I finally have been able to get Christmas right. Last night Kim and I went and saw The Story Tour concert here in Louisville. The Story is a collection of Christian artists who each take a role and sing one character from the Bible. Put together it tells the story of the Bible in song form. We’ve been listening to this music for a couple months now ever since we got the CD. But pretty much anything you see or hear live is ALWAYS better, and that was definitely the case here!

So why do I say I’ve finally gotten Christmas right? It’s only just a few days after Thanksgiving and I was already starting to get caught up in everything that Christmas is not- or at least what it shouldn’t be. I’m talking about all the shopping, the deals, hot buys, etc. Tv inundates you with the shopping hysteria that retailers create during this season. And if you’re not careful, in fact if you do nothing else at all, you will be caught up in it. I think in America at least you have to work extra hard to make Christmas something besides what I just described. The default is to shop, and we end up doing things not because we want to, but because we have to.

But last night, sitting in an arena with thousands of other people singing Christmas songs, delighting in the telling of a good story, and allowing other people, namely the people on stage, to remind us how awesome God is really showed me why I should be thankful this Christmas. For just a moment I was reminded why it’s so awesome to be a Christian, why it feels so good to praise God from my heart, and how fun it can be when we all get together and rejoice in what He has done. That is what Christmas is really all about. It’s all of us together celebrating God and the wonderful gift Jesus is and will always be for us. He lived a beautiful life. He showed us what love is and what it looks like to love others. If we’re to get any clues about what this season should be about we should look at Jesus and what He did. You won’t find meaning this season on Tv or in the flyers. It’s not about shopping. If you have to ask “What would you like for Christmas?” you’ve already missed it- you’re already thinking you have to buy something. The question instead should be “How can I show or be CHRISTmas to someone else this year? That’s a harder question that I think gets us back to the heart of it.

I’m not perfect at this. I buy things for Christmas too. But living overseas has given me a different perspective about this. I can tell you it’s not like this in other parts of the world. Christmas is a lot simpler over there. I’ve seen what Christmas can be without all the shopping hysteria and the deluge of presents. It is surprisingly refreshing- like a breath of fresh air. Let’s all work a little harder this Christmas to get it right. Let’s spend less and give more.

Here’s a sample from The Story Tour, one of the songs from last night’s concert. It’s Mac Powell from Third Day singing the song for Jesus:

I took a look at some exit polls after last nights election and I discovered some very interesting things- about myself. I really broke outside the box for this election! This wasn’t intentional. I usually vote Republican, but that doesn’t mean I always vote that way. So voting for Obama this election really broke me out of the demographics. Take a look at these CNN polls:

This first poll shows that 52% of men voted for Romney.

Even more specific, 62% of white men voted for Romney. Looking at education, check this out.

This one was a little closer, but 51% of college grads voted for Romney.

Now this was a no-surpriser: 82% of people who consider themselves ‘conservative’ voted for Romney. I really stepped out of the mold for that one.

And looking at religious beliefs, this one says that 59% of people who go to a ‘religious service’ weekly, aka church, voted for Romney. That’s me, but I didn’t vote for Romney.

And the last one. . .

57% of Protestants voted for Romney.

The only categories that I fit for this election were age (55% of people ages 30-39 voted for Obama), and income (60% of people with an income less than 50k voted for Obama). So I’m a conservative, white, religious service attending, college grad, male who voted for Obama.

So why did I vote for Obama? Well, there were a few things- Obama is better for foreign relations (particularly relevant for me who lives overseas), his efforts to overhaul the healthcare system (which I see as a good thing), his progress in the war on terror (drone strikes, Bin Ladin, etc), and trying to end wars overseas. Those are all good things. I certainly don’t agree with his liberal views on so-called gay marriage and abortion. But for me it’s not about the issues as much as the character of the candidate. I just didn’t see Romney as a guy who can get things done. He said all the right things, but he didn’t seem believable to me. His eyes told me a different story. So no matter how much his talking points aligned with what I agree with, at the end of the day he didn’t seem genuine. He seemed like a politician who wanted to get elected.

I realize I’ve been out of the country for the better part of the last four years, and I don’t know what has gone on here in the States. I admit that I’m ignorant of many of the issues. I haven’t watched the news, Tv, or heard all the conversation. I haven’t read the magazines or kept up with all the opinions. But I consider myself blessed that I’ve remained unbiased in this whole thing.

However you voted this election please join me in praying for our nation and president. Ultimately I believe GOD is in charge and His will will be done regardless of who we elect. I hope we can all find comfort in that.