… or, as we might say on the mainland, Merry Christmas!

Christmas is such a strange time for those of us in vocational church ministry. Advent is supposed to be a season of watching and waiting, but because this is one of the “Big Two” seasons of the church (Easter being the other one) it’s more like a season of hustling and hurrying. I’m not complaining, mind you; this is all part of the territory of church work. It’s just that it can make things more difficult to find moments of deep reflection, quietness or joy.

It was a happy surprise yesterday when our family had a chance to visit Christmas Card Lane up in Rancho Penasquitos, not too far from our home. Before visiting, I had my doubts. My father-in-law lives in what is basically a mandatory massive Christmas light display neighborhood. It’s kind of fun for our daughter, but all I can think of is the massive electricity bills. Last year, my father-in-law blew out the electricity in half of his house.

However, what we found in Christmas Card Lane was a neighborhood of mostly hand-crafted, personalized displays. Sure, there were plenty of lights but, clearly, the focus was on the larger than life “Christmas Cards” families had made and put into their front yards. How can seeing Charlie Brown and friends not put you into a good mood? Whenever I hear Luke 2:8-20 being read during the Christmas season, I hear Linus’ voice.

Snow White was our daughter’s favorite:

I’m partial to Calvin, myself!

May the joy that came down from heaven fill your heart to overflowing!