Happy Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas!

It’s my Christmas day tradition to post this Isaiah passage (which is a reading for Christmas Eve worship every year), Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)” (the world’s best – and most challenging – Christmas song), and a lighter second song that changes each year. You’re welcome. 😉

Isaiah 9:2-7:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness – on them light has shined…For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.

For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire.

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore.

No, not “all the boots of the tramping warriors” or “all the garments rolled in blood” have been burned as fuel just yet. But I do believe there will be a day when both the weapons and the uniforms of war will be obsolete. I think that’s why I like “Happy Christmas” so much: it simultaneously acknowledges the reality of evil in the world and reminds us, with Isaiah, to hope for – and actively strive for – a better future. A war-less future.

Yes, our sisters and brothers in Israel/Palestine, Nigeria, Mexico, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and so many other places, know all too well that war isn’t over. The Prince of Peace wants all wars to end. To worship the babe born in Bethlehem means facing reality, means seeking to end war. But following God in the way of Jesus also means we don’t believe in hopeless! It means we’ve got some work to do.

(Trigger warning: some images involves children, many are difficult to watch.)

Still, childlike joy is also an important part of Christmas. This song has got to be the weirdest I’ve heard in a long time. But that’s what makes it so awesome. Go ahead, just try to refrain from singing it constantly; I bet you can’t! I know I can’t stop singing/mumbling it, much to the delight, and disgust, of my family.

Merry Christmas from the Buerstetta’s to all who celebrate! Happy Thursday to all who don’t! 

2011 Music Favorites

All you grammar pedants can rest easy: I’m not about to try to delineate over two thousand items. I mean that colloquially, this is my favorite music from last year.

(Why not call them “the best of…”? Well, I guess because I know these are just my opinions. Just because I liked these things doesn’t necessarily mean they were the best of that category. On the other hand, these are the ones I like best, so maybe I should call them that… Probably better to just move on…)

Thanks largely to Sirius/XM radio, I heard more new music in 2011 than I have in a long, long time. Or at least music that was new to me. My top new (to me) bands, in no particular order:

The Naked and Famous

Cage the Elephant

Airborne Toxic Event

The Civil Wars


Neon Indian

Neon Trees  Seriously? 2 bands with “Neon” in their title?! How does that happen?



Snow Patrol

The Joy Formidable

Lots of really good music there, hard to go wrong with any of them. Still, as good as those were, they didn’t quite make final cut as my favorite song in 2011.

My 2011 Three Favorite Songs:

3. Florence + the Machine – “Shake it Out.” I just discovered this song late in the year, but I can’t stop hearing it in my head. It’s just so catchy. It even makes a terrible dancer like me want to get up and move. Though, for whatever reasons, I find I like this song better with just audio. The video weakens it for me. See what you think:


2. The Decemberists – Their The King is Dead album was my favorite of the year. I liked it all, from first track to last. “This is Why We Fight” was my introduction to them, a song I liked a lot. But after listening to the album a bazillion times, I’ve settled on “Down by the Water” as my favorite song. But, again, you really can’t go wrong with any song from this offering.


1. Mumford & Sons – “The Cave.” I liked their album a whole bunch too, just not quite as much from top to bottom as I did The King is Dead. “Little Lion Man” and “Roll Away Your Stone” were really good. But the song that I just can’t stop playing – both out loud and in my head – is this one. “But I will hold on hope.. And I’ll find strength in pain/ And I will change my ways/ I’ll know my name as it’s called again…” So. Good.


Finally, a different sort of song. Because hard rocking and social commentary get me every time. This is my most important song of the year: Rise Against – “Make it Stop.”

This video is a little hard to watch, and might contain triggers for those who’ve experienced bullying and/or had suicidal thoughts.

It is my most important song of the year because I’m absolutely convinced that the global Christian church is at the core of most of the homophobia in the U.S. That must stop. And it must reverse: the church needs to now be at the forefront decrying violence and discrimination against the LGBT community. This song can help:

But, hey, I’m no music critic, I just like what I like. How about you? What was your favorite music from 2011?

Similar posts coming soon: 2011 Favorite Movie, Picture & Post