God Bless Us, Every One!

In Christmas, Culture, Formation, Fully Awake, Loneliness, Purpose and Meaning by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

God Bless Us, Every One!

Just before the light of Christmas morning beams into Scrooge’s newly minted heart, the gloom of Christmas Yet-to-Come settles deep within the bowels of his soul.

Of all the apparitions, this is the one Scrooge fears most.

And, to the reader’s eye, this is certainly the most intimidating Spirit of them all!…
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The Ghost of Christmas Present: A Journey Into Joy

In Blessing, Christmas, Consumption, Contemplation, Culture, Formation, Purpose and Meaning by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

The Ghost of Christmas Present: A Journey Into Joy

From the prison to the poor-house, Scrooge discovers what life requires of us who have been given so much.  He also learns what life exacts from others when we hoard our resources and live from a place of scarcity rather than abundance.

The opening scene of Stave Three introduces us to the Ghost of Christmas Present.  Dickens invites the reader to imagine a lavish feast at a King’s table. A table overflowing with bounty and abundance.

Upon entering the room, Scrooge …
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Wanting to Extinguish What Must Be Explored, Pt. 2

In Advent, Children, Christmas, Culture, Spiritual Formation by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Wanting to Extinguish What Must Be Explored, Pt. 2

I remember the moment when my calling to minister within a congregational context solidified its hold on me.

As I recall, it was a moment filled with complexity and confusion.  It was a moment that required soul-searching prayer and heart-piercing surrender.

The prayer and surrender piece took all night.

Yes.

It was a chilly wintry evening, really down-right cold.

I was a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, entering my final three semesters, preparing to pursue a Ph.D. with plans to enter …
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The Ghost of Christmas Past: Wanting to Extinguish What Must Be Explored

In Advent, Blessing, Brokenness, Christmas, Imagination by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

The Ghost of Christmas Past: Wanting to Extinguish What Must Be Explored

Everything about the Ghost of Christmas Past is exceptional.

Everything.

While televised renditions attempt to capture its essence, all of them fail – some miserably so.

But, of course, how could they not?

The Ghost that Haunts Us All

Dickens imagines a complex and contradictory apparition.  Conveying the essence of the Ghost of Christmas Past is like trying to describe an ancient, angelic being.  The kind of being lodged in the bowels of Apocalyptic books like Daniel or …
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Three Reflections from my Evening Spent with a Ghost

In Advent, Christmas, Family, Family Night, Formation by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Three Reflections from my Evening Spent with a Ghost

It’s customary for our family to watch Holiday specials during this time of year.

It’s also equally customary – for me – to plead with my wife and daughter to resist the urge to search for these specials on the Hallmark channel.

Thankfully, removing Hallmark from the list of options leaves us with wide a wide assortment of Christmas classics that bear the test of time.

We rarely, as a family, agree on which Christmas special to watch.

Last night was …
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Christmas Morning: Opening the Gift of a Porn-Free Life!

In Addictions, Christmas, Consumption, Formation, Freedom, Freedom from Porn, Marriage, Men Against Porn, Pornography by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

The Christmas season is one of gift-giving and receiving.  In all likelihood you will, on Christmas morning, celebrate this gift-exchange tradition with friends and family.  You may gather around a tree, in a living room, near a fireplace, etc. and open gifts shared by those who love you and those whom you love.

If you happen to be struggling with your porn addiction during this season, you’ll likely be disengaged from this life-giving moment.

You may, in fact, totally check out.

Indeed, if you’ve been trolling the web for porn …
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A Daily Prayer for Peace: Haunt Me With Your Holiness

In Advent, Blessing, Christmas, Prayer, Spiritual Formation by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Overwhelmed this last week of the Advent Season? Unprepared for the mad dash this week may become?

Perhaps this prayer, prayed daily, might help you ‘clear he mechanism’ and celebrate He who is worthy of celebration every season, all year-long!

A PRAYER TO RECAPTURE THE HAUNTING HOLINESS OF ADVENT

Dear Father,

May this season, often flattened and frenetic, bound by a life with little room for you,

expand to receive the haunting presence of your holy love: the beauty of your glory revealed!

Haunt me with a sense of your …
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Merry Christmas!! A Poem from Longfellow

In Christmas, Poetry by BizgaineyLeave a Comment

Christmas Bells Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807 – 1882

I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play,     And wild and sweet     The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom     Had rolled along     The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day,     A voice, a chime,     A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then from each…
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Porn: Three Ways to Keep that “Gift” in it’s Box!!

In Advent, Brokenness, Christmas, Community, Desire, Formation, Habits, Pornography by Bizgainey2 Comments

This time of year – the Thanksgiving through mid-January holiday season (because the college bowl season has become its own holiday) –  is a particularly vibrant season for many of us.

Extended holiday seasons provide space to celebrate life and the loved ones with whom we live.  They are dotted with parties, engagements, gift – giving, year-end bonuses, festive feasts, etc.

While Holidays can offer joy and celebration, they also produce emotions ranging from anxiety and anger to stress and depression.  Many of these negative emotions are kept at bay …
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The Haunting Holiness of Advent: “Do it Again, Daddy, Do it Again!”

In Advent, Brokenness, Christmas, Culture, Discipleship, Formation by Bizgainey5 Comments

Advent once imagined a season of hope.

Advent once foreshadowed a season in which we replace the tragedy of today with the hope of the Day, yet to come.

Advent once envisioned a season in which holy light celebrated the declension of all that’s dark.

Advent – at one time – celebrated the cessation and fulfillment of all desire!

While the Advent season has become – for many today – a season as haunting as it is holy, for most it’s neither haunting nor holy. We are blissfully unaware …
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