31 December 2014

Closing the Year – Quiet Reflection

Happy New Year Dear Reader,

Our Christmas decorations are still in full force.  The bubble lights simmer on drawing me to quiet reflection and thought.  I will end the year in the same way.  For many years it has not been my thing to go to parties or go out on the town.

I welcome the New Year quietly by reflecting on the things that matter to me.  I pray for my children and grandsons.  I toast absent friends.  I mourn the loss of those no longer in my life. 

I think we do not ponder enough that the New Year is an arbitrary choice on the calendar.  It is convenient that it comes seven days after Christmas as it allows for an extended holiday.  Other cultures place the new year at different times.

Tonight as I sit with my toddy and quiet I will look through the list of those who have interacted with over the year through this blog.  I will pray for you Dear Reader.  I will thank God for your comments both supportive and questioning.  I value you more than you will know in this life.

I will review the work of the year as a writer and note ways that I can do better.  This post marks the attainment of a goal set last December.  The goal was to successfully post every day of this year.  Not only will I have reached that goal but the extra posts as “second thoughts” will give a tell of 400 posts over the year.  That is not a planned number but it rounds things out quite well. 

I will spend time tomorrow mapping out my writing for the year.  My goals are lofty but attainable.  I will make time to share my thoughts and questions with you Dear Reader.  I must follow Christ in every word I write.  I must speak the truth in love and endeavor to tell tales that lead us further down the path toward love and faith.

Thank you for your journey with me this year.  I hope that there has been joy for you along the way.  I know that your company has made a difference for me.  If I cannot bring you comfort then at least I bring you hope.

Closing of the Year – Wendy and Lisa

If I cannot bring you comfort
Then at least I bring you hope
For nothing is more precious
Than the time we have, and so

We all must learn from small misfortune
Count the blessings that are real
Let the Bells ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year

Let the Bells Ring out for Christmas
At the closing of the year

Up on the knees of a Sergeant Major
Ride through the woods with the wind in your hair
Silver bells on a stolen reindeer
As they race to the castle over there

If I cannot bring you comfort then at least I bring you hope

Now all the winter bells are ringing
Hear them echo through the snow
And the children’s' voices singing
On the streets so far below

This is a time to be together
And the truth is somewhere here
within our love of people
At the closing of the year

We'll walk in the sun
With All of the faith
And all of the Patience
All of the way
With all of us right
And all of us saying
"No one an island"
We'll fly in the arms of time
Walk in the waves, never fall
Don't fall.....

At the closing of the year...
At the closing of the year!
If I cannot bring you comfort, then at least I bring you hope
Then at least I bring you 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." 

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

30 December 2014

Closing the Year - Resolutions

Greetings Dear Reader,

Resolve is the determination to take a course of action.  It is finding a solution to a problem and applying it.  We have turned resolutions into singing up for a gym membership that we use for month and pay for the entire year. 

Very seldom do we change because of the calendar.   It is instead that we change because we choose to do differently.  We choose to take our lives on a different course.  The fact that we think of things we need to change but delay the change until a calendar date seems counterproductive. 

In light of this I do not make resolutions for the New Year.  I set goals but I do that every month.  I make plans for the year but that is what I do all throughout the year.  When it comes to things I need to change that are good for me I try to just do it. 

I am not saying that making resolutions for the New Year is bad.  I am saying that delaying change that will benefit one may hinder the true resolve behind that change.  Things that are not healthy or right for me should be stopped immediately.  Giving them further lease is not a good idea.

Resolve must live in the moment for me.  It must be that I choose to do what is best in each moment.  I must do what is right in the middle of things.  It is saying no or yes to each moment that shows my resolve to do better for the year.  It is living in each moment with that moment resolved to follow Christ that creates a life that resolves into being a Christ follower.

A Week of Moments – Ian Anderson

A week of moments a clutch of days
Ten thousand minutes of a Passion Play.
Medley of quavers informs the tune.
Its all too much: over all too soon.

Sweet condensation on chilling wine
Travelers palm, flamboyant tree
Fast photos ripped and lost consign
A week of moments to faint memory.

A week of moments plucked from the page
Found far horizons, a sunset stage.
Suitcases bulge, in silence packed
A chapter closed: no looking back.

The lightest touch upon my arm
No fierce restraint, no call to stay.
Hushed room maids glide like pawns to king
With pool attendants in chess piece array.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

29 December 2014

Closing the Year – Christmas Eve and Other Stories

Greetings Dear Reader,

Each year I take the time after Christmas and before New Year’s Eve to listen to the entire narrated version of Christmas Eve and Other Stories.  Whilst listening I plan ways in which I am going to live the Christmas spirit throughout the year.  I ponder ways in which I am going to inject hope and love into the lives of others.

I find that if I have planned how to be good during the time when Christmas is put on the shelf by others I am more able to unwrap it for them a bit easier.  I will speak more of this later in the week.  What concerns me the most today is that intentionally do not forget once the gifts and goings on are past that there is so much more to Christmas.

I am already thinking about the deep midwinter and its gray days.  I am already planning how I will be towards those with whom I work.  Thoughts for how to better love my family are already on the move. 

The question is always the same; how do we show love and grace to others in a way that reflects Christ.  I review what I have done that works.  I plan to do more that matters.  I put my heart at risk.  I put my faith on the line.

Christmas Eve and Other Stories – Full Narrated version – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Old City Bar – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

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 all ready 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

THEN ALL AT ONCE INSIDE THAT NIGHT
HE SAW IT ALL SO CLEAR
THE ANSWER THAT HE SOUGHT SO LONG
HAD ALWAYS BEEN SO NEAR

IT'S EVERY GIFT THAT SOMEONE GIVES
EXPECTING NOTHING BACK
IT'S EVERY KINDNESS THAT WE DO
EACH SIMPLE LITTLE ACT

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

28 December 2014

Closing the Year – Dodging Discontentment

Greetings Dear Reader,

Two of my children were gifted with new PlayStation Four Consoles for Christmas.  Sony experienced a vast denial of service attack on their network beginning Christmas Day.  This means that my two children and hordes of others were not able to register, download games, update content and things of the like.

I was pleased as a Father to see both of them find the positive in the situation.  My Daughter Christmas did this at home.  She expressed her gratitude and turned to other leisure activities.  She would try every couple of hours over the next few days but showed not a moment’s discontent.

My Bezel show similar patience and character.  He did so in front of my Grandsons and made the best of the situation by being good to them.  He was content to play the included game with his nephews and siblings.  He expressed at one point his compassion for all the other people who were disappointed by the network outage.

I watch with pride as both of them dealt with disappointment in love and compassion for those around them.  I felt moved that when they were with my Grandsons the set an example of giving up what they wanted to be good others.  As I mentioned yesterday the media is screaming for us to be discontent with what we just received.  My children have instead chosen to love.  That is joyous. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

27 December 2014

Closing the Year – Pigs Gone to Clover

Greetings Dear Reader,

As the year turns toward its last week my thoughts always turn toward the way in which we mark that passage.  I mentioned the phrase “pigs gone to clover” earlier in the month.  It denotes a level of satisfaction.  It is a level of satisfaction I rarely hear expressed in our culture.

Yesterday the media was filled with ads and stories telling us to be dissatisfied with what we received for Christmas.  Phrases like “get what you really wanted” offend me.  I am so very satisfied with the gifts I received.  Those who gave them showed that they know me and love me.  Even my Grandson, Orion showed he knows people in the gifts he chose for them.

Are there things I wish to have?  Yes there are.  Are any of them worth failing to pause for a bit to be truly grateful for what I have been given?  No they are not.  People took time and spend money to choose gifts for me.  That alone should satisfy me.  I value the time with my family more than things.  I value giving joy to them more than getting things for myself.  I value the privilege of meeting their needs and some of their wants.

I feel satisfied by showing them love and generosity.  I find joy in sharing my home and food with them and their guests.  The true satisfaction for me is in the lives of others.  That is what keeps Christmas in my heart the entire 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." 

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

26 December 2014

Boxing Day

Greetings Dear Reader,

The day after Christmas in some places is the day that servants and tradesmen were traditionally give a “Christmas Box.”  It is a time when those who work to service the rest of us are honored. 

I wonder if we truly honor those who work when we are on holiday.  I am so thankful for people like my friend Vanessa, an ER nurse who work odd shifts, long hours, and holidays to care for the needs of others.  Many people were not with family so that we could have help in time of need.

My friend Vosco owns a diner.  He is open on Christmas day because he has so many regular customers who do not have family to go to for a meal.  He gives away Thanksgiving meals to senior citizens on Thanksgiving.  He should be honored that he works on holidays for the sake of others and not due to avarice.

As I ponder all the wonderful gifts my family gave me I prepare to go to that diner for my weekly breakfast out.  On a day when many will be out searching to return unwanted gifts and purchase the things they want I hope to show kindness and respect to those I encounter who serve.  I am content with what I have.  I want to give more.

I want the person who serves me to feel respected, valued, and appreciated.  I want the spirit of Christmas to stretch beyond the gifts and feasting.  I need to live the faith that I have by valuing those who work in service industries every time I encounter them.  Patience and kindness should be the rule.  Respected and valued should be the way we make them feel. 

My Christmas joy is useless if I do not carry it into the daily business of my life.  Mankind is my business.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

25 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – Joy and Wonder – Closing Thoughts

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I hope that your Christmas Day is all that you wish it to be this year.  Thank you for journeying with me through December as I mused on why I love Christmas.  I have met a few people along the way who love it as much as I do.  I have seen a couple of people dear to me recapture a love for it.  I even been privileged to have a conversation with someone who hated Christmas and helped him separate his pain from the holiday.

I have been blessed with some new people in my life who get me when it comes to Christmas.  Val you are a blessing every day.  I pray that your Christmas is all that you wish for your family.  Joy, you truly live up to your name.  My prayers for you and Max include a wish for all that you need to feel complete in Christ.  I am thankful for the new friends and old who share the journey with me.  You have no idea how precious you are to me Dear Reader.  I truly love you.

The world is not as it should be but that does not mean it will never be so.  After all the dreams we find are the dreams we seek.  It is the hope and promise of all things made good that drives me.  It is the Christ centered joy and childlike wonder that capture me.  It is belief in something beyond what is that compels me forward.  Fully aware of the pain and sorrow of others I embrace hope that eventually we will celebrate the birth of Christ with all things returned to what they were intended to be for us.

It is in that hope that I close out my thoughts and questions on why I love Christmas.  It is Jesus that is at the core of this love and my hope in him.  It may not seem practical to have faith.  It may seem puerile and childlike.  That is, however, how Christ asks us to come to him; in childlike faith.  So I will keep Christmas in my heart. I will live it in the past, the present, and the future.  I will not forget the lessons it teaches.  “If we pretend long enough, never giving up, it just might be who we are.”  Happy Birthday Jesus, thank you for coming to be God with us.    

This Christmas Day – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

So, tell me Christmas
Are we wise
To believe in things we never see
Are prayers just wishes in disguise
And are these wishes being granted me
For now I see
The answering
To every prayer I've prayed

She's coming home this
Christmas Day

So tell me Christmas
Are we kind
More this day than any other day
Or is it only in our mind
And must it leave when you have gone away
It's different now
It's changed somehow
And now you're here to stay

She's coming home this
Christmas Day

All at once the world
It doesn't seem the same
And in a single night
You know it all has changed
And everything is now as it should be

I have the ornament
I have the perfect tree
I have a string of lights
I have a chance to see
Everything that my heart thought could be

For of all the dreams
You were the first I knew
And every other one
Was a charade of you
You stayed close when I was far away

In the darkest night
You always were the star
You always took us in
No matter who we are
And so she's coming home this
Christmas Day

Merry Christmas
Merry, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Merry, merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Merry, merry Christmas
Night

She's coming home
She's coming home
She's coming home
This Christmas Day

She's coming home this
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." 

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

24 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – God with Us

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

As I sit here in my writing room anticipation has me giddy.  I know that I have completed most of the tasks on my list.  I have been able to give significantly to the needs of others.  It has been a privilege to help some friends in genuine Christmas need.  A sea of gifts awaits around my gift tree so that I may bless my children and grandchildren.

I have found great joy in preparing for the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  I have moved among my fellow travelers the entire year attempting to live the spirit of this reality.  God comes to us. He chooses to be with us.  He wishes to reconcile with us. 

Even though we are the ones on the journey to God it is he that travels to us in every moment.  It is he that makes a way by being the propitiation for our sin.  He builds the bridge to us so that we can travel to him. 

Everything I wish to do at Christmas I hope to root in this hope.  As I turn toward the actual day I pray that my family sees God’s love for them in my gifts and preparations.  I hope that the things I dwell on are only connected to Christ and his love for us. 

The ebb and flow of the seasons always draw me to this time of year.  I think of Christmas Day almost every day.  I dwell on the incarnation and advent.  I savor that because of this day God is with us always.


I've heard about this baby boy
Who's come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I'm singing Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God's only Son was born, oh Hallelujah
Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You'll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah
Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wise men three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

23 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – Advents One and Two

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I do not wish to put too many clouds on the horizon of you Christmas joy.  It does, however, bear calling to mind that purpose of the birth is death.  The import of the incarnation is to create a vessel like us that can pay the penalty of sin for us.  The first advent creates the path to the cross.

The death then leads us to resurrection.  The hope is fulfilled in part by the acceptance of Christ by God as the penalty for our sin.  We rejoice at the birth.  We mourn the death.  We rejoice again at the resurrection.  Then Jesus departs.  We are left with history and faith.  We are left like those before the first century waiting for the fulfillment of a promise.

Jesus promised us a second advent.  He promised to prepare a place for us and then return.  I love Christmas because it reminds me that there will be another advent.  It will come when time is full again.  It will be sudden and unexpected by most.  It will be the last need for advent. 

We are traveling toward this day just like the Magi traveled toward Bethlehem.  Some of us reach Christ before he comes for us.  Every Christmas I hope that it is the last Christmas we celebrate in anticipation of Christ’s Second Advent.  I long to wish Jesus a “happy Christmas” face to face.

There is no known recording of this song.  I wish there were.

A Pauper’s Hymn – Michael and Sarah Sharp

Traveling hard  before  a  Sabbath  sunset, 
Cold the woman great with child. 
Lonely taxed from Naz’reth wand’ ring, 
O’re Judea’s barren wild. 
Homeless in a stable came the birth that night. 
What could this weary woman bring? 
Nothing less on earth than Heaven's Best; 
A Savior, Redeemer, King.    

Men of the East with wisdom following 
The star that heralds heaven's own 
Christ the Savior come to ransom 
Those who would choose Him to disown 
Warned of the madness of a puppet king, 
The child  is safe in Egypt as he grows, 
But in David's City the children die. 
Rachel weeps for those she'll never know.           

The decades pass, the boy a man, 
Condemned by hope and a lie, 
Hanging cold upon a wind-swept hill, 
Suspended between the worlds to die. 
How long will you wait to embrace His gift? 
Where else will you find harbor for your soul? 
Than in  the  out-stretched  arms  of  the  Christmas  babe, 
Who  ransomed  your  eternal  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." 
( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)



22 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – Giving Gifts

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

When I was a boy I could not wait to get the Sears Wish Book and begin circling the toys what I wanted.  I remember the sadness I felt when Sears quit publishing the Wish Book.  I truly miss it, although, I wonder if I would find it as enchanting now.

At the moment one cannot get to our Christmas tree.  It is besieged by boxes and bags.  So much joy exists for me in giving good gifts to my family.  As I have mentioned I Christmas shop all year round.  I am constantly taking note of my children’s needs.  I am always on the lookout for things that will please and delight my Grandsons. 

I love giving to others.  I plan my secret plans for helping others in need.  I long to reflect Christ in a spirit of giving out of love and not obligation.  As a constant observer of people I listen to other shoppers when I am out and about.  I hear people complain about having to get a gift for this or that person.  I listen as people degrade relatives for who they are Christmas shopping. 

This is something that I will never understand.  Then again I used to be very particular about what I “wanted” for Christmas.  Now I really do not pay all that much attention to what I want.  When I my family get me gifts I find joy in that they have given to me from the heart. 

It is in giving from the heart that things make a difference.  It is what God does for me.  He gave me his Son when I deserved nothing. He promised to work toward peace on earth through that Son.  All he asked of me was that I accept the gift. I do not have to be on the nice list.  I do not have to do anything for him.

This is what I wish for my gifts to represent.  My Son, Bezel needed some help with his car prior to Thanksgiving.  He asked his mother and I to help as a Christmas gift.  Of course we helped.  He keeps preparing himself for a “small” Christmas in light to the expense of the repairs.  He still does not understand the nature of the gifts we desire for him. 

Like my Son I wish for everyone to see that God wishes only good things for us.  I everyone to catch a glimpse of God’s nature in my gift giving.  He gives his very best to us.  I try to do the same with those I love.  In a world where Christmas is more commercial every year I hope to recapture the image of grace and love from God in the way I shop, wrap, and give.  It is after all better to give that to receive.


Do you remember me?
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I'm all grown-up now
And still need help somehow.
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start,
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree
Well heaven surely knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth?
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh
This is my grown-up Christmas list
This is my only lifelong wish
This is my grown-up Christmas list

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

21 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – Nativity Sets

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I can still remember the first time I saw a nativity set and asked about it.  I was four.  It was the first time I was told the Christmas story and understood it.  It was a four- year- olds’ understanding but it still captivated me.  I would sit and look at the figures and imagine the story over and over.

The issues of life and sin pushed me away from that simple love of a great story.  When I returned to faith years later I rushed to recapture the reminder of this both innocent and complex history.  I keep one out in a few places in my life all year round now.  It helps me keep the birth of Christ and all the implications that follow at the center of my life.

As I read through the Christmas story in Luke each day in December I ponder the nativity on my desk.  It is one of the view that I have seen that gives Joseph the honor he deserves.  I often wish I knew more of his portion of the story.

I have a large collection of the famous Fontanini nativity figures.  They are beautiful and have their own place under one of our Christmas trees.  Other reminders are placed throughout the house.  I wish to always be aware of the place of this part of Christmas in all my dealings with the season. 

I love Christmas because of my love for Christ.   In that manger is the beginning of the fulfillment of all the promises made by God to mankind.  Christmas still has promises to keep.  I find my hope for all them tethered to the manger in Bethlehem. I find the love and joy that wells up within me in that lonely cattle shed.  It is the reason I celebrate. It is the root and flower of Christmas.

A Christmas Song – Jethro Tull

Once in Royal David's City stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby.
You'd do well to remember the things He later said.
When you're stuffing yourselves at the Christmas parties,
you'll laugh when I tell you to take a running jump.
You're missing the point I'm sure does not need making;
that Christmas spirit is not what you drink.

So how can you laugh when your own mother's hungry
and how can you smile when the reasons for smiling are wrong?
And if I messed up your thoughtless pleasures,
remember, if you wish, this is just a Christmas song.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

20 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – Bell Ringing


Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I have spoken of this often over the last two months.  Today is the last opportunity I have to participate in the joyous event this season.  Even though I am not in full health today I will not forgo this precious time.

For just a couple hours of my time I get such great return.  I get to see the smiles of those who get it concerning giving to those in need as they drop pennies or dollars into the kettle.  I am enriched by those who stop to comment on the value of the Salvation Army.  I find true joy in knowing the good that will be done by the money collected.

At the center of my joy is a portion of redemption by inches.  Before she was safe someone associated with the Salvation Army did great harm to Christmas.  Each year I have seen her heal and grow to understand that this wicked man was not the sum of the face of the Salvation Army.  She has met a friend who works there and see how the organization helps those in need.

As with all things done by humans this organization has its flaws.  Overall, however, I consider it great joy and blessing to spend some time aiding in this cause.  So I will ring again this morning and pray for those in need as I do.  I will then put away my silver bell until the next opportunity.  I will not put away my thoughts and compassion for those in need.  It is a part of Christmas I carry with me always. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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19 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – Fruitcake

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

Not all fruitcake is created equal.  The ancient Romans first mixed pomegranates, figs, and raisins with the mash for barley cakes to sweeten the bland flat-bread. Variations of this have spun down through the centuries.

I think that more people dislike fruitcake than have actually tried it.  I like fruitcake but it must be moist.  If it is not moist it must be soaked in rum.  Sometimes I intentionally buy dry fruitcake. 

When I want real fruitcake that I can truly enjoy for its own merits there is only one that I have found that will meet the requirements.  Those requirements are that it must be moist, mostly fruit and nuts with little cake, and balanced in the notes or tartness and sweetness.  This fruitcake comes from Claxton, Georgia

For over a century this small company has combined fruit and nuts in a cake that I find delicious and seasonally delightful.  I buy some every December and enjoy it throughout the Christmas season.  I often get comments on how undesirable fruitcake is.  People are surprised at my enjoyment of it.  A few friends have happily given me fruitcake they have received from others just to be rid of it.

I often think that the maligned and rejected fruitcake, so often unwelcome as a gift to others, is a timely lesson for me.  It reminds me to love the undesirable.  It reminds me that ancient foods still have a place in this world as do ancient ideas.  It keeps me in mind of the value of trying things that others shun to see the true value. It reminds me that Christ sees the value in every one of us.

Even the inferior fruit cakes that I receive are granted hope.  After all many things are made better with the suitable application of some fine rum.   

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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18 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – Joseph and Mary

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

The journey we are all walking is one of faith.  Even those of you who do not believe in God are exercising faith that there is nothing beyond us.  Then I ponder the faith required of me compared to that of Jesus’ parents.

I have written about this at length but I always ponder the two at Christmas time.  No matter when the actual journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem occurred it was an undertaking of hardship.  The journey is eighty miles. That is about four days on foot in ideal conditions.  Their conditions were not ideal

From a human perspective the situation seems a strong enough test of faith.   A betrothed couple with a baby on the way is a strong target for scandal and judgment.  We as a society no longer are abashed by unmarried mothers.  In their society it still carried the death penalty.

Joseph is told by God to accept this so he does.  Mary is willing to do as God asks.  Then the tax man comes.  The decree means that Joseph has to travel with his third term wife to Bethlehem.  I wish I were privy to the conversations between these two.  I would value knowing how they worked out the fear and questions.

My faith has a place to purchase because of the faith of a carpenter and his wife.  I can journey with Christ because they journeyed with him.  The life they provide for the boy will allow us to know the man who is Jesus.  Of all the parents in history they had the most unique of challenges. 

They faced God in the form of their Son every day.  Sabbath prayers and feast days had to have a hint of the awkward.  Everyday slips in following the law had to have a new shadow surrounding them.  The world was forever different for life.  I love the brief story that is theirs and love them for it.

Mary’s Song – Petra

Hold that blanket closer, Mary dear
All the world waits with You for Your day
But for now, the wind is cold and it's drear
And Bethlehem's still so far away

Do You remember the way You felt back then?
Joy and wonder filled Your soul
And when the angel slipped away
You knew Your life would never be the same

But now, You're travelin', travelin' on a road
To Bethlehem, wanderin' thoughts fly away
If you knew the road that lay ahead of Him
Would You break down and cry?
Your child is born to die

Feel that hand of strength upon Your own
A husband's love that guides along the way
And as his understanding has grown
His hopes too are centered on that day

For do You remember the way he looked back then
Pain and sorrow filled his eyes
'Til when the angel came to say
The Savior's birth was meant to be this way

But now, You're travelin', travelin' on a road
To Bethlehem, wanderin' thoughts fly away
If you knew the road that lay ahead of Him
Would You break down and cry?
Your child is born to die

Think back on that promise You received
For Him, whom the prophets long believed
Now, belongs to You, You've been chosen to
But He's the one who's gonna shine

We call His name Jesus, Immanuel
He'll save His people from sin and hell
And of His kingdom there will be no end

But now, You're travelin', travelin' on a road
To Bethlehem, wanderin' thoughts fly away
If you knew the road that lay ahead of Him
Would You break down and cry?
Your child is born to die

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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17 December 2014

Second Thoughts – The Empty Comfy Chair

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.

In my writing office I have an over sized comfy chair.  The chair itself is worn and ragged but it is covered so that one can enjoy it without pitying it too much.  I rarely use this chair.  Others have used it when they wished to be near me whilst I was writing.

When Christmas first came to live with us I would find her there every morning sleeping.  Both her need and her fear drove her there.  She feared not being available if I had some demand.  This was a ravenous echo of her past that she soon learned to release.  Her need was to know that I was there and that she was really safe.  I am glad both of these things have healed but I do miss her presence.

My grandsons often sit there when they spend the night.  Whichever one awakens first knows to find me at my desk writing.  They know that a blanket and juice box await them in the comfy chair.  The conversation in those early morning hours is precious to me.  The current difficulties severely limit my opportunities for them to sleep over.   So again the chair is empty more often than I would like.

Others who frequented the chair are very gone.  Writing about absent friends reminded me of them.  I have often thought of getting rid of the chair.  I could use another book shelf.   But the space is sacred.  It is a space of requirement.  I may be lonely for it to be filled but that space belongs to God.

It reminds of how often Christ wants us to be content just to be there with him.  It brings to mind my need to make time just to be in his presence.  I believe all of our good feelings come from God.  If that is true then that contented feeling that echoes in us when someone is simply there with us must be his as well.

Like my child or grandchildren I need to find time to just be there to be reassured that he is there.  I need to rest in his presence and be comforted by it.  In real love there is contentment in the context of proximity even if the chair is old and ugly.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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Why I love Christmas – Luke’s Christmas Story

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I am sure that I first heard the recounting of Christ’s birth on the Charlie Brown Christmas special.  It captivated me.  I realize that the language of the King James translation of the Bible does not always communicate to our culture.  That does not mean that at moments the Elizabethan English does not contain a poetry of its own.

I do most of my Bible reading from the God’s Word translation because I like it.   During December I also read this passage over and over in the King James Translation.  I quote it out loud from memory throughout the day.  I keep in mind that everything is tethered to this thing.

Luke 2:1-19
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.   6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15  And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.  17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.   18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.   19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her 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." 

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16 December 2014

Why I love Christmas – Absent Friends

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

One of the things I ponder during the quiet times of Christmas are the people who are not in my life for one reason or another.  The people I love, I love deeply and permanently.  The human condition gets in the way and some of those people are no longer a part of my life.

Whether it is absence due to strife, life, or death I miss people and they come to mind when I am pondering and praying.  I have ornaments to remind me of those who have left this life and gone on ahead of me.  When I am alone I whisper their names to God and wish them a quiet Merry Christmas.  I suppose I should explain to my Daughter that this is why I get a obsessive about certain ornaments being on the tree. 

There are also those friends who I do not get to see simply due to the way life carries us.  I will make time to reach out to some of them and wish I could give something to all of them.  Some are across town and some are across the world.  Some I hear from often and some not at all. 

I devote an evening every Christmas season to these friends.  I sit when I am at home alone and recount their names to God in gratitude for the good they have infused into my life.  I wish to become better at communicating with all of them and perhaps this year I have cemented a plan to do so.  I will share more on that later.

The last category always fills me with a deep sadness.  It is those absent friends who have moved out of my life because of sin and strife.  Sometimes the fault is mine and I have tried to mend those wounds.  Not all wounds can be mended by me.  Some are people who refuse to communicate with me for one reason or another.  One is an open wound that never seems to close.  I pray for these people often and ask Christ to heal them whether they return to my friendship or not.

One of the reasons I love Christmas is that it is the wellspring of hope that all partings will be one day over.  Christ left complete physical presence with his Father to journey with us so that this could be true.  His departure yields all our eventual reunions.  In the celebration of Christ is all my hope for that day when absent friends will no longer be absent.  Death will have no victory.  Time will no longer hinder.  Strife will no longer separate.  That is truly a good reason to love Christmas.

NOTE: There is no known recording of the song below.  I wish there were.   

Missing You at Christmas – Michel and Sarah Sharp

Snow  is  drifting  on  the  meadow,
Post -man's  ringing  at  the  door,
Bring ng  cards  and  packages  by  the  score.
Ornaments sparkle  from  the  fire  flame,
Lights  are  twinkling  in  the  lane,
But  I  find  myself  missing  you  again.
And  I'm  missing  you  this  Christmas,
If  I  tell  it  true,
I  wish  I  was  Christmasing  with  you.

Memories  both  heal  and  haunt  me,
Joy's  elusive  with  you  gone,
But  I  hold  your  picture  close  and  carry  on.
Nephews  and  Nieces  filled  with  won -der,
Sister  is  busy  with  the  meal,
Just  a  moment  to  call  you  can  I  steal,
The  phone  rings  on  with -out  an  answer.
I return to the frolic feeling blue.
Wishing I was Christmasing with you.

Lovers  dance  a  final  waltz,
Then  for  home  depart,
I  guess  I  must  be  satisfied
To  hold  you  in  my  heart

Alone  in  the  evening  sorting  mail  I,
Wish  I  were  sitting  with  you,
Pond ‘ring  over  sweet  things  that  you  do.
My  eye  recognizes  your  hand  writing,
Anxious  I  open  up  the  card,
Hungering  for  your  words  to  touch  my  heart.
Tears  fall  on  the  card  you  sent  me,
If  what I read is true
Tomorrow I’ll be Christmasing with 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." 

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15 December 2014

Second Thoughts - Blitzen

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

The tale related below is true.  It occurred when Bezel was three.

The great day has finally arrived.  After weeks of rehearsal and constant questioning as to when the PROGRAM would be we were there.   My five-year-old and three-year-old sons arose at six in the morning so that they would be ready to leave at nine. 

I tried to explain to them that only mommy takes that long to get ready.  They refused to return to bed and insisted that it was time to get up.  Their energy level, exponentially multiplied by the energy they sap from us, was at its peak.  We had to redirect it or perish.

We coaxed them into watching some Lassie reruns while we dozed a little longer.   This particular Lassie episode had her bravely rescuing little forest creatures from the effects of a forest fire. 

All was fine until she ran into a couple of deer.  The youngest decided that one of these deer was Rudolph.  He began to yell "Rudolph, Rudolph, Rudolph" at a creature that had a nose that had no hope of glowing.  At this point he decided that he needed to name all the deer in Santa's troop. 


Being three he seems to have a knack for twisting things most curiously.  Try to return to sleep after a three-year-old innocently chimes, "Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Stupid."  Perhaps he knows something about Blitzen we do not?

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

We were out briefly yesterday for my only visit to the mall during the Christmas season.  I have almost everything in place and am concentrating on filling up the corners.  I was astounded at the noise.  Last year I did not go to the mall during the entire Christmas season. 

I am a lifelong observer of people and the human condition.  As I age I see the world a little differently each year.  It takes minimal effort to keep my good spirits most days.  What I observed yesterday was a sea of souls bent on purchasing.  What so many of them truly need is a gift that is freely given.

Because most of my work is done I can give my attention to other things.  I can concentrate on being kind out in public.  I can give time to the practical needs of family, friends, and strangers.  I can spend an evening or two just enjoying the Christmas lights and reflecting on the blessings of God in my life.

Just like my mobile phone I need a daily recharge.  I need to get the energy to walk amongst the lost world and try to be light.  That is obtained through intentional times of devotion, prayer, and meditation toward Christ and his gifts to us.  It is maintained through working to keep perspective on what matters. 

In that short time at the mall I was reminded that the battle rages around me all the time.  The war for men’s hearts, minds, and souls does not have an silent nights.  If I fail to prepare for it I may lose my awareness of it.  Sometimes we prepare for war by enjoying a little peace.  Make time for it Dear Reader.  I know that I must.

I Need A Silent Night – Amy Grant

I've made the same mistake before
Too many malls, too many stores
December traffic, Christmas rush
It breaks me till I push and shove

Children are crying while mothers are trying
To photograph Santa and sleigh
The shopping and buying and standing forever in line
What can I say?

I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night

December comes then disappears
Faster and faster every year
Did my own mother keep this pace
Or was the world a different place?

Where people stayed home wishing for snow
Watching three channels on their TV
Look at us now rushing around
Trying to buy Christmas peace

I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night

What was it like back there in Bethlehem
With peace on earth, good will toward men?

Every shepherd's out in the field
Keeping watch over their flock by night
And the glory of the Lord shone around them
And they were so afraid

And the angels said fear not for behold
I bring you good news of a great joy that shall be for all people
For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace

I need a silent night, a holy night
To hear an angel voice through the chaos and the noise
I need a midnight clear, a little peace right here
To end this crazy day with a silent night
To end this crazy day with a silent night

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

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