Thanksgiving has come and gone, and one thing that is revealed each and every year is how picky my kids are when it comes to eating. I can’t get my youngest to stop playing with his food, if my life – or his life – depended on it. As my oldest son, Producer Ethan, puts it, “It’s boring to eat. You have to sit there forever, doing nothing but chewing and swallowing.”
But, my problem eater has no turned it into an art form. He is transforming mashed potatoes into Playdoh. Turkey pieces become toy trains.
“Hey, son… can the choo-choo train go into your mouth like a tunnel?”
“No, Dad! These trains just shunt cars in the train yard. No tunnels allowed for these trains.”
And gravy becomes paint.
“Look, Dad… I recreated a Picasso with turkey gravy, Jello salad and the contents of your wallet.”
I don’t get how my boy plans on every growing when he lives off of two kibbles of cereal and an occasional M&M. You’d think he’d need some nourishment to thrive. Then again, Ethan is 6’3”, and he pretty much ate / didn’t eat in the same fashion.
I think that if my son ever did actually bite, even a few bites of something nutritious, his whole digestive system would shut down.
Stomach: “What’s this foreign substance in here? It can’t be nourishment, there is no sugar! This must be some kind of mistake… RETURN TO SENDER!!”
But, what I really get tired of is the bargaining…
“Okay, Dad… if I take one more nibble of turkey, and smell the salad, can I throw the rest of my hot meal in the trash?”
And my wife is a terrible negotiator when it comes to this kind of stuff…
“Alright… two nibbles, then you can throw it away. No? One-and-a-half nibbles? Okay… all you have to do is lick the salt off of your fork.”
Next, my dear friend Sara Shea joins the show. Now, when it comes to holiday meals, Sara really prefers to be cooked for, rather than to cook, herself. Add to that the fact that she’s pretty picky in what she likes to eat, and things can get interesting.
Then, even at restaurants, life is not as easy for Sara as one might think. More and more waiters these days refuse to write anything down. When Sara places an order and the waiter appears to commit her words to memory… it stresses her out!
Sara is the queen of special orders. Everything she orders is followed by some combination of “on the side”, “hold this”, or “add that”. It makes her feel like a terrible person.
Then, throw into the recipe a waiter standing over her with his arms folded… and things just go downhill from there.
And I agree… either they are bound to miss something, or they care so very little about your dining experience that they don’t even want to appear involved enough to write anything down.
Then, when they mess up your order, all you can do is feel justified in your mistrust. BUT, if they actually get it right, all that does it make you feel inferior to them and you you exit the restaurant with a stomach full of good food… but really low self-esteem. How is that helpful?
You end up with egg on your plate AND egg on your face!
Finally, singer/songwriter/worship leader Peder Eide joins the show. Now, as Christmas draws nearer, so many of us get distracted by the entrapments of gift buying, decorating, pageants and parties, and we tend to forget the whole meaning of Christmas.
I know it sounds cliché, but what Peder is doing at his shows with worship really knocks the cliché around and helps people to refocus.
As Peder puts it, we sing these great songs over the course of a four-to-six week window each year and then tuck them away. But, really, so many of the great Christmas songs are amazing songs of worship. Most of them either proclaim that Christ is born or tell the story of Jesus entering our world. That’s incredible!
So, Peder makes sure, at his shows, that he doesn’t simply sing “at” his audiences, but with them… encouraging them to participate with the band!
Toss in a bunch of comedy and festivity, and Peder’s show is definitely NOT one to be missed!
But, what happens when Peder, himself doesn’t feel “Christmasy”?
There have been days when his flights were delayed, his car broke down, and traffic and weather refused to cooperate.
In my neck of the woods – Minnesota – we just call that your average weekday.
But, in all seriousness, Peder puts it perfectly:
“In the scope of the galaxy, the planet Earth is just a pale blue dot. And, it’s amazing that God came to that pale blue dot. He made Himself a human for us! And when you think about that, how can you not want to be engaged with that? That’s how we look at worship – getting involved with what God is saying and doing… not just making it something that is a ritual, duty or obligation.
And Christmas is such a great time to start over.
Now, understandably, the Christmas season can be really hard for some people. But, when we sing the words to What Child Is This and proclaim ‘This, this is Christ the King!’ we can’t help but remember that God does not ignore us. Even when we feel like nothing more than a tiny dot in the universe, God has not forgotten us.”
But, Peder doesn’t just perform on stages across the country leading people in worship. He also has some practical things that each of us can do to encourage the people around us to engage with the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
More than anything, Peder suggests that we slow down – stop even – and do something together WITH one another. It could be in the middle of the afternoon, or over breakfast cereal. Just do it.
The key word is WITH. Do something WITH the people you love.
So, if your kids suggests that you go out together and toilet paper someone’s house for the holidays… go do it WITH them!!