06 December 2019

Carrying Christmas in my Heart ~ Rise


Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

We all face things during this season that try to rob our joy.  Joy may be allusive for you to begin with.  Joy may be something that is difficult for some to find no matter how good the circumstances.   I wish to ponder some practical thoughts on honestly holding onto joy in any situation.  Since we are taught to hold onto joy in every instant, it must be possible.

We all have memories, difficulties, and challenges that try to rob us of joy.  There are always conditions that challenge us.  They are not, however, valid reasons to release our joy or refuse to embrace it.  If we are determined to have love for the Father and others as the foundation for all we do, then the presence of that love gives us space to embrace joy.  It is always available to us.  Joy is the product of understanding the nature of love.

If something can mitigate our joy, then we are not understanding or applying love properly.  The entire idea of the Father’s love is intended to give us joy.  It is purposed to fill us with peace based on the application of love and the joy found in that love. 

When we find joy elusive, there is a way to combat it.  We rise.  We choose to rise above whatever we hold onto that is not based on love.  If we truly are moving in love for others, their actions cannot hold us back from joy.  There are no expectations attached to genuine love, therefore, we cannot be disappointed by others.

I have begun to ask the Father to heal that within me which does not love; to help my heart rise above anything that does not embrace the joy of his love for me.  This is both simple and complex.  It is easy to say and sometimes hard to live.  There is always a way to put love first.  There is always a way to rise above the status quo and embrace joy.

I invite you, Dear Reader, to join me in learning how to become unoffendable so that we can maintain the joy of the Father’s love for us.  It will not be easy, but in the next year, it is what I hope to learn.  I begin to see that I can use my love to embrace the joy of the season and hold it no matter what the circumstance around me.  If I practice this now it will become a pattern as I move into the new year.  Your company always makes the journey more joyful.  As we journey toward Christmas together, we must point out the joy along the way.

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

And now you're travelling, travelling on a road to Bethlehem
Wandering 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 until when
The angel came to say
The Savior's birth was meant to be this way

And now you're travelling, travelling on a road to Bethlehem
Wandering 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 in whom the prophets long believed
Now belongs to you, you've been chosen too
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

And now you're travelling, travelling on a road to Bethlehem
Wandering 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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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05 December 2019

Carrying Christmas in my Heart ~ Be Grinch, Be a Scrooge


Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

It may sound odd to hear that title coming from me.  We have an understanding problem when it comes to these two stories.  These are characters that we are intended to dislike.

Humbug, I say to that.  We need to remember that by the end of the story (SPOILER ALERT), they are both choosing to love Christmas and their fellow Whovians and Humans respectively.  We need to be the Grinch.  We need to be Scrooge.

It is our nature to see others as their past and not as the future they potentially possess.  Worse, we tend to see people as their past in the current moment.  It is because we do not completely forgive.  It is because we do not give the gifts of grace and mercy.  Everything in the past does not have to determine the future. 

If we really believe that people are worthy of love and grace then we would not use what is past as a definition of who they are today.  Instead, we need to remember that transformation is possible.  We need to recall that people can become better than they are. 

We can help facilitate this transformation by refusing to judge others based on their past failures.  It is our privilege to create opportunities for others to become more than they are.  If we carry Christmas in our hearts always, we can extend those chances in the present.  It is our obligation to do so.

I think that we do not realize how many people wish to do better.  Yes, there are those who do not.  The thing is, Dear Reader, that we need to see the Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge as they became, not as they were.  We need to see everyone in the light of Christmas present and look for ways to give them the chance to be better.  Then we too can say that we are a Grinch; a Scrooge, with joy and love.

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 payphone
Was a girl the child said
Could no longer get home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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04 December 2019

Carrying Christmas in my Heart ~ Tiny Time


Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

One of the things that we will hear over and over for the next few weeks is that everyone is pressed for time.  There are plans to plan, events to attend, and gifts to acquire.  Cookies must be baked, meals prepared, and roasts roasted. 

We fill our calendars with things to be done and feel constantly pressured to produce.  None of this is wrong but it must not be what the time is about.  It is not a bad thing to have the activity.  What we must do is break things down to tiny time.  We must be in each moment for its own sake. 

Reducing the activities to tiny time to which we fully give ourselves becomes a gift to ourselves and to those around us.  Each task is intended to celebrate the season, Christ, and those around us.  If we treat them as burdensome tasks we are not celebrating.  If, however, we spend the month doing everything with an eye to the value of that time, we find rest and blessings in the activities.  Our peace can propagate to others.

It becomes an act of giving when we embrace each moment for its own value.  We transform chores into fellowship when we work together to achieve.  We have erected structures of tradition that take up our time and devour our joy.  Giving everyone the gift of tiny time throughout each day can be a step to turning traditions back into adventures.

We can afford to listen to the six-year-old tell about her Christmas list.  We do have time to engage genuinely with the friend we see at the market.  The things will get done. They always do.  What we must be is in the moment so that when the magic appears, we take notice of it.  We may even find that we have tiny time to give to others and help them find a little peace.  That, Dear Reader, is a true gift to give.

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, goodwill 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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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03 December 2019

Carrying Christmas in my Heart ~ Listen


Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

This part of our journey through the season is a reminder of some practical things we can do to carry Christmas in our hearts.  Yesterday’s was difficult but an excellent reminder for me.  Today the idea I want to hone is that of listening.  I am not talking about conversation.  I am talking about listening to what is going on around you.  I will begin with a story related to me by my closest friend.

This occurred over a Thanksgiving weekend.  The man was out to eat with his family.  The diner chosen for dinner was a buffet and the servers depended on tips for most of their income.  He was at the buffet line filling his plate when he heard one of the servers speaking to another.

The first server, Heather expressed her worry that she could not afford a Christmas tree for her child.  He could hear the sadness and fear in her voice and it went all the way to his heart.  Throughout dinner, he pondered what he could do to help. 

After dinner he went home with his family and then after seeing them in, he left again.  He knew that Christmas trees were already on sale locally to benefit a children’s charity.  He bought a tree and took it back to the diner.  Since the server did not know him, he asked that she take a look at the back of his car whilst he stood a distance off.  He explained that the tree was hers.

The server immediately wept.  So did my friend.  Filled with joy over his ability to help, he related the story to me.  His comment was, “All I did was listen for needs while I was out and about.  The needs are always there if we pay attention.”

I would like to suggest some things that we overhear all the time that are needs we can meet.  I will warn you that there is no tangible award and that the practice is addictive.  I will also say that the level of joy that warning brings is immeasurable.

  • You will hear people in stores conversing about where to find something.  If you know where it is, tell them.
  • When you hear people trying to decide where to eat, suggest a local place that you like.
  • People will express their concerns to you in line.  Listen and encourage them.
  • If you acting a child acting politely, compliment the parent on it.
  • Listen to the servers and clerks as they talk about work.  Find a way to be kind, generous, and encouraging.

 The point is that if we listen, we will hear of needs we can meet.  We will discover ways to be good to others that take little time or effort.  I made the mistake earlier this year wearing a red shirt and khaki pants to a Target store.  I got to spend almost an hour helping people find things and listening to their complaints about items.  I would express immediately on being approached that I did not work at Target.  Only one person withdrew.  The rest ignored that and proceeded to ask me where to find what they were seeking.  One lady even tried to tip me.  I reminded her that I did not work there and asked that she save it for someone else.      

If we take the time to listen, we will hear other’s needs.  Sometimes, if we are willing, we will be able to help.  In that moment is the spirit of Christmas realized.  Giving help to those in need, even in a tiny need, is the great gift we are allowed to give each other.  If we listen, we can hear the December prayers of others expressed as wishes for help, complaints of inability, or conversations of indecision.  We can help, Dear Reader and the cost is very little for us.  It can fulfill that promise that is so vital; it can remind others that they are not alone.

December Prayer – Idina 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 onto 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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels: From My Publisher or on Amazon          
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02 December 2019

Carrying Christmas in my Heart ~ Inclusion


Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I think that this is the hard part of the holidays.  It is also an area where I have had to review and alter my thinking.  We all have people in our lives that we wish to avoid, forget, or ignore.  The difficulty is that if we are going to deal with everyone in love and grace that we have to address this carefully.

There are family members who bring more pain and anxiety to the party than anything else.  We cannot fix them and it is not our obligation to do so.  What we can do is rise above the issues and show the love of Christ that is necessary for the Christmas season even to exist. 

We consider our hurts and the other person's failures when we choose how to measure out our love for others.  Arguments concerning the unique nature of this or that relative’s toxicity rise to the surface to justify our withholding of love.  Love has the power to include others and protect us from those who act with venom or unkindness. 

The obligation to show love is ours no matter what anyone else does.  What if Christ only considered our toxicity when choosing how to deal with us?  We are all toxic compared to Christ and were he to see us as rejectable and unworthy of love, there would be no Advent, incarnation, or Christmas.  We are supposed to see everyone as he sees them.  Everyone is worthy of our love.

This is painful for me to write.  There are those in my life that I must show love and, in the past, have excluded because of the pain it causes me.  I was wrong to exclude them.  I withheld love when it is not in my purview to do so.

Silence is a form of exclusion.  No response is always a negative response.  Refusing to interact in love with family only generates pain.  The act of exclusion by intent is a passive-aggressive attack that cannot be in line with the responsibility to love, forgive, and give to others.  We may have to temper and reach out judiciously.  We cannot be silent and claim to be loving. 

I know that this is hard for some of you to read Dear Reader.  I assure you that I am walking this path with you.  I will continue to reach out in love to family that hurt me at every exchange.  I cannot claim to love you if I am unwilling to love them.  More so, I cannot claim to follow Christ or carry Christmas in my heart if I do not share that love with others.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

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

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:
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01 December 2019

Second Thoughts ~ Carrying Christmas in my Heart ~ First Sunday of Advent


Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

There are parts of the Liturgical Calendar that I love.  The Advent celebrations are my favorite.  As part of our journey this year I wish to offer a Second Thought on carrying Christmas each Sunday evening.  I wish to honor both the idea of planning our joy in the Advent of Christ and my friend Amy who is a constant source of liturgical joy for me throughout the year.

The first Sunday of Advent is meant to celebrate and propagate hope.  It is in hope that we find one of the three endurances.  “There are three things that abide; faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.”   Hope endures but does not force itself on us.  We can embrace or reject hope at will. 

It is the candlelight of hope that leads us home. It is in hope that we await the arrival and now the return of Jesus.  It is in hope that we celebrate the Advent and anticipate the second Advent of Christ.   My hope is that as the season unfolds your hopes and dreams are fulfilled Dear Reader.

O’ Come Emmanuel – Sovereign Grace

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

O come, Thou Day-Spring
Come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

O come, O come, Thou Lord of might
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height
In ancient times did’st give the Law
In cloud, and majesty and awe
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o 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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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Carrying Christmas in my Heart ~ Opening Thoughts


Happy Christmas Dear Reader,

I have always considered The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis a Christmas novel.  It is Mr. Tumnus’ line, “It is winter in Narnia,” said Mr. Tumnus, “and has been for ever so long…. always winter, but never Christmas.”  It is a story filled with adventure, sorrow, hope, and joy.  If you have not read it, you must.

It is the hope in this story that I carry in my heart always.  It is the hope of a time when it will be always Christmas and never Winter.  I happen to love Winter so it is not the season but the idea that hope for; an idea where we constantly celebrate Christ (Christ-Mass).  The other side of that coin is that the world no longer has the death and darkness of Winter. 

As I press full steam toward Christmas Day, I wish to offer some practical thoughts on how to carry Christmas in our hearts at all times.  I have put things in place in my life so that I think about Christmas every single day.  It makes a difference in my thoughts, attitudes, and actions.  It keeps me aware of my surroundings.  It motivates me to look and listen for opportunities to show Christ to others and give them a little Christmas even in June. 

What I have learned about this attitude in our journey is that if we are present, aware, and willing, the opportunities to live out Christmas every day arise.  The chance to share joy and love with others is ever-present.  The need is ever crying out for someone willing to meet it.  The world needs a little Christmas every moment.  It is our opportunity and obligation to celebrate Christ thoroughly and always.  The easy path to doing this is to carry Christmas in our hearts every single day.

In this joyous journey I have other things to share with you Dear Reader.  I will unfold what I wish to build on my firm foundation of love and grace over the coming year.  The Father has already put things in my path to celebrate others and that too has filled me with great joy.  I am praying for and hoping with others who have a clear vision of how they too can share the journey home with those in need.  We will celebrate them along the way. 

Mostly, Dear Reader, I hope to provide you a bit of an oasis from the pressures and challenges that this season can present if we are not present with Christ in each moment as we search for the right food, gatherings, and presents.  My Christmas wish is to walk with you and share my joy in the one who leads us home to that place where it is always Christmas and never Winter.  Please share with me your thoughts and questions.

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.

Hey, Santa... pass us that bottle, will 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 homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Contacts for Aramis Thorn:

Support Page on Patreon: www.patreon.com/aramisthorn
Novels on Amazon           
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