Katie and I are heading to Oklahoma tomorrow to spend Christmas with my family. I'm beyond ecstatic about celebrating Advent with my family, listening to my nephew Will recite his Advent calendar, introducing our son to the members of my family that haven't met him, and hanging out with some new friends that God may be leading to join us in planting a new church in the urban core of Kansas City.
Things have remained quiet here throughout the fall, and I have no intention of apologizing for that (thanks Wireman). In fact, like Joe and many others, I've been unplugging. I haven't divorced my laptop, but I have dramatically throttled back with my RSS feeds (and have enjoyed it more than I thought possible).
Though I'm not trying to wake the sleeping man that is my blog, I thought I would share a few things that I'll be doing over the Christmas holiday that I highly recommend you do as well:
1. I'm putting my keyboard in the dish washer. I saw this posted to digg and delicious countless times, but seeing Merlin pull it off has pushed me over the edge. I have a filthy, disgusting Apple bluetooth keyboard, and she's getting a bath.
2. I'm listening to Duvall's Christmas album, Oh Holy Night — over and over in fact. The Smoking Popes are one of my favorite bands in the world, and the story of Josh Caterer's conversion is one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. How I missed his Christmas album until this year is beyond me. Click here to preview the album @ iTunes. Once you've fallen in love with Josh, you'll want to spend some of your Christmas money on some good Smoking Popes & Duvall albums. May I recommend: Volume & Density, Destination Failure, and Live. Seriously, watch his testimony.
3. I'm re-reading The Bible and the Future. It has been the source of great conversation with friends and people interested in participating in our church. This book is a standard that everyone should read — especially given the degree to which odd strains of eschatology have tainted evangelicalism at the grassroots level.
4. I'm reading a few new books:
-Dorothy Sayers, The Mind of the Maker (a classic that's hardly new, but new to me)
-Bruce Milne, Dynamic Diversity: Bridging Class, Age, Race and Gender in the Church (I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Milne in Vancouver. I love his heart for the church)
- Ian Stackhouse, The Gospel-Driven Church (I've been meaning to read this since last Christmas)
- John Stott, The Living Church: Convictions of a Lifelong Pastor (I can't wait!)
5. I'm taking lots of pictures, and I'm reading the printed version of Lighting 101 that I downloaded from Strobist, and I'm hopeful that my family won't make too much fun of me when I break out my gadget infinity remotes.
Whether or not you take my suggestions, my prayer is that you take time over the next week to disconnect from all the mayhem, connect with people, and celebrate the advent of our Lord and Savior Jesus!