Tag Archives: Christmas

I Cannot Say It Better

Gary Varvel [garyvarvel.com], the editorial cartoonist for the Indianapolis Star [www.indystar.com] is a genius who can draw a picture that is truly worth at LEAST a thousand words.

In this day of fewer and fewer newspapers, and inevitably, even fewer quality dailies, it is a wonderful gift to still have some publishers and editors who understand how humor can convey a stronger message than even the best written article—and as a writer, saying that does not come easily.

As a Christian, I wish you a Merry Christmas. As a member of this melting pot we call America, I wish you Happy Holidays. As a human, I wish peace on earth to all  people of good will—and I advise everyone to celebrate any and every holiday that reminds you that we are all in this together; there is no “them,” only 7.53 billion of “us.”

XMAS, Improved

My friend, Rick Martinez, with whom I’ve shared wonderful intellectual and philosophical conversations—as well as my writing efforts throughout the years—comments on some of my blogs. This is in response to my last blog, and is a beautiful thought for the season. I formatted it as a blog, but the thoughts and words are Rick’s, unchanged.

Thank you, Steve, for writing about Christmas—the Birth of Christ. No matter of all the “scientific” facts surrounding when Jesus was born and who believes what–there’s at least two general things we all acknowledge and accept as true. At the time and in the area of Christ’s birth, what was true 2000 years ago continues to be true today–some 2000 years later: There were believers and non-believers and warring factions back then as there are now. And–for Christians all over the world, the most tragic words ever written of our Lord are those set down by the Apostle John in the beginning of his Gospel:

He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Bethlehem had no room for Him when He was born;

Nazareth, no room for Him when He lived; and

Jerusalem, no room for Him when He died.

XMAS

As a Christian, I hold this time of year as a most special time. December 25th has a one in 365 ¼ chance of being Jesus’ actual day of birth. In the absence of accurate records of births circa 003 BCE, and given the significance of the winter solstice—when each day has more light—the early Christian church may have taken advantage of events and combined celebrations. (Since gospel means, “good news,” it should not be surprising that Christians enjoy celebrating all of the good things in life.)

Some Christians take issue with the idea of Xmas, but, as often happens, a study of history enhances understanding. Xmas is not a way of removing Christ from Christmas, but a connection back to a time closer to his life. The “X” is the first letter of “Christos.” the Greek word for Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many Christians have seen the chi-rho symbol, and because of the prominence of the Greek letter rho—which looks like a “P”, they transpose the first (X) and second (P) letters and miss the fact that Xmas appropriately recognizes the Christ and does not replace his name with a variable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, regardless of your religious viewpoint, celebrate a few days of love. History has examples of wartime enemies, laying down their weapons, exchanging food and drink, singing Christmas Carols and playing football (soccer), for one precious, blessed evening. THAT is powerful.

 

 

Counting Down to Christmas

stamp

Parents count the days until Christmas differently than regular people. Are no golden rings, calling birds, pipers, or even a pear tree (sans leaves, since it is winter). Instead, parents way fo counting down to Christmas includes:

Days needed to get a personalized Christmas stocking from (name of mail order retailer here).

The day for the Christmas band/orchestra/choir concert.

The day that the kids need to bring canned food for the needy or a gift for Toys for Tots.

The day you panic and run to the corner drugstore to print out family pictures to send with the Christmas cards.

The day you should have gotten the photos.

The day you should have sent out Christmas cards.

The day you panic and run to the post office to get stamps for the Christmas cards. (And out of 47 styles of special Christmas stamps, they have only one left—the one you used last year, and the year before that, and—you know).

The day you make a list for next year, which you promptly misplace.

Parents—people with strength, courage, humor–and a totally warped perception of reality, which is how they survive.

Christmas Night

What more can be said about Christmas that hasn’t already been said?

Among the gifts, one that many overlook –

A gift whose value is beyond measure.

A gift that need not, and indeed cannot be returned.

A gift that surely elicits the response, “It’s just what I wanted and just what I needed.”

A gift that doesn’t need the label to say, “From:”

A Savior.

So What Is Christmas?

SONY DSC

Isn’t that the question? What is Christmas?

Whatever you want it to be.

When you look at Christmas, it reflects your thoughts, your wants, your needs.

To a child, it’s a day that will never come. A day of wonderment and, of course, TOYS!

To a merchant, it may be the time of year when he gets his reward for keeping his doors open and his shelves stocked.

To some, it may be the time of year they can count on getting a job – even if only for a few months.

To a Christian, it may be a time of great joy – or even a time in which you wonder why you aren’t feeling great joy.

To a non-Christian, it may just be puzzling.

When Christ was on earth, He did the things only He could do. In other things, he expected His followers to take action – “Give her something to eat.” “Go out and take neither staff nor purse.”

He was trying to teach us to see things the way He did.

Not a leper. Not a despised tax collector or a prostitute. Each a person, loved by God.

This Christmas, look at it and try to see the best you can. A time of caring. A time to demonstrate what Christianity is about. Listen to others. Appreciate the fact that each of us is unique. O not judge.

Then take Christmas as a starting point and carry it with you as we head into the new year.

Trust me. Christmas will be what you want it to be.

Advent

domestic-church.com

domestic-church.com

With so much going on, it snuck up on me that today is the First Sunday of Advent – the preparation time before Christmas. I walked into church and was surprised to see the Advent Wreath.

Our priest, Father Brian mentioned that as he was growing up in Western Pennsylvania, Catholics didn’t use Advent wreaths. Advent wreaths were a Protestant custom. In Northwest Ohio, either we did use Advent Wreaths or my memory has decided to alter the past and believe we did.

It really doesn’t matter. What matters is what we do through whatever avenue we communicate with God. Do we place Him where He belongs? Do we look out for those who need our care and support? Do we try to do what’s right even if it’s not easy or popular? However we celebrate – with a Menorah, an Advent Wreath, a prayer wheel, worry beads, whatever – let’s just do some good.

We owe it to each other. We owe it to Him.