Books authored by Dr. James Dyet. Purchase on

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Holidays!

“Happy holidays!” Holiday shopping. Holiday decorations. Holiday greetings.

What ever happened to “Christmas”? Apparently some grinches sneaked into city halls, advertising agencies, media headquarters, and stores and stole “Merry Christmas. In its place, they substituted “Happy holidays.” Now political correctness pervades the season, having relegated the reason for the season primarily to pulpits.

I don’t think the grinches will return the Christmas they stole, but I would like at least one of them to tell me which holiday they think people are celebrating at this time of year. We have already observed Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving, and whoever heard of stringing lights and exchanging gifts on New Year’s Day. So Christmas must be the holiday the grinches refuse to mention.

Strange how times change! Christians used to object to “Xmas,” insisting the X crossed Christ out of Christmas. They missed the point: X is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. Also, Christians used to identify Santa Claus as a usurper and an antichrist. Now we would be pleased to see Xmas displayed in public, and the grinches who stole Christmas view Santa as a Christian symbol. I wish we could get back to simpler times, when neighbor greeted neighbor with “Merry Christmas,” carolers greeted shoppers with strains of “Silent Night” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and public schools didn't schedule Winter Break but Christmas vacation.

Christmas will arrive twelve days from now; therefore, very little time remains to prepare for the holiday that has become almost unmentionable. I have almost finished my CHRISTMAS shopping. Our CHRISTMAS decorations are in place. I have mailed our CHRISTMAS cards, and now I want to wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fat Albert Is All Aglow

Christmas lights adorn the two evergreens in front of our house. Phil, our next-door neighbor, climbed a ladder yesterday afternoon and strung lights artfully on the Fat Albert. This blue spruce wannabe has grown tall since it was planted in 2002, and it has developed the shape of a perfect Christmas tree. Nine years from now I may consider donating it to the White House. Phil, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, doesn’t mind climbing a ladder. The experience probably seems tame compared with his years of piloting F-15s. Stringing lights on the other evergreen doesn’t demand any bravery; it’s a dwarf juniper. So now our front yard looks a lot like Christmas; and it was beautiful no-jacket-necessary day for stringing lights and enjoying neighborly conversation.

Three weeks from now Christmas lights will come down and everyone will occupy their thoughts with plans and hopes for 2009. However, the brightest lights will still shine throughout the world. Ephesians 5:8 identifies Christians as “children of light” and instructs us to “live as children of light.” As the world grows darker, let’s increase the wattage of our light.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A New Look

I read a pamphlet in the vet’s office that claims grooming makes dogs feel better. The theory may be that less hair or at least less matted hair makes Fido or Fifi feel more comfortable. Frankly, when I leave a barbershop, I don’t feel any better. I don’t have much hair to begin with, and I kind of resent a barber’s clipping away the little I do have. Paying him to do so only adds insult to injury.

Unlike me, our dog Molly has lots of hair. If we didn’t have her groomed regularly, her hair would flow long like the Nile or become matted like a bramble bush. So every five weeks or so Molly goes to the groomer. She grabs my shoulder and hangs on for dear life before I leave her. However, when I pick her up from the groomer, I can tell she is pleased with her new look. She parades around the house with a happy bounce.

I’m sure money spent for grooming Molly is a much better expenditure than money spent on me at the barbershop.

Some preachers claim a person looks different after becoming a Christian. “His face glows now,” I have heard them say.

I’m skeptical. I have never seen a man’s face glow unless he was standing under a high-wattage light. Nor have I seen a woman’s face glow unless she had applied too much moisturizing cream.

But Christians’ lives ought to look different from those of unbelievers. The Scriptures command us to put off old sinful habits and put on qualities that accent our new life in Christ. Ephesians 4:24-32 instructs us to put off falsehood, resentment, stealing, indolence, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, and every form of malice.

Our new look should include righteousness, holiness, truth, reasonableness, honesty, industry, constructive speech, sensitivity to the Spirit, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Perhaps we should look into the mirror of God’s Word today and see how well we are projecting a new look.

—From Meditations for Dog Lovers, © 2005 by Jim Dyet, AMG Publishers

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Heavenly Lunch

I met Kevin for lunch today at Ruby’s Diner, a ‘40s kind of place. Kevin is decades younger than I am, but our friendship transcends the so-called generation gap. We used to work together at Cook Communications Ministries, where we combined our talents to produce Scripture Press curriculum materials. I was the managing editor, and Kevin was a gifted designer. Employed now at Focus on the Family, Kevin told me he appreciates his job and the opportunity to minister to teens through a variety of on-line magazines. Recently Focus eliminated about 200 jobs, but Kevin kept his.

While we chatted, a number of women in their late 80s and early 90s maneuvered their walkers through the big entrance doors and shuffled to several nearby booths. The diner's decor must have transported their thoughts back to their teenage years, when burgers and milkshakes were much cheaper and the world was much safer.

I wonder what the world will be like when I am in my late 80s, if I reach that age. And what will it be like when Kevin is in his late 80s? Of course, Jesus may come for us at any time. If He does, neither Kevin nor I will become an octogenarian. Who knows, he and I and a host of Christian loved ones and friends may enjoy lunch in Heaven as soon as tomorrow. And, if a place like Ruby’s Diner exists there, no one will have to maneuver a walker through the entrance.