christmas memories.

When I was a child, my family would always celebrate Christmas at my grandparents on December 24th, Christmas Eve. There would be a large feast comprised of warm loaves of bread, free-range turkey, homemade mashed potatoes and all the traditional holiday trimmings. Once we filled our bellies, we would gather around the Christmas tree and my grandfather would read the story of Christ’s birth. Christmas carols would then ring out, as my family would celebrate the birth of our newborn King. After twenty minutes of singing, my aunt Susan would sound the Christmas bells. The children were told that it was the sound of Santa’s sleigh arriving. So we would scurry off to the bedrooms and pretend to sleep.

The house was silent and our tiny ears would be pressed against the doors and walls listening for any sign of Santa. My grandmother would always be the first to welcome Santa, who was played by my grandfather holding a roll of wrapping paper to his mouth to muffle his voice. Grandma would always inquire about the reindeer, including old Rudolf. After their greetings and small talk, Santa would celebrate each of the children, mentioning their names and accomplishments from throughout the year. It was always special hearing your own name mentioned.

Before Santa would leave, grandma would have warm chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk for him, as well as carrot sticks for the reindeer. When we realized he was gone and on to the next house, all the children would rush out of the bedrooms where they were pretending to sleep and find a room full of gifts.

While this will forever be my favorite family Christmas memory, I would be amiss if I did not recognize and contemplate the distinctive significance of the holiday season. Christmas is to be celebrated with true joy and gratitude as we are reminded of the reason for our hope. The orientation of our hearts should be intentionally dedicated to the remembrance of the Messiah, God Incarnate, joining us in mortality to offer life!

C.S. Lewis has eloquently opined, “The Son of God became a man to enable men to become the sons of God.” And it is my prayer that you spend time this holiday season reflecting on the coming of our Savior, for “unto us a child is born, to us a Son is given!” Let’s join together to praise the Father for his perfect gift, Jesus Christ.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

“Come to earth to taste our sadness, he whose glories knew no end; by his life he brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.”


It’s official. Christmas is less than a week away. I look forward to this season every year. Colorful decorations stream my freshly cut pine with gifts underneath on display.  But despite the holiday cheer dressing my home, I do not seem to be in the “Christmas spirit.” And I am not sure why. Maybe it is because we haven’t had our usual snowfall that blankets the sub tundra terrain. Or maybe I have been so caught up in work and responsibilities that I haven’t had a single moment to reflect on this holiday. Whatever the case may be, the usual warm feeling that fills my soul has gone amiss thus far.

I miss the feeling. But as I sit here, I realize that Christmas is not about a feeling. Christmas is about hope. Hope in the Child. A Child who has “come to earth to taste our sadness, …whose glories knew no end; by his life he brings us gladness, our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.” And it was Jesus, the Prince of Peace, our Cloud Rider, who humbled Himself and left the glories, signifying His desire to restore our fallen state out of an act of selfless love. By lowering Himself to our condition as the dust of the Earth, “God became man to turn creatures into sons; not to produce a better man of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man,” (C.S. Lewis).

are you really calling my christmas sweater ugly?

Christmas is but two short weeks away and one thing I enjoy is the multitude of parties to accompany the season. My heart seems to gambol with all the holiday festivities and the time spent with family as well as friends. I would venture to say I have an average of two Christmas parties a week, filling my extracurricular calendar quickly. My favorite party of the year thus far has been an ugly sweater Christmas party coupled with a photo scavenger hunt.

I stumbled upon the perfect Christmas sweater at a local Salvation Army while thrifting with my cousin Alyssa. We spent a couple hours looking for a few good finds. And we ended up purchasing a few records (Polka party anyone?), a couple Disney VHS movies (Rescuers and the Rescuers Down Under…oh yeah!), a book or two, and a pretty deck mirrored disco ball.

But to immerse you in the events of our scavenger hunt, as well as show off my fabulous Christmas sweater, check out these photos!

The front of my Christmas sweater

The back of my Christmas sweater

This is where the photo scavenger hunt began!

We found a couple random guys to sing us Christmas carols!

Lys and Brit posing with a stellar snowman…

I found a white Christmas tree with blue lights 🙂

This picture helped us win the photo scavenger hunt! It had to be taken quickly and covertly. It is my cousin Anthony with his wife Stacey, kissing under the mistletoe as my cousin Alyssa jumped in the photograph (bottom left) so that we could prove this picture to be current and legitimate! Oh yeah!

Two people I admire a lot! Andy and his girlfriend Amanda found holiday candles!

Boxman (our fearless leader) and Brit found a sweet soul to ring Christmas bells to let the world know of Jesus’ birth!

And these lovely ladies made me a handwritten Christmas card!

bust a moby this christmas

This Christmas season, I seem to have an ineffable weariness towards holiday songs of past. Not necessarily toward the lyrical quality, but rather the repetitive nature of the same old. To counter deluge of seasonal commonality, I have created panoply of mellifluous hipster Christmas tunage. So let your inner indie out and bust a moby this Christmas.

1. THE CHRISTMAS SONG – The Raveonettes

2. SLEIGH RIDE – Relient K

3. CHRISTMAS TIME IS HERE – Gatsby’s American Dream

4. DONDE ESTA SANTA CLAUSE – Guster

5. CHRISTMAS DON’T BE LATE – Linn & Marcus

6. IT’S CHRISTMAS TIME – Yo La Tengo

7. JINGLEBELL ROCK – Arcade Fire

8. PUT THE LIGHTS ON THE TREE – Sufjan Stevens

9. FIRST NOEL – My American Heart

10. CAROL OF THE BELLS – The Bird and the Bee

11. BLUE CHRISTMAS – Bright Eyes

12. GET BEHIND ME, SANTA – Sufjan Stevens

13. PEPPERMINT WINTER – Owl City

14. I WISH IT WAS CHRISTMAS TODAY – Julian Casablancas

15. DON’T SHOOT ME SANTA – The Killers

16. BLIZZARD OF ’89 – The Ready Set (Featuring NeverShoutNever)

17. HAPPY CHRISTMAS (WAR IS OVER) – Polyphonic Spree

18. 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS – Relient K

19. GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN – Bright Eyes

20. THE FRIENDLY BEASTS – Sufjan Stevens

21. CHRISTMASTIME – Smashing Pumpkins

22. 30 DAYS – NEVERSHOUTNEVER

23. FATHER CHRISTMAS – The Kinks

24. ALL THAT I WANT – The Weepies

25. THE CHRISTMAS SONG – Chase Coy

gayla peevey, …wanting a hippopotamus for christmas is so last year.

This years Thanksgiving was another for the books. Having a ginormous extended family, I find myself blessed. Other than the whimsical charientism (which often leads to hysterical laughter), one tradition I look forward to year after year is one that recently came about among a few cousins and I.

With a family that exceeds 100 in size, you can understand that there is a dilemma when it comes organization. Tables are strewn throughout the dinning and living rooms within my grandparents home. The fine china and silver are set. And the placement of homemade breads, free range turkey, venison, and all the subsequent trimmings are at our disposal. But to throw a pepper in the gumbo, my cousins and I enter an agreement of cleptobiosis. In a sense, we hoard our favorite entrees and sides, protecting the deliciousness on our end of the table! Of course, it is all fun, since there is more than enough to go around.

But this year, amidst the Thanksgiving holiday, my mother became very inquisitive, asking me to produce a Christmas list. In an effort to meet her request, I have listed the gifts below that I desire. This list was fairly tough to sort and are in no order of importance. The difficulty is that I already have everything I need and truly most everything I want. Among the few items on my list currently, I assure you, I have no need for a hippo.

A full body ebony wood grain MacBook Pro Case

A matching ebony wood grain case for my white iPhone 4s

A vintage, handmade iPhone case for my black 4g

I have two iPhones (4/4s), a traditional iPod, and a MacBook Pro. I could still find use for a white iPad

And books that have recently been suggested to me!

Stuff Christians Like – Jonathon Acuff
Big Fish – Daniel Wallace
Everything is Illuminated – Jonathan Safran Foer
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People
White Teeth – Zadie Smith
Hipster Christianity – Brett McCrakcin
This Present Darkness – Frank Peretti
Operation World – Patrick Johnstone
The Gospel in a Pluralist Society – Lesslie Newbigin
Boundaries – Henry Cloud and John Townsend

I have also asked for Frogskin Oakleys, a Nike + iPod sensor, new Nike running shoes, cycling accessories, clothes, a new lens for my Cannon 7D, and a few other things. So there you have it. This certainly is not my entire list, but a few highlights at the very least. What is on your Christmas list this year?