Christmas come early

“There in the stores already” she was shocked, if not a little disgusted.

It was like she’d shown up for a sale, unintentionally skipped the line and was then was put out that eager shoppers who had lined up for hours were already in the store.

Christmas … how can the first signs of such a joyous season filled with disbelief and anger?

I admit, the gap between Easter and Christmas, the two defining Christian holidays seems to grow smaller each year. I also admit that may have something to do with my age and the inclusion of two small humans into my family unit.

Speaking of those small humans, aged four and two, they can’t wait for Christmas. The sooner the better and the longer it lasts, the better it will be. There’s something said for capturing the wonder our dear children hold.

I may be living in a dream but why aren’t we happy to see Christmas?

Think about it. Jesus was born. This is an epic time!

Forget the mass produced candy canes (which no one really likes but tolerates when taped to a corny Christmas card), advent calendars stuffed with preservative laden chocolates and canned snow marketers actually expect people to spray on their window regardless of the 35 degree heat during Australia’s December. The longer this stuff lines our shelf the larger our opportunity.

Embrace the cliches, welcome the carols … celebrate the life of Jesus for months not days!

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Dear lonely ISIS soldier

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Dear lonely ISIS soldier,

I hope you don’t mind me using that term, soldier. This is how I see you despite how western media labeling you less than human; you’re fighting for what you believe in and a unified force … The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Like any soldier more common to my Western World, you support your leader wholeheartedly. Whether you have a long beard or not, this commitment must be commended. But I am writing this letter to you today to question this very commitment.

Do you really believe in what you’re fighting for? Do you think, no do you believe violence is the answer?

Please don’t get angry at my questions, what do I know? I’m just another man on the other side of the world trying to make sense of a world that is feasting on its inhabitants. Just take a moment to answer them; publicly, with your brothers or in your mind.

Our world view begins at a young age. I know mine is through the loving eyes of Jesus, what forms your world view? While on Jesus though, I want to apologize for the fallen humans that have failed to live up to their proclaimed faith.

Please put down the gun. It isn’t the answer. Love is.

Sadly it’s a foreign concept worldwide but it starts with one, one desperately lonely soldier surrounded by extremist blindly following a leader bent on revenge. Please Mr ISIS soldier, I know you have it in you, answer the question: Is love the answer?

Thank you for challenging me on my prejudice. Prior to answering my question myself I sat next to a man on the train and was nervous purely because of his beard and traditional clothing.

I am sorry so many of my brothers and sisters still judge you and I am sorry so many will continue to do so for a long time.

Love is the answer Mr ISIS supporter and it starts with us.

Love,

Mr hopeful Westerner

Thanks for baggage Dad

In a world filled with wounds, Fathers are blamed for many … and rightly so. The abusive father, the distant, negative, harsh, strict, adopted and possibly worst, absent. They all have a case to answer and as fathers we’ll all do.

Men, we all have baggage passed on to us; it’s like some unwanted ritualistic ceremony that occurs over many years without actually seeing a physical bag. No matter your experience though, Dad gave you baggage.

What you take or learn from it is up to you.

You don’t have to be the father your old man was, or make the mistakes he made. What man and father you are is up to you.

The baggage is a lesson; a warning in some cases but an amazingly detailed how to guide in authentic manhood in some other blessed cases.

I realise, sitting in the latter camp that these words are much easier to write but they are true regardless. Embrace your fatherhood wound, treat it and take seriously the lessons left. For you have already started giving your lessons or are preparing to do so soon. Make sire they’re good ones.

I have no wounds but a lesson I feel like a fail daily. My Dad was and is awesome, I still look at him in boyish amazement … can i earn that same respect from my children.

I will if I follow his lessons. Thanks for the baggage Dad.