Archive for December, 2007

What on Earth?

December 31, 2007

apollo08_earthrise

Gentle Reader, As you know I am first of all a man of Faith, but not only a child of God, but also an Educator a Philosopher, an Historian, an Archaeologist, a pastor /teacher and a husband and father and wee story teller. So when I tell you that I study anywhere from 10-14 hours a day you can take that to the bank (now understand) that is not every day now sometimes just a few short hours (like today) Marti is sick and while we have relatives they don’t call or come around so we are more or less on our own). I am sure that you feel that way at times, as if your all alone, well your not but to be frank the more I learn to more I am impressed with how small and insignificant we seem by comparison to the vast Universe that we live in. And yet for all the learning that we have done since we crawled out of the slime (You see I pander to those who reject even the possibility of Creator ,<grin>.)

But whether you ascribe to the Big Bang Theory or perhaps a more down to earth (sorry I couldn’t resist) belief system . I think you would agree that we are somehow all connected. There is an order to this world , earth Universe right down to the atoms that make up our bodies. We all need to see ourselves in the perspective of the Universe

WHAT IS THE KOSMOS?

Communion and friendship and orderliness and temperance and justice bind together heaven and earth and gods and men; this universe is, therefore, called KOSMOS, or order; not disorder or misrule (Gorgia 508 Plato).

Regarding the above concept of KOSMOS, consider the following by  Dr. E. W. Bullinger:

“… KOSMOS denotes the order of the world, the ordered universe, the ordered entirety of God’s creation, but considered as separated from God. Then, the abode of humanity, or that order of things in which humanity moves, or of which man is the centre; then, mankind as it manifests itself in and through such an order; then, that order of things which, in consequence of and since the Fall, is alienated from God, as manifested in and through the human race.” (P. 901, Critical Lexicon. and Concordance).

John, in his Gospel (3:16), says, “For God so loved the KOSMOS … ” or (3:17) says, “For God sent not His Son into the KOSMOS to condemn the KOSMOS but that the KOSMOS through Him might be saved.” In John’s first Epistle (1 John 2:15) John sees that there is in this KOSMOS a contrary ORDER to God’s law of love as he so well expresses it … a KOSMOS that is a bringer of CHAOS,”… love not the KOSMOS, neither the things that are in the KOSMOS. If any man love the KOSMOS, the love of The Father is not in him,” This is no conflict with the statement that God loves the KOSMOS and seeks its redemption, since John goes on to define his statement in 1 John 2:16, “For all that is in the KOSMOS, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, IS NOT OF THE FATHER, but is of the KOSMOS.” Within God’s there is a love and loveliness that honors Him and all it touches, that makes man more Christ-like and noble.

Tragically, there is another selfish love that only takes but does not give, that tears down, destroys instead of building up. It too is a SYSTEM, a KOSMOS, social, political, ethical and religious, addressing itself to man’s selfish pride — two systems, two rulers, two laws.

Defining the Word, KOSMOS, Its Origins

As we look at this word, KOSMOS, we discover that it is already a very familiar word. We hear it in the word COSMETIC, that ability to beautify the body. This is from the Greek, KOSMETIKOS (skilled in arranging) from KOSMETOS, (well-ordered), from KOSMEIN (to arrange, order), from KOSMOS (order). The ancient Greeks used this word in that homey sense — an ornament, decoration, embellishment, dress, especially of women but also of men and horses. They spoke of olive-wreath, of the ornamentation of speech, of the, sweet song of praise, of poets and poems — all under this name. So it should not be surprising to us to first find this word in Matt. 12:44 of a house that had been furnished (garnished, A.V.) — an empty house, a house without a Master-waiting, a picture of Israel, surely. After her return from captivity, she no longer em-braced the unclean idols of paganism; she cleaned up her house according to the letter of the law. No fault could be found with her morality, her house was well ordered, but it was empty of that essential PRESENCE that gives meaning to it all.

In Matt. 25:7 we hear the word again in the “trimming of lamps.” These were ceremonial torches to be raised on high upon the arrival of the bridegroom, and thereafter to escort the bridegroom to the marriage. This word was used (Matt. 23:29) of the decorating of tombs, of buildings (Lk. 21:5) and of persons (1 Tim. 2:9).

Adorn one’s self in orderly apparel is what the apostle is really saying. This is to compliment the ORDERLY BEHAVIOR of 1 Tim. 3:2, and the inner beauty or cosmetics of the spirit of 1 Peter 3:3-5. It is in this last light that we read Titus 2:10, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.” It is not difficult to realize that what we are and how we act will dramatize the doctrine of our Savior-God, make it attractive and appealing, or thrust others from it. In this, each of us is a micro-kosmos of what we believe — an ADORNMENT for good or ill. We are the guise in which the doctrine of God our Savior is presented to others. So, should we not be an ADORNMENT that casts the best possible light upon the Christ we teach? Epictetus (Enchirid. cap. 62), states, in effect, that a woman was nothing unless she was properly ARRANGED. May the beauty of Christ clothe us as a garment.

 We are connected Gentle reader, to the earth, the Kosmos (universe and to our creator, more on that later) and to each other. When we hurt one another then we are hurting ourselves… To be continued…

 Love, Denis 

We are connected

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No War?

December 19, 2007
Gentle Reader,

It’s the time of year when we think of those times when it is all right with the world “Peace on earth Good will toward men” Well here is a True story read think and enjoy! Hope and dream! What if we said NO MORE WAR!

D decorativeenis

Silent night lyrics

It was December 25, 1914, only 5 months into World War I. German, British, and French soldiers, already sick and tired of the senseless killing, disobeyed their superiors and fraternized with “the enemy” along two-thirds of the Western Front (a crime punishable by death in times of war). German troops held Christmas trees up out of the trenches with signs, “Merry Christmas.”

“You no shoot, we no shoot.” Thousands of troops streamed across a no-man’s land strewn with rotting corpses. They sang Christmas carols, exchanged photographs of loved ones back home, shared rations, played football, even roasted some pigs. Soldiers embraced men they had been trying to kill a few short hours before. They agreed to warn each other if the top brass forced them to fire their weapons, and to aim high.

A shudder ran through the high command on either side. Here was disaster in the making: soldiers declaring their brotherhood with each other and refusing to fight. Generals on both sides declared this spontaneous peacemaking to be treasonous and subject to court martial. By March 1915 the fraternization movement had been eradicated and the killing machine put back in full operation. By the time of the armistice in 1918, fifteen million would be slaughtered.

Not many people have heard the story of the Christmas Truce. On Christmas Day, 1988, a story in the Boston Globe mentioned that a local FM radio host played “Christmas in the Trenches,” a ballad about the Christmas Truce, several times and was startled by the effect. The song became the most requested recording during the holidays in Boston on several FM stations. “Even more startling than the number of requests I get is the reaction to the ballad afterward by callers who hadn’t heard it before,” said the radio host. “They telephone me deeply moved, sometimes in tears, asking, `What the hell did I just hear?’ ”

I think I know why the callers were in tears. The Christmas Truce story goes against most of what we have been taught about people. It gives us a glimpse of the world as we wish it could be and says, “This really happened once.” It reminds us of those thoughts we keep hidden away, out of range of the TV and newspaper stories that tell us how trivial and mean human life is. It is like hearing that our deepest wishes really are true: the world really could be different.

This song is based on a true story from the front lines of World War I that I’ve heard many times. Ian Calhoun, a Scot, was the commanding officer of the British forces involved in the story. He was subsequently court-martialed for ‘consorting with the enemy’ and sentenced to death. Only George V spared him from that fate. — 

My name is Francis Toliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here,
I fought for King and country I love dear.

‘Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung.
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung.
Our families back in England were toasting us that day,
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.

I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground,
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound.
Says I, “Now listen up, me boys!” each soldier strained to hear,
As one young German voice sang out so clear.

“He’s singing bloody well, you know!” my partner says to me.
Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony.The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more,
As Christmas brought us respite from the war.

As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent,
“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” struck up some lads from Kent.
The next they sang was “Stille Nacht,” “‘Tis ‘Silent Night,'” says I,
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky.

“There’s someone coming towards us!” the front line sentry cried.
All sights were fixed on one lone figure trudging from their side.
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shone on that plain so bright,
As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night.

Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man’s Land,
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand.
We shared some secret brandy and wished each other well,
And in a flare lit soccer game we gave ’em hell.

We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home.
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own.
Young Sanders played his squeezebox and they had a violin,
This curious and unlikely band of men.

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more.
With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war.
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night:
“Whose family have I fixed within my sights?”

‘Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung.
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung.
For the walls they’d kept between us to exact the work of war,
Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore.

My name is Francis Toliver, in Liverpool I dwell,
Each Christmas come since World War I, I’ve learned its lessons well,
That the ones who call the shots won’t be among the dead and lame,
And on each end of the rifle we’re the same.

xmas

More stories

December 18, 2007

Gentle reader,

It’s the time of year when I sit back and let you take over to share you amazing Christmas stories of love, kindness, compassion and those special moments that bring a smile to your face and perhaps a tear to your eye. First up let’s hear from Elizabeth Toole

O Holy Night’

“So where do you think we will be going to church next month?” That became a common inquiry from my husband. We had moved to this mid-Atlantic hinterland and found ourselves in search of a new church. This mission was compounded by the fact that we knew no one. Weekly, we checked out a different church to find the perfect place to worship.

After months, we found the perfect place (or so we thought). It was close to home, had a great children’s program, and seemed to have an appropriate amount of young, growing families. I spoke with the greeter and found out who to call. The next day, Monday, I did just that.

“Hello, may I speak with Reverend Coleman?…Oh, well is there a better time to reach him? My family and I have been relocated to this area, and we really like your church and your congregation and would like the appropriate paperwork to formally join.”

 

The receptionist, who had been taking Reverend Coleman’s calls, told me that we could not join the church because too many families were enrolled. A new congregation was forming, however. “Perhaps you could speak with someone there,” she said. I was to call a man whom I did not know, at a place that did not exist, for a congregation that was only being formed…somewhere.

“Okay, we will go back to the church one more time, and maybe we can find out where this new group meets,” I told my husband and children. They were agreeable, mainly because we always went to breakfast after church. The draw was not the worship but the fellowship and the feast afterward. At the next Sunday mass, the homily was actually given by the new leader of the scattered flock of people. Thus, we now had a contact; her name was Mary Lou. I called her the next day.

“Oh, yes, yes, yes!” she said. “We would love to have you join our congregation. May I stop over and introduce myself and bring the paperwork for you and your family? We are still looking for a permanent place to have our weekly church gatherings, but we are delighted that you will be joining us.” Mary Lou chattered on for a while longer, and I knew we were going in the right direction, although I was not sure where.

“Mommy, I thought we were going to church,” Jay questioned the following Sunday as we pulled into the parking lot of a movie theater.

“We are, sweetheart,” I answered, as his daddy parked the car. Jason’s eyes lit up, and he was not about to let this drop, thinking one or both of his parents had lost their minds. “Why are we here if we are supposed to be going to church?”

“The church is not a church yet, and we do not have anywhere else to go, so we are going to the movie theater,” I explained. None of us really cared where we went after a few weeks, especially because on these days we began going to the movies after church, which took the place of breakfast. Pop and popcorn began to substitute for ham and eggs.

As the summer wore into autumn, and the leaves began to drop from the trees, the congregation continued to grow and the accommodations in the movie theater became too small. It was time to move on again, and the new location was, again, due to the generosity of a community member. This time we were shuffled to an old, gray barn. It was not much to look at, but it served the purpose — and our active, hard-working, and still-growing community gathered at this rustic spot, now filled with folding chairs.

It took a long time to get wiring into this dimly lit structure to supply us with light, heat, and a microphone. Reverend Appleby fortunately had a sense of humor and a booming voice. However, as October transitioned into November, and Thanksgiving ushered in Advent, our necessity for heavy coats during church became more apparent.

“Jim, make sure the kids have their gloves this morning,” I said. “It is really cold. I know we should expect December weather, but the wind seems brutal today.”

“Check. We have gloves and hats, and I grabbed a blanket, just in case we need it. We can wrap these little monkeys up; they’ll stay warm for the hour.”

The cold weather brought preparation but still no permanent church. December wore on and Christmas Eve appeared in a flash.

Again, we had the checklist before church. “Honey, let’s keep the kids extra warm. It may snow tonight. Can you help me get Katie’s boots on?”

Robby, our second child, mumbled, “Mommy, do we have to go? It’s too cold.”

“Yes, honey, we do. It is Christmas Eve, and if we have time to wait for Santa, we have time to go to church and remember Jesus’ birthday.”

So we packed up the children and drove to the barn. “This is an exceptionally blustery night,” I remarked. “It is a good thing that Daddy remembered the blanket, isn’t it?”

“Yes!” the three children yelled in unison. Dusk slipped into darkness as we parked along the old country road and trudged along to the barn, children in tow, wrapped up so much that they could barely walk. We entered our familiar “church.”

The old, gray barn was no longer just an old, gray barn. It had been transformed into a nativity scene — a real one, with a real manger and real sheep and a cow and a donkey. Hay was everywhere. The eyes of the children were filled with sheer wonder. Amid the animals were people. The woman wore a blue robe, and the man was in old, brown sackcloth tied with a rope. He held a staff, and she held an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. They were not just people; they were the Holy Family. They were surrounded by shepherds tending the flock. I don’t remember what the music was, if there was any. Nor do I remember what the homily was, if one was given. I don’t even know if we stayed warm enough. I do remember being in the presence of the true spirit of Christmas. It was magnificent.

That Christmas Eve celebration could have lasted ineforever. We finally left the barn to find that snow was lightly falling and the stars were announcing the birth of Jesus. We all felt a silent joy at the miraculous event we had been witness to. Eventually, we did find a church to call our own. But nothing ever came close to that Christmas Eve of wonder, with Jesus in the old, gray barn. —

Well, Gentle reader, now it’s your turn send me your story nlong or short and we’ll share it wwith the world. funnun or sad!

 Just remember We are the World!

Christmas?

December 14, 2007

God's work

Christmas? God’s gift!

Gentle Reader,

Before you think that I have no sense of Holy Day spirit Let me tell you about last year.

Just a week before Christmas I had a visitor. This is how it happened. I just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed, when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door to the front room and to my surprise, Santa himself stepped out next to the fireplace.


“What are you doing?” I started to ask. The words choked up in my throat and I saw he had tears in his eyes. His usual jolly manner was gone. Gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know. He then answered me with a simple statement . . .


sad

TEACH THE CHILDREN!” I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement brought forth a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood bewildered, Santa said, “Teach the children!

Teach them the old meaning of Christmas. The meaning that now-a-days Christmas has forgotten. “Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a FIR TREE and placed it before the mantle. “Teach the children that the pure green color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round, depicting the everlasting hope of mankind, all the needles point heavenward, making it a symbol of man’s thoughts turning toward heaven.”


He again reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant STAR. “Teach the children that the star was the heavenly sign of promises long ago. God promised a Savior for the world, and the star was the sign of fulfillment of His promise.”
He then reached into his bag and pulled out a CANDLE. “Teach the children that the candle symbolizes that Christ is the light of the world, and when we see this great light we are reminded of He who displaces the darkness.”
Once again he reached into his bag and removed a WREATH and placed it on the tree. “Teach the children that the wreath symbolizes the real nature of love. Real love never ceases. Love is one continuous round of affection.”
He then pulled from his bag an ORNAMENT of himself. “Teach the children that I, Santa Claus, symbolize the generosity and good will we feel during the month of December.”
He then brought out a HOLLY LEAF. “Teach the children that the holly plant represents immortality. It represents the crown of thorns worn by our Savior. The red holly berries represent the blood shed by Him.
Next he pulled from his bag a GIFT and said, “Teach the children that God so loved the world that he gave his begotten son.” Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
Santa then reached in his bag and pulled out a CANDY CANE and hung it on the tree. “Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherds’ crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep to the flock. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother’s keeper.”
He reached in again and pulled out an ANGEL. “Teach the children that it was the angels that heralded in the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. The angels sang Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men.”
Suddenly I heard a soft twinkling sound, and from his bag he pulled out a BELL,. “Teach the children that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, it should ring mankind to the fold. The bell symbolizes guidance and return.

Santa looked back and was pleased. He looked back at me and I saw that the twinkle was back in his eyes. He said, “Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center, for I am but a humble servant of the One that is, and I bow down to worship him, our LORD, our GOD.”

There you have it, Gentle Reader,

Love, Denis

christmas_gifts_santa

My favorite Christmas story

December 9, 2007

The Gift of the Magi
By O. Henry

 

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”

The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling–something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”

“Will you buy my hair?” asked Della.

“I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.”

Down rippled the brown cascade.

“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

“Give it to me quick,” said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”

At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.

Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.”

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”

“You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

“Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?”

Jim looked about the room curiously.

“You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs–the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims–just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!”

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.”

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.”

The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. Oh all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

My Birthday

December 4, 2007

Dear Loved One,
 
As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday. Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is saying that my birthday is getting closer and closer.
 
It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me. As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration. Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don’t know the meaning of the celebration.
 
I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts. But, do you want to know something? I wasn’t invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn’t remember to send me an invitation. The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face …. and I wanted to be with them and share their table.
 
In truth, that didn’t surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me. Since I wasn’t invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner. They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time. To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho! He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying: ‘Santa Claus, Santa Claus’ … as if the party were in his honor!
 
At 12 Midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and … do you know … no one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me.
 
What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one? I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.
 
Every year it gets worse. People only remember to eat and drink, the gifts, the parties and nobody remembers me. I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.
 
I want to share something with you. As many didn’t invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party.
 
I’m still making the final arrangements. Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book. Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party. Those who don’t answer the invite, will be left outside.
 
Be prepared because when all is ready, you will be part of my great party.
See you soon.
I Love you!
 
 
JESUS….

As time goes by

December 2, 2007

eternity

“As sands through the hourglass so are the days of our lives”

Gentle Reader,

 I’m back!

 after being spammed so bad that my website was overrun by those who you wouldn’t want to marry your daughter. But it gave me time to enjoy the comedy of American politics. I still say that you need to write your representative and tell them they need to straighten up or come home.  I would like to tell you that by book “Which Church” is coming along. But I am still doing research.  I was voted in the the British Centre for Science Education and Also Associates in Biblical Archaeology.

 But enough about me what have you been doing?

 I’m going to write a series on Christians, Christmas and the rest of the world Called “Fact, fiction,  and foolocracy.   

 See more after we eat a wee something.

 Love,

Denis