A Garden Carol


The garden was dead, to begin with. No doubt whatever about that. The bent black stalks of the Mexican Petunia stood up like crooked doornails, or like so many legs of a dozen giant spiders fallen on their backs. The icy shrouds of dead crinum leaves were draped gloomily across the ground.

Every chance to do something better in the garden was now dead, along with summer’s delicate  blooms.

This month I was visited in a real way by the ghost of gardens past. My ancient laptop’s operating system had to be updated, but there was not enough storage. That meant deleting the hundreds of garden photos. Continue reading “A Garden Carol”

Connected to Christ: the importance, the moment and its impact

Every year our culture gives a gentle nod to Jesus through old TV specials, nativity scenes and Christmas carols.  However, is there a reason to move beyond a seasonal sentimentality to take Jesus seriously throughout the year?

After all, Jesus’ story is just one narrative among many. From the conflicting voices of the world’s religions to the nay saying meta-narrative of evolution, many believe they have reason to dismiss the Christ.

However, this is not the end of the matter. Paul describes sufficient motivations for both considering whether it is worthwhile to explore if Christ might be significant for our lives, as well as resolving whether we ought to exalt Christ in our lives above the chorus of confusion. Paul accomplishes most of this within his Colossian letter. Continue reading “Connected to Christ: the importance, the moment and its impact”

Are we grateful or entitled?

Entitlement is something we feel we deserve because of who we are. Similar to gossip or lying, it’s something others have. We’re never guilty. Yet, it’s more entrenched than most in America realize.

Comfort is addictive. We’ve had it for years. Food, shelter, security and spending money are ubiquitous. We’ve no reason to expect anything else. Gifts are under the tree, a feast is on the table, decorations sparkle around us. Same as it ever was. Continue reading “Are we grateful or entitled?”

Feasts, festivals and holidays

We trust that all have had a wonderful Christmas, enjoying time with family and friends. Our heart goes to those who are separated from their families at this time. At least with modern technology, we were able to see and speak with our children in America as we enjoyed Christmas with our son in Scotland. Today in Britain is Boxing Day. According to Wikipedia, “Boxing Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated the day following Christmas Day, when servants and tradespeople would receive gifts, known as a ‘Christmas box’, from their bosses or employers, in the United Kingdom…and other Commonwealth nations. Today, Boxing Day is the bank holiday that generally takes place on 26 December.” Continue reading “Feasts, festivals and holidays”

Jesus is the reason

Gardeners usually have a reason for the things they do. The laws of nature and of nature’s God leave little room for error. If the recipe for marinated Brussels sprouts inspired me to go out and plant them right now, I would be setting myself up for failure.

The irises are interplanted with the daylilies so that the varieties don’t grow together, and to extend the bloom time of the bed.

The cardinal vine was allowed to grow near the rocks, so that the star shaped red blooms of the fernlike Ipomoea plant could cover them.

Marigolds are planted by squash for two reasons. First, they look pretty. Second, they repel squash bugs. Yes, I know that first reason seems rather lame; but it works for me, and it’s true. My father had his own logic about flowers. He couldn’t eat them so he didn’t grow them. Continue reading “Jesus is the reason”

Christmas in October is unbiblical!

Many prayers, among them ours, are going up for those in the northeastern US. We pray for no loss of life and for opportunities for the gospel. Many of us have friends there. We know good brethren in Virginia, New York, New Jersey (Brazilians!), Connecticut, and other states as well. We pray for their safety.

• While the US struggles with water and snow, our region is feeling record-high temperatures. The city of Ribeirão Preto, on the other side of the state from us, felt an all-time record of 110ºF. Coincidentally, I sent 40 hymnals to the church in that city today. Continue reading “Christmas in October is unbiblical!”