The Christmas Scandal

Christmastime is full of scandals.

Some are sacred, from long ago:  A virgin heavy with a baby out of wedlock..

Others are current and uncomfortable: conspicuous consumerism in a world brimming with need.

And then, there is one scandal that we have been chewing on this month, in our community of faith:


Um.. you might be saying to yourself, Scandals require a THING. What are you talking about?

Here’s what I’m thinking: in our production-obsessed, stressed out, caffeine-fueled, lightening-speed, drive-thru culture of instant satisfaction…is not the hardest, most scandalous thing to wait?

I’m not preaching here.  I’m speaking from experience.

I was recently challenged by some friends to pray in solitude and silence for 15 minutes, as part of an experiment to initiate some meditative rhythms in life. I had to tell them a couple weeks later that not only did I not do it, I didn’t even want to do it. The waiting part was too hard.

Here’s another story:

Back in 1972, there was a mischievous Stanford researcher who made children wait to eat delectable marshmallows. He would place a fluffy piece of 100% high fructose corn syrup in front of each child, and tell them that if they could wait to eat the marshmallow until he returned, they could have two.  Then, he would leave them alone in the room, and observe the children squirming through their temptation through a two-way mirror. If they could resist, as promised, they would be rewarded with two marshmallow treats.

I totally would have failed that test.

But that’s OK. Because the difference between that test and real life is that life doesn’t happen in a sterile research lab. It happens in community – hopefully, a community that has grace for when Chubby Bunny happens instead of delayed gratification!

Mountainside Communion has been helping me to see the value of waiting. We’ve been talking lately about what it means that in this season of Advent, we are reminded that we wait for God. We wait for Christ to come – both as a helpless infant, God incarnate in human flesh, and to return with power to usher in what our pastor (and others) call “the Reign of God.”

In this mysterious time of waiting, we are trying (sometimes impatiently) to wait with—and for—hope, love, joy and peace.

And that is this year’s Christmastime scandal.

We hope that you have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones!


daniel + megan

P.S. – In lieu of a Christmas card,  please enjoy these images of our family’s home around Christmastime!

This year I (Megan) made Daniel an Advent calendar with goody-filled envelopes hidden around our home.

Whatever the contents—a  Cashew Cookie Lara Bar, a brachiosaurus, or an adhesive mustache—its fun for everyone!

For the first time this year we live in a home that has a big window facing the street.

I love being beckoned home by the gold star and white lights shining warmly in the window.

Each ornament conjures memories.

Like this one, bought on our unforgettable road-trip Honeymoon to Lake Tahoe and Yosemite!

Each December we help my parents place a few decorative touches around their home –

always settling them in the exact same places as the year before.

We’re big on rituals.

We eat Christmas breakfast off the Spode Christmas dishes we’ve eaten on for my entire life, and beyond..

And we open our bulging stockings, which are actually my Grandmother’s old nylons..

Then there’s the nativity scene, complete with Lucy: the blessed chihuahua..

Who enjoys(?) flamboyant festivity this time of year!

And on that note, Merry Christmas!

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