Advent Blogging: Scene 2

Advent: expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus

You can catch up on the Introduction here, and Scene 1 here.

“Little Drummer Boy” (verse 2)

Little baby (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

I am a poor boy too (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

I have no gifts to bring (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

That’s fit to give a king (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum) [x3]

Shall I play for you (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

On my drum?


Here’s our scene: A boy (a little drummer boy) has been instructed to come meet a new born baby king. The next verse of the song has a quality that can only be realized when the character is a child. He comes onto the scene and immediately makes a connection with the newborn, for he is a child too.  And he knows he’s poor just like the baby. You can almost see the boy perk up and say to himself with a touch of confidence, “He’s just like me!” And at one level, he’s right.

But then he remembers the invitation. The gifts. The finest gifts.  He’s connected with the baby but now he realizes the grandness of the situation. And he realizes he has no gifts to bring. He has nothing to offer this king.  Yes, this is a baby lying in a stable. But this is also a king. The drummer boy knows this and responds appropriately: “I have no gifts to bring.  If what they say is true, then I have nothing that is suitable for this king.”

And then it gets good. Again, only a kid could pull this off. He’s connected with the baby, he realized his gifts just are not enough, but he has one thing to offer. He can play his drum. “Is that a good idea?” he asks.  “Can I just play for you?

When I reflect on the second verse of our Christmas song, I am amazed.  When I really analyze the scene and imagine a boy coming to this manger and experiencing Jesus for the first time, his response blows me away. I want that. I want connect with Jesus the way the boy did. Jesus was a man. He walked the earth. He taught the people. He led by example. I want to connect with that Jesus. Then I want to realize that I have nothing worthy to offer such a King. Then I want to offer the only thing I have: my drum. Will that be enough?

As we anticipate and prepare for Christmas, let’s dig deep like the little drummer boy and think about what we have to offer the King.  I think tomorrow’s post will be a refreshing, satisfying, and hopeful conclusion to the Advent Blog.


(You can move to the final post, Scene 3, here)


Advent Blogging: Scene 1

Advent: expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus


“Little Drummer Boy”

Come, they told me (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

A newborn king to see (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

Our finest gifts we bring (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

To lay before the king (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum) [x3]

So, to honor Him (pa-rum-pa-pum-pum)

When we come



“You need to see this.”  

“This is unbelievable.”

“I have never seen anything like it.”

Often times in our culture we use these phrases a little to quickly, a little too flippantly.  But when someone comes to you and can’t wait to show you what they’ve seen, there is palpable excitement in the air, energy running through your veins.  If only you could hit pause in that moment.  If you could hit pause, you’d find yourself grateful that your friend thought enough of you to say, “Hey, I need to share this with [go ahead, enter your name here]!”  In our Christmas song that we’re looking at, something has happened that warrants the following command: “Come!  You need to see this.”

We find out that a king has been born.  Not too applicable for our day, right?  But in the context of the Bible, this was a big deal.  King had a lineage.  They had a story.  They were greatly anticipated.  This was really big deal.  So big that it would be appropriate to bring gifts.  Not just any gifts, but our finest gifts.  Why?  Why would a king need gifts?  If he’s a king, why would he need any gift from a poor person like me?  And didn’t you say he was a newborn?  Why would a newborn need gifts?  I mean in 2012 we do the baby registry and all, but back then?  What gifts would he possibly need?

No, this baby must be different.  The character in this song says that (a) you need to come, and (b) you need to bring your finest gifts.  That’s how we’ll honor him, with our finest gifts.  It would be appropriate to bring wonderful gifts to honor this king.  It’s at this point in the Advent Blog that I need to assume you know that the Christmas story is one of Jesus coming to earth.   You may not believe it, but you should at least know it.  If you know the story of the Bible, you know that Jesus is the King, the Savior, the focal point of God’s redemptive plan.  This Advent Blog assumes that you at least understand the premise of the Christian faith.

So for a moment, imagine the scene of someone pleading with you to come see this baby King.  You’re instructed to bring your finest gifts.  Empty the piggy bank.  Go above and beyond.  Make it a gift from the heart, a gift that means something.  Don’t settle for giving the sweater.  This has to be special.  Dig deep.  What do you have?  What can you give?  How can you honor the King?

Advent is about expectant waiting, but it’s also about preparing.  Imagine how you would prepare if you were about to be in the presence of royalty.  The little drummer boy, in this fictional story, has received a divine invitation.  He’s been invited to meet the King.  Can you hear the song playing?  Are you listening?  Are you responding?  It’s telling you, “Come, we’ve got to see this.  Bring gifts for royalty, bring the best you’ve got?”

What are you bringing?  You have one shot to make one impression.  What will you lay before the King?  You need to prepare.

(You can move to the next post, Scene 2, here)


Advent Blogging

We are all too well aware of the battles for our attention.  That case doesn’t have to be made.  But a still relevant question is, “Will you hear the call?  Or did you hear the news?”  When something important happens, will you have an ear that is sensitive and a heart that is willing to respond?

I’m writing a three-post series this year during Advent, the time leading up to Christmas.  It was inspired by Charlie’s series a few years back entitled “Advent Poetry.”  Charlie makes the case that in a season that is supposed to be about family, slowing down, and reflecting on the important things in life we often swing to the other side of reality and find ourselves busier than the other 11 months out of the year, more stressed, and more disappointed during and through the season of Christmas.  I generalize, but I also feel pretty confident that if we could create the ideal situation, it would include a few more relaxing cups of coffee, reading a few more pages of a good book, soaking in more time in front of the fireplace, and rich conversations with friends and family that warm the heart.  Sounds idealistic?  Maybe.  But very attainable with a little reflection and a new attitude, a new posture, a new hope.

I’ve been doing more reflection lately.  I’ve been reading a fantastic book about Advent as I prepare for Christmas (it’s written by Jon Swanson, my favorite writer from 2012).  His writing and reflection inspired the motivation for this series.  I’ve been listening to great Christmas music and I’ve been thinking more about what I can give at Christmas than what I want (sadly that is a big accomplishment).  I’ve been thinking about how I want my kids to experience their first memories of Christmas, what I want them to know, and how I can help Katie enjoy the season while she pours her heart and soul into family time, making gifts, and finds time in front of that same fireplace.

In all this reflection, I find myself coming back to one particular Christmas song.  And actually not any rendition will do.  I keep coming back to these guys from Greenville, Illinois who interpreted the Little Drummer Boy into what I consider the most important Christmas song over the last couple years for me.

I’m not a great writer, but have I caught your attention?  Tomorrow we will prepare.  We will reflect.  We will anticipate.

(You can move right to the next post, Scene 1 here)


[Podcast] Week 13 – Vikings

Wednesday night Chris and I recored our Packers Podcast for week 13.  The Packers sit at 8-4 and are in the middle of their division schedule.


[Podcast] Week 12 – New York Giants

Chris and I returned from Thanksgiving break and recorded week 12’s podcast.  The Packers had their worst defeat in about five years.  Here’s what we had to say about it.  (Special guest: Steve – our resident Vikings fan)
Note: we had one editing issue so one section may be a little our of order or missing a part. Sorry.


Thanksgiving 2012

Every year I get this feeling of frustration that we pile our thanksgivings into one day.  I think (no, I know) we would be much better off making it a daily practice to be thankful.  I have been talking to the kids all week about what they’re thankful for.  They’ve come up with food, hands, and family.  Not bad.  As for Katie and me, it’s been tougher this week.  I was sick Sunday and Monday, Katie is sick last night into today.  You can imagine how the flu makes it difficult to be thankful.  Yet I am reminded about this passage in the Bible:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  – Philippians 4:6

In everything is pretty tough to wrap your mind around.  But I’m guessing that it can be roughly translated “in everything.”  In health, in sickness, in good times, and in bad.  We are instructed to make our requests to the Lord.  That should be our ambition.

It’s a crazy morning, so my thoughts aren’t as concise as I was hoping.  So let me jump right to a few things I’m thankful for and I’d love to hear yours.  You can just list them or include some details.

  1. Parents: Katie was making a couple dishes for Thanksgiving tomorrow at her dad’s house.  My parents graciously jumped in to make them for her.
  2. Nancy’s Book Club:  We have a family book club (thanks Uncle Paul and Aunt Jeri!) and we’re reading a book called “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.”  Katie and I are four chapters in and we’re really enjoying the conversation we’re having and the challenge it’s bringing to the growth of our family and our relationship.
  3. Mr. Lecher’s coaching:  My defensive coach in high school instilled in us the value of making adjustments in football, then in life.  This is an essential skill as I grow as a husband and father, at school and at work.

Maybe it’s one thing, maybe it’s a list of 20 strong.  Maybe the come right to the top of your mind, maybe you need five minutes of silence before the hectic holidays begin to come up with just one thing you’re thankful for.  Maybe you post in the comments, maybe you say it alone in your mind.  Whatever your style, be thankful.


[Podcast] Week 11 – Bye week

This week Chris and I returned to the podcast after a couple weeks off.  The Packers had a bye week, so we discussed the halftime of the Packers season and looked ahead to the Lions.


[Podcast] Week 7 – St. Louis Rams

Last night Chris and I recorded week 7 Podcast.  The Packers easily handled the St. Louis Rams 30-20.  The game wasn’t as close as the score may indicate.  Here’s how we broke down the game.

P.S. Starting TODAY you can email the show and ask questions or make a comment ~~>


Turkey Trot Training

Let’s think ahead: Thanksgiving Day!  I know it’s over a month away, but here’s the deal.  If you’re anything like me (and my family), the food simply doesn’t get any better than that 4th Thursday in November.  With all that food comes a little bit of guilt because all that food isn’t being negated by some physical activity.  Well have you ever thought of running a Turkey Trot?  You know, those Thanksgiving Day runs of 5 or 10K.  Those runs that give you the ability to eat guilt-free the rest of Thanksgiving Day!

I think 2012 is the perfect year for you to complete your first 5K (3.1 miles for all you Americans).  I’ve put together a training plan so that you can do it and feel good about it.  It isn’t designed for you to go fast – it’s designed so that you can get to the finish line… and then on to that turkey and stuffing!

This plan is assuming you’ve done NO running up ’til this point.  You can start this on Monday and I’ll get you to the finish line.  The program consists of five weeks of training, three days per week.  You can do that, right?

Each number is obviously miles.  For first-time runners that may seem like a lot.  Let me say this: you will be so surprised at how fast (and well) your body adapts to the stress you put on it.  And as always, you can send me a question via this form and I’ll coach you through it.

What what do you say?  Are you up for your first 5K?!  You’ve got all the tools – your move.


[Podcast] Week 6 – Houston Texans

Here’s week 6 in the NFL – the Packers went to Houston and beat the previously undefeated Texans.  Chris and I recorded this on a rainy night in Middleton, Wisconsin.


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