Toenail Clippers and Christmas

There is one thing that people my age can almost always agree on: the world may never know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop.

Do you remember that commercial? The one with the owl? Seems like I saw it every Saturday while watching cartoons back when cartoons were, you know, good. Yes, I know there are a few good ones, like….well, there might be some good ones I haven’t seen. Anyway, knowing exactly how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop was seen as an impossible thing to know.

Another impossible thing to know is exactly how many toenail clippers are currently somewhere in my house.

For the past several years, I have purchase new clippers at least every other month. The common pattern is: 1) I buy clippers, 2) I use them a few times, 3) I lose clippers, 4) Repeat.

Why do my clippers go missing so frequently? I have a few ideas:

1. They go into hiding. After being used on my ugly, big toe a few times, it’s possible that they simply can’t take it any more. They might change their name and join the Toenail Protection Agency. Maybe they are huddled together in the back of the same drawer, hoping to never be found. Who knows? But it’s a possibility.

2. One of my five tax deductions loses them. You think it’s unloving for me to refer to my children as tax deductions? So be it. When you have to help do as much laundry as I have to, then we can talk about it.

3. They are abducted by aliens. Why do we think only humans are abducted by aliens? Why not squirrels, or dvd players, or toenail clipper, or my wife’s chihuahuas?

4. My wife’s chihuahuas ate them. I wouldn’t put anything past those little idiots.

Regardless of the reason, I really have no idea how many toenail clippers we have somewhere in our house.

There’s also something far more important that I don’t know: why God loves me like He does.

I know what the Bible says about God’s love for me, but it still boggles my mind. I suppose it always will.

The great thing about this is that I don’t have to know exactly why He loves me in order to enjoy His love for me.

This is what I have been thinking about this Christmas season. I encourage you to join me.

What is something you lose with stunning regularity?
What’s on your mind this Christmas season?


Merry Christmas!

Luke 2

 1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

 15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

A Poem About Jesus

in Bethlehem,

wrapped in swaddling clothes,
laid in a manger.

in Jerusalem,

wrapped in a burial cloth,
laid in a tomb.

in Jerusalem,

wrapped in righteousness,
ascended into Heaven.

on His throne,

wrapped in adoration,
waiting to return.

the Christ
the Son of God

If I Were Santa Claus

I have a belly that shakes like a bowl full of jelly and like the color red, but my hair isn’t white enough or my beard good enough for me to be Santa Claus. Yet.

Not that I want to be the Big Red One. Yes, it would be cool to have flying reindeer and a bunch of elves working for me. But any joy derived from those two things would be offset by the aggravations that come with the job.

So if I were Santa Claus these things would have to change:

1. No kids sitting on my lap and no hugs. I like kids and I like hugs–most of the time. However, getting sat upon and hugged by  thousands of kids with varying degrees of personal hygiene isn’t my idea of fun. Instead of lap-sitting and hugs, I would implement a strict “hearty handshake and minimal eye-contact” policy.

2. Fried bologna sandwiches and Diet Dr. Pepper would replace milk and cookies. At least in half of the houses. I would really prefer chicken-n-dumplins, but I think that would be asking too much.

3. The reindeer would have better names. Dancer is a terrible name for a reindeer and Comet is a cleaning product. Don’t even get me started on Vixen–that big sissy. If I were Santa, I would have my big rear hauled around by Leroy, Cledus, Jed, Rex, and other such manly named reindeer. And they would all wear trucker hats.

4. I would take bribes. Forget all this “naughty” and “nice” business. The best gifts would go to the kids who know that money talks and that Santa and Benjamin Franklin are long-lost friends.

5. Goodbye black boots, hello New Balance tennis shoes. I’m a big, ‘ol boy and need me some comfortable shoes. Really, I’m surprised Santa hasn’t already thought about this. He would be an awesome celebrity endorser. “If your feet are saying “Oh, Oh, Oh” instead of “Ho, Ho, Ho”–try New Balance.”

Sooooo–maybe I wouldn’t really make any of these changes if I were Santa Claus. Thankfully, I will never be faced with such decisions.

I am me and you are you. Created in the image of God.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…
Genesis 1:26

I think we often forget that we are made by a perfect creator and that each of us has amazing value to Him.

I will never be Santa Claus or anyone else. I am me and you are you. 

And we are both loved supremely by our Creator.

What changes would you make if you were Santa Claus?
What do you like best about yourself?

A Poem About Joseph

Shocked by the news;
his bride is

Convinced by what he sees;
she  has been

Determined to be kind,
he will divorce her

Visited in a dream,
by an angel with
good news.

The child in her womb
will be named

He will save
people from

Rising from sleep,
Joseph’s mind is

No matter what
he will raise the

Matthew 1:18-25

Christmas Treat Bags

Does your church give out Christmas treat bags the Sunday before Christmas? If not, they should. Very few things say “It’s Christmas” to me like getting a brown paper bag filled with a candy bar, a piece of fruit, a pack of gum, some hard candy, and whatever else the folks in charge of the bags decide to throw in there.

I love Christmas treat bags. One reason I love them is that I am not in charge of them. If putting the treat bags together was my responsibility….Well, let’s just say that they would be terrible. Mostly because  I can be a little cheap at times and I would try to fill the bags with things I already have around my house.

Here are a few things that could be expected in Christmas treat bags if I was responsible for them:

1. Leftover Halloween Candy. Yes, we still have some left. It seems to be multiplying. Maybe the basket the candy is in has magic multiplying powers. Maybe I need to take the candy out and put some money in. Excuse me for a moment….

2. Toenail Clippers. I lose these all of the time and buy new ones all of the time. If I search long enough I am pretty sure that I could find enough of these lying around the house to fill up a few dozen treat bags. And who doesn’t love used toenail clippers?

3. Artwork from My Children. No really–with five kids I have plenty to go around. PLENTY!

4. Fake Chocolate-Covered Raisins. We have three goats and two sheep. They produce a lot of these.

5. McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys. My guess for how many Happy Meals I have purchased for my kids over the years is roughly 17,348. I’m ready to get rid of some of those toys.

Now can you see why no one would want me in charge of treat bags?

Thankfully God is much better at giving good things than I am.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,
with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
James 1:17

No one should trust me to give good gifts in treat bags. We should all trust God to provide good and perfect gifts to us.

Sometimes He gives things that surprise us, things that we don’t ask for.

But if the gift comes from His hand, we can be sure that it is what we need.

What is something weird that you might put in a Christmas Treat Bag?
What good gift have you received recently?

Five Reasons Tim Tebow is Better Than Santa Claus

Tim Tebow is amazing. If you do not agree with this then you do not know anything about football and you may not know anything about anything. In fact, you may need to take an IQ test to determine if you have enough sense to be roaming free in public.

What Tebow has done this year is phenomenal. A 7-1 record since becoming the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Improbable comeback after improbable comeback. He has inspired millions.

Tebow-mania is real!

But just how amazing is Tim Tebow? He’s so amazing that I am willing to go out on a limb and declare that Tim Tebow is better than Santa Claus!

What?!?! I’ve lost my mind?!?! I don’t think so. Here are a five reasons why Tebow is better than Santa:

1. It takes Santa all night to do his magic; it only takes Tebow a few minutes. Plus overtime on occasion.

2. Santa’s belly shakes like a bowl full of jelly; Tebow has never even eaten jelly. Or jam.  Or anything else containing fat. Probably.

3. Santa is helped by 8 tiny reindeer; Tebow is helped by 52 broncos. Yes, I know that the reindeer fly. But broncos are wild and manly. And reindeer don’t have opposable thumbs which makes catching footballs virtually impossible.

4. Santa can’t throw a perfect spiral; Tebow….. Okay–nevermind this one.

5. Santa has inspired countless songs and Christmas specials; Tebow has inspired “Tebowing.” You know deep down in your heart which is better.

Maybe you don’t agree with any of these. That’s fine. Let me tell you the real reason that I like Tim Tebow….

I love Jesus.

Tebow isn’t Jesus; Jesus is Jesus. But Tebow does mention Jesus again and again.

And I believe that there is still power in His name.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 1o:13

I know that what Tebow says and when/how he says it bothers some people. I also know that speaking the name of Jesus has always and will always bother some people.

I’m okay with this. Those who love Jesus have an obligation and the privilege of sharing the good news of the Gospel with others. Tim Tebow has a big stage. I hope he continues to use it for God’s glory.

What are some other ways that Tebow is better than Santa?
Are you a Tebow fan or someone who dislikes apple pie and puppies?

The Tom Petty of Christmas Tree Ornaments (a Re-post)

Here is a re-post of a post that nearly no one read from last year. Hope you enjoy it.

The Tom Petty of Christmas Tree Ornaments

The epic, multi-year battle of wills began with a Christmas tree ornament.  A very ugly Christmas tree ornament.

When I was very young I heard a comedian call Tom Petty the butt-ugliest human being ever born.  At the time I didn’t even know who Tom Petty was, but that description stayed with me.  I guess I thought it was funny.  When I finally discovered who the object of the comment was, I didn’t quite think that it was true; I had seen people much uglier before and I definitely have since.  For instance, I once worked with a woman who looked like Ernest Borgnine in drag.  And for the record, I know that I’m not much to look at either.  But what I lack in quality, I make up for in quantity.  I’m ugly, but there’s a lot of me.

Because of that statement from the comedian, I thought of the ornament that started the battle of wills as the Tom Petty of Christmas tree ornaments. 

I made the ornament in Kindergarten out of different colors of a clay-like substance that the teacher placed in front of us.  We were told to use whatever colors of the substance we wanted and to make anything that we wanted.  I decided to make Santa Claus’s face.  I started with a blob of white that I pressed down flat.  Then, I used the black substance to form a mouth, nose, and eyes and pressed these down into the blob of white.  I finished my masterpiece by making a Santa hat out of the red substance and pressing that into the top of the white substance.  After it dried, we put a whole through the ornament and put a string through the hole so that it could be hung on a Christmas tree.

I knew it was ugliest ornament in the classroom and probably even in the entire history of mankind.  My classmates knew it was ugly, too.  So did the teacher.  She told me that it was nice, but I knew that she was lying.  But for some reason, I was proud of it anyway. 

When I got home, I showed it to my mom.  She smiled her beautiful smile, patted me on the head, and told me that we would have to put in on the tree once we actually put the tree up. 

A few days later, after I had forgotten all about my ugly ornament, we put up our Christmas tree.  As we were putting the finishing touches on the tree, I remembered my ornament.  I raced to my room, found the hideous thing, ran back to the living room, and put the ornament on the tree in the only place I could imagine it being–on the very front, right in the middle.  I took a step back and admired my ugly ornament on our beautiful tree.  Then I went to bed.

Sometime during the night, my ornament went from the front of the tree to the back, where no one could see it.  But it wasn’t a Christmas Miracle that moved my ornament.  It was my mom. 

When I saw what she had done, I didn’t become mad, sad, or angry.  I became determined.  My ornament was going to be on the front of the tree no matter what it took.  What it ended up taking was me moving the ornament from the back of the tree to the front of the tree every day.  Sometimes several times every day.  I think that my dad and ugly brother became a part of the battle of wills, as well.  It was kind of fun.  And it sort of went on like this during the Christmas season for several years, until one day the ornament was gone for good.

Mom says that it broke; I say she threw it away.  I only say this to keep the fun going; I really don’t think she threw it away.

That ornament holds a special place in my memory because I have thought about it often since then.  Especially whenever I begin to think negatively about myself. 

There have been days when I have felt particularly ugly and worthless that I have imagined being one of God’s Christmas Tree ornaments, one that He made with His very own hands.  I picture Him taking me out of a box, looking at me with all of my flaws, and placing me on the front of His tree.  I imagine it being awfully crowded there. 

Because if we were all ornaments and God had a Christmas tree, He would find a way for all of us to be on the very front for everyone to see. 

We are flawed, yet God loves us.

And He always will.

Do you have a favorite ornament, past or present? 
How do you feel about how much God loves you?

An Ode to Sausage Balls

Sausage balls, O sausage balls
how I love thee,
though for most of the year
you stay away from me.

Christmas-time is
when you appear,
to cheer up fat guys
both far and near.

While it’s true you show
up during other seasons,
it’s around the Holidays
that you do the most pleasin’.

At every Christmas party
you are there to please.
I enjoy you more than
a mouse enjoys cheese.

As a winter snack you
are simply the best.
I shed tears when you
depart, that I confess.

But for now you are here
to bring us such pleasure.
Thank you, sausage balls, for
being a true Christmas treasure.

What is your favorite Christmas-time treat?