Monday, December 24, 2007

I Love Global Warming

Well, I'm still not sure if I actually believe in global warming, but I love this Christmas Eve weather! It feels like a lovely, fall day. The sky is a clear blue with hardly any clouds--my favorite! Most people dislike this weather because it is not very "Christmasy," but I'd rather see the sunshine and feel a cool, gentle breeze than shiver under the bitterly cold, white sky. Also, this sunshine reminds me of life and joy and rest, which is what we receive in the birth of our Savior during this time of year. Seeing God's beautiful creation on a day like this puts me in the true spirit of Christmas all the more.

Tonight Kurt and I will attend our first Christmas Eve service at our new church. We are looking forward to it. Kurt's parents are coming with us; then we will go to their house for dinner and gift-giving!!! Tomorrow morning Kurt and I will exchange gifts in our own home (first Christmas in our new house!!!), then head to West Point and Starkville for lunch with my family. Christmas is always a whirlwind day for us, but we enjoy resting and enjoying our loved ones after all the festivities have ended.

Also, Christmas sometimes causes violence. After work today (yes, I worked on Christmas Eve because I have nothing else to do. I finished all my shopping and wrapping two weeks ago. Record timing.), I stopped by Wal-Mart to get some stocking stuffers for Kurt. It was, of course, packed with frantic last-minute shoppers. I was thankful that what I wanted was at the front of the store near the checkout lines. However, a lady cut in front of me at the self checkout machine, and I imagined that if I were stressed out with last minute to-dos that I might have harmed her. Or tried to. I thought to myself, "This is why people go on shooting sprees." Jokingly, of course. But, you never know when it could all pile up at the self check out line in Wal-Mart and a person just lose it altogether right there. Beware of last-minute holiday shoppers. They are an evil to be both feared and respected.

With that, have a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Why do you look retarded? Kurt and I put up our Christmas tree a few days ago. His aunt gave us this tree (which we greatly appreciate), but it is rather difficult to assemble. The branches must be added one by one, and they are color-coded. So, we took the tall “pole” part out of the box and also took out all of the branches and separated them into their color-coded piles. First snag: We couldn’t find the color-coded regions on the pole to match to the branches. So, we then decided that most Christmas trees are generally smallest on top and largest on the bottom. Therefore, we decided to attach the branches in this manner, starting from the bottom. Kurt attached the branches, and I followed behind him stringing the lights. (A friend advised us to put on the lights as we attached each layer of branches.) Well, we finished attaching the branches and the lights, and we stepped back to view our masterpiece. Thus went the conversation:
Marty – Wow, it looks really sparse at the bottom. I see some big gaps.
Kurt – Yeah, and we have some branches left over.
Marty – What should we do with those? Did we leave some off?
Kurt – I guess they are just extra in case you lose some. I’ll spread out the branches on the bottom limbs to hide those gaps.
After doing so, Kurt left to play in a church basketball game. Well, the tree gaps still existed and still bothered me. I didn’t want to remove all the lights and start over, but I felt sure that we were supposed to have used all the branches. So, I took off all the lights and began removing the bottom branches. I then discovered that we had skipped the entire 2nd-to-last layer! That’s where the leftover branches belonged! This news was good and bad. I simply left the branches on the floor until Kurt came home. Thankfully, he discovered where the color-codes were hiding on the pole during the first go-round and was able to re-attach all the branches correctly. Since then, I have re-strung the lights, put the ornaments on twice, and changed the bow on top a few times. I think it turned out well, though. Perhaps next year one will be the lucky number.

This morning during church, I whispered these words to Kurt: “Thanks be to God for the comma.” I said it to humor him, but I really do mean it. Grammar is one method that God uses to help us better understand his Gospel. I find this truth both beautiful and very fulfilling. What sparked my rapture was the hymn “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” Most people don’t know that a comma sits between Merry and Gentlemen in the song title and verses. This comma indicates a separation of the two words, and therefore changes Merry from what most people assume is an adjective to an adverb. Merry does not describe gentlemen in this song. Merry describes the verb “rest.” “Gentlemen” is the direct address or the subject to whom the writer is speaking. In modern speech it might read, “Gentlemen, may God give you merry rest.” When we trust in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation and to provide our deepest need, forgiveness of sins, for which he was born—when we rest in God’s provision, the rest that we have will be merry (mirthful, cheerful, peaceful). That simple, little comma changes the whole meaning of the song. Instead of God giving rest to already happy people, He becomes the rest that his sorrowful people so desperately need, which is why Jesus was born—to carry out the work that would accomplish the rest that God so longs to give His people.