31 December 2016

Closing of the Year

Happy New Year Dear Reader,

As I write this it is already 2017 in Samoa.  American Samoa is next so in at least part of my country the year will have ended by the time I post this.   As I close the year I see challenges and opportunities ahead.

No matter how you feel about it a new president will take office.  Taxes will come due.  Winter will flow into spring and the world will dance another circuit around the sun.  I will pass another milestone in age. 

There are not resolutions.  There are goals.  There are needs but I am not sure how to address them.  Writing is progressing but you do need to give more of my books as gifts Dear Reader.  Even with the things I wish were different I have hope. 

That is what this night is for me.  A renewing of hope and an extension of goals are what matter.  I must move forward in the journey, draw closer to Christ, and live in him in every possible moment.

As is my custom I offer a song that reminds me that even if I cannot ease your ills I can offer comfort.   My friend Lori enjoys the song as well.  Thank you Dear Reader for being here.  Tomorrow begins my next venture in thinking and questioning.  I look forward to your company.  Happy New Year. 

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 misfortunes
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 golden 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 all 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.”

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30 December 2016

After the Angels – Kings both Mystical and Mad

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

We forget that the story for Joseph starts with a dream after some bad news.  He accepts a life of gossip and backbiting about his family to obey an angel in a dream.  Then the taxation, journey, birth and angels come. 

After all this direct divine intervention it is time to get back to what passes for normal life in fullness of time.  He must earn a living for his family.  He must establish a home.  He must get about the task of being the Foster Father of God

The Magi come and bring their gifts.  Once again an outside source reminds the parents just who the child is.  These “kings” from the East know that they visit the promised King of the Jews.  Before we close the year we must be reminded of the cost.

There is another “king” in this story.  A madman who worries about his power and his position with Rome receives the honorable Magi.   He listens as the priests tell him that Messiah should be born in Bethlehem in Ephrathah.  There are two towns called Bethlehem so the distinction matters.

Herod the Great plots.  He asks the Magi to return to him when they have found the King so that he may properly worship the Messiah.  The madman plots and lies.  The Magi travel.  Then the dreams that will yield the nightmare begin.

The Magi find the Messiah.   They deliver their gifts.  Joseph again dreams and gets angelic instructions to hide in Egypt.   The Magi dream and get instructions to avoid Herod on the return journey. 

Herod rages and orders the death of all the toddlers in Bethlehem.  We are horrified by this part.  It seems so barbaric to us.   We passively judge the past in a world where unborn children can be murdered at will.  I realize that not everyone is will to call it murder but the result is the same.  We need to remember that the world will always destroy the innocent if it is allowed. 

As we look to the closing of the year and we put away our mangers and Wise Men perhaps we need to decide that it is time to end the holocaust. 

Spirit of the Age – Michael Card

I thought that I heard crying coming through my door
Was it Rachel weeping for her sons who were no more
Could it have been the babies crying for themselves
Never understanding that they died for someone else

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing
History speaks of it on every page
Of innocent and helpless little babies
Offerings to the spirit of the age

No way of understanding this sad and painful sign
Whenever Satan rears his head, there comes a tragic time
If He could crush the cradle, then that would stop the cross
He knew that once the Light was born, his every hope was lost

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing
History speaks of it on every page
Of innocent and helpless little babies
Offerings to the spirit of the age

Now every age has heard it, this voice that speaks from Hell
Sacrifice your children and for you it will be well
The subtle serpent's lying, his dark and ruthless rage
Behold, it is revealed to be the spirit of the age

A voice is heard of weeping and of wailing
History speaks of it on every page
Of innocent and helpless little babies
Offerings to the spirit of the age

Soon all the ones who seemed to die for nothing
Will stand beside the ancient of days
With joy we'll see that Infant from a manger
Come and crush the spirit of the age
We'll see Him crush the spirit of the age

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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29 December 2016

After the Angels - Anna and Simeon

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

Babies, especially new born babies draw attention.  Imagine for a moment being a young mother who has to make her way to Jerusalem for the dedication of her first born.  You are only eight days away from angels and shepherds heralding the birth of your Son.  You enter a crowded temple plaza carrying the five shackles required to redeem the child under the Law of Moses.

Around you are Temple Guards, Roman Soldiers, and others seeking atonement.  A widow named Anna who has spent eighty-four years awaiting the moment of the appearance of her Messiah.  She tells all around her that he has come to set them free.

There is also Simeon; a devoted Jew who lived and honest and honorable life.   The Holy Spirit had promised him that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah.  He approaches the young mother with her Son.  He takes the child in his arms and begins to sing.

After the angels and shepherds Mary sees to elderly prophets recognize and honor her Son, Jesus.  She is given yet more visible evidence that things are real.  There is no madness here but rather the continued reminder that God is with us.

It is what I need to do daily.  I need to see the reminders that God is with us.  I need to take him in my arms and sing.  I need to be constantly in the moment of Christ’s presence with me. 


That old man in the temple
Waiting in the court
Waiting for the answer to a promise
And all at once he sees them
In the morning sunshine
A couple come and carry in a baby

Now that I've held Him in my arms
My life can come to an end
Let Your servant now depart in peace
Cause I've seen Your salvation
He's the Light of the Gentiles
And the glory of His people Israel

Marry and the baby come
And in her hand five shekels
The price to redeem her baby boy
The baby softly cooing
Nestled in her arms
Simeon takes the boy and starts to sing

Now that I've held Him in my arms
My life can come to an end
Let Your servant now depart in peace
'Cause I've seen Your salvation
He's the Light of the Gentiles
And the glory of His people, Israel

Now's the time to take Him in your arms
Your life will never come to an end
He's the only way that you'll find peace
He'll give you salvation cause
He's the Light of the Gentiles
And the glory of His people Israel

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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28 December 2016

After the Angels – First Worshipers

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

Arriving at Bethlehem and finding a place to birth the child is accomplished.  Then we learn what the first order of business is to the Father.  He sees to it the birth of the Son is announced.

The angel tells the shepherds.  The shepherds leave their livelihood to see the child.  They come and worship him.  They are the first to know that their Messiah has come.  The sign is a swaddled child laying in an ox trough in a cattle shed. 

Do we ponder how important it is that the first thing the Father wished was for the Son to be seen and acknowledged as Messiah?  He chose a small place.  He chose humble workers.  Still the event was worthy of an angel Choir and immediate worship.

We forget, I think, that this Son of God is the Son of God sent to redeem us.  He is here, God with us to bring us back into harmony with the Father.  The events that will unfold are already known by the Father who sends him.  While there is time he wants his Son worshiped.   All too soon the real work will begin.  For now, however, we take a beat to celebrate the Child who is the Light.

Celebrate the Child – Michael Card

Celebrate the Child who is the Light
Now the darkness is over
No more wandering in the night
Celebrate the Child who is the Light

You know this is no fable
Godhead and manhood became one
We see He's more than able
And so we live to God the Son

Celebrate the Child who is the Light
Now the darkness is over
No more wandering in the night
Celebrate the Child who is the Light

First born of creation
Lamb and Lion, God and Man
The Author of Salvation
Almighty rapped in swaddling bands

Celebrate the Child who is the Light
Now the darkness is over
No more wandering in the night
Celebrate the Child who is the Light

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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27 December 2016

Second Thoughts – Lost Along the Way

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 hesitate to write this piece with four days left in the year.   It is still the time I have to write it.  We have lost many this year who entertained us.   Whether music, dance, or acting the year has been filled with breaking news of loss.

So many times I hear or read comments blaming the year.   We draw a time demarcation thinking that it will somehow be different when the calendar turns.   The truth is that we are all headed in the same direction.   We do not want our heroes, celebrities, and leaders to come to their ends untimely or otherwise.  Every death diminishes us.

We feel the loss and mourn the future that would have been had they not departed.  Some impact me more than others but every death impacts me.  I will send them off with love and gratitude for the difference they have each made to me.  I will listen to their music.  I will read their books.  I will watch their movies.  I will do this to recall fondly the moments both comic and tragic that they brought to life for me.

My list will not be complete but those omitted are accidental.  Later I will lift a glass and bid an honest farewell to them all:

Pat Harrington Jr.
David Bowie
Alan Rickman
Dan Haggerty
Glen Frey
Abe Vigoda
George Gaynes
Leonard Cohen
Tony Burton
George Kennedy
Nancy Reagan
Robert Horton
Joe Santos
Joe Garagiola
Ken Howard
Peter Brown
Garry Shandling
James Noble
Patty Duke
Doris Roberts
Prince
William Schallert
Morley Safer
Alan Young
Mohamed Ali
Leonard Nemoy
Anton Yelchin
Noel Neill
Gary Marshall
Steven Hill
Gene Wilder
Hugh O’Brian
Arnold Palmer
Robert Vaughn
Florence Henderson
Ron Glass
Van Williams
John Glenn
Alan Thicke
Bernard Fox
Zsa Zsa Gabor
Carrie Fisher

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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The Road to Bethlehem – Closing Thoughts

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

Were it expedient I would keep writing about Christmas until I ran out of things about which to write.  That is not the case.  There are matters that press me onward down the path. 

I do want to revel for a moment more in the gift that is Christmas.  Breath deep and ponder the bubble lights and white winter carpet outside my door.  I will keep Christmas music in my car until at least Epiphany. 

I also will spend a day or two pondering what comes next.  I do not mean for us but for Jesus.  There is the recognition of Simeon and Anna.  There is the visit from the Magi and journey to Egypt.  These things matter and I will relate to them as I must.

For the moment, I would return you to the beginning inclosing.  I would offer another December prayer that for all of us.  As the year closes and the new one takes us further down the path please remember.  Remember to hear the song within the silence and see the beauty when there is nothing there.  Then remember to sing the song within the silence.

You see Dear Reader that the December prayer is meant for every moment, every day, of every month.  We are meant carry this Christmas spirit with us throughout the journey.   We are intended to draw constant hope and joy from it even as we remember the hard anniversaries and encounter the new sorrows in life.  It is the December prayer that is meant to get us through. 

December Prayer – Indina Menzel

In the touch of a friend, in the breath of a child,
In the eyes of a soldier coming home to his mother's grateful smile,
In the sight of falling snow, and the memories it brings,
In the season when you find some peace, in the simple tender things,
Open your heart and look around, listen; listen

Hear the song within the silence,
See the beauty when there's nothing there,
Sing a song within a silence that hope and love are everywhere,
And when the quiet night is falling watch an angel dancing in the air
To the song, the song within the silence a December Prayer,
A December Prayer.

In the strength of your hand as it holds unto mine,
And the promise that we're not alone in this place and time,
In the gifts that you give I am humbled and amazed
Far beyond this day and time of year
We are in a state of grace.
Open your heart and look around, listen; listen

Hear the song within the silence,
See the beauty when there's nothing there,
Sing a song within a silence that hope and love are everywhere,
And when the quiet night is falling watch an angel dancing in the air
To the song, the song within the silence a December Prayer,
A December Prayer

Listen; listen
Hear the song within the silence,
See the beauty when there's nothing there,
Sing a song within a silence that hope and love are everywhere,
And when the quiet night is falling watch an angel dancing in the air
To the song, the song within the silence a December Prayer,
A December Prayer.

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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26 December 2016

The Road to Bethlehem – Boxing Day

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

Boxing day is a holiday celebrated in Britten and the Commonwealth.   “This custom is linked to an older British tradition: since they would have to wait on their masters on Christmas Day, the servants of the wealthy were allowed the next day to visit their families. The employers would give each servant a box to take home containing gifts, bonuses and sometimes leftover food.”

I think we do not realize the sacrifice and effort made by those in the service industries.  Those who work in care and protection services are never closed.  Someone is always staffing the ambulance, the emergency room, and the police car.   They work long shifts with little regular family time.

Restaurants that are open Christmas day provide a place for those who have no place to go for a family meal.  The servers sacrifice family time to provide that for them.   My favorite diner was open yesterday and nine people were working instead of being with their families. 

Today I hope they are all celebrating or resting as needed.   People will begin putting away Christmas.  They will set aside the songs and the merry making.  Some return to work today to talk about gifts and events.

The shops will mark things on sale.   The talk will turn to New Years and resolutions.  Thoughts of Christmas will be set aside until late next fall.  I do not do this.  Christmas is meant to be in our hearts every day of the year.  I have constant reminders of Christmas in my home, workspace, and car.   There is always time for another Christmas time.  My annual vow is a simple one penned by Charles Dickens.   “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

Another Christmas Song – Jethro Tull

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

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

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

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

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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25 December 2016

The Road to Bethlehem – Promises to Keep

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

There is hope in Christmas because there are promises in Christmas.  The promise of redemption is there.  The promise that all that is difficult will pass is there.  The promise that things will get back to the good that is the dawn of creation is there.

So many of the traditions of Christmas are meant to remind us of what Christ offers us.  Even if are we are pretending we can become the love, kindness, and generosity of Christmas.  We can be the embodiment of forgiveness and mercy. 

The older I get the more I long for the spirit of Christmas to permeate all of the year.  I yearn for the shores of home and celebrating the birth of Christ with Christ.  The dream is still alive in me.  As another year closes and I draw close to ticking off another journey around the sun I dream the dream more than I did.

Remember Dear Reader that the dreams we find are the ones we seek.  After all, “if we pretend long enough, never giving up, it just might be who we are.”


Promises to Keep - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Christmas time
On a cold December morning
All is calm, and the world is still asleep
Christmas lights that have been caught without warning
Gently glitter on
Stars to wish upon
All the world is at peace

Christmas time and the year will soon be leaving
Cloaked in time till it's just a memory
Christmas stays if we don't forget its meaning
Days go quickly by
Years they multiply
And we go searching for thee

And the dream is still alive
From that first December morning
And it always will survive
As long as we can see
That the dreams we find in life
Are the dreams we tend to seek
And Christmas has its promises to keep

Christmas time
And the moments just beginning
From last night
When we'd wished upon a star

If our kindness
This day is just pretending
If we pretend long enough
Never giving up
It just might be who we are

And so it's good that we remember
Just as soon as we've discovered
That the things we do in life
Will always end up touching others

So from a fading neon star
Somewhere shining in the night
We find a father far away
Now reflecting in its light

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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24 December 2016

The Road to Bethlehem – Set Apart this Night

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

Businesses will be closing early today.   Travelers are arriving at destinations.  We do not know the night of Christ’s birth.   We set apart this night to commemorate the advent.

Please ponder what it means to see the worth of a soul and do whatever is needed to reclaim it.   See what it means to give hope to all humans.  Understand that tomorrow heralds the anniversary of the incarnation of our redemption.

Our world feels more weary to me every year.  The star, the stable, and sacrifice are all real.  We set aside this time to share in the celebration.  I will spend some time on my knees remembering the divinity of this night.

Oh, Holy Night – Josh Groban

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the Wise Men from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friends.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
With all our hearts we praise His holy name.
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we,
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

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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23 December 2016

Missing You at Christmas

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

Just putting this back out in the universe.  For those of you who are missing someone.  I apologize that I do not have a recording for you.

Missing You at Christmas -  By Michael and Sarah

Snow is drifting on the meadow,
Postman's ringing at the door,
Bringing cards and packages by the score.
Ornaments sparkle from the fire flame,
Lights are twinkling in the lane,
But here I am just missing you again.
And I’m missing you this Christmas,
If I tell it true,
I wish I were 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 were 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,
Hung’ ring 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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The Road to Bethlehem – Angels Sing

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

Remember at the beginning of our journey I asked you listen to song within the silence.  I asked you to see an angel dancing in the air.  This idea of angels singing transports me to the fields outside Bethlehem. 

I ponder too little what it means that Jesus mildly lays his glory aside; that the Godhead veils himself flesh; that deity incarnate walked among us.  He did this to heal our souls.  He does this to defeat death by dying.

As I keep saying we cannot celebrate the baby without knowing that the man will be crucified.  We celebrate the incarnation.  The angels celebrate its purpose.  They herald the birth knowing why their most beloved takes on flesh.  They obey without question the Father’s will.  They will watch over him until the moment when they are commanded to leave his side momentarily.

God and sinners (read all of us) must be reconciled.  We approach the celebration of the place, the day, and the moment when that became possible.


Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Risen with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

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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22 December 2016

The Road to Bethlehem – Little Big Town

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

I love driving through small towns late at night when there is little traffic and great quiet.  The peace and stillness of the many sleeping houses often reminds of Bethlehem.  This town is the city from which the great King David came.   The prophet Micah told us that this tiny town would be the place where the Messiah was born. 

When Phillip Brooks penned the words to the song about Bethlehem in 1868 he could not have known how often his words would lift my spirits.  This song is so filled with hope and promise. 

The dark streets of a town with no electric lights is an amazing thing.  I have been to such a place.  The open air of scrub land with the vast sky above makes the stars almost oppressive.  The beauty is breathtaking. 

As we grow closer to Christmas and our journey to Bethlehem comes to its end I urge you to take a moment to ponder the promise of Christmas and this song.  This silent gift celebrated by the angels is the fulfillment of hope for all time.  It is the moment of God with us.  It is the instant where the promise of reconciliation has substance.

The meek soul is where Christ abides when it welcomes him.   Listen to this beautiful rendition of an amazing old song.  Find a little peace amidst the bustle.  Know that this is my Christmas wish for you Dear Reader.

Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem – Sarah Mclachlan

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

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

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

O holy child of Bethlehem
Descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born in us today.
The Morning Stars together
The great glad tidings tell
Oh, come to us abide with us
Our Lord Immanuel

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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21 December 2016

The Road to Bethlehem – This Christmas Day

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

So from a fading neon star
Somewhere shining in the night
We find a father far away
Now reflecting in its light

Christmas Homecoming -
Norman Rockwell
As we grow closer to Christmas the reunions begin.  Students return from college to parents experiencing a new kind of absence.  Some soldier get to come home to a mother or spouse’s grateful smile.  Reunions will happen.

The third song of our suite is the father knowing his prayer will be answered.  His daughter is coming home.   He asks the question we all ask eventually.   Are we wise to believe in things we never see?  

We forget that believing is seeing.  We forget that nothing exits for us without faith.  Some you see are parted and feel there will never be that homecoming.   Some have died.  Some have been abandoned by lovers they still love.   Not everyone gets his or her homecoming. 

I need to be sure that I acknowledge both the homecomings and the absences.  I need to be praying for those with an empty chair and an empty heart.   I need to celebrate those I see whom I do not often get to see.   I need to cherish the moments with those I love.  Most of all Dear Reader, I need to realize that Christmas stays close to us no matter how far we grow from it.  It is there just waiting for us to remember to believe.

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

And 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
That always took us in
No matter who we are
And so 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.”

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20 December 2016

The Road to Bethlehem – Old City Bar

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

After he had heard the prayer
The angel gently set it free
And followed it to the father's child
In a faraway city

And there the girl in desperation
Was searching through the sky
For a star that she could wish upon
But stars were in short supply

And the only light that she could see
There shining all alone
Was a neon sign on an old bar
And so on this, she wished she was home

The idea of home is one that it took me a long time to define.  Growing up my abode never felt like home.  There was no fun in the dysfunction.  I live alone now and the place I live is an abode but not a home. 

It is not lost on me that we call those who live in our parks and bus stops homeless.  Those people have great need for shelter and care but there are many who have shelter who are still homeless.  There is something about being “home” that holds promise.  There is something about not feeling at home that is always present.

The needs of those without a home is vital to our participation in Christmas.  We can help those in need if we choose to do so.  We can help neighbors and strangers.  We can keep the promise of Christmas as we are meant to do.  We can change this world even though it is not our home.

The other piece of this is that we think too much of this world as home.  We are sojourners.  We are strangers passing through on our way back to God.  We have something in us that constantly seeks home.   Home is only with God.  It is, therefore, reasonable that Christmas is when we yearn for home the most.  It is in this day that God is the most with us.

Se today we share the story of the subject of the father’s prayer.  The lost “ornament” wants to go home.  It is Christmas Eve.  Inside of this night it is easier to believe. 

Old City Bar - Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Now every light can be a star
Just depends on where you are
And the distance that you're looking
Past the places you have been
And the dreams you’ve left behind
And the dreams you’ve left within

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


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 2016

The Road to Bethlehem - Ornaments

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

I sit beside the tree with all my favorite ornaments on it as I write this.  There is a story to most of the ornaments.  I should probably collect them in writing before they elude me.  Each day a different one will catch my eye and I will remember why that ornament is precious to me.

The song I ponder today uses ornament as a metaphor for a lost daughter.  As one who has lost a daughter I understand the pain expressed in the prayer the father prays.  This is part of a suite in the Trans-Siberian Orchestra album Christmas Eve and Other Stories. 

When I listen to this piece it tugs at my heart for all my children and their needs.  I pray for the children of friends who are lost in some way.  I pray for former students who come to mind.  I also express gratitude for how safe my children are compared to some other situations.

And so we begin our suite with a father asking the Father to care for his child…

Then he reached for the song
And he held it in his hand
(It was something that he did
Because you see, angels can)

And he wondered to himself
"Is this the answer that I sought?"
But something was still missing
Or at least, so he still thought

And so he journeyed on
Through the midnight winter air
When all at once our angel
Felt the touch of a man's prayer

And looking once more to the Earth
To determine whence it came
He felt a million souls below
But one was not the same

For there he saw a man alone
Though he was walking in a crowd
And though this man had rarely prayed
Tonight his head was bowed

For even in a crowd, you see
A heart can feel alone
When the night is Christmas Eve
A child is not at home

So from a father to the Lord
A prayer did swiftly race
But the angel saw it first
And he listened to its case

Ornament – Trans-Siberian Orchestra

There is an ornament
Lost inside the night
There on a Christmas tree
With a thousand lights
No one can see her
She's standing all alone

Somewhere she glistens where no one can see
I don't believe I can say what had happened
All of those words that we put into play
No longer matter, I should have known that then
I just know you're far away

On this Christmas Day
On this Christmas Day
On this Christmas

Somewhere the wind
Carves moments in the snow
And if he sees her
He never lets it show
He just drifts behind her
Erasing every step

Tinsel and garland are whispered through trees
I don't believe I can say what had happened
All of those words that we put into play
No longer matter, I should have known that then
I just know you're far away

On this Christmas Day
On this Christmas Day
On this Christmas

Come Christmas, stay Christmas
Watch over her this day
Keep her, protect her
From harm now in every way
Shelter her gently
There in your arms she'll be
Until the day
When you bring her back home to me

There is an ornament lost inside the 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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18 December 2016

The Road to Bethlehem – While You Were Sleeping

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

There are nights like tonight where sleep evades me.   I sleep very little to begin with but there are nights when I can only capture an hour or so.  I wish I never had to sleep.  I tried to go without it but could not.  I went a little mad in the attempt.  This, however, is not about that.

There is a great Christmas movie by the title While You Were Sleeping.  This is not about that either but the movie is excellent.  This is about the wrong kind of sleep.   This is about the spiritual, emotional, social, and physical sleep that we seem to embrace when it comes to dealing with our obligation to Christ and his gifts to us.

We are given life and we squander it trying to be devoted to anything but Jesus.  We are given what we need and we become ungrateful.  We are given a mission and we sleep in the light instead of fighting the darkness. 

I must not let the moments slip through the glass without embracing them in full awareness of Christ’s presence in them.  It is in his presence that we find full wakefulness.  It is with him that we can find the right rest.  It is in following that I find cause for being more than a tired old man with crazy dreams.

While You Were Sleeping – Casting Crowns

Oh little town of Bethlehem
Looks like another silent night
Above your deep and dreamless sleep
A giant star lights up the sky
And while you're lying in the dark
There shines an everlasting light
For the King has left His throne
And is sleeping in a manger tonight

Oh Bethlehem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
For God became a man
And stepped into your world today
Oh Bethlehem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

Oh little town of Jerusalem
Looks like another silent night
The Father gave His only Son
The Way, the Truth, the Life had come
But there was no room for Him in the world He came to save

Jerusalem, what you have missed while you were sleeping
The Savior of the world is dying on your cross today
Jerusalem, you will go down in history
As a city with no room for its King
While you were sleeping
While you were sleeping

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we're lying in the dark
There's a shout heard 'cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again,
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping?
Will we be sleeping?

United States of America
Looks like another 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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17 December 2016

The Road to Bethlehem – Christmas Cards

Merry Christmas Dear Reader,

I have dear friends who send me Christmas cards every year.   I have never been someone who sends cards.  If one gets a card from me for any reason one should realize that it is uncommon.  My Daughter, Christmas on the other hand loves to make cards and send them to people.  She creates beautiful three dimensional treasures. 

The song I am pondering today is one that reminds us that we are celebrating a birth.  It also reminds us that we celebrate while there are still serious things to consider.  There is a time and season to both celebration and contemplation.

I must celebrate.  The revels are right and meant to show joy and hope.  There will be gifts given, meals shared, and love shown.  I will find great joy in the wonder of my Grandsons, the surprise in my children, and the time to rest and write.

We must also always have a shadow in our Christmas.   There must be a corner to our smiles.  We cannot celebrate without the shadow from our lights reminding us of those in need.  We must not forget that the manger always has the shadow of the cross.  We must have both content and style.  We must never be perfunctory.


Got a birthday card at Christmas: it made me think of Jesus Christ.
It said, “I love you” in small letters. I simply had to read it twice.
Wood smoke curled from blackened chimneys. The smell of frost was in the air.
Pole star hovered in the blackness. I looked again: it wasn’t there.

People have showered me with presents. While their minds were fixed on other things.
Sleigh bells, bearded red suit uncles. Pointy trees and angel wings.
I am the shadow in your Christmas. I am the corner of your smile.
Perfunctory in celebration. You offer content but no style.

That little baby Jesus: he got a birthday card or three.
Gold trinkets and cheap frankincense. Some penny baubles for his tree.
Have some time off for good behaviour. Forty days, give or take a few.
Hey there, sweet baby Jesus: Let’s share a birthday card 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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