Archive for 2008

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

December 21st, 2008 1 comment

It’s that time of year again where we reflect on our lives and look forward to the celebration of the birth of Jesus. I have written other posts about this that I won’t bother to copy (but feel free to check them out, they are linked below). I just hope you will all be reflecting on your lives and thinking about what is important to you, what gives you value, what brings you hope, love, and compassion. We all (if you have internet and a computer to be able to read this, you are definitely included in this) have been given much. Grace, mercy, kindness, places to live, cars to drive, food to eat: abundant blessings we have. Be thankful for them and in turn, give to others in whatever capacity you are able. Give beyond what makes you comfortable. Push beyond your comfort zone. One previous post I commented on Relient K’s song “I Celebrate the Day” and it’s climax is pertinent here:

I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

Grace has been extended to us in our brokenness, try extending grace and love yourself.

It has been a strange week here in Seattle. We are used to the rain and the cold. We are used to snow as a novelty or as something you seek out somewhere else. We are not so used to it as a way of life. We have about a foot of snow here at The House and the roads haven’t been driven on much. We walked up to QFC and it was packed with people seeming to prepare for the end of the world. It is just strange for us. I enjoy it, it is peaceful I think. We have had 3 snow days at school with one more tomorrow and (most likely) one more on Tuesday (we had to go Monday and Tuesday as make up days for our strike… that we now have to make up because of snow). The days off have been nice and relaxing, which is what a break is supposed to be. Hopefully I can get down to Southern WA for Christmas without any problems… we’ll see how that goes.

But the title of this post brings me back to what I really wanted to share. For some reason I had never heard the hymn “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” written in 1964 by Henry Longfellow and my life was lacking because of it. This song really struck a chord with me. The King James translates Luke 2:14 in this way: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” While a more modern and scholastic version renders the Greek slightly differently, the intent behind “Peace on Earth, Good will to men” has never been exposited so beautifully. The complete lyrics of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” are worth of your pondering, but I wanted to share two of the verses:

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

These words, written during the civil war, are difficult, yet filled with the hope that comes again this Christmas. (I would recommend the Casting Crowns, Johnny Cash, or Jars of Clay versions, they are done wonderfully!) In the broken world we live in, what all the difficult things we go through, experience, and see, it is easy to get stuck in that first verse. But in reading the Gospel and delving in to the person of Christ, we are left with hope and grace. That is a good place to be this Christmas.

Selected Previous Christmas Posts:
I Celebrate the Day by Relient K
Dickens Speaks Truth
Get the X out of X-Mas!
Always Winter but Never Christmas
Christmas a Pagan Holiday?

Merry Christmas and God Bless!

Categories: Daily Life, Religion, Theology

On a Cold Tuesday Morning…

December 16th, 2008 4 comments

… I walked outside to my car, excited because I actually woke up a bit early and would be at school with plenty of time to get some stuff done before our 8th grade team meeting. Instead I was met with a 6:30am chill and this:

In case you missed it, there should be a window there. Oh, and a CD player. (Oh, and this is after I cleaned the loads of glass shards off my seat…) Nice.

Categories: Daily Life

Google Street View Meets Seattle!

December 4th, 2008 5 comments

Sometime last month Google Maps finally completed their street view of Seattle (there are a LOT of streets!). Of course I had to drop over to my house and see what they captured… imagine my surprise when I found this:

Yep, I managed to make an appearance! Totally awesome and creepy, all in one!


View Larger Map

Categories: Daily Life

Tara Ward Live @ The Triple Door: Download It!

November 21st, 2008 3 comments

Late Tuesday alumnus (or is it alumna?) Tara Ward has just released a new album: Tara Ward: Live @ the Triple Door. I downloaded it the other day and it has been extremely enjoyable! It will be a great addition for all the Late Tuesday fans and a welcome new sound for those that haven’t had the chance to hear her yet. She is only asking a mere donation of $10 to help her raise funds so she can produce her first studio solo album. This is a digital release so you don’t have to go anywhere to pick it up, you can just Visit PayPal at this link, drop her a few bucks and then you will get an email with the link that will allow you to download the album! Pretty easy!

Again, this is a digital album that can be downloaded by going over here, sending $10 her way and then checking your email for the link!

As a little treat and to wet your appetite, you should listen to a little preview: Tara Ward: Live @ The Triple Door: What is Good. Good stuff, isn’t it? Now go download it. And spread the news and share with your friends! :)

Categories: Meaningful Song

Wise, harsh, and scary words from Steven Den Beste

November 5th, 2008 8 comments

Apparently Steven Den Beste thinks this is Not the End of the World. So that’s good. He has some insightful/wise/scary/harsh/needed words for the US after Obama handily won the presidency. Check it out… if you can handle it. A few snippets:

Good intentions do not guarantee good results. Idealists often stub their toes on the wayward rocks of reality, and fall on their faces. And the world doesn’t respond to benign behavior benignly.

The main reason this will be a “coming of age” moment is that now Obama and the Democrats have to put up or shut up. Obama got elected by making himself a blank slate, with vapid promises about “hope” and “change” — but now he actually has to do something.

Categories: Politics

Election Day! Go Vote!

November 4th, 2008 2 comments

This is a big day for our coutry and I am willing to bet that there will be a record number of people out voting today (or have already done so by absentee). Those that have read my blog before will know my political leanings and will know who I am voting for. Am I super thrilled with either candidate? Not necessarily. I haven’t been extremely political lately mainly because I have been busy. But I know this is an important race for the United States and look forward to the future of our country.

I only ask two things of you: 1) Go vote. Check for your local polling stations. 2) Don’t vote for superficial reasons. “He’s cool” or “he sucks” or “he isn’t this” or “blah blah blah” are NOT good reasons to vote for someone. Become informed. Take a look at what you really believe and vote that way. There won’t be any one candidate who ever fits for idea, but you can decide what is most important to you and vote that way.

You should also stop by Google’s 2008 Election Coverage. Here is a cool map that will be displaying poll information as they report (and some other cool election maps).

Vote well.

Categories: Around the World, Politics

The Theology of Twilight?

October 4th, 2008 9 comments

New MoonI’m not actually going try and link up Stephanie Meyer‘s Twilight novels to Christian Theology. That would be silly and, I’m sure, quite against the intent of those novels. That being said, there was an interesting comment by Bella about Edward in New Moon that actually made me think about Christology.

It never made sense for you to love me.

Throughout the novels Bella doesn’t see herself as worthy of Edward’s love. Her perceptions of herself and of Edward color her understanding of love. Now again, I am not suggesting that you look for theological points in Twilight, but I felt there was a bridge between Bella’s statement and our relationship to God.

We are a fallen people. We screw up, we sin, we hurt people, we hurt ourselves, we hurt God. It truly does not make sense for God to love us. By all accounts, we are not lovable because of our offenses against God and His people. But because our failures have been laid on Christ on the Cross, he has made us lovable. Because He is truly lovable, we are truly, once and for all, lovable. It is only through Jesus that it makes sense for God to love us.

I cannot believe I (1) admitted I have been reading the Twilight series and (2) talked about it in any sort of serious post! I’m kind of embarrassed…

Categories: Reading, Theology

Space Saturday XXXII

September 13th, 2008 No comments

It has been almost a year and a half since my last Space Saturday! How horrible is that?? I thought I would resurrect it before it died for good. For the 32nd edition of Space Saturday I am going to bring us back to M8: Lagoon Nebula (I also used M8 for Space Saturday XV).

M8: The Lagoon Nebula
Credit: Fred Vanderhaven. Source.

While there are other, more colorful versions of the Lagoon Nebula, I found this version from Vanderhaven quite beautiful. Check out the APOD page or Vanderhaven’s website for more details!

Be sure to stop by my Space Saturday Archive for previous editions!

Categories: Science
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