Christmas Prevents Drowning-3rd Sunday of Advent

When my brother and I were growing up, we often went at each other.

We competed in anything we could come up with or we’d just poke one another.

I, being the younger brother, would poke my brother Tom because, well, he was the older brother. It was my job.

One day Tom and I were playing in a hotel swimming pool. My parents were at some conference, so the two of us needed to entertain ourselves at the pool. We had the whole thing to ourselves!

We were making up games as we went along, throwing things into the deep end and seeing who could get them faster or just trying to dunk each other.

We had been playing a long time and I was getting tired but didn’t want to quit.

I decided I should irritate Tom so I did something in the shallow wend to get him to chase me. As I started to get away from him, I ducked under the rope separating the shallow end from the deep end.

Right at the rope line the bottom of the pool took a huge descent to make the water deeper. Right when I got to that spot, I started to sink.

I knew how to swim, but I had become so tired I couldn’t keep my head above water.

I started to panic because all the effort I was giving to get back to the surface wasn’t working. As I flailed under the water, I looked up at the surface of the water and was scared…really scared.

I was going to drown.

In that very moment, I felt a hand violently grab my arm and start to pull me back under the rope to the shallow end.

I got my feet back on the shallow end floor, pushed up, got above the water and breathed a huge breath…and coughed up some water, but I breathed air.

That hand? It was my brother Tom. He saw me start to become helpless in the water and decided he should probably save me or have something to explain to Mom and Dad later.

I looked at him with a mix of fear and tears in my eyes.

He looked at me in all his compassion and said, “You ok?”

I, of course in all my humility, said, “Ya, thanks.”

That was a lot for us to communicate so deeply back then. Then Tom said, “Let’s get out of here and go back to the room.” This is code for “I don’t want to spend the rest of my time saving my little brother in the pool.”

Tom saw me in trouble and on the verge of drowning and said “I gotta do something.”

Isn’t that the message of Christmas?

We were drowning in our own sin and no chance to save ourselves and then God by His own choosing and grace, began a plan to save us by sending Jesus at Christmas to be born, live, die, and rise again!

It’s like He’s reaching in, grabbing us, and pulling us above water so we can breathe again!

When I sing “O Holy Night,” I am always reminded of my love for the air of forgiveness in these lyrics:

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious dawn!

That’s why Christmas is more than just a holiday about a sweet baby in beautiful straw. The passion is way deeper.

We drown without Christmas. We have our head and heart above water because of it!

Glory to God in highest and on earth!!!

God is good all the time!

Peder

“Up Close” With The Famous–2nd Sunday of Advent

A few months ago my son Ethan and I went to California. While we were there, we had a day to ourselves when I wasn’t singing.

So we visited a lot of places including the beach which was awesome since beaches in Minnesota are closed now … but the ice fishing is not far behind. :)

The smiles say a lot!

The smiles say a lot!

We went down to Hollywood and took in the Chinese Theater, looked at the stars on the sidewalk, saw the Dolby Theater, and so on.

Ethan thought it would be cool to take a tour where they show you where the “stars” live. So why not?

On a whim, we bought two tickets, got into a 15-passenger van without a roof, and found our seats among other star-seekers.

The brochure said we’d see the houses of Tom Cruise, Justin Timberlake, Cameron Diaz, and others. The brochure also said, “No one gets you closer to the house of the stars” than this company.

Ethan was interested and I was curious so we put ear buds in so we could hear our driver/tour guide tell us where to look and whose house we were looking at.

He had a bit of a game show host to him with a voice of a stereotypical surfer dude and car salesman. It seemed to fit the Hollywood tourism vibe.

As we went along he would point out certain buildings where scenes from famous movies were shot and iconic streets. He told us that every famous person drives a black Range Rover.

He also would point this is the place where a certain star had a meltdown, that so and so’s ex wife or husband now owns this place, or the last time he saw the actual star (“about seven months ago”).

IMG_3902

I think that’s Ironman’s house on the top of the hill :)

He is doing his gig. I get that. But at times I felt like I had just turned on TMZ. I wasn’t ready for that.

The part that stuck out to me the most is when he would tell us a big star’s house was coming up. People would get their cameras ready and then it happened more often than not: the house was completely covered and surrounded by trees, or a wall, or it was a mile away so it looked no bigger than a pack of gum to us.

The key line of the trip was our tour guide saying, “Hey folks, that’s Tom Cruise’s chimney! Pretty cool yes?”

I’m not making that up.

I can’t imagine what these movie stars feel like as day after day vans full of people coming to take pictures—just to be near where someone famous lives. That is another world.

Yet, people do this tour by the hundreds every day.

When the angels came to the shepherds in the fields the night Jesus was born, they told them they would find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go and see this thing that has happened!”

When they got there, they did not have stand outside of a grove of trees or look at a huge wall and wonder if the Messiah was on the other side.

The shepherds got to get as close as they wanted. Right up to the manger!

I fact it’s what God wanted in the first place: that anyone can come to Him and know real love, hope, joy, and peace!

Way better than just a chimney!!!

This is the focus of the new original song we wrote for the Christmas card project.

The lyrics say:

May the star invite you
May the angel song remind you
May His mercy find you
And give you perfect peace

May you seek your treasure
Only at the manger
May you find no strangers
Only family
This Christmas

May you find joy, joy, joy
May you find love, love, love
May you find hope in the One
Who has come, come to give you
Joy, joy, joy
Love, love, love
May you find peace
In the One who has come

This Christmas

THIS CHRISTMAS
Peder Eide/Paul Marino/Jeremy Johnson
(c) 2014 Van Ness Press, Inc. (ASCAP)

I’m excited about our new Christmas project, This Christmas, for a lot of reasons.

One of the many reasons is that how people can use this Christmas Card of music to give away to friends and family and share the amazing truth of God’s love that comes in Jesus!

My friends, don’t miss this next invitation:

YOU CAN GO TO THE MANGER AND GET AS CLOSE AS YOU WANT.

You don’t need a ticket and your tour guide is the Holy Spirit.

There will be no sarcasm. :) Only joy, love, hope, and peace that comes from the One who has come This Christmas.

God is good all the time!

Peder