…is Kerri Epling! But there were so many great entries. I’ll share a few in the next few days.
Meanwhile, at the Colley house, there’s no internet. After going to McDonald’s, Kroger, Starbucks, and another McDonald’s this morning to try and post (and do some other business), I’m learning that the widespread internet outage is just that…very widespread. At last. I’ve found a hot spot. The storm last Monday in Huntsville, Alabama took a huge oak tree via powerful lightning, our internet, a window in the cabin, to my complete amazement as my husband stepped out on the porch to “listen to the storm”. At that moment, behind his head, I saw the light show of my life–electric red flashes of light, fire and the loudest boom I have ever heard. More about that later, but so very thankful that it did not take our home or even our lives! So many blessings tp keep counting…and I’ve resolved to do that throughout these blessed holidays.
Here’s the entry. I love it!…(and more of your music stories though the next week!)
There’s just something about Christmas music, isn’t there? Something in it takes us all back to childhood, where we anxiously anticipated the colorful lights, the smells of goodies baking in Grandma’s kitchen, and the joy of choosing the perfect gift for our loved ones and wrapping it just so in the shiny papers and ribbons before placing it lovingly beneath the sparkly, ornament-laden tree in the corner of the living room. As we sing of jingling bells, talking snowmen, missing teeth, and winter wonderlands, we are able to suspend reality, if only for a precious few weeks in the midst of a crazy, busy, and cold season! I have always loved Christmas music. For as long as I can remember, I have looked forward to those merry tunes and whimsical decorations. My kids have inherited my love for seasonal songs, and listening to and singing them together is a favorite part of the holidays for me.
My husband is a staunch believer in “no Christmas music until after Thanksgiving,” and he plays it up with the kids like it is a big deal. Any time we hear songs earlier in the year, there is good-natured teasing that “Daddy won’t like this!” as everyone giggles at the idea that someone must not know that Christmas music isn’t allowed until Black Friday. If we are out in a store and Christmas music is playing the kids can’t wait to point it out to Daddy, who always delights them by responding dramatically that it isn’t Thanksgiving yet and the music must be stopped. Giggles abound at these declarations!
Black Friday is one of our favorite traditions as a family. My children affectionately call it “Shopping in the Dark,” and they count down to that day as eagerly as they do to Christmas Day or birthdays. While we seldom make any large purchases, we rise early (5 AM or so), pile in the car, and head out to buy a gingerbread house and to have brunch at Chick-Fil-A. We people watch, buy batteries on sale, deliver goodies to some friends who own a local business, and listen to the first Christmas music of the season for our family. Daddy always makes a special CD containing mixture of some of our favorite songs, and we never know which songs he will choose. As we pull out of our driveway in the dark, the music starts playing and all our voices belt out the merry melodies. It is such a fun tradition and a great time to bond. Something about having this special tradition of no music until a certain day and spending that dark morning with Bing Crosby and Burl Ives gets our holidays off to a fun and festive start and sets the stage for season. The merry truly is in the music.
Don’t forget your study routine!
I know there’s so much to think about this month. I hope you’re not forgetting to keep up with your Digging Deep study (or whatever study you do) for December. I think December is the month in which we lose the most diggers. Dropping routines seems to be the routine for this merry month. It’s easy to lay the shovel down when our hands get full of shopping, getting together, traveling and entertaining; or, for some, weathering the winter while in poor health, being winter care-givers for loved ones who are struggling, or just trying to survive a season in which people are supposed to be merry, while you may feel like there’s not a lot to celebrate. December is challenging; but whatever the challenge, your year will end on a more hopeful note if you stay in the Word.
I love December because of traditions, because my family comes to share those traditions and because the world somehow loosens its collective “tongue” about the Lord during the month when our world of “Christendom” celebrates His birth, albeit mistakenly (since we do not know when He was born and since the Lord has not given us the go-ahead to celebrate the birth of Christ as a religious holy day). It’s easy to find creative ways to promote conversation about the Lord with those who usually do not interject His name in conversation. I like that about December.
Don’t forget the babies whose little lives are being rescued.
If you did not read about the five little embryos who’ve been left in the freezer, but are now being given the gift of being placed in the womb of a Christian mother, I hope you will take the time to read. I know the parents who are choosing life, in this instance. I know the plans to bring these children up in a faithful home. I see the potential this situation has for eternal good. I have seen the power of prayer at work as I searched for a Christian home for these children. I am so thankful that my brother and sister in Christ said “yes” (after much prayer) to the huge proposition of taking these children. I hope you will read and pray for them, whether or not you can help financially. I want to be clear that these parents did not ask me to help them fund this huge endeavor. Rather, I asked them–when I saw a need–if I could try and help. You can read about these five children and their prospective home here: https://thecolleyhouse.org/practical-pure-religion-your-chance-to-help We are still about three thousand dollars shy of the amount needed, so I hope your year-end giving can include this very special way to accomplish James 1:27.
Don’t forget to think of spiritual gifts you can give to those you love.
It’s a great time of year to evangelize and to build up the kingdom by giving a book, a DVD, a new study Bible, or a Bible game for the kids. Several couples we know have given all of their elders a copy of “Awake at Night,” a collection of real problems churches today face and their potential solutions. Spiritual gifts keep on giving. Spiritual gifts given to shepherds can have a multiplied influence on the whole church.
Finally, don’t forget to enter the Christmas contest.
(This one’s not as important as the others, but still, you could win some of those spiritual gifts.) Deadline is December 18th and you can read about that here: https://thecolleyhouse.org/tch-contest-the-merrys-in-the-music
This year, for The Colley House holiday contest, we’re doing Merry Music. Send us your funniest or most sentimental Christmas story. The one “rule” is that your story has to somehow have a musical tie-in or “twist”. If I were entering, I’d tell about the young caroler who belted out “Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa- Fa-Fa-Fa” at every stop each year when we caroled together as kids; or about my tiny niece, whose favorite song on the radio during the holidays was “Police Nonny-nah” (Feliz Navidad); or the sweetest story this year about a dear friend who went in search of a particular collectible caroler for my husband, who loves to repair antique clocks. This caroler is wonderful, holding three clocks as he sings. We were touched when she gave it to us last night, explaining that, when he arrived, he was holding only two of the three clocks. So our sweet friend called the company, explaining that her favorite clock was missing from our specimen, got a refund, and kept searching till she found the perfect caroler that’s now standing on our little desk in the living room. Isn’t he funny?…and precious?!
Or I might write about the wonderfully magical musicals that the kids and I did at the community theater each season, and the havoc we endured one day when the lead got stopped, en route to the theater, and carted to jail for speeding and driving without a license. Someone (Kelly!), who had never rehearsed it one time (but was an amazingly talented and funny actress), had to step into the lead role for a group of 300 school children. It was the favorite school performance of the run!
Or maybe I’d describe how our family sings and “performs” the twelve days of Christmas with our little ones each day leading up to Christmas. I would have to send a funny video with this entry…of a two year old trying to be a milk maid or be a French hen sitting on eggs.
You get the drift. Deadline for entries is December 18th at noon. Email entries to email@example.com.
The winner will get the Colley Musical Package (valued at $73.65):
You’re Singing My Song—a book about godly marriage:
Your Mama Don’t Dance—a book about serious Biblical parenting:
A set of Hannah’s Hundred CDs—each contains a hundred Bible verses in song. (Three will be your choice of digital or CD. The #3 edition is only available digitally.)
Digger Doug Rocks CD—a rockin’ way to teach your kids concepts of creationism:
We will mail this prize package out in time for gift-giving!
The Colley House congratulates Tracy Parsons of Erwin, Tennessee, for submitting the winning entry in the Holiday contest. Picturing this communion scene made the judges laugh out loud. Tracy gets to choose $50.00 worth of materials from https://www.thecolleyhouse.org. Read her submission and then a couple of submissions that receive an honorable mention today!
One of our elders was teaching bible class Sunday morning and he clipped his mic on his shirt (but never actually turned it on) and made it through his entire introduction before someone raised their hand to announce that they couldn’t hear anything that he had said. In good humor, he thanked them for not waiting until the lesson was finished. He turned the mic on and then walks up to the front pew to pick something up. His mic comes unclipped from his shirt (the battery box is still attached at his waist) and the mic itself is dangling between his legs making loud noises every time the mic comes in contact with the pew, his pants etc. Someone raised their hand to inform him that once again they couldn’t hear what he was saying and once he located the mic, he reclips the mic to his shirt. He immediately tells us about the time that he was a young man wearing a white clip on tie while serving the Lord’s Supper. He was so focused on his position of serving that he didn’t even noticed that his bow tie had slipped down and was clipped between his legs on the front of his pants. He wasn’t sure what to do in a situation like that, leave it be or move it back up only to draw more attention to himself.
I love this elder dearly and he has truly made a difference in my life. I could never express to him how much I appreciate his service to the Lord and the impact that he’s made on the Lord’s Church. He is a wonderful man!
You have to commend a great leader that can still hold it together even when mics and bowties don’t cooperate.
Honorable mention goes to Gail Walker for this submission about a Sunday School song request. Little people sometimes innocently cause good teachers some consternation.
I always taught young children in Sunday school. I would begin the class going around the table asking each child to suggest a song. One bright Sunday morning one of our members brought her granddaughter. We were going around the table and when her turn came, she thought for a moment and then said, “I like ‘She Thinks My Tractor’s sexy,’”. For a moment I did not know what to say. And then I said, “ How about we sing Jesus Loves Me?” She said K and we went on.
And finally, Honorable Mention to M. Vines. She made a splash with this baptism story.
Our congregation was about 50 members strong and another was about to be added. The man being baptized was considerably larger than the preacher. As the preacher slowly lowered the man into the water he got off balance, dropped the man, and almost went under with him! There were several reactions in the audience: gasps, cringes, and literal laughs out loud from a light hearted bible school teacher (who happens to be my mother). Everyone recovered just fine and at least we know he was fully immersed!
December 15th is the deadline to enter the holiday contest! Rules are here: https://thecolleyhouse.org/the-annual-holiday-contest. It’s easy to enter and the winner receives a $50.00 bundle of choice from The Colley House. Merchandise will arrive before Christmas. SO hurry and enter. It’ll only take a few minutes!
The Christmas Shepherd’s Special ends on the 24th of December, so get five gifts in one! Order now and your gifts will arrive in time for holiday giving. That special is here: https://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Christmas-Shepherds-Special/p/123864997/category=0 I’m a little biased, but I think Glenn’s work on church leadership is exceptional and much needed in the body today. We’ve loved sending these out to many spots in the country. We pray they will do much good.
Finally, let me report that Glenn and I are eating well this holiday season. Our waitress at the restaurant tonight said, as she collected our empty plates, “Look at those happy plates. You all did a good job. I’m very proud of you.” She was at work waiting tables, but in her heart, she was still at home with her kids. And she made us laugh. Happy Holidays. Clean your plate!