30 December 2011

Closing of the Year


Greetings Dear Reader,

I don’t think I have anything profound to say today but I have something very important to say.  Thank you Dear Reader.   You have no idea how much your reading these scribblings means to me.

I hope that your year has been as blessed as mine.  I hope that I have benefited you in some way.  As I face this blank page each day I promise that I think of you.  I hope each day that this part of your journey is a good one.

I will wish you a very safe, happy, and prosperous New Year.   Remember to count your blessings and know that I love you.

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."

28 December 2011

An Old City Bar


Greetings Dear Reader,

Last night I had dinner at an old bar.  It was like so many that dot the Midwest. Most of the light came from the oversized flat screens that constantly stream sports of one flavor or another.  The walls and ceiling are smoke stained from the decades of time where smoking was allowed there.

I could see how many of the patrons were there more often than not.  Those at the actual bar were obviously regulars who all knew each other.  The place was quite busy for a Tuesday evening.  One could catch snippets of conversation about football, politics, and sheepshead.  For those who do not know sheepshead is a trick taking card game very popular in Wisconsin.

The comfort of the place was obvious.  The bar stools are well padded.  The foot rail is sturdy and usable.  The food is good and the beer cold.  There is no pretense or posturing.  It is just a bar.  It put me in mind of a song that is important to me as Christmas falls into the rear view and the year wanes.

The chance to change the world is never gone.  As we put away the lights and gear up for the coming year I will be looking for new ways to show the spirit of Christ in everything I do.  I am a pretty jolly guy anyway but I want to make a difference.  I want people to feel like Christmas after every encounter with me.  I want to help my neighbors and strangers.  I want to be a constant gift in the lives of others.  I have a long way to go.


In an old city bar
That is never too far
From the places that gather
The dreams that have been

In the safety of night
With its old neon light
It beckons to strangers
And they always come in

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The music was low
And the night
Christmas Eve

And here was the danger
That even with strangers
Inside of this night
It's easier to believe

Then the door opened wide
And a child came inside
That no one in the bar
Had seen there before

And he asked did we know
That outside in the snow
That someone was lost
Standing outside our door

Then the bartender gazed
Through the smoke and the haze
Through the window and ice
To a corner streetlight

Where standing alone
By a broken pay phone
Was a girl the child said
Could no longer get home

And the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
The bartender turned
And said, not that I care
But how would you know this?
The child said I've noticed
If one could be home
They'd be already there

Then the bartender came out from behind the bar
And in all of his life he was never that far
And he did something else that he thought no one saw
When he took all the cash from the register draw

Then he followed the child to the girl cross the street
And we watched from the bar as they started to speak
Then he called for a cab and he said J.F.K.
Put the girl in the cab and the cab drove away
And we saw in his hand
That the cash was all gone
From the light that she had wished upon

If you want to arrange it
This world you can change it
If we could somehow make this
Christmas thing last

By helping a neighbor
Or even a stranger
And to know who needs help
You need only just ask

Then he looked for the child
But the child wasn't there
Just the wind and the snow
Waltzing dreams through the air

So he walked back inside
Somehow different I think
For the rest of the night
No one paid for a drink

And the cynics will say
That some neighborhood kid
Wandered in on some bums
In the world where they hid

But they weren't there
So they couldn't see
By an old neon star
On that night, Christmas Eve

When the snow it was falling
The neon was calling
And in case you should wonder
In case you should care

Why we're on our own
Never went home
On that night of all nights
We were already there – Trans-Siberian Orchestra



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."

26 December 2011

Boxing Day


Greetings Dear Reader,

I was discussing Boxing Day with a friend and was intrigued to learn how a holiday meant to honor those who serve us has migrated into just another bank/government holiday that focuses on other things.

I wonder how often we really consider those who serve us.  I have always viewed those who work in service industries as some of the hardest working people there are.  Every time you go out to eat on a holiday you are being served by someone who is working just so you can go out to eat.  When you buy gas at the convenience store someone is working so that you can buy gas. 

Perhaps we should make it a point this week to be kinder and show some appreciation to these folks.  Maybe leave a better tip than usual.  Maybe thank the clerks for being there you whenever you feel the need.  It is a great way to remember how dependent we are on those who work hard.

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."

25 December 2011


Christmas Thoughts 2011

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

As I sat pondering, piping, and potable last night I thought of you.  Some of you I know well.  Some I have never met.  Some of you will never know how much I love you as I cannot find words to express it.  Some of you I love more than you may realize.  Whether we have met or not, please know that I love you Dear Reader and wish you a Merry Christmas. 

I write for Jesus and my love for him but I also secondly write for you.  So I leave you with the words of my friend and favorite minstrel.   I also leave with a wish that we may one day share a pipe and Christmas bowl whilst we discuss how God has blessed us; everyone.

Photo by Natalie Foley
Hope everybody's ringing on their own bell, this fine morning.
Hope everyone's connected to that long distance phone.
Old man, he's a mountain.
Old man, he's an island.
Old man, he's a-waking says
"I'm going to call, call all my children home."

Hope everybody's dancing to their own drum this fine morning ---
the beat of distant Africa or a Polish factory town.
Old man, he's calling for his supper.
He's calling for his whisky.
Calling for his sons and daughters, yeah ---
Calling, calling all his children round.

Sharp ears are tuned in to the drones and chanters warming.
Mist blowing round some headland, somewhere in your memory.
Everyone is from somewhere ---
even if you've never been there.
So take a minute to remember the part of you
that might be the old man calling me.

How many wars you're fighting out there, this Christmas morning?
Maybe there's always time for another Christmas song.
Old man he's asleep now.
He's got appointments to keep now.
Dreaming of his sons and daughters, and proving ---
proving that the blood is strong.  --- Ian Anderson --- Another Christmas Song

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn

24 December 2011

Awaiting Christmas: Christmas Eve


Greetings Dear Reader,

I shared one of my Christmas Eve traditions yesterday.  My most important one is quiet and yet very difficult.  I try to have a constant conversation with God in my mind.  In doing this I respond to beauty with praise.  I respond to blessings with gratitude.  I express my heart quietly to God throughout the day.  I ask for advice and express my needs.

Photo by Natalie Foley
I will continue this conversation but with a difference.  From sunset on Christmas Eve until sunrise the day after Christmas I will not ask God for anything.  He has given enough and I will still offer my gratitude and share my wonder at things but will not ask for anything.  I am in the habit of silently asking for strength, wisdom, patience, and many things throughout the day.  I impose this fast from asking to keep in mind just how much I was given by Christ being born.

I am not saying that everyone should do this but I hope in puts you in mind of what it cost God for the following to become reality.  It is truly what matters about Christmas.  Without the cradle in Bethlehem we do not get to the cross in Jerusalem.  It is good to recognize that God has already given us enough.

Luk 2:1-14 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 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:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 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. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 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."

23 December 2011

Awaiting Christmas: A Pipe and Bowl


Greetings Dear Reader,

I will be writing about Christmas Eve twice.  This is the first and centered mostly on me.  I have done this for years and few know I do it.  About four times a year I smoke a pipe.  One of those times is Christmas Eve.  I will quietly slip out to the porch after everyone else is in bed and the presents are laid out under the tree.

My Church Warden
I have a dwindling supply of an excellent McClelland dark Cavendish.  I will fill my Church Warden with it.  I used to use my Savinelli but I weep when I smoke it now (absent friends).  The Church Warden does just fine.   I will also pour a small but generous portion of Grand Marnier into a brandy glass and warm it over a candle. 

Out in the cold and quiet of Christmas Eve I will quietly recite the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2 and enjoy some time of thankful prayer.  I will quietly list all the blessings I can think of until the pipe and bowl are done.  God gave his Son so I could live and that truly is enough.  Beyond that he has blessed me so deeply with other things. 

It is so easy to spend Christmas wanting and wishing.  I will set aside this time in dark hours of Christmas Eve to make sure that my heart is set on gratitude and not avarice.  Christmas morning I will get to enjoy my children all in one place and having breakfast with them. 

I have had so much blessing because of this time over the years.  I you Dear Reader find time to really find a way to acknowledge how much you are loved by God before the night passes.  It is a favorite part of my journey round the sun each year.

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."

22 December 2011

Awaiting Christmas: Snow

Greetings Dear Reader,

I love the snow.  I realize that there are people who do not but I do.  Given that this year there is little of it I heard much conversation about it.  So many people I know either do not enjoy snow or downright hate it.  I will miss it this year but I suppose that Christ should get the weather he wishes on his birthday. 

I will settle for the dusting we have this morning and ponder the beauty of winters past where Christmas has been white and fluffy.

Visiting a Crystal Gallery

Silently the clouds crept across the sky,
Photo by Natalie Foley
Negating the brilliance of the haunting harvest moon.
Only the brightest of stars could I still spy,
While the cottony gray darkness still had rips and tatters.

Sending chills over my exposed face,
North winds begin to whip across the field fiercely
Offering me an invitation to retrace
What steps I have taken and return to my cozy home.

Something inside drives me to pursue,
Narrowing my focus to climb the hoary-frosted hill.
Only the higher field will give a proper view
When the dance begins in earnest.

Softly they begin their waltzing flight
Navigating their way through the winter wind,
Outstanding crystals of drifting delightful white
Whispering to me that God is still an artist.


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."

21 December 2011

Awaiting Christmas: Hot Tea and Writing


Greetings Dear Reader,

I took a couple of days off for good behavior.  I got to spend all day yesterday with my Sons and Grandson.  It filled me with joy.  This morning I am focusing on writing and enjoying some hot tea.  I am warm and content and pondering the Christ Child.

The reason I write is to deepen my understanding of Jesus.  The reason I write so much is because I understand so little.  The hot tea makes the writing more enjoyable; though I enjoy it so much I would write were there no tea in the universe.

As Christmas approaches I will relish the days that I get to spend the entire day focused on writing.  I will take a little time out for some recreation and wrapping presents but today I will celebrate Christ by employing the gifts he has given me.  I have the outline written to 51 novels.  If Christ is willing I will complete them all before I reach the end of the journey. 

What I wish most is to use the gifts given me well.  In the season of gift giving I try to make that a priority.  It is in Christ alone that I have this gift and for him that I use it.  Perhaps a day will come that I write something that shows him so clearly that he is seen more clearly to all the world.

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."

18 December 2011

Awaiting Christmas: An Open House


Greetings Dear Reader,

Today is our annual open house.  In a few hours friends and family will arrive.  Some are coming for the first time and some come every year.  It will fill me with joy to see them all.  It is a simple affair and the best part of it is the conversations with people I love.

Others talk about Christmas being about love and giving.  Christmas is about people.  Christ came to redeem people.  Inviting my friends here is about people.  It is also very selfish because I do so that I can see people I love at my favorite time of year.  I value every person that will walk through my door.  I treasure the conversations we will have and catching up on their lives, aspirations, and dreams.

Most of all I wish for them to see someone who loves them.  I value each friend and member of my family.  I want to find a way for them to also see how much Christ loves them.  That is a work in progress.  I must be off to prep food and make tea.  Know that I treasure you as well dear Reader.

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."

17 December 2011

Awaiting Christmas: Bell Ringing


Greetings Dear Reader,

I know that I have mentioned this before but it is too important not to include in Christmas more than once.   One of the ways I will spend my time over the next week is bell ringing for the Salvation Army. 

We will see the kettles all over during the next week.  The truth is that fewer places are allowing them.  I wonder if we realize where the change in those kettles ends up.  Here are some of the things the Salvation does.

Social services for the homeless families and single women
Professional services for those transitioning from homelessness to work and a home
Emergency shelter to those in need during extreme weather
Their food pantry feeds thousands yearly
Free meals are provided on Saturday nights and Sunday mornings to anyone in need
Activities and athletics are provided for at risk youth

Amidst all the bustle of the run up to Christmas ringing bells for the Salvation Army brings me great joy.  I get to greet shoppers with a smile and a song and my children join me when they can.  There is still time to participate and bell ringers are still needed.  Whether you donate or actually make time to volunteer everything helps and the money stays local.  You can find more information at ringbells.org.  See you around the kettle.

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."

16 December 2011

Awaiting Christmas: Christmas Food


Greetings Dear Reader,

Our annual open house is Sunday and I will be doing food prep for the next couple of days.  I find great joy in this.  Amidst the slicing, cooking, and combining there will be Christmas music and movies in the background. This is joyous and relaxing for me.

Whilst I am doing the preparation I think about those who will consume what I have made.  I invite friends and family because I wish to “Fezziwig” them.  What I mean by that is his attitude about making others merry.  It is such a simple thing to plan and prepare. I do not do anything elegant or extravagant.

Photo by Natalie Foley
So as I prepare the food over the next couple of days I will be thinking of those for whom I prepare it.  I will be wishing them the merriest of Christmases in my heart with every slice and arrangement.  I will blend and bake hoping that they catch a glimmer of the joy I find in Christ. 

Another thing I will be doing is making a traditional desert for my children.  It is funny and delicious.  They love it and I find great joy in making it.  I do believe that if I did not make it they would be somewhat at a loss. 

I have so much and it takes relatively little effort to prepare Christmas food to share with others.  I think that this preparation of sharing food goes a long way to help me in preparing my heart to share Christ is well.  Those of you who read my blog but cannot attend the open house, please remember that I love you and value you highly. 

 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."

15 December 2011

Awaiting Christmas: Wrapping Presents


Greetings Dear Reader,

I am in true Christmas swing.  My Daughter Christmas and I spent time wrapping presents last night.  There are now presents for friends and family under our tree.  I thought I would share some of the things that dance through my mind when I am wrapping gifts.

Photo by Natalie Foley
To begin, I must start with how I shop for gifts.  I study people.  I listen and take notes.  I try to notice the needs in people’s lives throughout the year.  The lovely byproduct of this is that I am more sensitive to the needs of others all year long.  This proves to be of great benefit to me because I need to focus on being kind lest I get too wrapped up in my own things and neglect others.

As I wrap each gift I pray for the person.  I pray that Christ and his richness permeate his or her life.  I long for the gift I give to hold a measure of the thoughtfulness that God has toward un in the gift of his Son. 

Christmas has become so much about things to so many.  Instead I wish for my gifts to share the message that I know the person and that I love him or her.  I only give gifts out of love and never out of obligation.  As I wrap those gifts I hope to share that love in the care I take.

I also write clues on the gift tags.  They are usually vague and the recipient can only ken them after they open the gift.  It is fun and allows me to ponder the gift, the person, and my purpose for getting it just a little longer.  After all, the greatest gift I have are the people I get to love and with whom I share my life. 

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."

14 December 2011

On Christmas Carols: In the Bleak Midwinter


Greetings Dear Reader

"In the Bleak Midwinter" is a Christmas carol based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti written before 1872.  It was published posthumously in Rossetti's Poetic Works in 1904 and became a Christmas carol after it appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906 with a setting by Holst.

This song brings tears to my eyes for its purity and simplicity.  I discovered Corrinne May’s rendition thanks to the providence of God and the magic of you tube.  Here is the link if you wish to listen. In the Bleak Midwinter.  No matter how lofty the music or clever the lyrics what matters is the last line of this song.  All Christ wishes is our hearts.  The remainder is window dressing.  Enjoy!

Photo by Natalie Foley
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
Photo by Natalie Foley
But his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshiped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give him:  give my heart.

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."

13 December 2011

On Christmas Carols: We Three Kings of Orient Are


Greetings Dear Reader

The famous American carol We three Kings of Orient Are was written in 1857 by Rev. John Henry Hopkins.  I love this song because it so eloquently spans the entire life of Christ in a positive and mindful way.  Without the birth we never get to the cross which is where our redemption is purchased.

To add a bit of fun to the song I urge you to click this link which will take you to the California Raisins version of the song.  It is from the Christmas Special that premiered in 1987.  The doo-whop camels are especially entertaining.

We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star

Chorus
The Journey of the Magi (1894)
by James Jacques Joseph Tissot 
The Journey of the Magi (1894) by James Jacques Joseph Tissot
O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light

Born a King on Bethlehem's plain
Gold I bring to crown Him again
King forever, ceasing never
Over us all to reign

Frankincense to offer have I
Incense owns a Deity nigh
Prayer and praising, all men raising
Worship Him, God most high

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav'n replies.

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."

12 December 2011

On Christmas Carols: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen


Greetings Dear Reader,

This particular hymn is one of my favorites.  First published in 1833 in a collection gathered by William B. Sandys, it appeared in a volume called “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern.”   The song is reputed to have been written in the 15th century and one of the oldest English carols.

We usually only hear the first three verses but I have given you the entire text here.  The focus for me on this hymn is that the chorus gives us what men so badly need.  The birth of Christ is great news of comfort and joy.  We are the ones who need redemption.  We are the ones who need Christ.  It is such a comfort to celebrate God’s gift to me that I hum this song all year round.  I hope it is tiding of comfort and joy for you as well.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel, this blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father a blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

"Fear not then," said the Angel, “let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him from Satan's power and might."
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway the Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger, where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down, unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises, all you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas all other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and 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."

11 December 2011

On Christmas Carols: Little Town


Greetings Dear Reader,

I have spent some time recently pondering the words of Christmas carols.  I would like to share some of that with you.  We hear these songs every year and for years the words drift through our minds for a month or so.  After that they are packed away in the cerebral attic until next year.  I listen to Christmas music all year round. 

Since Things start in Bethlehem we will too.  The words to O Little Town of Bethlehem were penned by Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) in 1868.  He was inspired by the view of Bethlehem from the Palestine hills at night.  Lewis Redner (1831-1908) rendered the music for this song so that the children’s choir could sing it at their church.

I will point out a line or two that is of note to me but mostly I wish to share the lyrics without the background.  Take a moment to drink in the artistry.  As you do I’ll ask you to ponder this: “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”  No one can deny the innocence of a newborn baby.  In that simple totally dependent child rested the hope of all mankind.

Also of note is the last part of verse three. “No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin, where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.”  It is only through humility that we find the one who humbled himself to be our salvation.  I do not mean to sound preachy or use too many church words.  What I do intend is to point out that we find Christ through meekness.

O little town of Bethlehem
How still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth
And praises sing to God the King
And Peace to men on earth

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel.

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."

10 December 2011

The Christmas Difference: Gifts




Greetings Dear Reader,

I have spoken about giving and about spending less on gifts.  None of this precludes that I love giving gifts at Christmas.  In the midst of this love is a commitment to realize that giving gifts is a responsibility.  What we choose and how we choose it truly matters. 

I never just “get something.”  I ponder everything carefully.  As I move through the year Christmas is always on my mind.  When people talk about what they like, I make note of it.  When I see something that fits those notes I purchase it and put it away in anticipation of Christmas. 

It is too easy to see buying gifts for others as an obligation and a burden.  It is also easy to focus on what we want and the greed that threatens to consume the season.  Most of what we do can have meaning if we are vigilant.  We must be careful to give to others from the heart.  We must have purpose to our spending that reflects the gift we honor in our celebration.  Christmas gifts must be based on our love of the gift of Christ.

 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."

09 December 2011

The Christmas Difference: Parking


Greetings Dear Reader,

It is going to be very cold tonight.  I will be out and about purchasing for our open house.  I will still employ a practice that benefits others and me as well.  This is brief and easy.  I park as far back in the lot as possible.  It gives me exercise when I am getting outside less and it gives someone else a closer parking space.

As I said it is a small thing and that is the point.  We can find so many small ways to extend the spirit of Christmas without calling attention to ourselves.  As we draw closer to Christmas I will focus more on ways in which we can make this difference last all year long. 

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."

07 December 2011

The Christmas Difference: Giving Strategies


Greetings Dear Reader,

So many of the things we do when it comes to gift giving are good.  I know that I take great care in selecting the gifts I give.  I also do my best to live within a spending plan.  I find great joy in giving Christmas gifts.

A few years ago I was introduced to a concept that I try to share with you every year.  My church participates in and event called the Advent Conspiracy.  The principle is simple.  Each year I purchase one less gift.  I take the money from that gift and donate it to the cause my church has selected.  100% of the money collected goes to the project or cause.

Over the past years our donations have helped bring water to thirsty villages, provide wheelchairs in places where there are none, built homes, and fed the hungry.  The Christmas difference is that we bring practical help that provides hope.  We have to plan to make a difference.  This is an easy way to do so.  Consider getting involved.  It is worth it.

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."

06 December 2011

The Christmas Difference: Family


Greetings Dear Reader,

It seems that so often we unintentionally put pressure on our families at Christmas time.  Imagine the impact if we simply relaxed.  It costs me nothing to make it easy on others in terms of asking for time.  If I give up my agenda and just support my children and am available to them it gives them the freedom to include me without stress.

I remember having to rush places in the past and it being more about being at the right place than just being together.  In all of our doing we somehow put the plans above the people.  This is unhealthy for us and does not really celebrate the giving aspect of Christmas.

Just because we have always done something is not a good reason to do it.  The needs of my family must come above my desire to have that perfect event.  Christmas can be focused on the birth of the Christ child if I remember to not burden my 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."

05 December 2011

The Christmas Difference: Snow on My Car


Greetings Dear Reader,

This one is simple.  When I go out to my car in a parking lot, if there is snow on my car I remove it whilst my car is warming up.  I also clear the cars on either side of me.  It leaves a pleasant surprise for the person and I enjoy doing it.  I realize this is neither profound nor big.  I also know the joy is in the giving.

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."

04 December 2011

The Christmas Difference: Walking to the Car


Greetings Dear Reader,

After the shopping and paying comes the trip to the car.  One would think there is not much to be done in this short aspect of the journey.  One would be misinformed.  Opportunities to instill the Christmas difference abound.

In my mind this plays like the scene in a Christmas Carol when the Ghost of Christmas Present is walking about with his cornucopia sprinkling strangers with his Christmas blessing.  I make it a point to greet people I pass with a smile.  I wish them a Merry Christmas.  I remember to put something in the Salvation Army kettle.  I put my cart away.

There are other things that can be done that make a difference.  Look for parents with small children.  Offer to put their shopping cart away for them.  This way the child is not left alone in the car or out in the elements.  The point is to be aware of the needs of others.  It keeps me from focusing on self and spreads some cheer.   

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."