This modern interpretation of the old carol brings it alive for a new generation. Andy Gridley’s new-tech, layered performance intrigues me.
But through it all you can hear the cry of a sad, captive people that long for release – “O come, O come, Emmanuel! Let your Kingdom Come!”

And then, in faith, the affirmation rises: “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.”

What a message for the world today! It is only through Emmanuel, Christ who is with us, that we can truly know freedom.

Guitars, saxaphones, drum kits, bongos, tambourines, clacky thingies and even a wee cartoon man crooning Feliz navidad – all done with i-Pads. This will give you a smile!

Christmas can be the saddest time when loved ones are not with you.

Image by Matt Gruber - used by permission

There is no red, green or gold in this Christmas image. Not everyone will have a happy time on the 25th, with friends and family around them. There will be many for whom it will be a miserable time. As soon as I saw Matt’s picture I heard the song running through my brain:

I’ll have a blue Christmas without you
I’ll be so blue just thinking about you
Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree
Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me.

Blue Christmas – Words and music by Jay Johnson and Billy Hayes

So at this festive time, spare a thought for those who are missing someone.  The single parents, struggling without a partner to make Christmas a great time for their children. Or those who have lost a loved one this year, or many years ago, and for whom the pain is so raw at Christmas.

I was very touched to read a blog post by Kim Anderson, whose father died from cancer nine years ago. Kim says:

The holiday season makes the empty chair around the family table even more noticeable to those of us who have lost a loved one. Holidays can be a difficult time for those experiencing grief. Children notice the empty space, too, and it’s important to include them in remembering a loved one.

Kim gives some very practical suggestions to help you and your family honour and remember a loved one during this season. I heartily recommend her whole post. In addition to ideas for some very practical and helpful activities, she also points us to Christ, the source of comfort. You can read “Facing the Empty Chair at the Holidays” here.

In the middle of all the Christmas rush, take a moment to have a laugh with these very clever and musical guys!

How would you respond if your children asked, “Is Santa a real person?” Do you keep the legend going, or do you tell the truth? One father’s response to this dilemma is found in the blog Modern-Day Joseph ( a site under the umbrella of AWANA children’s ministry).

Author Jeff Smith is editorial manager of Awana. He and his wife have two children and it was in response to their questions that he dealt with the Santa issue.

You will find his very thoughtful and interesting post entitled If Your Kids Ask ‘Is Santa Real?’ Tell Them the Truth.

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SLICES OF MY LIFE are little slivers of my experiences. I have many interests and this blog is my way of keeping track of what I see and learn. Some of it brings a smile to my face, uplifts and encourages me, or makes me think deeply. I hope you enjoy what you read here as much as I enjoy writing it!