1. On Why I Say ‘Happy Holidays’ by Pete Enns [required reading]
“… when people say “THEY” are taking Christ out of Christmas, who are people talking about? … Once someone thinks you have made them an enemy, the defenses go up. It becomes extremely hard for them to hear anything you have to say as a positive step in the relationship, no matter how well-intentioned it is. And so, Christians are increasingly perceived to be judgmental and intolerant, which is not a helpful moniker when you are trying to convert others to your position.”
2. A Virtual Tour Through the Places of Jesus’ Birth by Wayne Stiles
A 14 min. video.
3. Love and Lament by Richard Beck
“In short, lament psalms are songs sung by people desperately in love with God. The lament psalms aren’t for doubters, the lament psalms are for lovers.”
More on the psalms of lament.
4. Fossils: A Revelation of Beauty
“As a Christian paleontologist, I often reflect on Proverbs 25:2, ‘The glory of God is to keep things hidden; but the glory of kings is to fathom them.’ Studying fossils is literally about fathoming things which were hidden and are coming to light. This is a privilege.”
MoSt Church’s Bible reading project for 2018 is this: read and reflect on all 150 psalms in 60 days. Repeat that 5x (Jan.-Oct.). Today is Day 1.
Today’s reading is Psalm 1-5. Try this: read Ps. 1-2 when you get up, Ps. 3 at mid-day, and Ps. 4-5 at bedtime. Here are four brief notes:
 Psalm 1-2 are two strong pillars of introduction into the house of Psalms. Ps. 1 uses a macro lens, zooming in on two (very different!) individuals. Ps.2 uses a wide-angle lens, viewing all of humankind.
 Psalm 3-5 are the first three prayers in the Psalms. All three are of the same type, the most common kind found in the psalms, namely of someone crying out (lament) to God about deep trouble(s) in their life. They candidly lay out their problems to God and yet, often go on to express faith and confidence in him, usually counting some of their blessings along the way.
 In Psalm 3 the person praying is troubled by the number and significance of those who stand against him as enemies. In Psalm 4-5 the problem is the same – enemies are not in short supply – but, now the trouble is described more fully: people are spreading lies and falsehoods about the psalmist. It is not hard for any of us to identify with such prayers at some time or another in our life.
 Do not fail to note some of the great words of confidence in the final three psalms (3.4-6; 4.8; 5.11-12). I’d encourage you to review all of those verses together as a single, continuous reading just before you close your eyes to go to sleep tonight. 🙂
Here’s a Psalm 1-5 (NIV) to all of today’s reading and reflection.