It was such a busy and enjoyable month that it was hard to narrow my list, but here are some of the things that I loved in December:
1. T & N Thai Bistro
This awesome little place in Grosse Pointe has amazing sushi. Krista and I had the pleasure of joining some friends for dinner and I ate more than I should have. They have a diverse menu, but their sushi was impressive. I know I’ll be going back.
2. The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Elliot
This is such a great poem that deals with the birth of Christ in a particularly unique way. While we often think of Christmas as the time of nostalgia and beauty and the miraculous, Elliot, in this poem, pictures it as birth and death. The Magi travel to see the savior King born in a manger and in the process come to see their own kingdoms as insignificant. “I had seen birth and death, but had thought they were different; this Birth was hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.” I rather enjoy this poem and thought it a good one to read this time of year.
3. Small Group Christmas Parties
Our small group had a Christmas party this year. It included loads of good food, silly pictures, and fun games. Most of all it included people who I love. I am so grateful for this group, its support, encouragement, and mutual care of one another.
4. Original Sin by Jason Aaron
If the story was a bit convoluted, this was nonetheless a fun and exciting comic. Aaron developed an interesting idea, it’s not Loeb quality storytelling, but it’s still a lot of fun. And the artwork was very good too.
A number of friends have been raving about this show and I just kept putting off checking it out. When Krista and I ran out of shows to watch I caved and decided to give it a go. We’ve only seen two episodes so far, but I love this show. It’s a BBC original, taking place in Scotland. A murder mystery involving two detectives in the small town of Broadchurch, along the coast. It’s intense, gritty, clever, and well-written. David Tennant and Oliva Colman play their roles deftly. I am excited to see where the story goes.
6. “This I Believe (The Creed)” by Hillsong
We sang this song a few months back at church and I loved it, and then forgot about it. When I later remembered I went and got it and have not stopped listening to it this month. It’s such a powerful and beautiful song. The content encourages our faith in the Orthodox professions of our faith as detailed in the Apostles Creed. It’s compelling and wonderfully performed.
7. Time with Family Around the Holidays
I could have written this before the holidays even began, before December even began. It’s the same thing I enjoy every year around this season. It’s a joy to be able to go home for the holidays and it still feel like home. It’s the time of year that we all get together and simply enjoy one another. My sister comes in from Phoenix and I get to spend some time with her, which is never enough. The kids get to play with all their cousins. It’s just a wonderful present at Christmas to enjoy those I love but don’t get to see nearly enough.
8. Hatti Beasley’s Highlander Grog
Hatti’s was my favorite place when we lived in Portsmouth. They roast their own beans, take good care of their customers, and serve some great lunches. It was nice some mornings to run over there and enjoy a good cup of coffee and a warm white chocolate raspberry scone. For Christmas, my mom got me a pound of their Highlander, and it was just as delicious as I remembered.
9. Onward by Russell Moore
A challenging and encouraging read that reorients the church to more Biblically faithful cultural engagement. Dr. Moore challenges the politics-fist mentality of previous generations and offers a philosophy with more hope, nuance, and thoughtfulness to it. I loved this book and believe it represents some real progress for Evangelicalism’s way forward.
10. The Martian
Krista and I finally sat down to watch this 2015 hit and it was amazing. I loved the story, acting, and development. It was a beautiful depiction of humanity’s abilities, of the will to survive, of cooperation, and hope. Matt Damon plays the role of Mark Watney, an Astronaut who was accidentally left on Mars after an emergency evacuation by his team. Watney, must, then, learn how to survive as he awaits a rescue mission. It was really a well done and engaging film, directed by Ridley Scott. I highly recommend this film, and it will surely make my best of 2015 list.
11. Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens
It got a lot of hype and some of it was worth it. The film as a whole has some shortcomings: plot wholes, derivative plot developments. But as a Star Wars fan I still loved this. The premise was interesting, and the characters compelling. There were some real unexpected twists in the movie, and some that I anticipate still to see. All in all, it wasn’t a great film, but I still loved it.