Merry (Illegitimate) Christmas


Christmas reminds us that often the Kingdom of God breaks into our world in seeming illegitimacy.

What the culture deems as legitimate, and we unwittingly breathe in and affirm, becomes a worldview that must sometimes be utterly subverted, affronted, and offended by God. Doing things in a way with which everyone irenically agrees does not always seem to be the way God brings about his greatest works of truth-telling or peace-making. The Incarnation and the Resurrection are evidence enough of this.

The laughable is often God’s chosen instrument to spark a remarkable Symphony of Joy.

Sometimes, we are simply living in the blind and wrong. Sometimes what we see as “illegitimate” is a function of our broken hearts. Sometimes our perception of what is legitimate and appropriate is illegitimate to God.

The Spirit-conceived baby born in a manger was most probably labeled an illegitimate child by most of the politicians, academics, celebrities, and spiritual power-brokers of the time. But to a smelly shepherd, he was humanity regained.

Our eyes determine our reality, powered by the engine of the heart. This must be why God is always about the unseen work of changing the heart, and a more “legitimate,” expected, revolutionary Christ-Entrance would have had no impact on the hearts of billions for generations to come.

If Christmas reminds us of anything, let it remind us that Enduring Peace is the result of a unique, subversive spiritual math:

Truth, held in God’s heart and offered to us in the whispers and shouts of Scripture, offers us a transcendent understanding of who and why we are. Truth births rightly oriented, imaged, and empowered Love. Love, shaped from, modeled after, and orchestrated by the Life of Christ – is the music that can order the chaos of our world to Peace.

Merry (Crazy, Illegitimate, Of-And-Not-Of-This-World-At-The-Same-Time) Christmas,



Sheltering Mercy and Endless Grace help us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation. Sheltering Mercy helps the reader pray Psalms 1-75; Endless Grace leads in prayer through Psalms 76-150.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. Each book contains 75 prayers drawn from the Book of Psalms, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning there. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

These artful, poetic, and classic devotional books are a perfect gift, and feature compelling stunning illustrations and hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms. Co-written with Ryan Whitaker Smith, Brazos Publishing.

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