Confronting Racism isn't Optional — It's Central

“Pastor, I appreciate that you preached about racism, today,” he said. “But, I always appreciate a good gospel sermon, too.” He shook my hand, walked away, and I moved on to speak to the next person. A small line usually forms around a pastor after his sermon, after all. But this man’s passing comment made a lasting impression on me. You see, this man probably didn’t mean anything by this phrase. I had, in fact, preached about racism that Sunday. I had also worked hard to make that sermon a gospel-saturated sermon. Yet, despite my best efforts, this man managed to walk away thinking I preached about race, and not about Jesus. There are race issues, and there are Jesus issues, with a semi-permeable membrane between them.

And that, right there, is the problem.

We white people have the luxury of thinking this way because we almost never, ever have to think about being white. We just are. Then, when confronted by our black, asian, or hispanic bothers and sisters about their experiences with racism we think, “Well why don’t they just think like me? I never think about being white, so they should stop thinking so much about being black.” When we think this way (or worse, talk this way) we do our non-white friend a double injustice: we misunderstand their experience, and we, white people, demand they change to be more like us.

Inability or unwillingness prevents us from seeing that most people of color don’t ever get a day off from thinking about their ethnicity. Why? Because we live in a culture that just won’t let them. So, we go on thinking that there are race issues and Jesus issues. “Systemic injustice may or may not exist,” we tell ourselves, “but I’m just going to preach the gospel.” And we are wrong, because race issues are Jesus issues.

A Tale of Two Scriptures

When Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus he gave some of the most beautiful words to those Jesus issues. The glory and greatness of the gospel expound in Ephesians 2:1-10 is one of those well-worn paths in my Bible.

“You were dead in your trespasses … but God being rich in mercy made you alive together with Christ. By grace you have been saved…”

Yet, despite my love for this part of Ephesians, I never saw how it necessarily connects to 2:11-22.

“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility … that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.”

And as any good New Testament exegete would know (or at least, should know) these two passages are connected with the magic word “therfore” (v. 11) That is, Paul built his whole case for ethnic unity and mutual love atop the gospel, not apart from it.

A Tale of Two (More) Scriptures

Lest you think that such a connection is a one-off Pauline fluke, join me in 2 Corinthains 5. Again, this chapter contains one of my favorite Scriptures,

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."

That is a wonderful bit of news: that God exchange my unrighteous sinfulness with Jesus’s perfect and beautiful righteousness. But that verse summarizes an entire chapter on reconciliation!

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” (2 For 5:18-19)

In other words, the preaching of the message, “God wants to reconcile you to himself,” is organically connected to the message, “God is reconciling the world to himself.” So, as Paul says, “Be reconciled to God!” (v. 20)

The Cost and The Opportunity

For a long time the American church missed this connection. But God was not content to let people of color languish, so he raised deliverers out from under the white, evangelical church. But what if we white folks allowed that fact to wake us from the slumbering insufficiency of believing there are Jesus issues and race issues. If we go on thinking like that, then answers to our nation will seek answers to race issues from every other source but Jesus. That cost is too high to bear.

No, let it be said of us that we seized the opportunity to love God more, to love the gospel more, and to love our neighbors more be finally embracing the fact that race issues are gospel issues. Therefore, confronting racism isn’t an option for Jesus’ people. It’s built in to the great commission.

Paul seemed to think so. So, I wonder. Do you?

3 Lessons from Papa Bill

I loved my Papa Bill. This week, after 86 years of life, his body gave way to the entropy of time. When I found out the end was near I got in my car and drove to Florida from Boston. Normally I don't make that trip by car, but having just been hit with a blizzard, Boston was shut down. The 1,500 mile journey afforded me some unexpected gifts, one of which was the opportunity to reflect on my grandfather.

Those who know me know that my family is not picturesque. We're a messy patchwork with lots of frayed edges, for sure. But that hardly means that tender reflection is impossible. Of course, there are no perfect families. Yet, thinking on the life of my grandfather has produced three clear lessons I wish to learn from him. As a way of honoring him, I offer them to you.

It's About People

William Herman Hall was born May 22, 1930. Growing up in the midst of The Great Depression, he spent his days working in his father's grocery store and pinching whatever pennies came his way. Later in life, Bill would find great success in business. Yet, growing up in a depression had a different effect on him than it had on many of his time. Where lack made some miserly, it only served to show Bill what was really important — people.

As a businessman, and later on in retirement, he would become known as a relentlessly generous, jovial man who never missed a chance to be with his friends. Success was never about the stuff, it was just an opportunity to be with people.

As an achiever who often makes hitting goals more important than cultivating relationships, this is a lesson I want to learn.

Start Stuff and Mentor Men

Papa Bill went into business with his uncle right out of college. He took a small restaurant and innovated it into a career with multiple successful businesses. His entrepreneurial drive mingled with his love for people made him a business mentor for many. My own father has what he has and does what he does because Papa Bill approached my parents with an entrepreneurial idea. With capital both in money and wisdom, he did this with many young men, helping them build legacies that simply wouldn't exist without him.

I can't help but think this is incredibly Christ-like. As a dude who trying to kill his own messiah complex, I'm grateful to have the example of a man who didn't need to be the star of the show. He just needed to know that his creativity was catapulting other men into their destinies. I want to be like that.

Give Your Burdens to Jesus

Like all of us, Papa Bill had regrets. His was not a perfect life. There were particular tragedies that weighed upon him for too many years. Humans are not designed to hold the weights of our own difficulties alone. But strong patriarchs aren't quick to share pain. This is a tendency in my own heart — trying to pay forward the costs that my past follies wish to extract. But that's a bill none of us can meet, no matter how successful.

In what would be my final visit with my Papa Bill, I took him to lunch. After an afternoon together we sat in the car, talking. I loved to listen to his stories, so I'd ask tons of questions. This was also the moment where, for the first time, I got to help my Papa Bill give his burdens to Jesus. He wasn't a particularly religious man, but tears streamed down his life-worn cheeks as we prayed for the grace of God's great burden-bearer to help.

In a few days I'll drive back to Boston. The funeral will be over, families will return home, and the new normal will settle in uncomfortably, as it always must after a death. Time will probably afford me the chance to see much more to learn from my Papa Bill. But, if I can get these three lessons, I'll be a little more like him and a little more like Jesus, and I'm more than a little okay with that.


3 Ways To Be A Good Son

I'm learning how to be a good son. Family is for me — like many of my generation — a difficult idea. All my parents have had rough marriages, and walked through circumstances that have been extremely challenging. The wrong way to respond to all of this was the way I responded for many years.

For many years, I disdained my family on multiple levels. I looked down upon their poor choices, confident that I, were I in their position at the time, would have done the right thing. I thought myself smarter, better, a cut above, and was therefore eager to leave my hometown. And so I did. As I expected, I accomplished a lot of good things. But on the way I learned something, too. I learned that, while I'd been very good at school, work, and achieving my goals, I'd not been a very good son.

On a recent trip back to my hometown, it all came very much together for me. Here are three things I learned:

A Good Son Celebrates The Good

I love my parents and grandparents. And, I'm learning that part of honoring them means honoring the good I received from them. For instance:

  • Mom taught me diligence. I get my fiery personality from her. She never quit, raised me well, even though it meant working late and missing moments with me. She taught me to be an adult, and never liked the kind of parenting that tried to pal around with progeny. "My job is to teach you not to need me," she would say. Powerful stuff, I think. I appreciate that.
  • Dad is the reason I build. My father is an actual builder, and he's really good at it. I don't think he knows how to do anything but his best work. He taught me that quality and details matter. He was a great provider. He taught me how to work with my hands. Yesterday, in fact, I built a table from scrap wood around my house. Couldn't help but think of him and to be thankful.
  • My grandparents are all amazing. From them I learned entrepreneurship, art, music, manners, and more. My grandfather (we call him "Papa Bill") is a greatest-generation man's man. He has started more business and released more people into more prosperity than anyone I know. As a church entrepreneur, I love that. He's also one of the most generous people I know. My grandmother (we call her "Jay Bird") taught me how to love music, art, and the stage. She was always taking me to plays and musicals, and I fell in love with music in many ways through her. She also taught me manners and how to set a table. My other grandmother ("Granny") is everything great about the South, made flesh. She is the sweetest, most vibrant grandmother ever. No one makes better fried chicken, or breakfast. No one is more kind, either.

I can go on and talk about how great my step-parents are, my siblings (natural and step), my in-laws, and even my spiritual fathers. But, this is a blog, not a book. All that was probably more fun for me to write than for you to read. The point is this, a Son celebrates the good he got from his family.

A Good Son Rejects Cynicism

Man, this one is hard. All of us go through that moody, teenage phase. Some of us never emerge from it.

Every family has junk. When faced with family junk, we have some choices. First, we can embrace the junk and carry it forward. This is not wise, but it is normal. Cynically, this choice says, "this is who we've always been and who we'll always be." This is part of how destructive behaviors like alcoholism, violence, passive-aggression, and all kinds of brokenness get passed onto the next generation. A good son doesn't do that.

Another choice might be to eschew the whole family for the sake of the junk. This was more my style. But very little good has ever come from throwing babies out with bathwater. The image of God resides in every person, along with their brokenness. It's no good to reject the image on account of the sin, except in the most extreme cases. Good sons avoid this move, too.

A Good Son Embraces The Best Son

So what is this, just good advice I'm spinning? May it never be.

The gospel means that I've been adopted into the only perfect family. Just as I was born into my natural family, I needed to be born again into this one. And, just as I did nothing to merit being born into the Mabry household, merit and good work didn't get me born into the family of God. I've been adopted. I've been embraced, despite my sin. Jesus bled to rescue the image of His Father in me. If this is the cost that the best Son paid to reunite me with His family, then I can do likewise.

The best Son saw the good in me, and loved me, despite all my sin.

The best Son rejected cynicism about me, and loved me instead.

To be a good Son, I can look at the best Son, and do with my family what He did with me.

I'm learning how to be a good son. The best Son is teaching me.

Figure it Out

I have suspicion. I suspect that we've done something in parenting that is robbing our kids of the ability to figure stuff out. I catch myself trying to give my kids a Nerf childhood. I don't mean one with those cool guns that shoot foam darts. I mean one that has them wrapped in the protective foam of my presence, protection, and wisdom. All the time. To keep them from ... well, everything. Problem with that Lego? Allow me. Your brother bothering you? Allow me to interject myself. You want to make a sandwich? Put that down and let me do it. You're just 9, for goodness sake.

And, I'm sure I'm not the only one.

In fact, I know I'm not, because every time I take my kids to the park, the playground, or any place populated with parents who've drank the same over-involved water that I have, I can spot them. Legitimate fear fills their face when Johnny approaches the slides. Terror when Susie puts the same hand she just touched the sand with in her mouth. But what are we teaching the kiddies when we do this?

That we love them? That we're there for them? Maybe.

Or, maybe that they're stupid? They can't do anything on their own? They should expect their lives to be free of experience, pain, and learning through failure? Maybe that, too.

But is this how God treats us? Is this what God has done for us? It seems not. It seems like He has given us at least two kinds of teachers — Himself, and our experiences of obeying him — and pain, along with the experience of disobeying him. No Nerf childhood for us. The world he made for us is filled with bruises, bumps, falls, and failings.

And yet, do any of us doubt that He loves us? I mean, really? Of course not, because only this God has come out from behind the protection of Heaven and gotten dirty. Only the God we meet in the face of Jesus has felt great, hot tears roll down his cheeks. Only the God we feel embraced in Jesus arms has had those same arms stretched wide in pain, so we know he knows when we run into them.

God has, in his sovereignty, ordered the world to force us to figure stuff out. How to build things, ask a girl on a date, try to plant a church, or just build a sandcastle on the beach. By grace, he's catching us up in the adventure of figuring things out. He's there, mysteriously working in us so that we can will to work for him. And, he's there when we don't, and we scrape our knees against the hard realities of sin and pain.

Oh that Jesus would remind me to let my kids figure it out — how to handle relationships, move past frustrations, learn why untied laces and bikes don't mix. The world he made is a great teacher. I'll be there, of course, just like he is for me, even as I'm here, trying to figure this whole parenting thing out.

7 Things I'm Thankful For

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I thought I'd celebrate the day with 7 things for which I am thankful. I'm Thankful for Jesus No, I'm not just giving you a Jesus-juke. I'm grateful for my savior. He loved me while I was his enemy. He bled to beautify me. I will sing for 10,000 ages about his greatness and not yet have scratched the surface of his kindness.

I'm Thankful for Sanctification Jesus doesn't just save me. He grows me. He challenges me. He slays me. He prunes me. He loves me. He rebukes me. He trains me. This is our relationship. My Savior-Lord wants me to grow up. It hurts — a lot — but it's worth it.

I'm Thankful for My Wife She shouldn't be my wife, you know. She should be someone else's wife ... someone much nicer, kinder, more patient ... maybe someone with more hair. But she's mine. She chose me, and I her. She loves me, and I her. She doesn't let go of me, and I'm not letting go of her.

I'm Thankful for My Kids Kids are a gift. I have four healthy, happy, awesome kids. Being a daddy is great and really tough. I have four little mirrors who show me my need to be sanctified. I have four little people who have the potential to change the world for Jesus. I have four little reasons to fight the good fight of the faith. They're a blast, and they'll be gone before I know it. So, I'm drinking it all in now.

I'm Thankful for My Parents Having my own kids has shown me one more thing ... it must have been tough as nails to raise me. I was not an easy, cheerful, obedient young lad. My mom and dad must've wanted to put me up for sale a time or two. They didn't. They raised me, paid for me, fed me, put up with me, housed me, drove me to school. I'm really grateful for all that.

I'm Thankful for My Spiritual Family The men and women with whom I have the privilege of walking is unbelievable. My spiritual sons and daughters, aunts and uncles, fathers and mothers ... they know who they are. I'm so glad I don't go to a church, but I'm part of a spiritual family. Going to church is boring. Belonging to a family is exhilarating.

I'm Thankful for My Stuff God's given me stuff. Not a ton of it, but enough of it. A bit of money, a car, a house ... everything I need. I don't own it, Jesus does. He lets me hang on to it. I want to steward it. I want to give a lot of it away. I want to improve it. The best part is, I don't live for it. I'm grateful for it, without being beholden to it.

I don't know if you've done it yet, but take a moment. Look over your life for evidences of grace and, be thankful. It's a good day for it.

A Theology of Mom

Since one of the stated goals of modern society is the erasure of gender identity, it comes as no surprise that with Mother's Day approaching, some on the fringes are crying sexism. Normally the fringes don't bother me all that much. Crazy's been around for a long time, and that's not likely to change. But our culture has apparently installed an HOV lane from crazy straight into the downtown district of normal, because normal is changing at a rapid pace. So, here's a brief theology of the glorious gift of mom. It seems to me a wonderful idea to celebrate moms. I have a mom. I'm married to a mom. I pastor a bunch of moms. And since the idea of showing honor to one another is entirely biblical, celebrating our mothers is not only appropriate, but wonderful.

Motherhood is a Created Good This one's no longer obvious, so I'll just state it plainly. God made motherhood, and He made it good. Motherhood is part of the created order itself—what Lewis might call the "deep magic." In Genesis 1-2, God made man and woman and gave them a mandate to be fruitful and multiply. Part of God's intentionality in making everything was to make women who became moms. No, motherhood isn't a form of cultural misogyny, cast upon women to oppress them. Has it been used that way in the past? Sure. But when God made everything, he made motherhood as a good, intentional, beautiful gift. Therefore celebrating motherhood can be worshipful as we say, "God, thank you for your good gift of motherhood! Thank you for the good gift of mom!" To think of motherhood as anything other than a good gift given to women is to think very differently than God.

Motherhood is a Gift of Femininity  I remember going to city hall to register the birth of my first son. I sat down across the desk from the woman in the office of registration. She began to ask me questions. Name. Address. Occupation. "Pastor," I said.

"Your wife?" she asked.

"She's a homemaker and a mom," I said.

She looked at me with one brow lifted, "So, she doesn't have a real job, then?"

"You mean like sitting at a desk at City Hall?" She got my point, I think.

Culture (and by that I mean us) doesn't value women as mothers as much as we value them as bodies and jobs. We'll buy their albums as long as they're super sexualized on the album cover. We'll celebrate them as long as they're fit. We'll sing their praises if they achieve something in their careers, when they dress well, have nice homes, or become sexually liberated (whatever that means). If moms are celebrated all, it's only when they have a baby and get their abs back in two weeks. Somehow, we've dislodged motherhood from femininity. But this is not the picture God gives us. Proverbs 31 gives us an amazing picture of a woman of valor, dignity, and deep beauty. What's she like? She's a mom, a wife, a businesswoman, a lover of God, and loving to others. Her abs, breasts, and fierceness are never mentioned. Not even once.

All this doesn't mean you have to be a mom to be a real woman. It simply means that motherhood is a gift of womanhood. Gifts should be celebrated.

Godly Moms can Change the World It's not hyperbole to say the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. In my own experience, the amount of influence that my wife exercises over my kids constantly amazes me. She is making four little disciples all day, every day. These four little people will grow to be and do something—hopefully something amazing like, I don't know, become mothers like her.

The influence of godly mothers is replete in history. Western civilization wouldn't be what it is without St. Augustine. He wouldn't have been who he was without his mother, Monica. Her prayers and guidance moved him from being a cult-member and sex-addict to the brilliant church father love. America wouldn't be the nation it is without men like John and Charles Wesley. Their mother, Susanna, bore 17 children, losing more than half of them. She faithfully raised her kids and as a result, we got her sons. Susanna Edwards, wife of Jonathan (easily the greatest theologian America has ever produced) gave birth to generations of good, godly influence—13 college presidents, 86 college professors, 430 ministers, 314 war veterans, 75 authors, 100 lawyers, 30 judges, 66 physicians, and 80 holders of public office, including 3 U.S. Senators, 7 congressman, mayors of 3 large cities, governors of 3 states, a Vice-President of the United States, and a controller of the United States Treasury—all from her and her progeny. Moms—diaper changing, boo boo kissing, husband loving, child rearing, working, loving, totally normal human moms—can change the world.

So here's to you, moms. You hold an office created by God for good and glory. Your motherhood is a gift of your femininity. Your influence is unthinkably great upon the future. To fail to celebrate that would be a horrible mistake, one which I mean to avoid by wishing you a deep, profound, and joyful Mother's Day.

Jesus, Thank You for 2012

I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word. (Ps. 138:2)

Today is the last day of 2012, and for my part, I'm going out on thankfulness. Was 2012 challenging? Yes. Was it hard? Absolutely. But the mercies of God were so apparent in so many ways, that I'd be remiss if I didn't note a few of them.

This year, God grew me. I won't bore you with all the ways, but my Lord loves me, and he's growing me up to be a better man of God. That happened a little bit this year. On the family side, he grew that too, giving us a new son. Also, I've deepened in my love for my wife and my children are growing in grace. On the church front we've made many new disciples, and God has graced our church with phenomenal growth, unheard of in this area.

The point here isn't to list out all my blessings for you read, but to show you just how simple and beautiful the process of doing so can be for you. The simple fact is, without gratefulness for past grace we'll be blind to future grace. I believe 2013 will bring more Jesus-bought, God-given grace than I can imagine. Challenges? Sure. But I want to posture my heart in gratitude to God for all he's going to do in 2013. How do I that? By thankful for some of what he's done in 2012.

Dad, Put your Phone Down

Hey, dad. Yeah you, the guy with the kids. I know its the holidays, and it's that weird week between Christmas and New Years, but while you're spending some extra time around the house, put the phone down.

"But, work..." Yes, I know. "I was only checking the..." Uh huh. I know it's tempting, but listen, they need their dad. In fact, a dad is a top-ten Christmas gift these days. Just put work, distractions, the game, the phone, the whatever, down.

That's it. Put it down. The iPad too. Now walk away.

And, walk toward your kids. Play with them. Wrestle with them. Make up stories. Be silly. Tell your girls that you love them and your boys how they'll grow to be mighty men of God one day. Read them your favorite bible story, play a board game.

Work's just around the corner, padre. It always is. Then, when you get back to the office and you're on the phone again, tweet about all the fun you had with your kids.


We're Part of a Miracle

We're witnessing a miracle, the likes of which hasn't been seen in New England in hundreds of years. To the thousands of you who've been a part of planting this church, I've got some amazing news for you. In the last 12 months, our church has over doubled in size, we've baptized over 30 new believers, we've got open doors for the Gospel at Harvard, MIT, Tufts, BU, Wellesley, Emerson, and Northeastern. Our small groups have tripled in number, with a majority of our church growing. Life and Doctrine—our biblical foundations class—has graduated over 70 people this year.

Not only that, but in the last year, God used our church to do mighty acts of justice and love. We've been able to give away almost $90k in charitable gifts, church planting funds, and acts of mercy. God allowed us, through our Renew Project, to remodel our local community center from top to bottom, so that the kids of our city would have a place to play, learn, and grow. Through us, new churches were planted, hurting kids helped, and many changed by the truth, grace, and changing power of the gospel.

In short, God has given us not only a remarkably fast-growing church, but one where discipleship is really happening. This is a grace from God we don't deserve, and without all of you, it wouldn't have been possible. Thank you all so much. Here's a little video we shot to send our big love to you!

Aletheia Update Fall 2012 from Aletheia Church Boston on Vimeo.

5 Ideas to Celebrate Advent

"How do you celebrate Christmas?" This question is thrown at me quite a bit. Sometimes it comes from another parent in our church looking for a way to escape the ubiquitous commercialism and underwhelming cultural mythology around the so-called "winter holidays." Other times, I get it from an outraged fellow parent, totally baffled that my kids don't get all that excited about santa, cookies, or red-nosed reindeer. Around the Mabry house, we've got a few traditions that we've cobbled together to try and make the Advent season joyfully centered on Jesus, and full of great memories together. Here are five of them that we love...

  1. The Advent Jesse Tree I must admit... I REALLY love this tradition. A few years back, my lovely wife got an old, dead tree branch. She stuck in a pot, held in place by gravel. In the process of creating this Tim Burton-inspired shrub, I thought she was nuts. But when I asked her what she was doing, she politely informed me that she was making a Jesse Tree—a tree upon which our family hangs one ornament for each day of December leading up to Christmas Day. These ornaments go with different stories in the Scriptures that lead up the coming of Jesus. Each night of December, we read from a great devotional book for each story, and then one of our children hangs the ornament of the day. It requires a little bit of preparation, but it's a favorite in the Mabry home.
  2. Tell the Story of Santa Claus "Wait, aren't you a Pastor?" Yes I am, so let me explain. There are two mistakes that can be made regarding Santa Claus and the excessive cultural accouterments that go along with him. One is to freak out about them, call them all evil, and shun them. Best way to make your kids want santa and forget Jesus is to give the fat man the mystique of the forbidden. Calm down, he's not that big of a deal. The other mistake is just as bad, which is the wholesale embrace of Santa and his crew, to the neglect of Jesus. Nope, the answer is neither and better than both of these. Tell them the story of Santa as a story. And, tell them something about the real St. Nicholas. Then, when you've done that, tell them how glad you are the Christmas isn't about a man in the sky who judges me for all the naughty things I've done by withholding certain gifts, but a God who came from Heaven despite my evil to give me the greatest gift of all. Do that, and Jesus will just look a whole lot cooler than Santa.
  3. Happy Birthday Jesus! On Christmas Day, we make a sweet breakfast treat, like cinnamon roles, stick a candle in them and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. This is an easy way for our littlest ones to see that these gifts and this day aren't about us, but Jesus. Once we're done singing, we take a moment to pray and thank God for sending us the best gift—Jesus.
  4. Gift Giving On Christmas Day, we try to let our children enjoy giving the gifts. This one is subtle, but it's important. Instead of ripping into their gifts to hunt for their hoped-for-goodie, we take Christmas morning slowly, allowing our kids to take from the pile of gifts, and give them to each other. Then, we open them one at a time, and celebrate with the person getting the gift. Why? Because God is a big giver, who gave us his biggest gift—Jesus. Jesus said it's better to give, then to get. If God delights to give us his Son Jesus, then we should delight to be good gift-givers too. Neither stingy nor materialistic, just good givers.
  5. Have Fun! Hey, God's is fun... really fun. He invented fun. Invent your own traditions with your family that make your heart delight in Jesus and in one another. Have fun with one another! Play games, enjoy the lights, sing some songs... these are all good things that, with good motives, can be great for you and yours.

So there you go. Now you know how we celebrate the Advent season. How do you?