02 December 2016

This 'n' That

Well, it is officially December. How did that happen?

Chicago's Michigan Avenue; Flickr user Daniel X. O'Neil
I drove into the city last week for the first time since I moved here several years ago.  I wanted to see how this place "does Christmas," if you will. While the ice rink may have been open, the carriage-pulling horses were dressed in holiday garb, and the streets were twinkling with lights, it was mildly disappointing. I decided that whoever is in charge of Christmas-izing the city needs to go spend a weekend in Chicago. There wasn't much I liked about the Windy City (except the Cubs), but that city certainly knows how to dress itself up for the holiday season. From the ice rink in Millennium Park to the Christkindlmarkt, to brightly lit Michigan Avenue, Chicago can certainly help even the most miserly of Scrooges muster up a little worldly-based Christmas cheer. Yet, in spite of my affinity for most things Christmas, I'd much rather be on a quiet farm in the country, with the stars lighting the sky, shimmering down on a layer of freshly fallen snow than in a bustling city.

Of course, neither of these are realities for this blogger. Instead, I call the suburbs home, with its mostly-quiet neighborhoods and sometimes too-festive neighbors. That's okay, too, though, because in the end, "Christmas spirit" has nothing to do with silver bells or Christmas lights.

It is officially December, friends. Are we fretting over the long list of presents we still need to buy? Or are we focused on the celebration of the advent of our Lord?

Ponder that, then come back here and enjoy your week in review (kind of):
  • "Billions of people make important decisions in life based on spiritual and religious feelings and experiences." That is also terrifying, because no matter what the MRI scan shows, we cannot trust our emotions or experiences. 
  • Ah, Christmas. The time of year when unregenerate men and women resurrect long-debunked heresies. Michael Kruger responds.
  • I just downloaded this book for Kindle and am anxious to read it.
  • Ooh, another book I'm anxious to read!
  • Here's your weekly dose of adorable (HT to Lori for this one!).
  • Oh, Liberty University. You are nothing if not consistent...consistently foolish.
  • So, um, Perry Noble is back with a new gimmick.
  • Don't let this happen to your children. 
  • We ought to carefully measure our words.
  • Elizabeth Prata has a couple of interesting articles on the trend of "bridal mysticism." Don't scoff, I fear it's far more common than many realize; lots of professing Christians tend to romanticize the notion of a relationship with Jesus.
  • Is it sinful to use profanity? Josh Buice points us to Scripture and demonstrates the reasons (beyond mere moralism) why a Christian should not use foul language.
  • I love this short post by Denny Burk, wherein he shares his family's advent calendar tradition. What a simple, but effective way to keep Christ central!
  • Speaking of advent calendars, I'm not so sure about this one.
  • John MacArthur on the true Christmas spirit (a short but needed message):

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