Like millions of people around the world, I watched the inauguration of President Barack Obama earlier this week with interest. Whether or not you agree with his positions on the issues and there–are many that concern me deeply–truly the world witnessed history in the making. Scanning the faces of those in the crowd, I saw a joy and happiness that parallel something I witnessed in South Africa when Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, was elected.
A week before Christmas last year, America lost a great statesman, an inspiring conservative thinker, and a steadfast advocate of the traditional family. I’m referring to my friend Paul M. Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and Chairman of the Free Congress Foundation It’s likely you’ve never heard his name. Paul was like that. He was the kind of man content to labor behind the scenes in Washington, D.C. in defense of the values conservatives cherish.
At age eight, Mark* was dying from a congenital heart disorder. A battery of diagnostic tests revealed that the malformation of his heart was irreparable. Mark’s doctors informed his parents that nothing short of a heart transplant would save his life. Worse, Mark didn’t have much time to live. A proper organ donor had to be found, and fast.
Meanwhile, at the same hospital where Mark awaited a heart transplant, medics rushed another young boy, Alex*, into the emergency ward.
During our Christmas vacation, Jean and I packed the suitcases, planned the route, and piled into the minivan. Anticipation filled the air as the kids were strapped into their car seats like astronauts preparing for liftoff. With the house buttoned up, the mail stopped for a week, and a prayer for safety shared, off we went on a thousand mile journey to Jean’s parents’ home in Los Angeles.
Everything was going smoothly for a couple of hours .
As the clock runs out on 2008, just about everyone is assembling a Top Ten list featuring the most popular movies, CDs, books, restaurants, and news stories of the year. You name it, there seems to be a list for it. I figured it might be fun to put together a list of my Top Ten blog posts of the year, based upon the number of comments they generated. Here’s what I found, with No. 1 being the most popular post of 2008:
One of the six pillars that under gird our work here at Focus on the family is the permanence of marriage. We view marriage as a sacred covenant designed by God, one that serves as the basic building block of human civilization. As such, we believe marriage is God’s idea and it’s intended to be a thriving, lifelong relationship between one man and one woman.
Which is why it’s worth pointing out Newsweek’s cover story, entitled, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage” (12/15/08).
If you’re familiar with my personal story, you know I’ve had my share of tough times. Especially at Christmas. As mentioned in my book Finding Home, the first Christmas after my mom died, I was nine-years-old and living with a foster family. While thankful that I had a place to live, my siblings and I didn’t receive any Christmas presents. None. About all we could do is watch in silence while the children with whom we lived ripped open gift after gift.
I have a friend whose Thanksgiving tradition looks like this. The entire extended family, at least those who live in the area, gather together at the home of one of the relatives. I’m talking upwards of 40 people. The older cousins and uncles rally in the backyard for the annual Turkey Bowl–a rousing game of football, while two turkeys are carved with care inside.
Cakes, pies, and enough pastries to satisfy a king are artfully arranged in the dining room.
If you missed the Focus on the Family broadcast with Pete Maravich, it’s must listening. Whether or not you’re a basketball fan, the story of “Pistol Pete” is one you’ll want to hear. At four years of age, Pete began dribbling his way into becoming one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Over the years, Pete set more than 40 NCAA records, was featured on five Sports Illustrated magazine covers, played in five NBA All-Star game and was ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Author, speaker, and parenting coach, Tedd Tripp, is perhaps best known for his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. In chapter eight of his latest book, Instructing a Child’s Heart, I love the emphasis that Tedd places on helping our children to be dazzled by God. He believes all of us have been uniquely created for worship, and worship of God occurs almost as a reflex whenever we’re dazzled by His glory.
Personally, I’m dazzled whenever I witness an awesome sunset, one of God’s colorful creatures, or when I’m standing in the presence of a massive waterfall.