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Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

I, honestly, cannot remember if this was also circulated around last year or not in our emails as well; whatever the case though, it certainly would bear repeating….enjoy!!

A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.


Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.


My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.


The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,

then thesure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.


My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.


A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.


‘What are you doing?’ I asked without fear,
‘Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!’


For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts..
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light,
Then he sighed and he said ‘Its really all right,

I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.’


‘It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line,
That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,

I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.


My Gramps died at ‘ Pearl on a day in December,’
He sighed, ‘That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.’

My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘ Nam ‘,
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
< /S PAN>


I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.


Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, and blue… an American flag.
I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home.


I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother..


Who sta! nd at th e front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.’
‘So go back inside,’ he said, ‘harbor no fright,
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.’


‘But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
‘Give you money,’ I asked, ‘or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.’


In his eyes welled a tear that held no regret,
‘Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.


For when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled.
Is payment enough, and with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.’

——————————————————————-


PLEASE, Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities.  Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.

LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN
30t h Naval Construction Regiment
OIC, Logistics Cell One
Al Taqqadum , Iraq

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Gone seem to be the days when the neighbors would gather at someone’s home, practice some caroling songs that they would be singing, have hot chocolate and goodies to warm themselves up, put on their scarves and mittens, and head out the door to sing from house to house in their neighborhood.  Why would that be?  Could it be that everyone is so worried about being politically correct and afraid of offending someone by singing Christian Carols to a Jewish home, for instance??? 

Ughhhghghghhh……

Visiting a client the other day, I observed a groups of highschool gals that decided that they were trapse up and down the corridors of the facilities.  The smiles of joy on the faces of the residents as they openned up their doors and saw the young gals singing directly to them was priceless.  When I wasn’t looking they circled around me and sang to me as well.  What a comfort and joy that was to be sung to; I don’t remember feeling that sensation in such a long time and more people would greatly benefit in this world by the old fashion door to door caroling.

The commercials with the singing cards taken around by the carolers is great…as one of the carolers hands the card to the recipient, then whispers “open the card”.  The sparkling of the eyes as the song was played was a great surprise, but not quite as heartfelt as coming directly from the caroler’s voices.

Somehow things are getting away from the personalization of the event at times and that is a shame.  The traditions bring warmth, sense of friendships and a sense of belonging and being a part of an event, seem to be disappearing as more and more families opt for more automated, commercialized celebrations of the holidays.  That was seemingly emphasized sarcastically by the below Heathcliff cartoon.  Sad.  So sad!

Perhaps, traditions will begin again and renew the spirits of the holiday seasons for everyone….before we lose the giving spirit and generosity of Christmas.

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especially in the world of the media and politics which can often grey out some black and white viewpoints, leaving folks not knowing whether they stand for what they believe in or believe in what they stand for, an author comes forward and writes a book entitled, God’s Politics:  Why the Right gets it Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It (by Jim Wallis, also a speaker on the Minnesota Public Radio) from which he states in part:

“… Of course, nobody can steal your personal faith; that’s between you and God.   The problem is in the political arena, where strident voices claim to represent Christians when they clearly don’t speak for most of us. It’s time to take back our faith in the public square, especially in a time when a more authentic social witness is desperately needed.

The religious and political Right gets the public meaning of religion mostly wrong –preferring to focus only on sexual and cultural issues while ignoring the weightier matters of justice. And the secular Left doesn’t seem to get the meaning and promise of faith for politics at all-mistakenly dismissing spirituality as irrelevant to social change. I actually happen to be conservative on issues of personal responsibility, the sacredness of human life, the reality of evil in our world, and the critical importance of individual character, parenting, and strong “family values.” But the popular presentations of religion in our time (especially in the media) almost completely ignore the biblical vision of social justice and, even worse, dismiss such concerns as merely “left wing.”

It is indeed time to take back our faith.

Take back our faith from whom? To be honest, the confusion comes from many sources. From religious right-wingers who claim to know God’s political views on every issue, then ignore the subjects that God seems to care the most about. From pedophile priests and cover-up bishops who destroy lives and shame the church. From television preachers whose extravagant lifestyles and crass fund-raising tactics embarrass more Christians than they know. From liberal secularists who want to banish faith from public life and deny spiritual values to the soul of politics. And even from liberal theologians whose cultural conformity and creedal modernity serve to erode the foundations of historic biblical faith. From New Age philosophers who want to make Jesus into a nonthreatening spiritual guru. And from politicians who love to say how religious they are but utterly fail to apply the values of faith to their public leadership and political policies. …”

The whole sordid controversy shouldn’t even be there.   True.  Americans pride themselves on the premise of the separation of the State and Church, but just because a politician expresses themselves based on their religious beliefs as a human being and an American themselves, doesn’t mean that they are trying to mix the politics with religion.  That would be taking the context of the separation of Church and State out of context and twisting it into an issue that shouldn’t exist.  What they are referring to with the mix of Church and State is, for example, while the Catholic Church may take a stance of being against abortions, it doesn’t mean that the Government of the United States must also take a stance of being against abortions just because the Catholic Church may say so.

There isn’t anything meant further by wishing one a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Chanukah” to someone, even if they are in politics, other than expressing the greetings which have become a part of the celebration of the holidays representated by the beliefs in the culture of their religions. 

Okay, so I have digressed a bit.

At any rate, from the excerpt above from Jim Wallis’ book on God Politics, it seems that there is a movement to understand the religious perspectives on social changes or social justices in the world and the mingling of a coming to a better understanding what the beliefs are through a “taking back our faith” process.  It would be interesting to read the book in full and see Jim Wallis’ viewpoint on this issue.

Have you read this book yet????  What do you think????

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and the overreaction of the criticism of his message to wish everyone a Merry Christmas in one of his recent messages on tv.  This video is from the Today Show appearance…

[YouTube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKMDJ46G4M4]

It is such a shame that folks have to be intimidated by expressing a simple greeting based on their religious belief.  Gone are the days in many countries that many have to hide the Bibles as a symbol of their quest for knowledge based in the Christian beliefs; why should the United States be so much in a uproar over a simple greeting — especially when the vast majority of the citizens of the United States have a founding belief based in some form of Christianity belief system.

A saying by Mahatma Ghandi:

bullet “The need of the moment is not one religion, but mutual respect and tolerance of the devotees of the different religions.

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What happend to the giving of the lump of coal in the stocking???

Can you imagine the psychiatrist bill in overcoming a child’s potential emotional impact from being degraded and humiliated by carrying a balloon marked “Naughty!”???  Of course, on the other hand, if the child deserved it though, is it good to hold them accountable for their actions throughout the year???? 😉

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At any rate, Heathcliff certainly doesn’t look very happy, does he???

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OMG….

just perusing Slate.com and came across a “recycled article” that is republished to make it a new article on Monday, December 17th called, “How to be a shopping-mall Santa”, which is indeed a very thorough article about Shopping Mall Santas.

It brought a smile to my face and a rush of memories as I had worked for one of the organizer companies of these Shopping Mall Santas one year.  It was a great time of coordinating with the malls all the Santas we needed to fill for their Santa photo opps within each of the malls.  Not only were we coordinating schedules for those Santas in Austin, but we were also involved in coordinating schedules for those Santas in many of the other malls in Houston, San Antonio and other metropolitan cities throughout Texas.

What an interesting year that was to be a behind the scenes coordinating elf to make sure that all the malls were fully staffed with the Santas – especially, when receiving the compliments from all the long time veteran Santas that were putting smiles on childrens faces.  After all, besides being the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, Christmas is also about bringing a special joy and memories to all the children.

I am looking forward to going to the mall this year when I do get a chance — not really to do Christmas shopping as I have completed my Christmas shopping for this year — but to observe from a vantage point all the children’s faces light up when they see Santa Claus at the shopping mall to hear what they want for Christmas, as well as to get their photos taken with Santa.  My daughter is too old now to have her photo taken with Santa; however, I am hoping to get a picture of my 5 mo old granddaughter with Santa Claus.  I can’t wait!!

Hoping that visions of Santas in Shopping Malls may also bring rushes of fond memories of your childhood, or as a parent of young children this year!

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