A Christmas “To Do” List

I’m a big believer in To Do lists. So during the Holy Days, I’m making my list and checking it twice. By Christmas Eve, I hope to check every To Do item Done. Here’s some things that will make my season merry and bright.

Eat and Drink

  • Egg nog (dusted with cinnamon and nutmeg)
  • Hot apple cider (stirred with a cinnamon stick)
  • Roasted pecans with butter and salt
  • Ritz crackers with peanut-butter dipped in chocolate

Don’t Eat and Drink

  • Fruit cake
  • Figgy pudding
  • Oyster dressing (my great-aunt considered this a holiday treat)
  • Haggis (non-holiday specific and rejected on general principle)


  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • A Christmas Story (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”)
  • Scrooged (Sue me—I like Bill Murray)
  • The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (Cartoon version—not the Jim Carrey abomination)

Turn It Up

  • Tender Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant
  • I Need a Silent Night by Amy Grant (heck, listen to the entire holiday CD)
  • Carol of the Bells by Mannheim Steamroller
  • Christmas in Dixie by Alabama

Change the Station

  • Blue Christmas by Elvis
  • So This is Christmas by John Lennon
  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy
  • The Little Drummer Boy by Anyone

Listen to New Holiday Favorites

  • Wrapped in Red by Kelly Clarkston
  • The Christmas Can-Can by Straight No Chaser
  • Shake Up Christmas by Train

Deck the Halls

  • Christmas Tree adorned with ornaments from 32 years of marriage
  • Assorted wreathes on windows and doors
  • Garland on the mantles and banisters
  • Mangers scenes in my office displayed 24/7/365


  • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore
  • The Gift of the Magi by O’Henry
  • Matthew 1:18-2:12
  • Luke 2:1-21


  • O, Come, All Ye Faithful
  • What Child is This
  • Holy Night
  • Joy to the World


  • Presents to family, friends, and Sam the Yorkshire Terrier
  • The Murphy-Harpst Children’s Home
  • Salvation Army bell ringers
  • All of my heart, soul, mind, and strength

Christmas Carols

Christmas carolsDuring Advent, I am preaching a worship series entitled Christmas Carols. We are exploring the meaning of four hymns celebrating Christ’s birth.

Many songs associated with the holiday season actually have nothing to do with Christmas at all, including Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, Sleigh Ride, Winter Wonderland, We Wish you a Merry Christmas, and Grandma Got Ran over by a Reindeer.

During sermon preparation, I actually found a web site entitled Top Ten Christmas Songs for Atheists.

Yeah, I’ll let you ponder the irony of the title for a moment.

CHRISTmas carols, on the other hand, focus on the birth of Jesus Christ.

So one day in the midst of sermon-writer’s-block, I asked myself the question, “Self, what is your favorite Christmas carol?” Then I flipped through a hymnal to make my selection.

After some internal debate, I finally chose What Child is This. William Dix published the lyrics in 1865. The verses express wonder and awe that the helpless babe of Bethlehem is also Christ the King. The hymn invites all of creation to worship the son of Mary.

Dix set the words to a 16th century English melody title Greensleeves.  The 87.87 meter tune with refrain musically reflects the call and response of the words. What child is this? This, this is Christ the King!

So . . .

What’s your favorite carol? And why?