My favorite Christmas song throughout childhood was “little drummer boy”. I loved the noise the drums made. I’m not sure if I was musical or just liked to irritate my family but the drums thrilled me. I never believed they visited the manger scene however – everyone knows drums are too noisy for babies.

There were some loud noises in the media this week as another beloved song (Jingle Bells) was smacked down for inappropriate history.  A professor – from Boston, where knowledge is thought to be well, more knowledgeable– gave us the background for this song which was traditionally used for Thanksgiving. She merely shared the history and the political meat grinder got her – from both sides. It was still more interesting news than which senator berated who and what people thought of Melania’s shoes.  I say any woman who can wear stilettos and have that much class deserves to be first lady. All day fashion in the public eye is pretty equal to dealing with terrorists. Anyway, Fox news wrote a response to the article and quoted a Twitter user: “Jingle Bells is racist, White Christmas is racist, Baby it’s Cold Outside is sexist. What the “*%$#” happened to the America I grew up in where people didn’t wake up every day trying to find something to be offended by?” [1]

Whether its taxes, Russians or pie, people are grumpy this time of year. Our house is not exempt from this holiday hangry spirit. Just last week I got out the crockpot, feeling full of love, wanting to bless my children. It was almost midnight when I created an exquisite fruity oatmeal breakfast surprise. (I guess I got distracted when out on the front lawn there arose such a clatter.)  It was going to be sumptuous – berries, blueberries, etc. with oatmeal, cinnamon, butter. All through the night it scented our house and reminded me of my lasting love for my kids. When morning came I served it up, smiling at my husband and nodding in self-affirming delight. I just might be the mom of the year I secretly thought. Then came the comments. One mustered up the nerve to state it was warm. One named it “abomination”. That was not what I expected or anticipated. It was kind of like getting socks for Christmas when you are anticipating a grand toy. After I took a bite I realized that my frozen Ziploc smoothie contents thrown in while sugarplums danced in their heads, had been mistaken for orange/apple/veggie and it was pretty close to awful. Abomination was accurate. tells us of another “out there” Christmas anomaly. One year (1965) near Christmas, the Gemini 6 space team saw a UFO. It was not what they were expecting in that clear blue sky.  They called back to earth and then astronaut Wally Schirra started playing “Jingle Bells” on his harmonica and shook some bells, giving the hope for all below to think Santa was near. It made people look UP.

‘Tis the season for all kinds of things. Everyone is expecting something, hoping for presents, people, places that somehow never seem to turn out just like they want them. While are eyes are fixed here below there are multiple opportunities to get frustrated. The twitter guy was pretty accurate when he said there were plenty of reasons for people to get offended. Bills, relatives, paper cuts, sugar overload just to name a few.

I do want to point out that the researcher from was incorrect that Jingle Bells was the first song broadcast from outer space. Luke 1:14 tells us of Angels coming to announce the birth of Christ and that must have been even wilder as multiple angels were singing:

“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth PEACE
among those with whom He is pleased!”


This little baby would change everything and give us lasting hope and promise for peace. Mother Mary we are told “wrapped him in swaddling cloths” and laid him in a manger. Young, inexperienced, weary, despised, yet she chose to do the right thing. “Let it be to me Lord, according to your will.”  She covered his shivering, naked, little body. Then Jesus died for our sins and clothed us in His very own righteousness. “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.” We could have been permanently abandoned to sin and deaths dark stain. We could have been destined to the devils shame dirge for eternity, but instead we were covered, wrapped, enshrouded in lavish love. We received God’s compassion. In the background that Song of all songs continues to play for those who are listening….

This Christmas we have an option – continue in our “abominable ways” hoping no one notices or we can surrender to Christ and ask for His robes of righteousness and garments of praise. (See the HOPE FOR YOU page for more information).  We can also be like astronaut Wally Schirra and bring praise into circumstances, giving hope, directing people upward. What if we became like Jesus instead of the abominable snowman this season and did as Peter exhorted:

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Peter 4:8 (ESV).


Here’s to being blessed instead of offended! Truly Happy Holidays.   Renae


[1] Park, Caleb. ‘Jingle Bells’ rooted in racism, Boston University Professor says.” Fox News accessed 12/19/17


Renae Roche December 2017


One of my favorite holiday movies is ELF.

I love the part where he confronts Santa and tells him he smells like “meat and cheese” and he sits on a throne of lies. Elf is so naïve and sweet, filled with true holiday spirit. We can smell if something isn’t quite right and especially at this time of year when things are wrapped, bows attached and carols are humming, it gets a little difficult to know what is fake and what is real. Before we can land on anything quite theological, the season has changed and we are wondering if the sleds we purchased last year will see any snow. It’s a whirlwind.

That’s why this movie reaches hearts I believe. We hear Elf cry out, “do I fit in?”  He wants to know why he is different than all the other elves and what his destiny should look like. What is the unheard story and why was it never told?  He attempts to work, sleep and play like everybody else but realizes he is VERY different. Over and over, he does what all the other elves do and they placate him trying to make him feel o.k. but never encourage him to step out and do what he was meant to do. The whole workshop tries to fit him into their image until it just doesn’t work anymore. He is bigger than his pigeonhole, bigger than others dreams for him, bigger than his adopted dads hopes. He searches to discover  Gods design vs. peoples opinions. 

Elf also struggles with finding his real dad. Is he wanted, loved, worth the attention he craves?  A birth family has great influence on one’s self-esteem.

These basic needs are hilariously displayed while Will Ferrel dances through New York, eats already chewed gum and gets attacked by a furry raccoon. These needs are core to being human. The added syrup on spaghetti and sugary goodness distract us from the truth that we all struggle with these themes at one time or another.

Because of that smelly manger and foreign baby we are now confident that:

  1. God made us accepted in the beloved.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us (accepted us) in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In lovehe predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  Ephesians 1.

Because of that first blended, imperfect family, moving forward in spite of the critics, we now celebrate that:

2.  God welcomed us into His family and lavishly loves us.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In lovehe predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious Agrace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Yes this was written twice because in the same passage, we can read that our core needs can be met in Christ.

Santa baby is a fun song but this Jesus baby – He changes lives! That’s real news for real people.   Rejoice – elf no longer has to sit on the shelf!  The accepted, chosen ones have purpose, meaning and work to do!

Renae Roche 2017