Stories in the Missional Journey of Bruce & Deborah Crowe

Wednesday, Dec 9

This year our family is going ‘all Ukrainian’ for Christmas, well, at least with the date.  In Ukraine they celebrate Christ’s birth on Jan 7, December 25 is a work day.   No decorations or trees until the end of the month.  On the 25th we’ll stop, pause and reflect on the amazing food and friends (notice the order) we are missing on that day, then move on!  It’s interesting to see some of the western traditions of Santa and Christmas trees creeping in.. the retail stores are just trying to spread cheer right?  I like the fact that Ukraine hasn’t adopted everything, but the big stores in Kiev (especially European owned) are doing their best.  What’s comical is the wide variety of western/eastern styles, decor and themes.  Today, I saw an elf riding a tiger, forget a reindeer.


Ukrainian Santa, the kind that give kids nightmares (and some adults too).

I enjoyed this email from Ben Stein this week.  Hope you enjoy it too, remember he’s the teacher from Ferris Bueller movie, so keep his droning voice in your head when reading.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS

Sunday Morning Commentary.


My confession:


I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it

does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up,

bejeweled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t

feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I

don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In

fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters

celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a

manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu .

If people want a creche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a

few hundred yards away.


I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think

Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think

people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around,

period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an

explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I

don’t like it being shoved down my throat. 


Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that

we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as

we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.

But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities

came from and where the America we knew went to.


In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is

a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny,

it’s intended to get you thinking.


Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane

Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’

(regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound

and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened

by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get

out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.

And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect

God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’


In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.

I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her

body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our

schools,and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school.

The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love

your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.


Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they

misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we

might damage their self-esteem. We said an expert should know what

he’s talking about. And we said okay. (Dr. Spock’s son committed



Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why

they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to

kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.


Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.

I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’



Ben Stein


  1. Jeanne

    You do know they have St. Nick, right?? 🙂 He comes on St. Nick’s day and fills socks with presents!!

  2. Bruce

    St. Nick yes, but the the modern ‘Santa’ (red coat, jolly old elf) comes from American 19th century art, right? This is the dude we are seeing in the stores. Interesting Christmas info – for Christmas theologians out there.

  3. Autumn Miller

    Glad to see yall are doing well & survived the whirlwind tour of the States. I hope you & the family have a great Ukrainian holiday!

  4. Dave

    Bruce, you should know that Ben Stein can only claim the first three paragraphs above. The rest was added mid-2006:

    Merry Christmas!

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