Tag: religion


The “C” in Christmas by JoAnn


Some words should never be misspelled, and Christmas is one of them.  I have few pet peeves, but the one on the top of my list has to be the big “X” used to replace Christ in Christmas.

As a Christian, to see someone replace Christ’s name with a big ole X, is offensive.  I say the “o” word cautiously, as I know that in this day and time, people can be offended at the drop of a hat.  But to replace the name of the one whose entire existence is reason for the season, really makes me sad, and a little angry.  

I understand Christmas is a lengthy word to place on a decorated window, or to write in a quick text.  But if you remove Christ, what exactly does XMAS mean?  If you are a believer like me, I can’t fathom it not hurting your heart to replace your Lord and Saviors name with a big X.  And if you are not a believer, then why are you wishing someone a merry anything?

Over my life, I have happened upon many an unbeliever.  It always surprised me when the same people who preached God to not exist, did indeed celebrate at Christmas time.  They would put up a tree, decorate their homes, send out holiday cards (careful to not include anything resembling Christ), and would exchange gifts on Christmas morning.  I never understood why.  I spent time in their homes, enjoying their holiday cheer.  But at the end of the day, no mention of Christ’s birthday was ever made.  I walked away wondering what exactly were they celebrating?  Their own Winter holiday?  I guess so.       

I imagine this debate has been going on for a very long time, and probably one of the reasons the sayings “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings” came about.  I really don’t mind those two greetings, I find them cheery and respectful.  Just don’t X out my Lord.  After all, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  If you feel this to be a myth or fairy tale, please don’t disrespect His name by using an X.  Simply choose another expression of holiday cheer.  There is no need to offend people like myself, who hold the Lord’s name with such love in their hearts. 

I’ll climb down from my soap box now.  Merry Christmas! 


Christian of The Year


                               

⚽ Our neighbors (Mary Beth & John) are great friends and for the past year have suffered some medical setbacks so my wife and I try to lend a hand whenever possible.  Last week John needed to cut his grass for the first time this Spring, but his John Deere riding mower refused to start.  I’m moderately good at working on small engines so I loaned him my riding mower, which is identical to his, while I investigated the problem. 

What I discovered was that since his mower had not been used for 6 months, the gasoline had evaporated in his carburetor and gummed up the little holes inside that let the gas escape into the engine?  So, I removed the carburetor, grabbed my air compressor hose, and with a few extra squirts of compressed air, cleaned it out. I reinstalled the carb, turned the key, and it fired up.  It felt good to hear that motor whirring away.  Total time to fix the balky engine was 3-4 hours. 

I returned the tractor feeling good that I had helped my neighbors.  A couple of days later I’m out in the front yard picking up pinecones and sticks and their daughter (Robin) is backing out of their driveway.  She pulls up to the curb beside me and thanked me for repairing her Dad’s lawn tractor and smilingly said, “I think you are a good candidate for Christian of The Year” and drove away.  I stood there watching her as she departed, thinking boy that was a nice thing to say.  I wondered if there was such a thing and shouldn’t we all strive to be that person? 

There are 4,200 religions in the world, and they can be categorized into five categories: Christianity, Roman Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism & Judaism.  So, pick your category and try to be a candidate for that “Person of The Year”. In my opinion, your God wants you to be that person.  If you know someone that could be that person, tell them.  You know how good that made me feel 😊.

Mother Teresa said it quite tenderly “Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.” 

⚽ Country singer, Charley Pride, has a song titled, “It Seems I’m Always Standing in My Way”.  Sometimes, I feel the same way.  I have it on my list to clean my workshop, a big endeavor, and I constantly find other things to do, which at the time I feel is just as important, but I know they aren’t.  I need to get back to playing my guitar, but I tell myself at the end of the day that I’m too tired, so that gets put aside. 

When I look back over the last few years, I can see a pattern of my “Standing in My Way”.  Perhaps, when we perceive a task as difficult, we’re inclined to find something to take its place, something much easier to accomplish.  I find that if I have a clear vision on the outcome of my endeavor, I’m more inclined to want to get that particular thing done. 

Consequently, the tough things get placed in the “undone” pile and stay there for a pretty long time.  The question is, how do I change that?  Well, I have decided to overcome that tendency by picking at least one difficult each week and staying with it until it’s accomplished.  So, next week my difficult task is going to be cleaning the workshop.  My wife made the comment the other day that she had never seen it so “messy”.  After I finish it, I will take her hand and lead her to it and boast loudly, “The workshop is clean!” (probably repeating it several times). 😊.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “Well done is better than well said,”.

⚽ “Your dog only loves you because you have food”.  I ran across that statement the other day and wondered if that were true?  We do not own a pet, but a lot of our friends and family do, and I refuse to think that their pets feel that way.  Growing up, my brother and I always had a dog, but they always got distemper (inflammation of nose and throat) and within a week would pass away.  We could not afford the distemper shot that was available at the pharmacy (15 miles away) and consequently our pets would expire.  I recall that Dad let us get two puppies from a litter of pups that a friend of ours had and I named mine “Pete” and my brother named his “Re-Pete” because they looked the same.  We had to keep them in the basement since Mom wouldn’t allow them inside our home.  In a few weeks Pete died, and sure ‘nuff, shortly thereafter Re-Pete did the same thing.  My brother and I told this “Pete & Re-Pete” story to all our friends, and they thought it was funny.  We were sad they passed but made the best of the situation.  Young boys can be insensitive at times.  Today, families spend hundreds of dollars to keep their pets healthy and treat them like family.  I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be done.  I have always believed that when our pets die, they go up and sit on a rainbow, waiting for us to pick them up on our way to Heaven.  Eight of them should be waiting for me.

Bertrand Wilberforce nailed it when he said, “Dogs are evidently intended by God to be our companions, protectors, and in many ways, examples.”     

⚽ Did you know that forty of the fifty world’s tallest mountain peaks are in Pakistan?  Knowing that little fact can help us understand how difficult our battles were in that war-plagued country.  I grew up in the mountains of southwest Virginia and our mountains would be rolling hills compared to Pakistan😊.  But as a kid, I always thought they were tall.  More than likely they are about one thousand feet high.  Mountaineers are a sturdy group, always going up or down a hill.  That builds stamina.  As a kid on my bicycle, it was fun racing downhill at tremendous speed, but the trip back up required a lot of energy.  I think the constant walking up and down hills, carrying coal in a bucket, and chopping kindling were responsible for the muscle core that made life easier for me throughout my many years on this wonderful planet.  Which reminds me that on June 24th of this year I will complete 29,000 spins on this planet we all call home. I am looking forward to that very important day. I am aware that maybe I’m the only person you know that counts the number of earthly rotations they make.  Most of just count our trips around the Sun. I still enjoy my yearly trips back home to enjoy the mountains of my youth.  They haven’t changed a lot, but then again, mountains seldom do unless you take a bulldozer to them.  On top of one of those mountains, way up in a holler called “Clell”, is buried my great grandpa, “Pap” Hale.  I doubt his grave has been visited in 50 years.  I wonder if I could still find it. He was born in 1868 and died in 1961 and was very active up until the age of 90, thereafter slowing down considerably.  After that he mostly sat around reading the Bible and getting ready for his final trip. He never talked to us about his life.  I surely wish he had.

Chauncey Wright said so eloquently, “Looking from the mountains, I always think faster and freer and better, but about anything rather than the landscape.  It seems so much better to talk from the beauty than of it, but value it like meat and drink, the pure air and… my cigar, only for the excitement it gives,”.  I especially like the part about the cigar😊.        

WoW#61


My Magnificent Adventure


⚽ In 1893 Frank Sprague installed the first modern elevators in Manhattan’s Postal Telegraph Building in New York City (he later sold his company to Otis Elevator).  This one act started the rise of tall buildings in that city and seeded the spread nationwide.  It’s estimated that the world’s cities now hold more than half the world’s population, but less than 3% of its land.  I was 14 years old (1955) when I took my first elevator ride.  My Dad loaded Mom, Jerry (my brother), and me, into our family car (1952 Hudson) and drove for eleven hours on Route 460 from our home in southwest Virginia (Oakwood) to visit Mom’s sister (Aunt Letha) in the eastern part of the state (Suffolk).  The next day Dad and Uncle Aaron took Jerry and me into town, and we walked into a building with four floors.  Upon entering, we walked over and stepped into a small room with an open door.  Uncle Aaron pushed a button, and it closed.  I glanced up at him with a puzzled look on my face and he returned my glance with a smile.  Suddenly, the floor started moving upwards and my brother and I had absolutely no idea what was happening.   Jerry started crying and held onto Dad’s leg, but being 16 months older, I refused to do so.  Both men could see the look of shock on my face and were unable to contain their amusement, bursting into laughter.  Within a minute it stopped, the door opened, and we got out and walked into an office of some sort for Dad & Uncle Aaron to do some business.  As I sat there waiting for their conversation to end, I tried to understand what had just happened.  Never before had I seen a floor move upwards on its own. What made that happen?  Twenty minutes later we walked out of the office and into that small room again. The button was pushed as I watched intently, then the door closed, and the floor started moving downwards.  Wow, now I was really confused!  What decided which way the floor was going to move?  In a few seconds the floor stopped moving, the door opened, and we left the building headed for the car parked around back.

As we rode home, I couldn’t wait to tell Mom & Aunt Letha about the magic I had just witnessed!  I was sure they wouldn’t believe me. There were flying carpets in my comic books, but I always knew that was make believe.  I had never ridden on a flying carpet, but I had ridden on a flying floor. This was big!  When we arrived, Dad and Uncle Aaron stood around with big smiles as my brother and I described our magnificent adventure to Mom & Aunt Letha.  They played along with the men and acted as surprised as my brother and me. That night I went to bed wondering what else this wonderful world had to offer?  If floors could fly, when would cars be able to fly, or could we humans learn to fly?  I dropped off to sleep wondering how much magic was still left for me to discover and a feeling of warmth deep inside me made me sleep with a smile on my face the entire night.

“What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner” …Collette

⚽ I live in a small town on the east coast of Virginia and our area has a lot of military men and women.  The coasts of the United States are dotted with more than three dozen naval bases, the largest being Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA, which is just 20 minutes away.  It was founded in 1917 and is not only the largest naval base in the USA but also the largest in the world.  It covers nearly 3,400 acres and is home to approximately 150,000 personnel.  As you can imagine, we have people in our area from all over our great country.  Our economy is highly dependent on the money they spend.  We also have our nation’s largest shipyard (Newport News Shipbuilding) with a workforce of about 25,000. Langley AFB, with over 9000 military & civilian personnel, sits next door to our small community and the roar of aircraft is always present.  A favorite saying locally is that the aircraft sounds are not noise but “The sound of freedom”.  Fort Eustis is our local Army base (5,000 military) and is also an integral part of our community.  Just in case you are wondering, I’m not  divulging sensitive information, it is all publicly available and is, of course, only estimates.  I served in the US Air Force in the early ‘60s and my experience was that most communities under appreciated the military in their area and especially did not want the military men dating the local single girls. I was married, but I knew a lot of single guys that tried to disguise their military roots by wearing civilian clothing when they went into town. 

Today, our attitude towards our military personnel has thankfully changed and everywhere I go I see them being thanked for their service.  I think that is wonderful because I recall my experience of feeling rejected by the local community wherever I was stationed.  The only time I felt appreciated was when I went back home, where there was always a slap on the back and a welcome home greeting. 

In our local area, servicemen & women not only protect our freedom but contribute mightily to our economy.  Truth be known, we do owe them a debt of gratitude.  Yes, we pay their salary & they have good benefits, but a lot just barely get by on a soldier’s pay.  When I went into the US Air Force in 1959 as a lowly Airman 3rd Class, I was paid $75/month, and when I opted to leave four years later, my pay was $225/month.  During the last two years of my service, I worked part-time, 7 days a week, to give my family of four a decent living.  I sincerely hope we are paying our military better now.      

⚽ Abraham Maslow (Theory of Human Motivation) created a pyramid of mankind’s basic needs: Physiological–food, water, sleep clothes, shelter, etc.; Safety–personal, emotional, financial, health; Social belonging–friendships, intimacy, family; Self-esteem–feel respected, stable, recognition; Self-actualization–accomplish everything that one can; and lastly, Transcendence–giving oneself to something beyond oneself (altruism or spirituality).   

I think old Abe is on to something, beginning with our basic needs (food, water, etc.) and then as we move thru life, entering the other stages of his pyramid.  I can look at his chart and see my life as I grew older and how it felt to be in those different areas he described.  I am now firmly in the “Transcendence” phase of life, whereas my goal is to give myself to something beyond self-interest.  I believe most of us will ultimately arrive at this place in life.  In Acts 20:35, Paul says to the Ephesians; “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’”.

 However, during this time of tumult (COVID-19), it feels like a lot of us are sliding back into Maslow’s basic stage (Physiological) of food, water, shelter.  Grocery store shelves are barren as we grab everything in sight, fearing the worst, and attempting to insure we have what is necessary to survive.  I believe this fear of the unknown is a result of moving away from religion and relying only on oneself.  There were times in my adolescent life that my family was bereft of food, with little money to buy it.  But we had faith in a God, and we believed he would see we were taken care of.  Studies show that 60% of Americans believe in God, but only 23% of us go to church each week.  Our southern states (i.e. Alabama Mississippi) are “highly religious” 80% and our New England states (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut) have the lowest percentage of those “highly religious” adults (45%).  The median church nationwide has, on average, 75 attendants each Sunday.  Since only 23% of us go to church on a weekly basis, that is, in my opinion, the reason we fear for our future.  Working our way through this pandemic will be decidedly easier for those of us that believe in a Higher Power showing us how to handle this tragedy.  It is up to us “believers” to show how our faith stills our fears and gives us the confidence we need to handle hard times. 

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) said it well; “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.”