Something you may not know about about the Christmas story

I think I know something about the Christmas story you don’t. But, you’ll have to wait for me to get there.

We start Christmas in our family the moment the Thanksgiving turkey disappears from our plates, and one of my favorite traditions is working through a long list of Christmas movies.

A favorite is any variation of the story of the Ebeneezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim tale called a Christmas Carol. The new computer animated version was the first movie I watched this year, and a single phrase leaped out at me: “He knew how to keep Christmas well.”

I’ve heard how people enjoy, look forward to, and even miss Christmas when it’s over, but I’d never thought about “keeping” Christmas.

So, where is the bit about something I know of the Christmas story that you don’t? Patience, it’s coming.

This leads us to Joseph, not from the Charles Dickens novel, but a character from a much older book: the Bible.

The Joseph I am speaking of is the man from THE Christmas story: the carpenter, the husband of Mary, the stepdad to Jesus. Yeah, that Joseph.
He holds a monumentally significant role in the Christmas story.

First, he was chosen by God to raise the Son of God. What must that background check have been like to make the cut and be picked for team Savior?

Second, he was able to wrestle through the cultural embarrassment of a fiancé who showed up pregnant and claimed the Father was God. Instead of dropping her like a telemarketer’s call at dinner, he responded with gentleness and courage simply because God told him to in a dream.

Third, three kings show up at his door to bring his stepson gifts. But, when that same night God warned him again to take his family to Egypt and keep them safe, he hit the road. Left friends, family, job, everything familiar to take care of that little Boy and His mother.

Fourth, he spent the hard years digging it out and providing for Jesus, helping Him grow up, and teaching Him to become a man. Even as Jesus got left behind at the Temple, it’s a reminder that Joseph took the reigns of spiritually leading his family as Luke 2:41 says, “Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover.”

You’re probably ready to interrupt saying, “Yes we knew all of this. I thought you said you knew something we all didn’t?”

You’re right, here it is.

Were you aware that in all of these stories, over all of these years service, through numerous interactions that Joseph… is silent.
It’s true. Go back and look at every story. The Bible never records a single spoken work from this epic character.

Mary speaks to him.

Angels speak to him.

The Lord speaks to him.

But, Joseph never says a word. He simply lets his actions speak for his life and heart.

Matthew 1:24 says, “When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him.”

That’s just how Joseph rolls… a man of action.

I think this is the essence of “keeping Christmas.”

Feelings are good, and words do mean something. But, “keeping Christmas” is about what we do.
What forgiveness can you offer? What sacrifice can you make? What joy can you share? In what way can you go past the words and feelings and begin the practice of “keeping Christmas.”

Merry Christmas to you and yours, and many blessings to you as we “keep Christmas.”


Special thank you to the Hutchinson News for printing  this in the Faith section December 9, 2017. 

My Christmas List

It was a first for me. It was gentle, it was loving, it was sweet pillow talk, but it was definitely my very first Christmas scolding.

After a great night with my family filling our home, eating way too much (my wife can really rock the holiday turkey), and watching the kids tear into the presents, we collapsed into bed. That’s when the loving reprimand came my way.

“You haven’t told me anything you want for Christmas,” she said.

“I told you I wanted a harmonica,” I responded.

It’s at this point I can’t blog what happened next, I can’t even really describe it in person, but let’s just say my wife has learned to roll her eyes even when they’re closed.

It’s pretty impressive.

The problem is, she’s totally right. I have racked my brain trying to answer her question for weeks. There is just nothing that I want, let alone need, that I could put Continue reading “My Christmas List”

Twas the night…


Twas the night before Christmas and the service begun

     The church was all decked out, for holiday fun!

Church members were nestled all snug in their pew

     With wreaths and lights and poinsettias in view


The auditorium was warm to instill Christmas cheer

     And singers were ready with carols near and dear

Then up at the front with sermon notes handy

     A Christmas message, for sure, from old Pastor Andy


The music was great and the message…okay

     But everyone’s thoughts were for the breaking of day

For morning would come with presents and joy

     Mom getting clothes and Dad, of course, toys


When out on the parking lot there arose such a clatter

     We sprang from our seats to see what’s the matter

Running out through the foyer and down the long hall

     We stood in the doorway to watch, one and all


A few feet away was a broken down car

     Dented and scratched, an eye-sore for sure

Then out stepped a man from this beat up ole caddy

     And three youngsters inside, they each called him “Daddy!” Continue reading “Twas the night…”

The Perfect Tree

It was the ‘Perfect Tree’…but, its beginning was not on this holiday weekend. No, its beginning stretched back years and years ago when God began to care for it as a young sapling.

Over the years it grew, as it weathered mild and wild seasons of heat and rain. It grew, as hunters and prey had both used it for cover. It grew, as young lovers met beneath its branches for stolen kisses and promises carved deep into its side. It grew, and grew and grew until truly it was majestic.

And then, after years of enduring, maturing, stretching, surviving and reaching toward the heavens, this amazing tree was felled by the swift blows of a woodman’s axe.




Continue reading “The Perfect Tree”

THE Christmas Story

A couple of years ago we were setting up for our Christmas Eve service at the big hotel convention center. These kiddos were troopers and spent hours there waiting on their dads.
I grabbed a camcorder and had them follow me around the hotel for this spontaneous video.
It’s rough, raw footage with bad lighting and difficult audio, but is still one of my favorite Christmas videos ever… and man, have they grown up since then!
Instead of a new blog article this week, I’d like to offer this retro video as a reminder of the season…Merry Christmas!

THE Christmas Story from Andy Addis on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas

Thanks to everyone who attended our Christmas Eve Celebration. This year we tied the whole service together with some poorly written poetry that told a version of the Christmas/salvation story, and I can say poorly written… because I wrote it.

I’ve been a asked a couple of times where to get it, so, I thought I’d make it available here at the CrossEyedLife.

It comes in five sections as a progressive story and many thanks to Sam Wilk who narrated for us… great job!


 Dark and barren, a formless void
Our universe an empty nothing
No light, no warmth, no life to be enjoyed Continue reading “Merry Christmas”

Behave yourself

What’s better than getting up at 4 am on Black Friday to fight the crowds and strategically rifle through a well-thought out plan of attack documented only by a string of newspaper ads marked in Sharpie and ordered by store opening times?

Almost anything.

Anything is better than that.

Still, that was today for my bride and I as the kiddos slept in at Grandmas. We spent a small fortune (as opposed to the large fortune it could have been) and got about 90% of what we hunted.

We dominated Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target Mart and Home Depot Mart and even squeezed in a romantic breakfast for two at IHOP Mart.

While we were wolfing down some pancakes (actually, I was wolfing… Kathy never wolfs… she delicately cuts, slowly eats and cutely chews… she never wolfs) we were discussing how crazy some people were. Continue reading “Behave yourself”

Tarnished Bells

We’ve all been there. Walking through your day with that song you can’t get out of your head, and Christmas time is the worst.

Last week I was mindlessly humming some weird mutant-hybrid of “What Child Is This” and “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” I know, I know, I know… somehow it worked in my head.

But, just today as I doing some Christmas shopping (yes, I’m still Christmas shopping and I don’t want to hear it from any of you who obviously need more to do with your lives than go to stores and and shop online… well, after that rant, Merry Christmas) I caught myself whistling a song I couldn’t recall right away.

After a minute or two of my own personal name that tune… I GOT IT!

Silver Bells. Continue reading “Tarnished Bells”