Connecting the Dots to Jesus’s Tomb

Tomb.jpgAs a kid, I loved “connect the dots” puzzles. There was something very satisfying in drawing one line segment after another until a picture emerged. There was one rule: you had to connect the dots sequentially. Otherwise, the picture you ended up with would, in all likelihood, not be the right picture.

It seems that James Cameron, Simcha Jacobovici and their cohorts have spent the last two years connecting the dots to a puzzle that revolves around the 27-year-old discovery of a tomb. They didn’t stop to make sure that their line segments were drawn according to the right sequences. Frankly, it appears that the dots they connected don’t even belong to the puzzle in question. The picture they have ended up with is not the right one.

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Review: Children of Men

“Children of Men”, an adaptation of the novel by P.D. James, is Alfonso Cuaron’s best movie to date. If you’re looking solely to be entertained, this movie is not for you. This movie makes you think. Hard. It is a powerful depiction of the true colors of human depravation when humanity is faced with the realization that there is no hope of a future.

The technical aspects of this movie do not disappoint. As noted in many reviews, the camera work is very different and contributes a great deal to the story. For many scenes, the camera was handheld, giving you the sense that you are walking/running along with the main characters. That effect could have potentially caused a theater full of motion-sick individuals, but it was handled carefully and does not detract from the scenes. Also in many of the scenes is the presence of spattered blood on the lens as you are trying to look through it but it is accomplished in such a way so as not to be a distraction. The one description of that world that keeps coming back to my mind is the word “grey”. Though the movie was filmed in color, you’re left with the distinct impression that it was devoid of it, which goes to underscore the bleakness and gives the movie a gritty feel to it.

The story starts in 2027 with the announcement that the world’s youngest human (18 years, 4 months and 12 days old) had just died from injuries sustained when he refused to give an autograph to a fan. As details emerge, you find out that, for an unknown reason, women have become infertile – no known cause and no cure in the foreseeable future. The world has collapsed into chaos with Britain as the only country left standing. Citizens of other countries abandoned their homes and their now uninhabitable countries to illegally immigrate to Britain. The increasing chaos causes Britain to become a police state, imprisoning the illegal aliens and abusing/torturing some of them before deportation – that is, the ones that survive the abuse.

In the midst of this very hopeless world, a woman named Kee is keeping a secret – she is eight months pregnant. She is also a refugee, destined for deportation. An activist group, fighting for proper treatment of the illegal aliens, wants to use her – and her soon-to-be-born child – for their own purposes. Theo, a disillusioned man and an ex-activist, agrees to help Kee to safety.

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A Perfect Christmas

Was our Christmas perfect this year? Depending on the specific point during the weekend, you would have gotten several different answers. Everything from perfectly lovely to perfectly frustrating. From an incredibly good time with family (laughing till you’re crying and your sides hurt) to having a cat get sick on the just-cleaned carpet (losing breakfast and, shortly thereafter, having an “accident”). From a beautiful Christmas Eve candlelight service to a malfunctioning garbage disposal and a kitchen sink drainage problem that backed up into the dishwasher, which, inevitably, began to leak out onto the floor. At one point yesterday morning, I was on the verge of tears and ready to call it quits.

Thankfully, I am married to a sane, compassionate man. He stopped what he was doing, grabbed me and hugged me until I calmed down. He told me that it would be OK, to let go of “perfect” – it doesn’t exist on this side of heaven. He was right (which, in and of itself, is annoying).

Reflecting on that thought now, several hours after the last of the disasters, brings to mind that first Christmas. Yes, the timing was perfect, the setting was intentional and everything about it was designed by God but, from a human perspective, it was all “wrong”. A very pregnant, unwed Jewish girl took an incredibly uncomfortable trip on the back of a donkey because the pagan (and greedy) government required her husband-to-be to go to his hometown for a head count for taxing purposes. She ends up birthing her “illegitimate” child in a stable alongside animals because the hotel reservation system didn’t work. Their first visitors were no one they knew, a band of smelly shepherds – a career that was considered to be at one of the lowest rungs of the social ladder.

Jesus didn’t have to leave heaven – He could have left us to our own devices- but His love for us compelled His choice to do so. He set aside the status and benefits of being God to become “God With Us”, complete with all of the messy, impotent trappings of humanity. Jesus came to us, born illegitimately, to make us legitimate heirs.

In the hustle and bustle of last-minute preparations, I lost sight of that. I was trying to create a perfect holiday. Jesus created a perfect way – Himself – to reunite us with God. So, was our Christmas perfect? Absolutely!


14 Holiday Commandments

I saw this in the December 2002 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. A little levity is good at this time of year – helps keep your sanity intact.

14 Holiday Commandments

  1. When thou bakest the holiday goodies, thou will treat thyself to some of the goodly ones and not just to the slightly burnt ones that ye would be too embarrassed to giveth unto others.
  2. Yea, though ye walk through the mall on December 24, ye shall not buy any singing fish, nor any pull-my-finger gags, no matter how desperate thou art to find something for thy brother-in-law.
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Great Expectations


“What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expected generally happens.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli

No one can deny it – we all have our expectations and, to some degree, a picture in our minds of how perfectly everything would turn out if people just did (or said) things our way. It is hard to accept that life does not always go according to our plans.

December was always a rough month at college. Final papers were due and exams loomed just around the corner. In the midst of a very stressful month, we would do just about anything to decompress. For the most part, it was always the four of us: Dave and Leah, Bob and me. It had been decided that, for the last weekend before Christmas break, we would meet at Bob’s room at the beginning of open-dorm hours to exchange gifts. Leah came to my room at 7PM and we walked over to the men’s dorm. Expecting Bob’s door to be open, it was a bit of a surprise to find shut and locked. After knocking on the door, we went up to Dave’s room. Dave’s roommate, Alan, was there. Alan had no idea where Dave and Bob had disappeared to.

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Attitude of Gratitude

thanksgiving.jpgMany people vocalize the things they are thankful for around this time of year. I usually don’t don’t join the fray. It’s not that I have nothing to be thankful for because I most certainly do. While I have a lot of opinions on a lot of topics and will share them, those opinions are on things external and not a part of me. The closer the topic gets to who I really am, the more I am to keep those thought and feelings internalized.

However, I will join the fray this year. Foremostly, I thank God for who He is and what He has taught me in the last year Some lessons were harder than others to learn, but He never let me feel abandoned in the midst of the lessons. One of those lessons is best summed up this way:

If God is trying to teach me a lesson, it would behoove me to pay attention the first time. He’ll keep repeating the lesson in various scenarios and at various times until I “get it” – each occurence a little worse than the previous one. Trust me on this – sit up, pay attention to the whole set of instructions and follow directions. The lesson is shorter and there’s less aggravation.

Here’s my list (in no particular order):

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Chasing a Dream

A good friend sent this link to me a few minutes ago.  I will be smiling all day as a result.


Real Life is Messy

oldshoe_newshoe.jpgI’ve been working on a facelift for a friend’s blog. Having run into some unruly code, I spent the better portion of a week in a computer cave, oblivious to the happenings in the world around me. I came up for air briefly last week, just in time to hear about Kent Hovind and the tax fraud allegations as well as the Ted Haggard scandal. It was enough to make me want to live in the computer cave permanently.

The blogosphere is chock full of blame and explanations as to who went wrong and why. Tim Challies has a good perspective on the matter:

“If we look to Ted Haggard as a representative of all that is wrong in Evangelicalism, I think we miss the most important lesson. The lesson we need to learn is that we are every bit as sinful and fallible and willful and depraved as Haggard; perhaps more so. It is only the grace of God that, like a spider being held over the flame by a nearly-invisible web, prevents me from giving in to all the sin that is in me and being dragged down by it. Oh, that He would continue to extend this grace! And oh, that I would take heed lest I, too, fall, for what is in Haggard is in me.”

There is a tendency for us Christians to vociferously agree with the statement that humanity is totally depraved. However, when we get to church, we behave and expect to see others behave in a manner that all but screams, “Look at me! Am I not all nice and clean? I don’t think nasty thoughts or do bad things ’cause I’m redeemed and the redeemed are above that sort of thing.” Honestly, how comfortable would you be describing your deepest darkest secrets, thoughts and desires to the average person in your church? I know I wouldn’t be because the average church-going Christian, at least the ones I’ve been around, would :

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On Algebra, Blessings and Being Smug

Ever since junior high, I have loved algebra. I “got” it. I was always a great math student but something about algebra made me fly and my math grades reflected that. Getting the right answer was necessary but was nowhere as exciting as was the problem solving process. There were plenty of rules to memorize; however, the rules did not hinder. Instead, as long as I played by the rules, I could twist, turn and sometimes invert the equation until the answer was naturally exposed – much like a peapod exposes its contents under pressure.

Because I understood it well, enjoyed it so much and was beginning to exhibit the ability to teach, I was asked by my teachers to tutor other kids in class that just weren’t getting it. Sometimes, a peer can go further than a teacher by explaining things in a language that another struggling student suddenly can grab onto. I tutored all the way through high school, into college and now, 10+ years out of college, I still do some tutoring though not as frequently. While it would not be accurate to say that I was prideful in my ability, I certainly was a bit smug.

At some point late in high school, it occurred to me that algebra wasn’t math. Yes, there were numbers involved as well as computational symbols and the necessary rules, but it was much more. Algebra wasn’t so much about getting the answer (though it was important) as much as it was an ongoing lesson in logical problem solving. You have to find a solution to a dilemma by using information that is known/revealed and you have to work within the confines of a framework of rules. Suddenly, the light bulb inside my head turned on. That’s not math – that’s life! Now I really “got it” . I understood the big picture and went on my merry way, spreading the knowledge around to others as I moved through life.

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Isn’t It Ironic?

I’m sitting here, waiting for my husband to get home from work.  Yes, it’s after 11PM and yes, he’s been at work since 8 AM.  His job recently has become hectic as the result of several large national projects occuring concurrently with some rather nasty IT issues that have all but prevented him from getting his work done.  All things considered, it is overtime pay.  While we’re not getting rich, it allows us to get ahead on bills and we are thankful to God for that.

It just occured to me, however, that there seems to be another side to the blessing. Not a negative, mind you, but an underside/backside.  Just as we get a little excited about being able to catch up on bills, something else comes up that eats away practically all of the extra. My latest “case in point” entails the last two weeks. There was plenty of overtime and, theoretically, a decent sized extra to the paycheck which will be direct-deposited at the end of this week.  Until the visit to the mechanic yesterday.  My husband’s car had to have an oil change, get inspected, get new rear brake pads and new rotors put in.

Given this pattern,  it appears that God sends the circumstances to set up the overtime because He’s providing for a future need before it happens.  While I am grateful, one side of me – the very human side – wants to know if there’s any other way this can be handled.  I would rather have God prevent the need from occurring.  That way, hubbie can work decent hours and we spend time with each other rather than being two ships that pass in the night.  This, of course, is not up to me and I am learning to be thankful in all situations.

Blessings can be a little ironic.


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