Christmas chili dogs

Pastoral Messages | December 15, 2015

“Mom, can we have chili dogs?” This was the question from my then-4-year-old brother, Daniel, regarding Christmas day dinner that year. It was the usual family holiday insanity, packed with airport runs, last-minute errands, and family activities. Executing a traditional ham dinner with all the fixings was becoming an insurmountable feat. Daniel’s preschool class had celebrated Christmas with a “birthday party for Jesus,” meaning hot dogs, chips, and a cake. So when this idea was suggested, my mother immediately responded with a resounding “yes.” Thus began a new family tradition. We have been eating Christmas chili dogs ever since.

Standing smack dab in the middle of the holiday season – with Thanksgiving having come and gone, Christmas rapidly descending, and New Year’s just around the corner – can have us in a flurry of busyness. We are left pondering our practiced traditions. What would Christmas be without cookies, or big meals, or caroling? Well, hopefully it would still be Christmas. Traditions, particularly holiday traditions, are a tricky thing to navigate. Traditions that are meant to serve the celebration quickly become something to be served. We have a hard time letting go. Traditions have a way of connecting the past with the future, they add continuity to our celebration, and remind us of something bigger than ourselves. At their best, traditions point to the cause of the celebration. But they are something of a high wire balancing act. With all the good they give, unfortunately they can slide off the high wire and fall flat on the ground. They can become an obligation, or grow bigger than the event itself. We have all been in the situation when a tradition got bigger than the celebration. It takes the fun out of it.

Holiday traditions are something we can take an open-palm approach towards. If we have a closed fist, nothing can flow in, and nothing can float out. But if we keep an open, up-turned palm, we can still hold on to what should be kept. This gesture allows for traditions and ideas to move in and out, while still keeping our focus directed at the cause of the celebration. This holiday season, keep an open palm. Let certain ideas fall away if they must and make room for new traditions to grow.

Perhaps, even make room for chili dogs.

2 Comments on “Christmas chili dogs”

  • Craig Witte

    December 18, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Georgeann ‘s family tradition gives me pause at this Holy season to contemplate not only all the things I have been blessed with, but also for the things I am not. For instance, I am blessed to not be…Swedish. Lutefisk?…Woof! I wouldn’t have survived!

  • Georgeann Kreiter

    December 17, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Christmas eve means hamburgers in our home coming from Jerry’s family. Better than the Lutefisk from my Swedish home as I was growing up! 🙂

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Isaiah 53:4-12

4Surely our griefs He Himself bore,

And our sorrows He carried;

Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,

Smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.

6All of us like sheep have gone astray,

Each of us has turned to his own way;

But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all

To fall on Him.

7He was oppressed and He was afflicted,

Yet He did not open His mouth;

Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,

And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,

So He did not open His mouth.

8By oppression and judgment He was taken away;

And as for His generation, who considered

That He was cut off out of the land of the living

For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?

9His grave was assigned with wicked men,

Yet He was with a rich man in His death,

Because He had done no violence,

Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10But the LORD was pleased

To crush Him, putting Him to grief;

If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,

He will see His offspring,

He will prolong His days,

And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

11As a result of the anguish of His soul,

He will see it and be satisfied;

By His knowledge the Righteous One,

My Servant, will justify the many,

As He will bear their iniquities.

12Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,

And He will divide the booty with the strong;

Because He poured out Himself to death,

And was numbered with the transgressors;

Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,

And interceded for the transgressors.

Psalm 91:9-16

9For you have made the LORD, my refuge,

Even the Most High, your dwelling place.

10No evil will befall you,

Nor will any plague come near your tent.

11For He will give His angels charge concerning you,

To guard you in all your ways.

12They will bear you up in their hands,

That you do not strike your foot against a stone.

13You will tread upon the lion and cobra,

The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

14“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him;

I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.

15“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble;

I will rescue him and honor him.

16“With a long life I will satisfy him

And let him see My salvation.”

Hebrews 5:1-10

The Perfect High Priest

1For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of men in things pertaining to God, in order to offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins;2he can deal gently with the ignorant and misguided, since he himself also is beset with weakness;3and because of it he is obligated to offer sacrifices for sins, as for the people, so also for himself.4And no one takes the honor to himself, but receives it when he is called by God, even as Aaron was.

5So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him,



6just as He says also in another passage,



7In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.8Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.9And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,10being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Mark 10:35-45

35James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, *came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”36And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”37They said to Him, “Grant that we may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left, in Your glory.”38But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?”39They said to Him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.40“But to sit on My right or on My left, this is not Mine to give; but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

41Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.42Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.43“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant;44and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.45“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Bartimaeus Receives His Sight