Monthly Archives: December 2015

Christmas is not about…

Christmas is NOT about…


Angels sweetly singing o’re the plains (that sounds almost sacrilegious to say that Christmas is not about Angels?! But it’s not). And it’s not even about…

Bethlehem or Boughs of Holly—fa la la la la la la or

Candy Canes or Candles or Cookies or Christmas Cards or Chestnuts roasting on an open fire (Have you ever roasted a chestnut by an open fire? Marshmallows? Yes. Chestnuts? No.) or

Decorations or dinners or

Elves (sorry, Buddy). Christmas is not about…

Family, friends, Frosty the Snowman, Fruitcake (it’s definitely NOT about Fruitcake. Who eats that stuff?) or Figgy pudding (whatever that is) or

Gifts or Garland or Good King Wenceslas (whoever that guy was) or

Happy Holidays (to any PC police who happen to be reading) or

Icicles or Ivy or

Jingle Bells or Jolly Ol’ St. Nick or

Kris Kringle or the Kids in Girl and boy land who will have a jubilee (I’m not sure where “Girl and Boy land” is and I’m not sure I endorse their “having a jubilee) or a

Little drummer boy or

Magi or Mistletoe or Macy’s or Marshalls or anything that ends in “Mart” (not “K-Mart,” “Steinmart” or “Wal-mart“) or

Nog. Not Egg Nog or any other nog. No Nog (bluck!) or

Ornaments or Over the hill tops and through the woods to Grandmother’s House we go or

Presents or parties or Peppermint Mocha coffee or poinsettias or a partridge in a pear tree or

Quiet moments by the fire or

Ribbon or Reindeer or Rudolph (who technically is a reindeer) or

Snow or stockings or sleigh rides or Stars or Stables or Shepherds or Silver Bells or Santa Claus or

Tinsel or trees (Real or artificial) or

Unwrapping packages or

Visitors from the East bearing gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh (Why doesn’t myrrh have a vowel?) or

Winter Wonderland or Wreathes or White Elephants or Wassail (Why can’t we just call it cider?) or

Xtra Xtra read all about it—headlines on the internet or

Yule Logs or Yule Tide or Yul Brynner for you Ten Commandment fans (Which isn’t a part of the Christmas story in case you are wondering) or

Zippy the Elf (please forgive me, “Zippy” was the best “Z” word I could come up with)


A to Z it’s not about any of those things.


Christmas IS about Jesus.




The end.

Merry Christmas from Rob and Karla

December 2015

The Princes: Our Annual Christmas Letter and 30 Carols too.

(There are 30 Christmas carols in our informative little prose below. Enjoy.)

In Michigan with no snow on the ground, no one is saying, it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas. Which has caused Rob to repeatedly exclaim: “Let it snow. Let it snow. Let is snow!” in hopes that soon the mornings will be frosty. The Snowman will be built because here comes Santa Claus! Christmas time is here and so is the time to recap our year for our family and friends.

Our 2015 included some wonderful trips but none through Pennsylvania. We did not go through O big town of Pittsburgh or O little town of Bethlehem. Instead we went to Maine, Boston and Cooperstown (via our car not a sleigh ride); a mission trip to Panama where surprisingly no one told us “Feliz Navidad” (probably because we were there in March not December); and go tell it on the mountain, Blaire’s graduation from MidAmerica Nazarene University!

Speaking of Alex and Blaire, they are still living in Kansas even though we’ve been wishing they would say, “I’ll be home for Christmas with a moving truck and my favorite things.“ Alex is working for Northwestern Mutual hoping to earn some Silver. Bells ring when babies are born at KUMed and nurse Blaire gives care in the Mommy/Baby unit. They have two dogs and no matter how many requests Karla has made to Santa, baby or babies are not yet in the plans. Grand-dogs will have to do.

We are happy when our phones jingle. Bells ringing end the silent night and I ask Karla, “Do you hear what I hear? It must be Ben calling from Olivet.” Our junior business major worked in the summer for non-profit Forge Flint where youth groups would be up on the house top repairing a dilapidated building. Ben is also dating Madison from Peoria, Illinois. He is becoming a responsible man that has left us asking, “What child is this?

Karla spends much of her time caring for her folks. You may recall that last year Mary fell down a flight of stairs and it looked like grandma got run over by a reindeer. While she is doing much better, Arling’s constant wandering has left us asking her mom in Yoda-like fashion, “Mary, did you know that dad is not on the deck, the halls walking he is!” Arling and Mary (married for 54 years) are managing through Arling’s Alzheimer’s, still Karla has not come from Brookdale Assisted Living saying, “I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” Every day is a new adventure, which Karla handles with incredible grace.

Rob has been offering the invite, “O come all ye Faithful and even to the not-so-faithful please come to Flint Central.” The church is doing great and his two-year pastoral review went well. As he walks the corridors of Central church he has said, “I wonder as I wander what new good things God has for us?”

With no snow, it looks like we will have a green and not a White Christmas. But the news doesn’t have to make you blue. Christmas isn’t about a color. It’s all about sweet little Jesus boy, born away in a manger and came so that we could experience real joy. To the world and to our friends we hope you have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Rob and Karla

My Two Cents on the Split in the Church of the Nazarene Chatter (one pastor’s perspective)

I read a blog this week about a possible split within the Church of the Nazarene and how we might avoid it. It was an interesting read, but honestly I don’t think there will be a “split.” At least there will not be a church split in the traditional sense. By that I mean “Party A” gets mad at “Party B” storms off and starts a new church or movement. Quite frankly, I don’t see a united, passionate storming off by anyone or any group on the right or left of most issues in the Church of the Nazarene. I think church splits on a general church level make for interesting conversation but have little groundswell momentum.

Instead I think what has been happening and what continues to happen is the silent but deadly evaporation of church people into the unknown world of church hoppers, church shoppers, drop-outters and sleeper-inners. We have people leaving because they don’t see the passion and the relevancy of the church. They are leaving because after years of being “silo-ed” into their age group gatherings, they have zero connection to the greater church body. We have people leaving because they fail to see a church captivated by a mission and vision. They are leaving because churches are no longer acting like the Bride of Christ, but look more like the two-timing girl friend of Jesus (we like him sometimes, when it’s convenient).

We can’t fix all the problems in the Church of the Nazarene, but we can make Central Church a place that looks more like the Bride of Christ. Central church does NOT have to accept those ingredients that create a death mix for the church. How? We stick to our priorities. Connecting with God means our worship is alive, vibrant and intent on making disciples; Connecting to Each Other calls for us to be inter-generational and aware that the people sitting along side of us are important no matter their gender, age, color or political affiliation; Connecting to our Community screams for us to be relevant on Bristol Road, in Flint Township and Genesee County. Our neighbors need to know we love them! And Connecting to the World says we are not alone on this spinning globe, but we have a responsibility to be Christ’s ambassadors “to the end of the earth.”

Listen, I have no interest in being the two-timing girlfriend of Jesus. Let’s look and act like the Bride of Christ! Join me in praying for our church and the days ahead.