14 December 2017

The Promises of Christmas ~ Veterans

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

One of my Christmas habits is that I do not pass a Salvation Army Red Kettle without putting something in it.  At the grocery store where I shop regularly there has been a very old gentleman ringing the bell for the last three Wednesdays.  He wears a U.S. Marine Corps hat that is in good shape but quite old.

Each time I pass his kettle I drop in my donation and say, “Merry Christmas Marine.  Thank you for helping the ‘army’”.  The first two times he has laughed and returned my wish for a merry Christmas.

Yesterday he put a still strong hand on my arm to stop me from continuing on my way.  I looked up and saw tears in his eyes.  He said, “Three time now you have addressed me as ‘Marine’.  No one has done that for thirty years.  The thing I have done best in my life is to be a Marine.  I was one for twenty years.  I lost a lot of friends.  I miss being called that.  Thank you.”

We chatted a bit more and I thanked him for all he did to protect and serve our nation.  I thanked him for serving the Salvation Army.  As I walked away he called out cheerfully, “Don’t tell the other leather necks.  They would never forgive me.”

The promise of Christmas is that some day good men and women will not have to put their lives in harm’s way because of the foolishness of other men and women.  I long for the day when this is true.  Until then I want to make sure that every veteran knows how much love and respect I have for the time they gave.  I know that my freedom to celebrate comes from their efforts.

Merry Christmas to all of you veterans.  Thank you for your gift.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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13 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Not even Batman

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Don’t give a child underwear.”

One would think this is obvious.  Yet all over the Christmas world children will excitedly open a gift to find underwear.  Even if it is Batman or Transforms or Barbie it is still underwear.  It could be the best underwear in the world but it is still underwear.

Again, I should not have to mention this but for the sake of the children I need you to remember how you felt when you got underwear as a child.  If you did not get underwear as a child you need to recall that this is good and not do evil to your own son, daughter, nephew, or niece. 

Your gift will be remembered.  Years from now the child will remember that his excited anticipation was revealed to be Underoos.  Yes, they are cute.  Resist the cute.  The cute will lead you into great error.

And socks are right out as well.  Do not give a child socks for Christmas.  It is simply unkind.  Socks are not a gift unless asked for.  I have an ADULT Daughter who loves socks. They are an appropriate gift for her.  Wee lads and lasses do not want socks for Christmas.

Spread the Christmas joy Dear Reader.  Do not give socks or underwear to children.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Parental Promises

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

The promises of Christmas that come from parents are multitude.  Some are spoken and some are implied.  I think a clue as to why retailers are launching Christmas in September may be hidden here as well.

I can clearly recall threats of Santa watching me as early as August.  The promise in my world was that no matter how good I was a single act of disobedience could scuttle it all.  The promise was that the scale was always tipped in the parental favor.  The promise parents should make is that gifts are given out of love. The promise of Christmas is that we are freely given the gift of redemption.  Giving gifts is supposed to be a reminder of that gift from the Father.  Presents, like the gift of Christ must be freely given. They cannot be earned. 

Another parental promise that is inherent in Christmas is to put your family first.  This is not just getting the right gifts.  It is showing love to everyone you encounter as an example.  It is being good to each other.  It is giving a little more to promote peace and restoration.  We must do this as an example to our children.  We must not put up signs that say peace on earth if we are not willing to work toward it in our own family.

The promise of Christmas is that a Father loved us enough to send his Son to reclaim us as his own.  Nothing can be more parental.  Nothing can signify more that parents have a great deal of responsibility to promote the promises of peace on earth and good will to men.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

12 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Christmas Tree Lights

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Enjoy a couple of meals illuminated only by the Christmas tree.”

I always do this.  It is so peaceful.  I will prepare my dinner and relish that it is dark so early.  The tree is right behind my favorite place to sit.  It casts enough light for me to see once my eyes have adjusted.

I put on some great Christmas music and settle in with dinner.  Slowly, ponderously, I enjoy the meal whilst watching the lights dance their untiring pattern.  The colors fade in and out of view.  The bubbles dance up the tubea mimicking candles.

Light catches on some of my favorite ornaments.  It fractures through some of the crystal ones offering alternative hues and intensity.  It is in this moment that I quietly whisper the Christmas story from Luke chapter two:

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Children’s Wishes

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

The deep promises of Christmas are held by children.  Just this weekend when asking my younger Grandson about his Christmas wishes his first response was that he wished me to come over.  So often the heart of Christmas is evident in the hearts of children.

It is the hope of children that feeds my energy.  It is keeping Christmas promises for them that fuels me.  We need to be constant examples of their hope.  Instead of indulging in our petty differences we can assure that there is peace for the children involved.  If we must quarrel we should leave it for another time.  The gift that is most precious to children is seeing adults exemplify kindness and patience.

I must be sure that I set an example of being loving and kind.  I must be patient when others are not.  I must be good to everyone.  I must make time for others.  The wishes of children are that adults would be the example they need, that they would be present.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

11 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Minor Differences

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Before going to bed every night of the Christmas season, ask yourself, ‘Whose life did I make brighter today?’”

Do we really ponder this?  This is the season when we are supposed to spread joy and cheer.  If it is not something of which we are mindful then we will not do it.  It we fail to focus on being an enrichment to others then we will not be so. 

When the pressures of the season mount and time seems to run through the glass faster we need to have minds and hearts that are focused.  All that negative thoughts need is a toe hold.  They will invade our minds and keep us from seeing the beauty that is possible in the season.

The point is to end the day with the joy of knowing that we have made life a little better for someone.  It is to see that the world a little better each day for having been here.  I must be this.  I can and will be this.  

I will still fail.  I will often be the one in the wrong.  I can still find ways to be the one who is a bright spot in the days of others.  I can still infuse kindness and grace into the lives I encounter.  That is true joy.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Trans-Siberia

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

If you have not taken in the music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra you are missing out on something beautiful.  Beyond the music there is content.  The stories and message of their music are transcendent and timeless. 

I realize that is a bold claim but I stand by it.  Christmas Eve and Other Stories is the album I would recommend first unless you are the kind to save the best for last.  You can listen to the entire album HERE.  I recommend finding a way to see it live, however. 

The stories they tell deal in the potential of Christmas.  They promote what is best in all of us.  Along with all the music I most cherish they challenge us to be more than we are.  They ask us to see beyond what is common and to believe in the uncommon and the possible. 

The promise of Christmas is the heart of the impossible.  It is impossible for us to cure the world’s ills on our own.  They are varied, virulent, and viable of their own accord.  The world is infected with them and we are too busy being common to see the chance to be better. 

I must embrace the possible.  I must see the promises in this music and live them.  How you ask Dear Reader?   “By helping a neighbor or even a stranger; to know who needs help you need only but ask.”

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

10 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ What to Give?

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“When you don’t know what to give, give a book.”

As a writer you can imagine that this is one of my favorite ways to spread joy.  If we were to truly remember the value of reading we would be richer for it.  I give books and not just my own as gifts often.  Feel free to give some of my works as gifts.  You can get them here.  The reading is the important thing.

There is something in those silent patient companions that endures.  The stories are always there to be retold and reread.  Adventures new and old await the time when you take them from the shelf and wander through them with the flicking of the finger. 

It is wise to take time during the Christmas season to read a tale or two.  It relaxes the body and distracts the mind.  It is a good thing to read a book.  You learn, grow, and become more than you are.

Read to your children as well.  Teach them early on of the value of the habit.  Put more time aside for them to read to you as well.  This will carry life long rewards.  Think about this when you think about what to give others.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

The Promises of Christmas ~ Santa

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I know that there is discussion among my fellow travelers about the entire idea of Santa Clause and his place in the Christmas story.  The fact is that he is there and I must deal with him properly.  The truth is that like all legends there is some truth in the telling.

I have an advantage.  I see the value of Santa in the Christmas story.  I understand his place in the narrative and that it can be used for good.  I have another advantage.  Little children often think I am Santa.  I admit that I contribute to this by the way I dress during the Christmas season. 

There are promises in the Santa story.  The original ones are those of a good man who loved God and wanted to give to the needs and dreams of children.  He is an excellent example of what we can become if we choose to follow Christ. 

As for the modern Santa story, there are promises there as well.  I wish there were that much “magic” in the world.  I wish that we all had enough faith to keep believing in the possibility.  I realize I sound a little “Hallmark” but I am a man of faith.  I do believe in the things we cannot see.

The modern promise of Santa is that we must hope and believe and if we believe in the right things we will not be disappointed.  It is humans that have turned Santa into something commercial and fantastic.  The promise is that there is something to believe in and long a ago a man cared enough about it to change things. 

I would give up much to be able to give gifts to every child on Christmas.  That hope and promise is beyond my reach but it is work believing in.  So, I do a little to help the magic along.  I do what I can to spread the kindness, joy, and spirit of the season.  I respond with kindness to the wonder of children.  There is magic there if we will only see it.  There are promises Santa has yet to keep.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

09 December 2017

Second Thoughts ~ Christmas Joys ~ Handel’s Messiah

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

“Take your family to a church performance of Handel’s Messiah.”

I had planned to do this.  My dear friends and fellow travelers, Jeff and Ruby performed in just such a thing last evening.  My intent was to take my family but the tickets were sold out by the time I got word of the performance.

I have been privileged to see this brilliant composition a number of times.  It is one of those things that stands the test of time.  I will spare you the history lesson but I will say that it is one of those that builds to a blast off instead of rising then falling.  I have even seen a performance with cannons.

In contrast to my pipe and a warm fire it is an energizing Christmas joy.  Whether you choose this or something like The Nutcracker or Gilbert and Sullivan’s A Christmas Carol find some music to attend that is live and lively.  

The joy is in the sitting and seeing and being a part of a great story.  Make time for it.  Make it an evening.  Dress for dinner, go to the event, and go out for desert.  Indulge and little and enjoy.  Here is an example:


Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)