and the Central Valley of California.

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    Wow…..might be the post of the year…..Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, Happy New Year!

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    Thanks everyone! Wishing you the very best of New Years!

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    Dee and Deb, thanks for all the extra miles you give keeping TWW going! A belated Merry Christmas and best wishes for a blessed 2014.

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    Merry Christmas to you all!

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    I chime in with everyone else. Merry Christmas to all in the TWW community!

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    A slightly belated Merry Christmas to everyone.

    The original post was spot on.

    American culture in particular has emphasized Christmas as a nuclear-family time of warmth and closeness, so if you’re not married and/or not emotionally or geographically close to what living family you have left, you spend the holidays alone.

    I’ve come accustomed to spending the holidays alone, so it doesn’t bother me as much as it did. Sometimes it does, sometimes it does not.

    One of the things that can trigger a moment of sadness when you’re otherwise doing find is seeing those annoying TV or print Norman Rockwellish ads of Mom and Dad with the kids admiring the tree together.

    I watched a bit of History Channel on Christmas Day (or the day before), and they ran a “history of Christmas” program. From the ten – 15 minutes I watched, I learned that Christmas in Britain and America used to NOT be about kids and family.

    Christmas used to be a day of for adults, of pranks, partying, and people getting drunk, but at some point in the late 19th or early 20th cent, it was turned into a family friendly event.

    Some of the same things can be said of Thanksgiving and, if you are single, Valentine’s Day.

    I find American culture’s fixation on romantic love on Valentine’s weird because I have never viewed it as being 100% romantic. My parents gave me Valentine’s cards my whole life (even as an adult), a platonic, college male friend of mine gave me roses once for VDay, I’ve sent my elderly aunt Vday cards for years now (she lives alone), etc.

    You can be doing fairly fine with being single until you start seeing the kissy kissy romantic commercials around Valentine’s Day of Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome giving his wife or girlfriend a ring or necklace from Jared’s or Kay’s Jewelers. “He got it at Jared’s!” “Every kiss begins with Kay’s!”

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    Merry Christmas Dee & Deb!

    For your mealtime pleasure:

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    Great post, great videos. Thanks for making the time to put this together. Daisy, I spent yesterday with friends, not family, for the first time in years, and it was…delightful! You can always join me.

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    I posted this on facebook and various people, those who profess to know God and those who don’t, really enjoyed it and reposted it.

    Merry Christmas from Connecticut.

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    @ Former CLC'er:

    I saw some "likes" regarding the post on Facebook. Thanks for reposting it there.  🙂

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    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Wartburg ladies!