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Archive for December, 2010

“Down with Scrooge and up with Tiny Tim– “

A Word to Scrooge

“I don’t talk things, sir.” Said Faber. “I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I am alive.”

“Go ahead, Scrooge, Grinch, Schlump, Grump, Crod or whoever you are; dissect everything in your life. Let your so called reason give you her dark counsel as you climb up Smug Hill high above the fray, secretly terrified to live, or engage, to commit or to be a part of the human interchange where people fall, fail, forgive, get up, overcome and receive.

Welcome to a joyless, loveless, and uninspired existence! Join the openers of graves and the night-time-probers who raid cemeteries and morgue tables! Throw back your shoulders; show the world your nostrils. Take the high ground of conceit. Don’t ever adapt to the low ground of those who realize life is mysterious and wonderful no matter how well its ways can be described.

One can cut the heart out of anything, hold it in hand and not appreciate that the very life that flowed through it is a mystery. Put the heart back, start it up again, as surgeons can now do, and the mystery continues. Analysis, reason, technique nor technology can ever create the mystery of life. Life is a given. Any imitation or manipulation of it is just moving the chess pieces around on a board already spread.

All life is a wonder and life embellished by the beauties of human and divine personality is a marvel. Surely your life is more than chemistry, the brain, the blood stream, a random mixture of chemicals or electrical charges in the nervous system creating a great perambulating battery!? Are you brain-stem function alone? Were you coded in the genes only? You are really? How loveless, how bleak, how dreary your life must be to be a “walk around, talk around,” robot! How dishonest you are to hold such a position as you demand the human: the moral, justice, honesty which the beasts do no possess.

You have a problem with many things, Mr. Scrooge, when you reduce life to the absurdity of your analysis, the counting of coins or the arrangement of beans. The greatest losses are faith, hope and love. These are things all of us ultimately demand. They hold us together. They have been set to music and to art in all of our peak experiences. So, I pray for you that your stockings (the ones you have on) may be full of that for which you heart yearns.”

Brode Tuwall

***

ADVENT

There is no experience which beats the rhythms that anticipation injects into my emotions. I have so many rich memories of anticipation. They range from the Christmas excitement my mother used to generate, with her preparations for this glorious holiday, to the expectancy of family visits throughout the years.

In my childhood, things were often basic and austere. However, as Christmas approached my mother would make this event the big celebration for the year. She would start in November with the baking of fruit cakes, and the season would lumber forward with a daily countdown to the big day when extended family would gather at our house or we at theirs. Those week long celebrations were rafter shaking events and we would revel in the laughter, story telling, and hearty evening meals topped with rich desserts we could hardly afford the rest of the year. They were times of taking time to be grateful, to talk, to love, to enjoy familial fellowship.

I must admit that these were not overtly religious celebrations. However, all of the qualities which characterize Advent were present. I think my mother loved Christmas so much because it was a season of her childhood which was the happiest and she wanted to pass the joy of advent on to us. She had caught the infection of the Spirit of Christmas and certainly saw to it that anyone around her caught it also. I am glad she did because of it I learned the value of Advent.

As I think over the years of childhood I remember the anticipation of the visit of cousins, aunts, uncles or the times we would go to the local train station for the arrival of my uncle Pat, who travelled from Roanoke to stay with us every weekend. Then I remember that as our children grew how we all anticipated the visits of their cousins. Finally, I remember with piercing poignancy how Jan and I anticipated the arrival of our children or their families for every holiday, especially Christmas, after they had gone off to college or to build their own homes. Associated with all of these are the rituals, the preparation and the welcomed moments of embracing every returning family member.

There is nothing distinctive by our family that is not shared in some manner by others. Those few who do not know the spirit of anticipation are poorer for it and it is my wish that I could give every one a healthy dose. We humans are created to hope, to anticipate, to value each day as a way to a better tomorrow. For some reason we always long for improvement. That is the spirit of Advent. It began with the hope God planted in a single people and carried forward to Christ and beyond.

Advent reminds us that God made a promise to a people, kept that promise and through the birth of Christ has extended his covenant of love, mercy and grace to every one who will receive Him and the message of His coming. It is a season to be kept with reverence and thanksgiving. Christ not only came as expected but he left us a legacy of expectancy. Where such expectancy burns in the human heart there is improvement in the lot of men whether or not they give credit to the God who visited a desert nomad with the message and chose a lowly people and lowly place to first send His son.

***

Stardust

They had it right all along.
Earth life is all about stardust.
We are made from it,
shaped by it,
marked by it the way
they always said and stardust
is the dust from which we came
and to which we go.

But …

what I cannot know is
why it shines out there, takes
on dullness here and bursts
with light when it mounts up
on two legs or takes wing, or
finds a voice that sings arias.

What I cannot explain is
how that star that shone
over Bethlehem took fire
in hearts of dullards, gave
hope to the depressed and
good hearts to the degenerate.

There must remain something
in the dust of stars that
filters through when it
is watered with Words
of Life and warmed
by thoughtful acts of love.

Derrel E. Emmerson

Supplement for Biblical Thinkers

Chanukah

This holiday is well described in the following commentary by a Jewish writer. The reader is encouraged to read this. We only desire to comment on the passage briefly with deep respect for the faith Chanukah represents in the restoration of purity to the Holy Temple as we believe with the ancients in the restoration of purity to the earth which is ravaged by human sin and love-less-ness.

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/holiday7.html

Please note that the Old Testament record, which is the completed scripture for the Jewish believer, ends with a prophetic text holding forth the promise of the coming of the Messiah who will fully bring the reign of God back to earth. These are the translated words of that text:

Malachi 4
1 “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves. 3 Then you will trample on the wicked; they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I act,” says the LORD Almighty.
4 “Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.
5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
Notice, also, that that there are eight lights on the candelabra of Chanukah. They represent the light that miraculously burned in the temple for eight days when there was not enough oil to keep the lights of purification burning for that long a period. Therefore, Chanukah speaks of a miracle. It represents the ongoing epic of God coming to the aide those who believe in and serve Him.

The lights burned eight days. There were seven days of creation and all was complete. Eight may be taken, therefore, to represent a new epoch. It begins a new period representing a new beginning or the day of promise. God is never finished with us. He is with us. That is enough for any believer. It is what fires our hopes even as Chanukah does for those who remember the day when God returned to clean His Temple.

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