“Stay weird. Stay different…”

Last night at the 87th annual Academy Awards show in California, young writer Graham Moore took home the “Oscar” for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie “The Imitation Game.”

In his acceptance speech Graham gave a stirring and moving account of some of his earlier struggles in life. Listen in…

“I tried to commit suicide at 16 and now I am standing here. I would like for this moment to be for that kid out there who feels like she doesn’t fit in anywhere. You do! Stay weird. Stay different, and when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass the same message along.”


Here’s some good news for the day!
You are weird! You are different!
I am weird! I am different!

Whew… glad we got that out of the way.
The simple truth is really not all that simplistic.
Who told us we were supposed to be “normal?”
Who was in charge of defining the parameters, the limitations and the constrictions of “normal?”
Why did we listen to them?
Why on God’s green earth did we bend over backward, stress out over a few pimples, compromise our ethics, eviscerate our personhood, dumb down our value system and so as to “fit in”, all the while denying the very attributes that collide together to make us the beautiful, fascinating, intriguing, interesting, gorgeous, “weird and different” people that we are?

On Facebook today one of my friends wrote…”I was a really weird little kid…”
I find that funny in the sense that I never thought of her in any other way than just a fun girl friend who was very enjoyable to hang out with.

I have a feeling we all felt like “really weird little kids” at some point in our lives. Perhaps we still do.

When I was in Junior High everyone had to give an oral book report. Everyone got up there and did a marvelous job. I got up in front of the class and just started crying. Seventh grade boys “don’t cry.” Well, I did and I was ridiculed and humiliated. In eighth grade when it came time to do the oral book reports, I just went ahead and took an “F.” In ninth grade in Mr. Leigh’s English class I delayed my oral book report for four days until I finally got up there on a Monday morning after spending twelve hours over the weekend memorizing twelve pages of my book report.

I preach for a living now!! How crazy is that?
I could spend the next few pages writing to you about how weird and different I am.
And guess what?
You could too!

Here’s the joy of the matter.
I told my future wife on our second date, “People are whacked! People are weird. They are different. We all have bizarre idiosyncrasies. And if you will simply accept the fact that I am whacked and then I will accept the fact that you are whacked, then we will get along just fine.”

Ever since that second date… We have gotten along just fine!

God has fearfully and wonderfully made you from scratch. There is no one like you! You are weird. You are different! You are unique! You are “one of a kind!” You are special! You are one in seven billion! You are a masterpiece!!

So… Let me echo Graham Moore’s sentiments to you today…

Stay weird!
Stay different!

Who knows?
You just might get an “Oscar” for being “Best Original!”

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139. 13-16)

Laugh often and Fear not!



Look at their faces…
Their eyes twinkle like the Bethlehem star.
Their faces are lit up like the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.
Their cheeks are rosy red.
Their voices fill the room with Christmas cheer.
They are singing Christmas carols and songs of the season.
Their joyful voices sing as one as 30 of them form this most magnificent choir.
They harken us back to our innocent childhood days of the magic of the Christmas season.
They are a choir of most elderly men and women who suffer from the memory stripping disease of Alzheimer’s.

And yet, with their debilitating diminished memory capacities they are able to do that which most of us adults cannot do this time of the year…



Mary Lenard and her longtime friend Marge Ostroushko founded the “Giving Voice Chorus” in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mary offers that the “magic” of this choir is due to the fact that the music of Christmas, along with other golden oldies are stored in a part of our brain that is last affected by Alzheimer’s disease.

Mary Lenard said she cried at the first rehearsal.
Listen to these most powerful and poignant words…
“It’s a time for them to remember who they were before the disease came,” she says. “They don’t feel like they have Alzheimer’s when they’re singing.”

There is just sixteen more days until Christmas.
I am wondering if you suffer from “Christmas Alzheimer’s.”
I am wondering if you have somehow in some way lost the “magic” of Christmas over the years.
I am wondering if you long for the days of the innocence found at the foot of a lighted Christmas tree with its pine scent filling the room while at its feet, Christmas presents bask in the glow awaiting their day to be ripped open.
I am wondering if the busyness of the season has infiltrated our hearts, minds and calendars so much to the point that we find ourselves breathing a sigh of relief when it’s all over.
I am wondering if you will make and take the time and purposefully carve out whatever time it takes to experience the magic of Christmas and do what the “Giving Voice Chorus” does this time of year…

Remember the unadulterated joy of singing…”Hark the herald angels sing… Glory to the newborn king”
Remember the anticipation of Christmas Eve when all through the house everything is as quiet as a mouse…
Remember the voice of Linus who on this day 49 years ago uttered these words on national TV…

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2. 8-14)

Remember that you are the Reason for the Season… “For God so loved the world (that’s you!) that he gave his one and only Son…” (John 3. 16)

Remember that part of you that cherishes, treasures and simply loves the lights, the glitter, the trees, the hustle and bustle, the quietness and the peace…

Remember the peace that came into the world in the form of a babe to offer you just that… peace.

My hope and prayer is that we can rediscover and remember who we were before the “disease” came, the disease of “Christmas Alzheimer’s”…

See if you can remember this Christmas…

Laugh often and Fear not!