Tuesday, January 31, 2012

february--it hasn't started but it could be really bad

My children seriously lost intelligence and knowledge over the weekend. After doing two quarters worth of math, reading, writing and a lot of other stuff, they apparently don't know how to read or write or add or subtract or multiply or anything. Romulus, after knowing the letters 'a', 'n' and 'd' and having before put them together into a word, doesn't know what 'a' says.
"Does it say 't'?" he asked several times.
Instead of screaming at everyone I took a long hot shower and flat ironed my hair. Then I came back and screamed.

It is almost February, so I guess its reasonable for everyone to become a little bit dumber. I don't have any plans to avoid burn out this month. My only plan, actually, is to keep shoving the cat off the dining room table and forcing everybody to keep working until they prove to be not as stupid as they appear now. And I guess I can write some more Sunday School lessons and do a bunch of pre-lent planning. And keep praying against the snow. And knit some more hats or something.

Monday, January 30, 2012

more technical idiocy

I accidentally deleted another comment. I should probably be banned from blogging. Sorry Kat!
My thumbs must be much fatter than they feel. I mean, they don't look fat, but you'd be surprised how fat they become as they approach the screen of my awesome phone. SORRRYYYY!!!!

a little global cooling

So it seems we're in store for a mini ice age. I can't tell you want incredible disappointment this is to me.
This, in particularly, sounds ghastly,
Meanwhile, leading climate scientists yesterday told The Mail on Sunday that, after emitting unusually high levels of energy throughout the 20th Century, the sun is now heading towards a ‘grand minimum’ in its output, threatening cold summers, bitter winters and a shortening of the season available for growing food.
I've never really understood the panic about global warming. When has the earth's temperature ever been static? We have evidence that its gone way up and way down over millenia (she says blithely, not lifting a finger to source this interesting assertion--hardy har har). But of course, we like what we know, and we can't imagine how we'll cope if things change.

Friday, January 27, 2012

a week of eating or something

Child: "Wh
a's for breakfast?"
Matt: "Toast. Make yourself some toast."
Child, incredulously: e"Really. I can make toast?"
Matt: "Yup. And you can make it for your brothers and sisters."
Child, disappointedly: "Oh, I have to make toast?"
Child: "What is this?"
Me: "Delicious Oatmeal."
Child: "Is that what its called? Delicious Oatmeal?"
Me: "That's what its called.
Child, dubiously, "Oh."
Child: "We're having bread for breakfast?"
Me: "Yup."
Child: "What kind of bread?"
Me: "Oatmeal Bread."
Other Child: "NO. Delicious Oatmeal Bread."
Me to child trying to eat noodles out of the dustpan: "Yuck."
Child: "Huh?"
Me: "YUCK!"
Child: "Huh?"
Me, handing child noodles not covered in dust: "Yum."
Child: "Yuck."
Me to all the children: "Do you want pancakes or cheerios?"
All but one child: "Pancakes!"
One Child, Weeping: "Cheerios. I waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnttttttttt cheeeerios!"
All the other children: "That's stupid."
Me: "Don't say stupid."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Technical Idiocy

This afternoon I inadvertently deleted a very nice comment from Jim B. I'm SO SORRY! Thank you for commenting! Please comment again and I'll try to get it right!

And also, someone mentioned that its horribly hard to comment on blogger. Does anyone have knowledge about how to make it easier? (she inquires of the interwebs)

a book has been read

Congratulate me!
I finished an actual book. Four years ago while I was in labor with Gladys, I started reading The Pickwick Papers and Last Night I finished it!

I imagine everyone reading this will fall into one of two camps.
Either you will think, 'that's amazing! What a huge book! How persistent she is! Would that I could also finish reading an actual book'
or you will think, 'are you kidding? FOUR years to read a book! I read 57 books in one month. What a looser! I'm never reading this blog again."

Either way I hope you will congratulate me and muffle your righteous disdain in your sleeve. I think for my next venture I will try to finish reading Black Lamb Gray Falcon which I started in 1998. By the time I finish it we will have all moved on from the internet to the next great thing and some of us will be living on the moon, or in caves beating each other with clubs, whichever turn civilization happens to take.

Monday, January 23, 2012

worn and weary

Should I be thankful for the insanity of this current election cycle or start crying out to God for relief from all the suffering? Its kind of a toss-up this morning.

I love politics so much. The debates are so dramatic, interesting and suspenseful. Its like a great and ridiculous novel unfolding morning by morning--poll numbers flinging themselves up and down, pundits screaming wildly into the radio and tv, twitter feeds twinkling across my phone and computer, candidates grinning grudgingly and foolishly as they try to move the country to like them just a little bit. Why wouldn't I enjoy and be thankful for every moment of this ghastly display?

On the other hand, enough already. There's a debate tonight, the State of the Union tomorrow, a debate Thursday, bla bla bla. I don't generally watch tv during the week. I watch football on the weekend as an act of love for my husband who seems to like it (although, strangely, he gets so angry, shouting at various players and throwing things when it looks like the giants are going to win. Do you know, Every Single Team he has rooted for this season has Lost? Remarkable) and on Friday evenings we try together to watch something we can agree upon. The pool of agreeable films and programs, however, seems to diminish every week. And that's it. Not a constant stream of politics on the tv and radio Every Single Night.

But if I don't keep up, I will miss something, won't I? And how awful that would be.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

for a sunday evening

We sang this this morning in our main service.

And the words, which are well worth just praying on their own:

1. I greet Thee, who my sure Redeemer art,
My only trust and Savior of my heart,
Who pain didst undergo for my poor sake;
I pray Thee from our hearts all cares to take.

2. Thou art the King of mercy and of grace,
Reigning omnipotent in every place;
So come, O King, and our whole being sway;
Shine on us with the light of Thy pure day. 

3. Thou art the life, by which alone we live,
And all our substance and our strength receive;
Oh comfort us in death's approaching hour,
Strong-hearted then to face it by Thy power.

4. Thou hast the true and perfect gentleness,
No harshness hast Thou and no bitterness;
Make us to taste the sweet grace found in Thee
And ever stay in Thy sweet unity.

5. Our hope is in no other save in Thee;
Our faith is built upon Thy promise free;
Oh grant to us such stronger help and sure,
That we can boldly conquer and endure.

Friday, January 20, 2012

seven quick takes: competition, conflict and chinese new year

Alouicious woke me up at 7:00 by shoving his writing book under my nose to find out what he should do. Yesterday, Elphine had all her work done by 1pm which caused, apparently, Alouicious nearly to cry with rage that she then had the day at her disposal and he had frittered the time away not accomplishing one thing. So now they are in a mad race to finish everything ahead of each other. And I say, 'Praise the Lord.'
Speaking of competition, Marigold lay on the floor screaming for 20 minutes this morning because she was given a smaller container of milk than the baby. But she drinks less milk! Had to take turns holding them each as they screamed with rage at the others very existence.
Gladys and Romulus, in light of all the swirling conflict, launched into some kind of argument about who should brush some doll's hair and whether or not the doll is 'old fashioned'. Romulus, I observed, has achieved that singularly male downward turn of the voice at the end of a pronouncement denoting authority and knowledge together. In a matter of 3 minutes he had whipped Gladys into her own screaming rage.
Last night Matt and I were on the edge our seats watching the Republican debate. I had to keep leaving the room to freak out and Matt was punching various cushions. At the rate we're going at home, we could easily stage as interesting and volatile a debate for the nation, on Any Subject.
I know the Chinese New Year doesn't begin until Monday but we have two parishioners who left on Wednesday for China for this very celebration and I had the weird wherewithal to make some pseudo Chinese soup and rice pancakes and read to the children about it AND while we were at it, watch an interesting documentary in the evening. I say this not to impress anyone, but because I am so shocked we managed it. Virtually every holiday, religious or otherwise (excepting Christmas and Easter) passes us by in a discouraging blur as we cling to any kind of routine. Perhaps when all the children can walk we'll become even more celebratory.
The documentary included the filming of a young Chinese gymnast preparing for the Olympics. Elphine watched transfixed as they told about her practicing 8 hours a day and seeing her father only for a few hours on Saturday. I think we've successfully cut gymnastics out of any future picture. And I say again, 'Praise the Lord.'
And now I hear more screaming in the background. It sounds like there is an argument between Romulus and Gladys about who has finished their work first.

Have a great weekend and go check out Jen!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Just thought I would try posting from my awesome phone. I'm sitting here on the couch staring at five baskets of laundry and a table full of half done school work and a bunch of crumbled muffin on the floor trying work up the moral responsability to call the children away from their dance party to resume their work. But maybe just five more minutes.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In praise of classical writing

I don't usually get into the minutia of curriculum here (but why not! It is listed on the side as topics I might discuss). For one thing, I don't want to bore everyone. And for another, in many ways, it doesn't entirely matter at this level of the game. As long as you do everything every day, one set of materials is probably as good as another. However, I just want to sing the praises of Classical Writing for a minute.

The very first thing is that their materials are really well made and lovely to work with. Alouicious' primer books are well laid out and easy to follow. They encompass reading good and worthy short stories to narrate and draw, beautiful art to copy and write about, nature study, copy work, and a little bit of light grammar and spelling (to supplement what we're already doing). There are three primers for the year and we are happily moving into the second one with joy and delight. Alouicious, who wines about everything, saves it for last because he likes it best.

Elphine is under the mistaken impression, right now, that she hates writing. But that is just because she is trying to be a diva and will soon, I hope, leave that ridiculousness behind. She is in the Aesop book and does about two thirds of the work in each week. The other third we abandon for other kinds of writing, mainly science and geography research and writing. Her book is also laid out well and there is plenty of room to analyze and pull apart the text at hand, write it, and then write it again.

I particularly like that both books are laid out by day and week. You can open it up to the day you're on and start working. It is helped us to keep on track and remember to do it.
And now, once more, into the breach!

Friday, January 13, 2012

seven quick takes

The baby is really walking. If she's holding a cookie she will walk the length of the living room. She is extremely pleased with herself. Marigold continues cloudy.
Elphine had to write a little paragraph about the meeting of Alexander the Great and Diogenes. I don't generally like to brag but I particularly thought her dialogue and various turns of phrase were riveting. Here is her little vignette (all lovely spelling has been corrected to perfection--boo--because that was part of the assignment). You're welcome to skip it unless you're a grand parent.

The Wise Man
by Elphine
There was once a very wise man named Diogenes. One day, while he was saying wise things to himself and lying in the sun, a great king came to see him just as everyone did. However, Diogenes did not care whether or not the King, Alexander, came to see him.
Alexander said, "I have heard a lot about you. I will do anything you like."
"I know what I would like," said Diogenes.
"You do?" said the king.
"Yes" replied Diogenes.
"What?" asked the king.
"I would like for you to move,"said Diogenes, "you are blocking the sun."
The king did move and said to his soldiers, "Do not hurt this man. If I was not the king, I would be this man."
I gave up NPR for Advent and have been So Blessed as a result. I turned it back on this morning to see if they were saying anything interesting and turned it back off a minute and a half later. My life is so calm and peaceful now and the children don't have to listen to me screaming at the radio or flinging myself across the room to shut it off because they're talking about graphic homosexuality at EIGHT TWENTY ON A FRIDAY MORNING! Honestly!!!!
Tim Keller's marriage book is so so so good. I appear to be much more happily and easily married than he is (unless he's being all hyperbolic for book sales--see smashing china section--which I perfectly understand because if you can't be hyperbolic for your reading public what can you be?) but am finding its theological depth so good. I can't recommend it enough, even and especially if you find yourself happily and euphorically married.
Matt bailed me out of the laundry this week. He blew through the whole mountain in two and a half days, vomit incident included. He carried it up for me to fold and then, brace yourself, the children put it away
I've come to the conclusion that Marigold looks like me. She has my shape of face and her eyes have a steeliness about them. And everything she does seems so insincere. I try to tell myself that its just the way she appears but sometimes I think I'm fooling myself. She just looks so sarcastically ironic. Like when she's playing she's both playing and mocking the idea of playing and mocking you thinking that she's playing.
We went to the library this morning to pay our enormous fine and now we're going to do art for the rest of the day because we're so behind. That's right! No math or spelling for you! only drawing, painting (well, probably not painting) and looking and beautiful paintings.

Have a great  weekend and go check out Jen!

Monday, January 09, 2012

now that christmas is over

It seems time finally to post some gratuitous baby/children pictures from the last few weeks.

 Here is Marigold badly in need of a haircut and an attitude adjustment. She picked out the shoes herself--shunning the pretty black patent leather for her favorite red clunker shoes.
 Here is Matt after the Christmas Pageant on Christmas Eve administering libations to people like me who were filled with relief and joy that the pageant went off So Beautifully! I await with eagerness seeing the video (I know someone taped it, surely) and pictures by Andrea Kovac.
 We came home from the service that night and ate three very nice cheeses, a pate de compagne, a gorgeous loaf of bread, olives, those little tiny hot dog things wrapped in pastry, and mussels in white wine with a little bit of onion and garlic. I ate far to much and didn't sleep well, but it was worth it.

Here is Elphine and Marigold. Lately, Marigold has required that Elphine carry her everywhere on her back--everywhere! And Elphine is very nice about it especially as Marigold is a fat chunk of a toddler now, eating everything in sight.

Romulus with his new flashlight, doing what he does best, which is to lie on the floor and moan gently about there being too much work. This from the child who has only one job--gather the clothes off the stairs and put them in the laundry hampers. That's it. Just gather the clothes and, no, don't interrupt or lie down, gather the clothes and carry them into the laundry room and put them, no not on the floor, In the Hampers.

Gladys got a little notebook and a fancy pen which she carries with her everywhere, making little marks that look sort of like letters and explaining them to anyone who will listen. Every time we sat down to watch a movie she began talking and kept on until the movie was over. Strangely, we managed to see five different versions of The Christmas Carol over the course of ten days.

The boys received boys and arrows from the bosom of Santa who ought to be stopped. Elphine has a pretty good steady hand and in this fine clement weather has been working at it a little every day.

This is the Sunday of Advent 4. There are 20 or 30 of these pictures and only two of them turned out.

Here is Gladys in her Christmas dress on Christmas Eve. Everything was wrong. The seam of her tights was not fitting over her toes correctly, her little pantaloons wouldn't stay on the right way, her hair kept needing to be combed. In short, she was a miserable wreck. Nearly didn't participate in the pageant as a result of everything in life being so difficult. Changed her mind at the last moment and turned out to be a perfect angel (bwahaaaaaaa, get it, she was an angel in the pageant, get it?).

These aren't in proper order. Here Elphine, Romulus and Alouicious are all watching Matt showing them how its done.

So everything is finally put away and we've had a miserable first week of school back. I did make some New Year's resolutions, for the first time in a long time. I'm going to seriously read books, hopefully every day, and I'm going to try to recover my love of cooking. My husband has become such a good cook that I'd sort of given up. So last week I made meatballs.
Tomorrow I'm going to make a meat pie and Wednesday I have determined, God willing, to make a cheese souffle. Matt, apparently, has never seen or tasted a souffle (that spelling doesn't look right) so he won't know if its not as it should be. And now it is time to stop this and find out why every single child is crying or shouting.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

the cut and thrust of national politics

Ok, so I haven't been blogging because I'm obsessed with politics. Really....Obsessed.....

So obsessed that I stayed up till 1am watching the Iowa Caucus returns and then Got Up Early to read the spin. To put it another way, I suffered a bad bad week of school because of my constant attention to the news and spin cycle.

I've never really been obsessed with anything. I mean, of course, when I fell in love with Matt I thought about him a lot and wanted to be with him all the time. And when you have a new baby you kind of think about that a lot. But politics. Wow. SO Exciting.

I say this even sort of resigned to a horrible Romney win and an Obama reelection (blech). Its the process and spin that utterly fascinate me. So. I'm going to try to blog more this week, but I can't make any promises. I HAVE to pull off a full week of school. But I'll probably be up late Tuesday night which will make Wednesday, Thursday and Friday really awful. And then the next week, and then the week after that. I guess I could break my cardinal rule of not blogging about politics. hmmm. Anyway, check you later! I'm looking to watch this morning's debate one way or another!

PS. I'm coming up on writing post number one thousand. How crazy is that! I missed my five year blogging anniversary. I feel like I should organize some kind of party. Suggestions?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

my sermon from this morning: luke 2

Good Morning! Happy New Year! Today is a big day in the church. Besides being the first day of the new year, it is also the Second Sunday of Christmas AND Holy Name Day. Christmas, you might now, goes on for 12 days before Epiphany and we're only on Day 8 so I hope you'll rush home from here and eat some more pie or whatever your decadent food of choice might be. Because really, the feast and joy of the Incarnation is so big and so wonderful, that an ongoing party is in order. I now feel guilty for already taking my tree down.

A few of you were here last Sunday, Christmas Day,
when we looked at verses 1 through 7 of Luke chapter 2.  
This week we're in verses 8 through 21. 
Turn there with me. 
If we were to look carefully back through chapters one and two of Luke, 
which, don't worry, 
we won't really do, we would notice a pattern. 
Luke describes three announcements 
(and, if we were to jump over to Matthew we would see a fourth). 
In the first, Zechariah is visited by an Angel, 
told by the angel not to be afraid, 
and given the news of an impending miracle. 
He and his wife, who are both very old, 
will have a son. 
The name of the child is given--John--
and his purpose and mission is declared. 
Zechariah is given a chance to respond,
 which he does badly--
he asks for a sign--
and is struck dumb. 
In the same chapter  
Mary is visited by an Angel, 
admonished not to be afraid 
and told of an impending miracle,
 that she, 
though very young and unmarried, and having never known a man,
 will have a son. 
She is given the name of the child  
and his purpose and mission. 
She is given a chance to respond, 
which she does properly, 
by not asking for a sign but by asking for clarifying information, 
"how will this be?'. 

Now in chapter two, we have a third announcement. 
Shepherds are visited by an Angel, 
told not to be afraid, 
and given the news of a miracle. 
Shepherds, whom, you know, 
are such a fitting recipient of this particular news, 
what with David having been a shepherd before he was a king, 
what with us being likened all the time to sheep 
who go astray
and need to be brought back to safety and home,
 what with the person we're all here to think about this morning 
being called The Good Shepherd.
Luke tells us, 
these shepherds were in the field, 
keeping watch over their flock by night. 
They live out there, 
in the field, taking care of the sheep. 
They are as uncomfortable as Mary and Joseph
have probably been on their whole long journey. 
They are some of the most marginal of society. 
These are probably paid steward, these shepherds, 
paid to live with the animals and keep them safe. 
They had to be with the sheep all the time. 
They were probably pretty isolated.
They wouldn't be able to drop everything
and go to feasts and holy days at the temple. 
They wouldn't have had networks of family and friends
they could be with in town. 
But they had to be near by Jerusalem, 
because many many of their sheep were destined for the temple 
where the sacrificing went on every day, morning and evening. 
There they are, out in the field, keeping their sheep safe. 
The Angel appears to them
but instead of telling them about something that is going to happen, 
he tells them what has happened Right Now, Today. 
Not an impending miracle,
 a miracle that is this moment alive and well.
 And he doesn't give the name of this miracle, 
he gives three titles and a sign--
A Savior who is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign--a baby.
but the sign is itself the miracle.
 This is Good News for all people. 
And then,
before the shepherds have a chance to respond to the announcement, 
as in the previous two times, 
the angel is joined by a "heavenly host". 
The angels of heaven are there, in the darkness,
singing and singing and singing. 
Then the shepherds respond. 
They pack everything up and go looking for the sign the angel has given. 
Do they take their sheep? 
For what Shepherd, looking for a lost sheep, 
does he not leave the 99 in the field 
and go looking for the one, 
and when he has found it, 
gather it up and bring it home and call to all his neighbors, 
'rejoice for me, for that which was lost has been found!' 
They go, 
they get up and go and its the middle of the night so who knows, 
maybe they wake some people up and ask around, 
or maybe they wander around looking for the only people who are up 
and those people happen to be Mary and Joseph.

Now, new babies do sort of belong to everyone, don't they? 
There's something about a baby that calls out to the center of everyone--
hardened steely eyed make up masked skinny jean clad
teenage girls in Target,
 weary laboring middle aged men at Shepherd's Bowl, 
little children, 
grandmotherly types who wish they were holding a grand baby--
a baby is for everyone. 
But usually a baby is not for everyone right after its born 
right in the middle of the night 
in some cruddy feeding trough. 
But this is a new sign that will be for all the people. 
This new holy family is not Mary and Joseph and a Baby.
This new holy family is Mary, Joseph, a baby, Zechariah, Elizabeth, John, 
a crowd of marginalized shepherds, 
Simeon, Anna,
some wise men, 
Peter, James, John, Mary and Martha, Paul, Stephen, Titus--
it will take me a while to name all those in the new holy family. 
We are in this new holy family. 
This baby is the first born of creation. 
If you are found in him and know him and love him, 
then he is your brother 
and everyone else who believes in him 
and is found in him is your brother or sister. 
You may be isolated, 
on the margin, 
not in a very comfortable or good space, 
not surrounded by human family you are close to or who love you, 
so this good news is for you today. 
I was always sort of worried about  Mary, 
invaded by all these shepherds in the middle of the night, 
but to be visited by family, 
who know who your baby is and are prepared to love him? 
That kind of visitor is welcome. 

And the Shepherds go and tell everyone what they've seen, 
and Mary gathers all the things she has seen 
and "ponders them in her heart". 
All these things bear thinking about,
they invite deeper thought and consideration, 
they are worth sitting down at your kitchen table for a few minutes of quiet 
and not cluttering up all your internal emotional and intellectual space 
with another to-do list 
or a re-visitation of how someone has hurt you 
or what on earth to do about your difficult and wayward child 
but instead sitting and reading these familiar lines over 
and thinking about the strangeness of humility, 
the counter-intuitiveness of humility--
that God, who has everything 
and knows everything 
and sees everything 
and can do all his holy will,
 that all his holy will would include coming down to us.

God, since the beginning, has always been coming down. 
We look up at the night sky and think about how we can go up, 
brick by brick of good work and intellectual acumen, 
building little towers to the sky, 
making names for ourselves, 
showing ourselves to ourselves to be worthy of God by our care for others, 
our being on top of our careers, 
or whatever it is that we think will get us into the good graces of whatever cosmic thing there is out there.
 We build a tower and rejoice in the strength of our own arm. 
And God, in response to our pride and self sufficiency,
 when he could just speak a word and blow it all to smithereens, 
instead he comes down. 
He comes down into the garden in the cool of the day
to talk to Adam and Eve. 
He comes down the ladder to show Jacob himself. 
He comes down in a pillar of fire and a pillar of cloud. 
He comes down and settles on the mountain and speaks with Moses--
for 40 days and 40 nights  he speaks with Moses. 
He gives instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant--
a rectangular box overlaid with gold with angel wings on top--
and says it is his throne, his footstool, 
that he will sit on it and be present with his people.
And then the temple is built and while everyone is singing
and playing all their instruments 
he comes down and fills the whole temple with his glory.
He comes down into the furnace of fire
and walks back and forth with his servants in exile. 
He comes down to live in Mary and be born
and live his first few days in a barn
to be with a world that isn't looking for him,
doesn't know or care who he is--
so busy we are with building and building and building and building
a tower of corruption up to heaven.

I've left over talking about the name of this baby, 
the titles given by the angel, the description of this person, 
the name God gives to Moses on the mountain. 
The Lord who is steadfast love and mercy.
The Lord who gives mercy to a thousand generations.
It is an ancient name, born in the heart of the Old Testament.
Given to the one who brought the people of God
into the safety and security of the promised land.
Given to babies over centuries.
And finally, given by God himself,
to this new sign,
this fountainhead of redemption.
His name is a holy name, 
there is no other name under heaven by which men—
you and me—
might be saved. 
The name is itself the miraculous purpose and mission of God. 
The name given is Jesus
and it means Yahweh Saves. 
The Lord Saves. 
The Lord, the promised one, the Christ, is the who Saves.

The idea of a savior is lately worn out and tired. 
It is out of fashion to say that who God is in himself is a savior. 
 And the church likes to keep up with the times. 
And so we adjust things to cater to a culture
that would rather attend to its own salvation itself.
Like an everlasting toddler--
I do it myself, 
we say, adding another brick of shoddy inadequate work
to our tower of self made salvation.
I spent a couple hours of my week off watching youtube clips
of technology announcements. 
I watched the Kindle Fire announcement a few times,
and then the little demo where they scroll through all the stuff 
and you discover that you can read books but 
Also be on facebook and everything else we all love. 
Its such a cool little device.
 And then Matt bought me an awesome phone
and so I watched a lot of clips about that. 
But really,
we all know the Good News of Great Joy which shall be for All the People 
was Steve Jobs standing there in his jeans and black turtleneck, 
 talking about the iphone and ipad and icloud. 
Technology saves, for a few minutes. 
Food saves, for an evening. 
A grudge can save you from having to forgive. 
Not coping with the complexities of this life can save you from reality. 
Failure can save you from responsibility. 
Responsibility can save you from failure.
 Anything can save you,
for a few minutes for a day or maybe even a while. 
But its not very long
before you have to cast about for a new savior
to keep together your crumbling wall. 
The Lord Saves. 
From before time, 
from before sin, 
from before all things, 
the name of the Lord was Salvation. 
And in the work of his saving he came down here. 
And in the saving of you he will go into the depths, 
the blackness of your heart. 
Do you think the manger wasn't that great? 
It was cleaner and more lovely than your heart. 
Do you think the night around the shepherds was black? 
It was not so black as the sin you guard and keep so jealously against the light of Jesus' saving name. 
Do you think you are too low? 
That God would have to go too far down? 
He has already left the 99,
 standing in the field, 
rejoicing with the host of the heavenly angels, 
and has gone out to find you. 
He will seek and seek until he finds you.
This is good news for you.
How will you respond?
You don't need to ask for a sign. 
The sign has already been given. 
You can ask for clarifying information but all that you need is in here.
Better to throw yourself in with the shepherds.
Get up and go worship with the one who came down to be with you, 
the one who saves.