Monday, December 18, 2006

"Christmas" or Christmas?

Letter from Jesus:

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth just, GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Now, having said that, let Me go on.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can and may remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15:1-8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it.

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile - it could make the difference. Also, you might consider supporting the local suicide hot-line: they talk with people like that every day.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a "Merry Christmas" that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8. Here's a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them (and I suspect you don't) buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Marines, the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

9. Finally if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

PS - Don't forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember,

I LOVE YOU - Jesus


A friend emailed me the above and I got a good chuckle out of it. But then I started thinking - always a dangerous thing, I know, LOL. There are a lot of truths in it. Yes, I know the ACLU and other organizations are trying to "shut down" religious references in public. Christmas bears the largest brunt of this effort because Christians are the largest religious group in America. (for an explanation of the ORIGIN of the phrase "separation of church and state" please look to my reply in comments section of Don't Drag ME into This!; 19th comment down, or so, with posting time of 6:14 AM.)

The Bible teaches Christians to "do good" in secret and to not be boastful. When did everything get to the point where we are clamoring for public displays of nativity scenes and menorahs and God knows what else? When did it become important which religion had more or bigger or equivalent symbols out there? There are other ways to stand up for your faith besides all this silly bickering that is in the newspapers every other day.

I am Christian, but I think my thoughts would apply to other religious groups. Is it my town's job to bring Christmas to me? Or is it MY job, as a Christian, to bring what Christmas teaches me to the world? A "Christmas" tree - not so important. A Christmas meal and gifts delivered to an underprivileged family - very important. A "Christmas" nativity scene in the village square - not so important. Attending a Christmas church service with gratitude and love in our hearts - very important. The furor caused because a salesperson is mandated to wish us happy holidays instead of Merry "Christmas" - not so important. Treating everyone we meet with respect, patience and a smile - very important.

Whether you substitute Chanukah and menorah, or other religions and symbols, I think it all boils down to one thing. Don't look at what the world "owes" your faith - but look to find what good your faith can bring TO the world.

Merry Christmas!

A small santons crèche that I keep out all year round.
Santon means "little saint" and is a type of folk art
from the Provence region of France.
For an idea of the scale, the sheep is only an inch, tip to tail.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Beta Blogger

Well, I think I managed to switch to beta blogger tonight. I think some of the other templates are pretty cool, so I may swap around once in awhile!

Before switching, I was having problems leaving comments on other blogs that had already gone beta. Some advice that others gave me was to choose the "Anonymous" option to leave comments. This does work - but please remember to leave your blog or screen name in your comment, since it won't appear if you post comments anonymously.

Meanwhile, If anyone has any idea how to change the column size, please share! I'd like to make the column on left, with blog lists, less wide and make the "story" side wider.

Addendum: Some things I like better about beta are easier template changes, easier to add blogroll links, easier to change font/colors and when someone comments and it shoots you a notification email it has that blogger's link right in the email. You can click and go straight to their blog with out having to go to your own comments to click on their link there.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Breathe Again

Very early this morning a casual friend of mine emailed and asked me to call her. She and I are both members of the same online stenciling group. We have emailed extensively over the years and have even talked on the phone, but we've never met face-to-face. She lives near the university where my son goes to school, but in the few times I've been in the area we haven't had time to "catch up" in person.

I called her and she told me how she had just heard on the news that there was a gunman loose near the university. The South Campus, where the dorms are, was in lock-down mode. She was hoping I could call my son and tell him to stay put, wherever he was.

Do you know what happens to a mother's heart when she hears something like that? It stops. I tried calling my son's cell, no answer. I left an email message. I kept trying the cell. I finally called the university Public Safety office - they told me about the lock-down and that no students had been hurt. No students hurt. Take a deep breath. But where is he? Is he someplace safe? I called a dean's office and the secretary informed me that a suspicious man had been seen in the residential area across from South Campus at 3:30 am. The police came to investigate and the gunman shot ten rounds at them. Public Safety was notified and the South Campus went into lock-down at about 4 am. Take another breath. Chances are he was in the dorm asleep, at the time of lock-down - meaning he was still in the dorm.

I finally heard his groggy voice at about 10:30 am. Breathe again. He had not answered the phone because he had been asleep. Yes, college students can pretty much sleep through anything, even emergency phone calls from mom every ten minutes. My son's roommate had an early morning class but was soon back in the dorm room after being stopped by the lock-down - they had all gone back to sleep.

I found out that back-up was called after the gunman fired on the local police - along with a SWAT team and K-9 units. They never found the gunman. My son called later in the afternoon and told me not to worry, everything was back to normal. Maybe for him.

Several weeks ago The Rev. Dr. Kate posted a a wonderful blog entry on proverbs, quotations and maxims, called Words of Wisdom. I have just the one for today:

"Making the decision to have a child--it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." - Elizabeth Stone