Showing posts from December, 2022

Family Traditions

Among the things that make the holiday season memorable are family traditions. One dictionary defines tradition as “the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation.” While growing up in Moorhead, Minnesota, my family had our share of Christmas rituals. One of them was my sister Tanya and I taking turns opening up the little flaps on our advent calendar. My immediate family always opened presents on Christmas Eve after Dad came home from work in the late afternoon (or in the morning if he had the day off). Tanya and I passed the time by played the board game Monopoly , which often took two hours to complete. Sometimes we also went to a candlelight service at the Lutheran church we attended across the river in Fargo, North Dakota. Later that night, I would get together with my mother’s side of the family at Grandma Tweiten’s house. Often we ate a light dinner but then always sang Christmas carols before opening presents. Eventually, my Aunt Gaye added a tradition

Begotten, Not Forgotten

While witnessing to Muslims, they object to Jesus being called “the Son of God” because Allah (the Arabic word for God) supposedly had no sons. When I quoted John 3:16 to one Muslim in particular, this man got hung up on the word “begotten.” He thought it only referred to the result of a sexual union.   The words “begot” and “begotten” are used numerous times in the Bible, usually in genealogy listings. Those words have other uses in Scripture besides records of human offspring . Look at The Message Bible’s rendering of John 1:9-13… “The Life-Light was the real thing: every person entering Life he brings into Light. He was in the world, the world was there through him, and yet the world didn't even notice. He came to his own people, but they didn't want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves. These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not


Many of you are probably familiar with the Christmas TV special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” This stop-motion animated classic has one memorable character nicknamed “Bumble”, an Abominable Snowman that initially terrorizes the frozen north. But in the end, the monster is tamed and seen putting the star on top of a Christmas tree. This story illustrates a spiritual truth: even the worst of sinners can be redeemed. It appears the Abominable Snowman has increased in popularity. I've seen him in people’s yards as a Christmas decoration even in Florida, where it hardly snows. The New Oxford American Dictionary defines  abominable  as “causing moral revulsion. The Bible lists specific things that are “abominations.” Here are a few of them: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.” - Leviticus 18:22 “These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devise

Be Ye Perfect

Earlier this week while getting coffee at McDonald’s, my receipt indicated I was customer #300. That reminded me of bowling since 300 is a perfect score in the ten-pin version of the game. During my childhood, Dad often took our family to the bowling alley on Sunday afternoon. I was also on bowling leagues in junior high, high school, and college. I managed to win a few trophies.  Since then, I’ve occasionally gone bowling with friends. One Saturday in 1993, my friend Steve suggested we do so and kept saying, “I’m going to beat you.” I didn’t tell him of my previous bowling experience. Steve wasn’t happy when I beat him with scores of 161 and 216. He even suggested I cheated. That was impossible since the bowling alley had electronic scoring. I’ve bowled other games over 200 but never came close to 300. A bowler has to get twelve consecutive strikes to achieve a perfect game. One dictionary defines perfect as “having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteris