30 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – My First Celebration

Greetings Dear Reader,

I will be brief today.  This is the day I will decorate my home for Christmas.  My heart is filled with joy and wonder as it always is this time of year.  I was at my Son, Maxim’s home last night and watched my Grandsons show their excitement the tree and lights.

Today will be busy and this evening I will rest in the light of my own tree and watch one of my favorite Christmas movies.  In the quiet of the evening I will ponder all that Christ has for me and all that is already mine as his follower.

I will begin to hum Christmas songs everywhere I go and will look for opportunities to help harried shoppers.  I will strive to keep Christmas in my heart every day.  This part of the journey restores my soul. 

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."

29 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – A Day of Service

Greetings Dear Reader,

I write about this every year and will continue to do so.  It is so important that we get outside of ourselves and see the needs of others.  One of the ways in which I do this is bell ringing for the Salvation Army.  What they do is so important to the community.  They work on the front lines of helping the homeless and feeding the poor.

Recent undeserved bad press has caused some to leave helping with their annual kettle campaign.  I have seen fewer kettles and bell ringers this year and it saddens me.  No matter what you think of the faith that this organization follows what they do for others is vital.

I do this every year as way of helping my community and giving out a little Christmas cheer.  It is not too late to sign up for a shift at ringbells.org.  See I even made it a link for you.  If you bell ring I would love to see pictures of you doing it.  Invite a friend of family member to do so with you. 

It is so important that we help others in our community.  It is so needed.  As you are out spending and getting please do not forget about giving.  I know that my heart jumps a little every time I hear those bells.  They ring out above all the bustle and remind us that there are those who need our charity and kindness so very much.  Enjoy the song and listen for the bells. 

Silver Bells – Jay Livingston and Ray Evans – Performed by Johnnie Mathis

City sidewalks busy sidewalks
Dressed in holiday style
In the air

There's a feeling
of Christmas
Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
And on every street corner you'll hear

Silver bells silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring a ling, hear them ring
Soon it will be Christmas day

Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
Home with their treasures

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa's big scene
And above all this bustle
You'll hear
Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them ring
Soon it will be Christmas day

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – A Day for Giving Thanks

Greetings Dear Reader,

Let me get the unpleasant part out of the way.  I am offended that merchants feel they need to separate people from their families in order to make a little more money eight hours sooner.  I refuse to participate, now on to the good stuff.

First let me say that I have far too much to be thankful for to properly cover it in this blog post.  In preparing my heart for Advent I assure that I show that any moment that I can.  We have lost our sense of gratitude. I have so much more than most of the world. 

I have the luxury of having things I never touch.  I am purging most of them but it is still true.  I have things and time for leisure when others must work every waking moment just to survive.  I have the luxury of hobbies.

I have a warm and safe home.  I have family and friends to share it with.  I have children who will still tell me when they need something.  They love me and show it often.  I have a creative mind that still works most days.  I have a passion for things that matter.  I have faith.  The church I attend feeds my spirit and does real work in the real world to make a difference. 

I wish to go on and on.  I am filled with a spirit of gratitude today and yearn to unleash a joyful spirit upon the world.  As I move toward my Advent celebration I hope to hold in mind every day all the blessings that are mine.  I love and cherish you Dear Reader.  I am thankful for your patronage.  Please have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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."

27 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What is my Obligation - Love

Greetings Dear Reader,

Do we really see that God expresses his love for us in the incarnation of Christ?  As I ponder this love I see my own Sons and know that there is no way in my mind that I would give their lives for someone else.  I love them deeply and passionately.  I know that my love for them cannot begin to compare to the infinite depth of the love that the Father and the Son share.

In this is the obligation in the Advent.  In this is the great command that we are to exercise in our following.  We are to love.  We are to love God and each other.  If we focused our energy on this one thing then we would have little time for the negative things that harm others. 

If I focus on loving everyone in every situation then I can assure that I am not being selfish, self-centered, or self-serving.  As I move toward my celebration of Advent I do so with the determination to live it out with selfless, sacrificial, barrier crushing love.  By God’s grace I can do this.  I will begin by loving my family with food and a thankful heart.  I love you 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."

26 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What is my Obligation - Following

Greetings Dear Reader,

I think that over the ages the world has gotten a skewed view of what God expects from us.  He wishes for us to follow.  He does not force us.  There is no demand there is only an invitation.  Once we agree to follow, however, it becomes an obligation.

I find this obligation one of joy.  Christ leads my places that are confusing, difficult, and challenging.  That does not mean that he is not there for me or that it is too hard.  I agreed to follow and when I fail to do so I should not be surprised when things do not go well. 

The journey of following is one to God and away from self.  It requires all that I am and ever hope to become as a man.  I must commerce kindness and grace.  I must be generous and patient.  I must put others first.  I must not judge. 

I cannot prepare my heart properly for advent without focusing on being kind, good, and generous to others.  I cannot be a follower without always acknowledging where the journey begins.  I must cast a wide net that accepts everyone.  I must treat everyone with respect and do all that I can to give them hope.

He calls me to follow and to lead others to him.  He asks that I follow in faith.  Christ promise to always be with me if I follow.  There is no better way to celebrate his Advent than by walking with him toward what is to come.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What is my Obligation - Faith

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have written often about faith.  It is so important to preparing my heart for Advent.  Faith is the bedrock on which everything else is founded in following Christ.  I accept him by faith and I following in faith.  By faith I reach into the lives of others hoping that they will catch a glimpse of who Christ is through my acts of kindness.

If I do not approach the advent season in faith then I do not get the reason for the celebration.  Faith comes easy for me but I do not always put that faith to work when I should.  Everything I do must be grounded in faith.  Without it I cannot please God.  Without it I cannot live a just life. 

If I am to prepare my heart to celebrate the joy of Advent every day then I must do so in faith.  I must bend my will to belief that as things began they will unfold and end.  At one time all things were good.  The day is coming when they will be good again.  Until then I must believe.  I must walk in faith.  I must use that faith to believe for others.  It is my obligation to believe.

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."



24 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What do I have – Hope

Greetings Dear Reader,

So many things about the world are heartbreaking and discouraging.  I see people who deal so much with struggles just to get through each day.  I encounter people every week who are ready to give up on dreams that mean the world to them. 

The thing that Advent gives us is hope.  The incarnation of Christ is what gives us the physical means to get to the cross.  The cross gets us to redemption, the tomb, and the resurrection.  It is all one single heroic effort to get us to hope.  Our reclamation is the first step in redeeming all of creation.

It seems that the world is so very weary at times.  It still has vast beauty and wonder.  The thing that propels me forward is hope.  Advent gives me this.  As I prepare my heart for this season of celebration I will focus on all the things that give us hope.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What do I have – Fellow Travelers

Greetings Dear Reader,

Even when I feel completely alone I am not.  Not only has Christ promised to always be with me, but he has given me the companionship of fellow travelers.  There are places in my life where I am very lonely.  That does not mean I am alone.

I have three children that I love deeply and with whom I enjoy great times.  I have a daughter in law that makes my heart smile.  I have two grandsons who make my heart feel young.  I have friends and coworkers who challenge and enrich me.

When I allow it, I have the support and encouragement I need.  What I often fail to do is be vulnerable enough to allow people into that place.  I need to assure that I am allowing others to travel with me when I need support.  I need to be available to the gifts and strengths they have that support me in my journey.

We are not alone in the journey.  I need to embrace this as I move toward the celebration of a time that is meant for community and togetherness.

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 November 2013

Second Thoughts - Orion’s Third Birthday

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

Today Orion turns three.  He has taught me so much in the short time he has been with us.  He has increased our vocabulary with words like Everystuff.  He constantly teaches me to look at life differently.  He always has something to say about whatever is going on in our day.

He has so much love to give and thrills my heart when he runs to greet me.  He has so many interesting questions.  I must say that my life is better every day that I interact with my beloved Grandson.

He pushes me to follow Christ more fully just by being here.  I love him and wish always to be a good example for him.  I wish only for him to know the love of God to the depth that any human can know it.   

Happy Birthday Orion.

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."

Preparing for Advent – What do I have – Community

Greetings Dear Reader,

One of the opportunities that I most look forward to as I prepare for Advent is the deeper sense of community.  The call upon our lives is twofold.  We are called to love God and we are called to love each other.  The call is to be a community.  I cannot begin to think about the Advent of Christ without pondering how much I am to be aware of the needs of those around me.

I hear Marley’s voice from A Christmas Carol instructing the unrepentant Scrooge, “Mankind was my business.”  If I do not use the community of faith to reach the community of man than I cannot truly put my heart in line with Christ’s.

As I ponder Advent I must prepare my heart to be of service to others.  The call is to community.  It really is that simple.


In an upstairs room, a parable is just about to come alive.
And while they bicker about who's best, with a painful glance, He'll silently rise.

Their Savior Servant must show them how through the will of the water
and the tenderness of the towel.

And the call is to community, The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow, that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

In any ordinary place, on any ordinary day,
the parable can live again when one will kneel and one will yield.

Our Saviour Servant must show us how through the will of the water
and the tenderness of the towel.

And the space between ourselves sometimes is more than the distance between the stars.
By the fragile bridge of the Servant's bow we take up the basin and the towel.

And the call is to community, The impoverished power that sets the soul free.
In humility, to take the vow, that day after day we must take up the basin and the towel.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What do I have – Gifts to Serve

Greetings Dear Reader,

Again I do not think that this is the place for a discussion on spiritual gifts but I must take time to appreciate their place in my journey toward Advent.  It would seem enough that God gives us his Spirit to help us do the things he requires of us. 

We are all provided gifts, abilities, and talents.  I know that I do not use all of mine to the capacity that I could and that troubles me.  It also means that I am not following as closely as I could.  That troubles me as well.

If I am to properly celebrate then I must be able to do so knowing that I am giving my best in the areas I am asked to give.  I am inventorying that things that I do well and pondering whether I do them to the best of my ability.  It is my obligation to use all that I am for the furtherance of the Gospel.  If I neglect any one area then I am not caring for what I have been given well.

I must use my gifts with purpose and care.  I must be aware of when and where who I am is of value to the journey of others.  I must be willing to give and available to do so.  After all, mankind is my business if I am to follow Christ well.

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."

20 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What do I have – The Holy Spirit

Greetings Dear Reader,

This may seem obvious but it is not something on which I focus often enough.  I am not going to attempt to explain the Holy Spirit here.  My friend Donald Williams has done that quite well in his writing on the subject.  Feel free to click on his name and buy his book.  It is worth it.

I do, however, think it is important to note that as the result of my faith in Christ I have the help of the Holy Spirit to give me the power to live my standing despite my state.  I can live as a Christ follower because of the gift of God’s Spirit to allow me to both will and to do what God wishes.

The only reason that I struggle with sin is because of this.  If it were not for the influence of the Spirit I would not struggle but rather always give in to sin.  As I prepare to celebrate Advent I must ponder the gift that Christ has left for us.  He gave us this Spirit to allow us to have help in our need to faithfully follow.

I said earlier that Christ promised to be always with us.  This is a large part of the fulfillment of that promise.  I cannot properly celebrate the Advent of Christ without honoring the gifts given by his grace.  If I am to follow then I must walk in the Spirit as he leads.

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."

19 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What is my Standing?

Greetings Dear Reader,

A fallen state and a need for redemption seem like bleak things to endure.  If that is how I always view things I would probably abandon my faith.  I have quit lesser things when I felt there was no hope of being better at them.

Fortunately I am required to see me as Christ sees me not only in my state of fallen depravity.  I have a standing with him that overrides that view.  Yes I am fallen but my standing with Christ is one of being reclaimed and restored.  God views me at the completion of things as well as in the process.  He sees me as perfected and free from the struggles of my fallen nature. 

When I forget this is when I am at my worst.  My own fears and failures are the things that drag me down.  My own weariness at the struggle with sin decays my spirit and strength.  It is when I recall how Christ sees me and how I stand with him that I gain the courage to continue.

Someone once questioned why Christmas was so important to me and why I became so excited about it.  This is at the core of my faith.  The day or date is not what matters.  It is the reason for the day.  Jesus came to us so that God would be with us.  He did this so that he could gain something he did not have.  He did it to reclaim us.  The Advent of Christ is the advent of my ability to have this standing with him.

The theology of standing and state is an important one.  More important is the personal nature of it.  No matter what the current struggle on my part I have an advocate, companion, and fellow traveler with whom I am always in good standing.  He already is aware of every slip, failure, and rebellion I will undertake.  In light of those he has already made provision for my forgiveness, restoration, and reclamation. 

This is the light in which I travel.  This is the standing in which I gain the strength to endure my state.  This is one of the great things that drives me toward a proper celebration of the Advent 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."

18 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What is my State?

Greetings Dear Reader,

As I prepare my heart and mind for advent I always come up against the struggle I have with sin.  So often I am deterred from my actual intents by my fallen nature.  I always want to do what is wrong but I am still “only human.”

None of that excuses my failure to follow Christ in all that I do.  Some recently told me that someone else is “old and cannot change his behavior.”  That is rubbish.  There is never a time when one cannot choose to do what is right.  I can never use my fallen state as an excuse to do what is wrong.

My state is that I have a nature that works in me to avoid the things that are vital to following Christ.  It works in my heart and my reason to get me to think and feel things that are not Christ centered.

That fallen state is what makes me struggle with sin.  If it did not exist there would be no struggle. The struggle keeps me from complacency in following but I become so weary of it at times.  In my fallen state I have to be constantly aware of my purpose and motivations for what I do.

In pondering Advent and the ensuing celebration I must fight the things I want over the things I need to give.  I must focus on the needs of others and true celebration of Christ.  Anything that is centered on what I want outside of the redemption of all is a function of my fallen state.

Fortunately I am not bound to this state.  I have a choice.  Fortunately Christ sees me differently.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – Who Am I to Christ - Redeemed

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I ponder who I am to Christ is light of the things have done in my life it amazes me.  Over the next two days I will discuss I something about this that is very theological but also very important.  Today, however, I want to look at redemption. 

We all know what it is to redeem something.  It is an exchange.  I redeem a coupon for a discount.  I exchange work for pay.  I exchange some of my life for the things that I wish to do. Christ has exchanged pain, suffering, and death for the redemption or reclamation of my soul.

So many things about life are an exchange.  This exchange, however, is so very one sided.  My failures and fallen soul get redemption through Christ by an act of faith.  I accept what he has already done for me.  I exchange faith for redemption.  It saddens me that others make this so much more complicated than it is.

As I approach Advent I consider all the small acts of faith that are necessary just to get to the stable in Bethlehem.  Mary has to have faith.  Joseph refused to have faith until an angel intervened.  The Magi moved in faith.

This year as I move toward this celebration I want to do so with deeper faith.  It is what will carry me.  It is what will sustain me.  If I do not move toward this in faith then I will not move toward it at all.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – Who Am I to Christ - Ransomed

Greetings Dear Reader,

Here is another word that I see in a western context but I need to see in a more theological one.  In my fallen state I need to be aware that my failure to measure up to God’s standard created a debt.  Again, I do not need to acknowledge this for it to be true.  In fact, failure to acknowledge it makes it true.

The incarnation of Christ is the first step in physically paying that debt.  The only way for me to be ransomed from the debt I owed was for someone who did not owe the same debt to pay the price.  Jesus lived his life without incurring the debt to God’s standards that I have incurred.  He was the only who could, therefore, ransom my debt.

Again I must view the cradle as the first step to the cross.  I must see that the birth in Bethlehem was the primary step that would lead to the walk up a hill outside of Jerusalem.  The price for my ransom was God’s blood and he willingly paid it.  “No man takes my life from me but I lay it down freely.”

Everything about Advent drives me to this point.  The giving is a reminder of the giving for my ransom.  The celebration should be focused on the incarnation and not on things.  Jesus is the reason I have any comfort and joy.  We celebrate that child because he becomes the man who will ransom my debt to God.  How can anything matter more?

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – Who Am I to Christ - Fallen

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that sin is not a popular word anymore.  I think that the word is important although it communicates judgment rather than a state in which man exists.  When we focus on sin rather that SIN we do more damage than good. 

We share a common malady.  We have all fallen short of God’s standard for us.  I am not finger pointing at anyone.  There is no one who does not share this condition.  My aim is to worry about getting it right for me and hopefully setting a good example for others. 

The formula is simple.  I have not measured up to God’s standard.  I, therefore, am in a position where I cannot reach God on my own.  The incarnation of Christ is God coming to me to bridge the gap I have created.  I do not like the thought that I am in this position but that does not change the truth of it.

We cannot measure our situation by comparing it to anything that is lateral.  The standard is God’s perfection not that I am “better” than anyone else.  As I prepare for Advent I must remember that everyone is in need in this way.  I am not better than anyone else.  God loves us all and is calling us to himself.  Advent is the beginning of the visible aspect of that call.  I must celebrate with thoughts of the needs of others in 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."

14 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – Who Am I to Christ - Loved

Greetings Dear Reader,

The most knows verse in the Bible covers this.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosever believeth in him shall not parish but have everlasting life.”

There is a great deal of theology that can be unpacked from this but what I wish to focus on is the motivation of God.  He loves us.  He made me and he loves me.  It is God who is the prime mover here.  He loves us.  He loves collectively and individually.  I often hear objections to God begin with, “How can a loving God…”   People go on to name some heinous thing that in their mind is outside of the character that they have assigned to God.

First of all I do not dare, as the created to assign things to my creator.  This is improper.  Second, it is this Creator that wishes to be known by his love for me.  I have two Sons that I love dearly.  I would not trade their lives for anyone else I know.  Jesus allowed his life to be traded so that he could express his love for me.

Although I celebrate the Advent of the incarnation of Christ I never do so without serious thought about the cost of this.  Birth is the beginning of death.  Cells die every moment.  Christ chose to die for the sake of those he loved.  I am loved by God.  How can I not live out the things he taught with all 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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – Who Am I to Christ - Created

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that believing that I am created by God and that he created all things is not a popular view in the post-modern world.  I am not opposed to science and do not think that one has to deny science to believe in creation.

It concerns me that the reaction to this belief can at times be so harsh.  That, however, is not my focus.  I believe that I was created by God.  I believe that he knew what I would be like before the world was formed.  I believe that he loved me before the first star was kindled.

I am God’s creation and that is the genesis of the story.  The entire journey begins from stepping out of that door.  The path finds it beginning in the beginning of all things.  The crimson thread that leads from creation to the purpose of advent is woven in the tapestry of every life. 

He made me.  He lost me through my own sin.  He bought me back with his own life.  My life matters to God no matter how much I believe it does or does not.  I can walk away from my belief in these things and that has no impact on the truth of them.  I do not determine what is true or not. 

You do not have to agree with me about creation.  You do not even have to like that I believe it Dear Reader.  It would be good though if you see that it is a prime mover for me.  I already belong to God.  He already has given me life.  Should I not then follow him with all my heart because that life is his?  Any good I do is based on this primary belief.  I do not demand this belief from anyone else but I do feel that we are all obligated to God because of it.

As I prepare my heart for this season of giving thanks, giving gifts, and serving others I look at the foundation upon which I am built and feel great gratitude for the life I have.  I must spend it being good to others and not dwelling on what I do not have or wish I did have.  I have life and the opportunity to use that life for good.  That should be enough to move me down the path with joy.  If it is not then I am the one who is wrong.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What Jesus Did – Our Commission

Greetings Dear Reader,

Often when my sons were younger I would leave them with work to do whilst I was away from the house.  Sometimes it was accomplished and sometimes not.  I loved rewarding the work that was done. 

Jesus left us with work to do.  He instructed us clearly as to what we are to be about.

Matthew 28:18-20 Indeed Jesus approached them and talked to them with this affirmation.  “The entire privilege of influence and power is bestowed upon me over heaven and earth.  As you continue on the journey you have begun instruct every individual in every gathering by immersing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Hold conversations with them that instruct them to guard carefully every command I have given as far as they reach.  See that I am with you every day in perpetuity until the completion of all things.

I am to be about the business of teaching others to follow Christ.  I am to do this through love, generosity, and kindness.  It is not only to be my business but my lifestyle.  Everything I undertake should be informed by this assignment.  As I approach celebrating Christ I must do so by honoring what he has required of me.

If I am not living out the commission he has given me then I am not truly celebrating Christ in any endeavor.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What Jesus Did – The Resurrection

Greetings Dear Reader,

The culminating reason for the incarnation of Christ is the cross.  It is not the only purpose but he had to die.  He also had to rise.  This is one of the other jumping of points for those who wish to abandon faith.  Because the resurrection can only be reasoned and not proven it requires a level of faith.

The resurrection is necessary to our redemption.  The empty tomb is our portal of hope.  Everything about this is vital to my journey.  If Christ is not risen then my hope is in vain. If there is no faith in the resurrection of Christ then there is no faith in my own reclamation and restoration to an unfallen state. 

Advent gives us the incarnation that gives us the life that is laid down at the cross.  The cross gives us the sacrifice that is accepted by God as proven by the resurrection.  If I am to prepare my heart for the Advent season then I must ponder and embrace the whole process.

I must realize the cost to God and the benefit to me.  I must walk into this season of celebration remember that we pay for the party with our dearest blood.  It is in the empty tomb that I find the hope that gives me cause to celebrate the Advent.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What Jesus Did – His Death

Greetings Dear Reader,

Christ is not unique in that his death was politically or religiously fueled.   He is not unique in that he was not guilty of the charges brought against him.  The nature of his torture and death is not unique.  It was visited on people daily in Jerusalem. 

The unique nature of his death lies in the purveyor and purpose of it.  Foremost we did not kill Christ.  We are all guilty of the necessity for it.  As he said clearly no one could take his life but he laid it down freely.  Life is in the blood.  Without blood there is not remission of sins.  God’s blood was the price for my sin.  God set himself as the price to redeem us. 

I cannot drive hard enough at what this means.  Christ gave us a way to return to God.  He gave us a means of redemption.  He gave us escape from our own fallen state.  Every future is tied to this event.  It in the death of Christ that we find the offering of our redemption.  That of course is not enough.


Why did it have to be a friend?
Who chose to betray the Lord?
Why did he use a kiss to show them?
That's not what a kiss is for

Only a friend can betray a friend
A stranger has nothing to gain
And only a friend comes close enough
To ever cause so much pain

And why did there have to be thorny
Crown pressed upon His head
It should have been the royal one
Made of jewels and gold instead

It had to be a crown of thorns
Because in this life that we live
For all who seek to love
A thorn is all the world has to give

And why did it have to be
A heavy cross He was made to bare
And why did they nail His feet and hands
His love would have held Him there

It was a cross for on a cross
A thief was supposed to pay
And Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away

Yes, Jesus had come into the world
To steal every heart away

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 November 2013

Second Thoughts - How to Pee Pee on the Potty

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

I have the lovely privilege of having my Grandsons for the night.  The eldest is now using the potty and he had instructions for me that I had to follow.  Remember that he is three years old and very precocious.  I am doing my best to relay them word for word.

  1. The potty must be put in the bathroom.
  2. You have to leave the bathroom light on all the time.
  3. You have to take your pants and underwear and socks all the way off to use the potty. (I was informed of this one whilst trying to rush to the potty in time)
  4. You have to empty the potty right away so it turns the water yellow and you can flush it.
  5. You can’t flush it until the water is yellow because you will lose the water.
  6. If you use the potty at the mall you have to use the family one but it is a little too big.
  7. When you put the potty in the car you have to put it where the owner of the potty can see it.
  8. You have to dance around after you pee before you can put you socks, underwear, and pants back on.
  9. You get jelly beans if you pee pee and carrot cake if you poo poo on the potty,

There is neither room for interpretation nor compromise in these rules.  I did successfully get him to leave his pants on by suggesting that we could leave to play more quickly if it were thus. 

I wonder how often I think things MUST be a certain way because that is how I understand them.  I know I can be stubborn and at times even hard headed.  I think that God must often laugh at my rules for things that I am just too involved in to see from another angle.  I am sure I am dancing around at times anxious to get to the thing when I should be less worried about the method and more concerned about the outcome.

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."

Preparing for Advent – What Jesus Did – His Life

Greetings Dear Reader,

Born into a working class family under harsh circumstances is challenge enough.  Jesus was also born into a nation under military occupation and foreign rule.  His early life was filled with flight and danger.  The time between his twelfth year and his thirtieth is a mystery.

His time of public work was only three years.  In that short time he impacted history in a way that no one ever has.  Every movement of his life was committed to revealing God to us in a new way.  Every event was a living out of loving God and his neighbor with all he is.

He healed, he fed, and he cared for others.  His entire time was committed to the well-being of others.  This is what I am called to follow.  This is who I am called to be like.  Celebrating the Advent of Christ means renewing my purpose to follow the man that the baby became.

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."

81 – The Ninth Inning

81 – The Ninth Inning

By Aramis Thorn


The temperatures have truly turned toward winter and my dear friend baseball is resting and preparing for spring.  My thoughts have turned to Christmas and the long dark of winter.  Thank you for traveling with me on this side journey. Enjoy the last installment and as always, I treasure your thoughts.

Ninth Inning

Warm Up

Joe is almost to the mound when he turns and trots back to Jack.  He looks at the catcher who meets him two feet in front of home plate.  He hesitates then asks, “Can we skip the warm up?  I just need to throw.”

Garner Patch is within ear shot and catches Jack’s eye when he turns around.  Garner nods his approval. Jack is worried that the kid’s nerves will catch up with him.  He does not know that Joe is actually worried about Jack. They go over a couple of new signs to encompass the pitches Joe has revealed. The rookie pitcher and veteran catcher take their places for what both hope is the last dance of the evening.

The umpire rests a hand on Jack’s shoulder that is both reassuring and finalizes the import of the moment.  He looks out at Joe Zander form Tiger, Georgia and for a moment realizes just how young the pitcher is.  “Play ball,” calls Garner Patch.  The stadium erupts with fan expression of the potential in the next moments.  Garner has to raise both hands to call for quiet from the spectators.  After the storm of applause subside he signals for Joe to pitch.

Pitch 73

Wholesome Mathews steps in and tips his hat to the mound.  There is another tsunami of applause from the stands.

“Evening Mr. Patch,” offers the man from Yazoo City, Mississippi. 

“Evening Wholesome,” replies the umpire.

“Evening Jack,” says Wholesome.
“Welcome back to our little spectacle,” responds Morris.

He knows that Joe has some things he has not shown yet.  He gives the fist down sign they had agreed to as the signal for the knuckleball.  Joe nods, winds, and delivers.

It is said that knuckleballs float.  There have been cartoons that portrayed a batter swing three times at a single one before it reaches the plate.  Joe’s knuckleball dances with Wholesome’s timing.  The knuckleball leads and Wholesome swings far too early.

It is good that he did as the pitch dances far to the left of home plate and Jack barely snags it.

“Steeerike one Wholesome,” calls Garner Patch.
Wholesome looks back at Jack and Garner. “That ball is breaking the laws of gravity and physics.  How could you expect any good man to hit it?”

Jack is busy being thankful for the pitch as he tosses it back to Joe.

The red watcher blinks a bright 59 mph.

Pitch 74

Jack signals for curve and inside.  He needs to keep his wise friend guessing.

Joe nods and deals.  The pitch reads fastball as it moves in exactly where Jack is set up. 

Wholesome swings again.  Wholesome misses again. 

“Steeerike two,” calls Patch.

“Jack that kid of yours is diabolical,” begins Wholesome.  “Curve balls are not supposed to move that fast.”

Jack smiles through the return of the pain in his hand.  “You can try to tell him but I do not think he will listen.”

The pitch clock agrees with the catcher at 92 mph.

Pitch 75

As Wholesome digs in Jack chooses to try something.  He calls for the heat and makes a lifting motion with his hand.  He is sure the kid has a rising fastball and just has not thrown it yet.  He would much rather a man of Wholesome’s character goes down swinging than be called out.

Joe grins before he nods.  He understands.  Jack can tell.  The young pitcher winds and delivers.  The pitch screams in like a centered fastball because it is. 

Wholesome pulls the trigger just as the ball begins to rise.  By the time it crosses the plate it is a full six inches above the bat.  Jack reaches up to snag it and it encloses fully in the webbing of his glove.

“Steeerike three, you are out,” calls Patch.

Jack looks up at Wholesome and shrugs. 

As Wholesome retreats he mutters something about voodoo and black magic.

The pitch clock verifies that the arcane happened at the speed of 104 mph.

Pitch 76

Jack hands the ball off to Tom who inscribes it and takes it to the bag.  Jackson Daniels kicks at the divot in the batter’s box as if it is the enemy and not the bright read jerseys that surround him.

Morris signals curve.  Joe throws a true and vengeful one.  Daniels thinks the pitch outside.  Garner Patch thinks it crosses the outside corner.  That is all that matters.

“Steeerike one,” calls the umpire.

The pitch clock blinks 88 mph.

Pitch 77

Even at 88 mph the pitch hurts Jack’s damaged hand.  He signals changeup for the next pitch.  It is a perfect lie and Daniels swings too early.

“Steeerike two,” calls Patch.

The red watcher deems it a 72 mph triumph.

78

Using the signal that they have devised Jack calls for the screwball.  Joe nods and lets fly.  Again the pitch looks true until it is too late.  The ball dives down and in toward the batter who swings over it as it dives.

“Steeerike three,” call Garner Patch.

Jackson Daniel’s at bat has lasted less than two minutes. 

The pitch clock winks a demure 91 mph.

Pitch 79

As Morris hands of the ball to the ball boy he looks over at the opposition on deck circle.  Where Andrew Vine should be is a kid that looks even younger than Joe.  The announcer calls him out as a pinch hitter; number 37 Fred Zeitz from Madison, Wisconsin.  Jack ponders that their team is not the only one robbing the cradle in the last week of the season.

As Fred steps into the box the cone of silence descends again on the stadium.  Except for a few fans who have been over-served by the beer vendors no one is unaware of the circumstances.

The catcher signals for heat and inside.  He wants to remind the new batter what real pitching is like.  Joe shakes him off.  He does not understand but Joe has not been wrong yet.  Jack calls for the curve.  Joe nods.

As Joe deals Zeitz tenses up.  He adjusts his stance and swings.  Had the curve hung it may have made it to the parking lot.  Instead Jack sees the stadium lights through the space between ball and bat.

“Steeerike one,” calls Garner Patch.

The pitch clock sings 83 mph.

Pitch 80

Jack calls for the heat again and Joe shakes him off.  Jack feels irritated.  He is concerned about Joe blowing it over protection for the catcher.  Jack calls for a changeup.  Joe nods his agreement.

The pitch looks just like every fastball pitched tonight.

Zeitz swings again and misses again.  He swung too soon.

“Steeerike two,” calls Patch.

Zeitz looks back a Jack with anger in his eyes.

The pitch clock’s angry red numbers call out 73 mph.

Pitch 81

Jack signals heat again and inside.  Joe shakes him off again.  Jack signals heat and inside.  Joe does not smile but nods his approval.

The entire stadium has stopped.  Beer vendors and popcorn hawkers are silent.  Joe Zander from Tiger, Georgia winds and deals. 

The pitch traverses the space between mound and home with such force that the slow motion replays will have ghosts of the pressure wave created in them.  Fred Zeitz has no time to think.  He freezes.

The impact of the ball against the catcher’s mitt sounds almost as loud as a hit.  It seems like an hour before Garner Patch makes the call.

“Steeerike three.  You are out batter.  That is the game,” calls Garner Patch.

This is the last thing that anyone hears as the crowd explodes. 

The pitch clock reads 108 mph.


After Innings

The last pitch was the last pitch Jack “Cracker Jack” Morris would catch for eighteen months.  The fastball shattered his entire lower hand.  He was so filled with joy for young Joe Zander he did not notice until he found he could not remove his glove.  He held the bag of balls all the way through the post-game interviews and press talks.

The team made the playoffs and with Zander’s help the series.  They lost in the seventh game to the Tigers by one run.  During the off season Joe and Jack frequented every talk show and sports show available.  Joe even got his picture on a Wheaties box.

While he was healing Jack put in his papers to retire from play.  The team offered him a pitching coach job.  He took it.


Jack “Cracker Jack” Morris spent the next two years helping pitchers stay calm and pitch better.  He talked often of what had become known as the “Immaculate Game”.  He had the record breaking ball and the final strike out ball put in a special case for Joe.  He gave it to Joe for his twenty-first birthday.  The remaining balls ended up at the baseball hall of fame.  So eventually did Jack and Joe eventually.

08 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What Else Does Jesus Want?

Greetings Dear Reader,

Again this is one of those questions holds a multiverse of answers in a single word.  Everything about following Christ comes down to a single thing.  It is one of those things that we naturally hate because it is beyond our control.  This is true.  We do not have to like or accept it for it to be true. 

Whether we accept it or not the basis for every positive relationship into which we enter has the same key foundation.  Ultimately we base every relationship that is good on faith.  We trust that someone will be loyal to us.  We believe that a spouse will be faithful to the marriage vows.  We move in faith much more often that we care to admit. 

Faith means giving up control.  It requires that we trust something outside of ourselves.  When I put my trust in someone else I give up control in some way.  What Jesus wants from us is faith.  He wants us to believe.  He wishes us to have hope based on faith.

As I prepare my heart and mind for Advent I must renew and rekindle my faith that all things are in God’s control and unfolding as they should.  Jesus made it clear that faith is much more powerful than we realize.  It is able to heal, guide, guard, and bring change.

Approaching the Advent season requires that I realize the primary thing in which I must have faith.  Like any vital relationship I must have faith in God’s love for me.  I must believe.  I must use that belief to have hope.  Lord I believe.  Help my unbelief.


By faith one was commended for the sacrifice he made
Another out of holy fear built an ark the world to save
Another left his homeland and as a stranger he'd reside
But none received the promise then and so, in faith, they died.

Others conquered kingdoms; quenched the fury of the flames
Some made strong in battle, some were raised to life again
But many more were martyred midst the crowds loud clamoring
By faith they would not bow the knee nor kiss the emperor's ring

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears 
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

Being sure of what we hope for, seeing what is yet unseen
A universe from nothingness, new life where none had been
The known made from unknowable and hope for the comfortless
Who hear and hold on firmly to the faith that they possess

Faith understands and offers
It assures and calms our fears
It can shut the mouths of lions
And make sense of scars and tears
We persevere in hope
And with conscience clean and clear
We walk this fallen wilderness
With Salvation's Pioneer

So fix your eyes upon the Champion as you seek to run the race
Understanding that He cheers you on as you long for His embrace
So hold on and do not grow weary of the faith that you profess
Remembering that you are ringed around by this cloud of witnesses

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What Does Jesus Want?

Greetings Dear Reader,

After following Christ for what will be forty years in April I think I have spent a million years pondering this question.  I dream about it.  I think about it unwarranted in odd moments.  I do my best to think honestly.  I read and study.  I posit and ponder.  In a season of giving thanks and giving gifts, what does Jesus really want?

So many today see Christianity as an exclusive religion.  In many ways it is.  Some of those ways are good and some are not.  When Christ followers exclude others based on differences in practice or for reasons of hatred of dislike they are not following Christ.  This type of division is always wrong.

There is an exclusiveness that is inescapable.  Jesus wants us to be his exclusively.  He went to extreme lengths to make this possible.  I know it is not popular to talk about our sin and fallen nature.  The exclusive nature of my faith teaches that we are all in need of redemption.  That is not being said as an attack on anyone but as an inclusive shared common condition of man.  When we rejected God and his standards we created our lostness.  He made us and then bought us back when he lost us. 

What Jesus wants is everyone, everywhere, at every moment.  He wants this for our good and out of love for us.  As I prepare for Advent I must remember that I am not better than anyone. I must be constantly aware that this is a shared and individual journey all at once.  There is no one on the journey toward God that does not matter.

I must assure that I prepare my heart to see everyone where they are in the moment.  I must also see what Christ wishes for them.  He wants me to love and enjoy them as part of his creation.  He wants me to treat everyone with kindness and respect.  I am not required to accept everything that others say are right and good but I am required to love everyone.  I am required to live out what Jesus wants for others.

What does Jesus want?  He wants everyone.  What if Christ followers abandoned the divisions and treated everyone with love, respect, compassion, and kindness?  What if we follow Christ by working toward what he wants?  “And when I am lifted up I will draw all men unto myself.”



In the ebb and flow of living
As we wander through the years
We're told to listen to a voice
We can't here with our ears

They say to live by something
That you can't see with your eyes
Is there really any purpose
To this foolish exercise?

Could it be, You make Your presence known So often by Your absence?
Could it be that questions tell us more Than answers ever do?

Could it be that You would really rather die Than live without us?
Could it be the only answer that means anything Is You?

In our words and in our silence
In our pride and in our shame
To the genius and the scholar
To the foolish and insane

To the ones who care to seek You
To the ones who never will
You are the only answer even still

Could it be, You make Your presence known so often by Your absence?
Could it be that questions tell us more than answers ever do?

Could it be that You would really rather die than live without us?
Could it be the only answer that means anything is You?

It's a question you can't answer
An answer you cannot express
That the gentle Man of Sorrows
Is the source of happiness

You'll never solve the mystery of this magnetic man
For you must believe to understand

Could it be, You make Your presence known so often by Your absence?
Could it be that questions tell us more than answers ever do?

Could it be that You would really rather die than live without us?
Could it be the only answer that means anything is You?

Could it be the only answer that means anything is 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."

06 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – What Did Jesus Teach?

Greetings Dear Reader,

I realize that this question is the size of the universe and I have no hope of covering it in this tiny blog post.  I also realize that it is a question that does not get asked enough.  I am not going to try to answer the entire question here.  It is too much so I will sum up.

When asked what the greatest commandment was Jesus gave a very direct reply.  He said that we are to love God with all that we are.  He said the second commandment; to love our neighbors is just as important.  He ended this conversation by commenting that all of the law and the prophets rest on these two things.

That should be enough.  If we spend our energy following these two commands there is little left for us to be concerned about.  If I focus on following Christ by doing these two things I will cover everything else.  There are other things that matter.  I must follow in faith. I must be singular in my devotion.  I must follow Christ and not some odd rules laid down by other followers. 

It is not that these are the only things to which I must attend.  Jesus taught that I must have faith.  I must care for the poor and needy (my neighbors).  I must love my enemies (neighbors again).  I must give my best in every endeavor.   I must be generous and kind.  I must be humble. 

What Jesus taught is selflessness.  He taught it through actions and words.  Selflessness powered by love for others may be the thing that moves me forward best in my journey.  I do not always succeed at it and I have far to go in mastering it.  As I prepare for Advent though it is vital that I revisit the purpose of my endeavors.

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 November 2013

Preparing for Advent – Why the Incarnation?

Greetings Dear Reader,

A long time ago a friend of mine used to tell this terrible joke about carnations.  It always made me laugh and I always think of it around Advent.  I think of it because of the word “incarnation” which comes up during Advent.  As I prepare for Advent I always think about the incarnation of Christ.

Why does this matter?  Why did God choose to do things this way?  The incarnation of Christ is a common jumping off point for people who abandon following Christ.  They reason away that Jesus is God in human form.   We get so caught up in all the trappings of the season that we forget to focus on the thing that it is about.  God chose to step into to time in the form of his creation.  He came to us with purpose.

I know that as I approach Advent I am very aware of this.  The why of it for me is very important.  There are three things that I consider as I move toward Advent and the celebration of the incarnation.  There is a great deal of theology wrapped up in this.  Much of it is for those already following Christ but the aspects of it that the whole world needs to see are simple.

God wishes to reveal himself to us. He chose to do so as one of us.  One could say it would be more convincing were God to be more obvious or dramatic.  People believe what they choose to believe.  God wishes for our relationship to be based on faith.  We struggle with faith.  God uses his incarnation to reveal his nature to us in a way that we can understand.  I think about this all the time and it enriches me.  I think about it especially at Advent.

God puts systems in place for his purposes.  The second thing I ponder about the Incarnation is our redemption or reclamation if you will.  God has made it clear that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.  God would rather die than live without us.  He is the one who journeys to us through the incarnation for the express purpose of dying for our sin.  This is at the heart of my love for Advent.  God is with us and will give all that he is to draw us back to a relationship with him.

The last one is logically simple.  Without the incarnation there can be no death, then therefore, no resurrection.  Advent gets us to the resurrection.  The resurrection is the cornerstone of our hope of redemption.  When I think of Advent I ponder the entire story not just the sweet bits.  I ponder the truth that we “say we love the baby and crucify the man.”  If there is no resurrection then our faith is useless. 

As I endeavor to follow Christ it is imperative that I see what the incarnation does for me.  It is vital that accept who he is on his terms not my own.  It is inherent in the following that I see that I follow God in the form of man in a way that I cannot truly comprehend.  Once again I am left with the rules God lays out for me.  I must have faith if I hope to follow.  So far that is not such a bad thing.

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."