Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Loss of the Family Farm

Looking back on my life, from the hustle and bustle of today, back to the cool breezes cavorting through the elm trees that lined both sides of our farm lane in a living, almost-breathing, tall, graceful, fragrant, green flickering canopy, when I was a wonder-filled 5 year old boy, I can't help but feel melancholy.

Life was so much easier back then. Yes, I was a just a kid, but farm kids had chores to do, too, you know, and we were a busy little 200 acre diversified farm. Physical toil was a way of life, and we didn't bemoan or begrudge or complain--we just worked, because survival depended on it.

My goodness, we were healthy; adults had no need of treadmills, stationary bikes, or elliptical exercisers. They were in top physical condition. Very little money meant very little junk food, but lots of garden-fresh vegetables, and farm-raised beef, pork, and poultry. A diet like that, coupled with hard physical work, equalled strong, healthy bodies.

We had no internet, ipods, or blackberries... 'blackberries' to us meant a delicious bowl of succulent fruit covered in table cream. We had no idea what was coming, nor did we look forward to it, nor did we dread it; ignorance is bliss. The Waltons played on TV, and their lives were even more simple than ours, and the older generations longed for those times, minus the Depression.

Spring was filled with anticipation of cropping. We waited for the plowing to show dry crests, like the whitecaps in the tossing of the waves on a windswept lake. Then it was on; a lengthways pass with the disc to cut up the sod, a crossways pass to level, and then round and round to ready the soil for the seed drill. Our Massey-Harris 44, the stalwart old girl she was, did all the tillage, her big, full crown fenders protecting from the dust and dirt. Our little Cockshutt 60 Row Crop, reliable, responsive, and oh-so-nimble, handled the seed drill, making impossible turns at the corners. Then it was maybe a pass with the 60 and a roller, if a dry summer was expected. The garden was put in concurrently, with a couple of passes of the disc and then the cultivator, to make easy-to-follow rows. Corn, green beans, yellow beans, carrots, parsnips, peas, cabbage, lettuce, beets and turnips, all went in orderly rows. Potatoes went in uniformly-gridded hills, and cucumber seeds were planted in what would become a patch. Pumpkins were sown in the compost of the pig's manure from two year's before. Yellow, downy, goslings and chicks arrived from the hatchery in hungry, peeping batches, to be very carefully nurtured and protected from copious, cunning, and opportunistic predators of all name and description. And self-inflicted disasters and calamities that only folk that have raised them could ever imagine. Nothing could be left to chance. They were my responsibility, and a withering responsibility they were.

Spring turned into summer, and the crop sprouted, and grew, and the rows filled in. The garden required constant hoeing, and the callouses grew on my hands, and the skin burned and thickened on my back. The hay grew right along with the garden and the grain. July rolled around, and the biggest part of the year was upon us: haying. The 60 cut the hay, with a converted Cockshutt #6 horse mower, making its impossible square turns, Dad handling it like it was a kitten. Beforehand, sitting on a stool in the cool, damp machine shed, he sharpened every sickle on the cutterbar by hand with a whetstone, in a rhythmetic pattern, the stone setting each sickle section to singing in a familiar song that still calls out to me after all these years.

The swaths dried, and then Dad on the 60 raked them with a Cockshutt 4 wheel side delivery rake. These two passes must have been pretty relaxing for Dad, as the real work was right around the next corner. The hay set in the windrows to 'snapping dry', in the heat of the summer. The 44 pulled the New Holland Super Hayliner 69 baler out of its space at the back of the 44's bay, where it sat patiently protected for 11 months of the year, and it was serviced and adjusted, and headed to the field, with a wooden reach wagon behind. I was too small to drive the 44, so it was usually my Uncle Charlie who drove it, while Dad built the loads under the scorching summer sun. Every now and then they would stop, and have a drink of initially cold, but now-warming water, and then set to again.

The loads built, the last wagon was unhooked from the baler, and the 60 struggled with the creaking, loaded wagons back to the barn, with Dad driving, and Uncle Charlie standing relaxedly with one foot on the drawbar, and the other up on the exposed rear axle housing, his one hand and arm on the fender, while him and Dad shot the breeze. The intoxicating canopy of the mighty elms brushed over me as I lay as prone as I could on top of the back load so I wasn't swept off by the stronger branches as they closed in overhead, meeting from one side of the lane to the other. Sometimes I liked to follow on foot behind (usually barefoot), and watch the clay dust, powdered by the weight and repeated passes of the loads, squelch out from the bald, bulging, and overloaded wagon tires. I was always fascinated as the tires squished and squatted, shifting side-to-side on their balloon of enslaved air, never quite able to understand why they didn't blow--and likely envelop me in a sudden, billowing cloud of fine, grey clay dust from the loud explosion. It never happened, though, much to my amazement. I loved to listen while I padded along behind at a trot, the dust coming up between my toes, as the plain, tapered cone bearings of the wagon wheels made their signature, mild, muffled, thunking sounds, as the wheels moved ever so slightly back and forth in the available end play of their bearings, in response to the load gently and lazily shifting and tilting above.

These were real crossover wagon wheels; caught in the rapidly-evolving technology of mechanized transport, from wooden spoked wheels, to steel spoked wheels, to rubber tires. They bridged the transition to simple, automotive one piece, five lugnut, dished steel wheels, tapered roller bearings, and rubber tires, by having the now-bizarre, mixed and mottled combination of rubber tires on steel rims on square wooden spokes, on turned wooden hubs, with their simple, hardened steel, tapered cone bearings shrunk over a wooden axle. The final result was much more eloquent in execution and presentation than the sum of its parts, but it would have taken much time, and, moreover, much skilled and practiced craft and care to produce as elegant and durable a final product as they were.

Those wooden reach, fifth wheel wagons used true axle grease, that came in large tin cans much like large coffee cans. Our brand was Shell, in a yellow can with the familiar and trusted seashell logo. The grease inside was golden, thick, and very sticky, with a strong, pungent, but slightly sweet smelling odour, and you scooped it out with a wooden stick and slathered it onto the axle shaft after the wheel was removed by its solitary, large, square nut. It was so sticky, that, when you pulled the stick out, it stood up vertically in slippery, glistening, translucent reams, capped in gracefully curled, transparent wisps that captured and refracted the dancing rays of the midsummer sun.

The wagons were unloaded, Uncle Charlie feeding the elevator, and my powerhouse Dad mowing the bales back in the sweltering loft, under a roof so hot you couldn't hold your hand to it. He never faltered, and really and truly revelled in his physical domination of the task at hand. Another drink and a discussion of how things were going, and it was back to the field. The wagons loaded again, they came back in, and it was supper time. They washed chaff and dust and sweat off, and sat down to supper, which usually consisted of re-fried potatoes, and pink, sliced pork roast, with fresh vegetables and berries from the garden, and washed down with a couple of cups of tea, my Uncle Charlie's "Tuss suss suss!" in response to one of Dad's always good-natured jokes.

Now, Uncle Charlie wasn't Dad's or Mom's brother or brother-in-law, he was 'just' 'our neighbour down the road', but he never married and of course had no children of his own, so Dad had us start calling him "Uncle", and it stuck, and it was right. He was more my sister's and my uncle than any of our real ones. Dad and Uncle Charlie had a wonderful relationship of mutual respect and friendship; a seamless and exceedingly comfortable cameraderie; the kind you usually only read in downhome fiction, but this was real and it was our life, and we loved it.

I sat there eagerly munching down on my own supper, happily listening to my two favorite role models in the whole wide world, and savouring the sweetness of the roast pork, which I considered as good as any candy.

Supper done, Dad and Uncle Charlie retired to their after-meal seats; Dad to his rocking chair, and Uncle Charlie sideways on my chair at the table, facing Dad. They'd talk for a while, and then maybe watch some of the news, and with a "Welllll..." from one of them, they'd get up and head out to the comparative cool of the evening to unload the last wagons in relative comfort. Uncle Charlie would then get in his jet black two door 1960 Plymouth Fury, with its contrasting red tufted interior, and head home to milk on his own farm one lot down from ours and across the road. Uncle Charlie lived with his dear, and very elderly mother, a stereotypical little old lady, who kept a spotless farmhouse. I used to love going over there at milking time, and seeing Uncle Charlie's beautiful Guernseys, filling the cowbyre in two relaxed, comfortable, uniform lines down the length of both sides of the simple, but clean and tidy operation. Their barn was as well kept for a barn as their home was for a home. Nothing was fancy, but it was immaculate. The only break in the uniformity of size and type in their herd was the random fawn and white blotches of the individual. Standing patiently there at milking time, they'd burp up and chew their cud in idle detachment, and swish flies with expert flicks of their long, tassled tails over their straight backs. They were very calm and docile, with huge doe eyes, and long, dark lashes, and seemed to have genuine affection for Uncle Charlie, and it was obviously likewise. Milking time was busy, and yet very calm. The feeling of practiced, structured, generations-old routine on all parts and levels permeated the atmosphere. It was a family farm, too. And a well-kept and run one at that.

Summer ended, fall was around the corner, and the much-dreaded return to school became a reality. The grain ripened, and shimmered golden in the breeze, undulating in waves sweeping the field, imparting visibility to the eddies and currents playing otherwise invisibly in the air. The combine came, and the grain flowed in a smooth, fan-shaped, golden cascade from the gravity box into the elevator, and spilled seamlessly back over the paddles, as the elevator struggled against timeless natural forces to deliver the grain to the bin. The sumacs turned from green to red, and it was time to harvest the garden as well.

My first chore each evening after I thankfully got off the bus, was to head out to the garden and pick and bag the several sacks of potatoes Dad had spudded up first thing in the morning, and left to dry in the sun all day. The dry, dusty clay was easy to clean off with a counter-rotating rub of my hands, or maybe a thunk or two against each other for more stubborn ones, and then Dad loaded the sacks on a light wooden platform that fitted on the 60's drawbar frame, and we took them in to the stable. The beans had mostly been picked over the latter part of the summer, and then some of the young carrots, so now it was the mature carrots, and they were laying there ready for me one or two afternoons after school, and then it was the beets. I hated beets, and everything about them, but they had to be grown and harvested for some unearthly reason, so I just silently and obediently did what I was told. I hated the look, the smell, the sound, the feel, and the taste of beets. The turnips came last, after a few good, solid frosts, and I loved them, and everything about them. I happily cleaned the soil off and sacked the turnips in jute grain bags, and had them proudly sitting there waiting for Dad when he came in from plowing. I loved the look, the smell, the sound, the feel, and the taste of turnips. All beets should have been born turnips.

The meat chickens and geese were butchered, plucked, cleaned, and put in the freezer, in one unpleasant, but necessary, cool Autumn day. A hog and a steir were killed and butchered, and half of the meat delivered all around to family, and the rest stored away in the freezer.

Fall mornings dawned dark, foggy and frosty, and the misery of the sickening dread of school each weekday was only heightened and added to by standing by the side of the road with my teeth chattering uncontrollably as I solemnly and subjectively waited for the bus. While it's five o'clock that sometimes can't come fast enough these days, it was 3:30 that couldn't come fast enough then.

October wisened and matured, and sometimes there was a snowfall before Halloween. Dad's usual methodic nature became more urgent, as he went about finalizing the myriad tasks that had to be seen to before the cold, unforgiving winter set in. The 60 was turned sideways on her nimble axis in back of her bay in the machine shed to make room for the car. The barn floor bifold doors were lowered from their summer storage position up against the ceiling, allowing cool breezes and shade for the cattle, to now stop the bitter west wind from blowing through, and helping to keep the cowbyre warmer. In the horse stable, by light, in the evenings after supper, Dad and my sister, Polly, and I topped and trimmed the horrible beets, and topped and trimmed the wonderful turnips, and the carrots and parsnips, and gave the potatoes a final cleaning, as our dog lay there on grain bags and watched us in the rapt admiration and last-drop-of-blood loyalty only a dog can possess, while the cats thrilled and delighted us with their squirrely 'catrobatics' in the barn beams above. The task finally completed, all the produce was put into cold storage in the basement, to feed us in health, wholesomeness, security, and economy, for the long, cold winter ahead.

The hay was in the loft, the grain in the granary, the geese, chickens, beef, and pork in the freezer, and the garden in the basement. Dad noticably relaxed; the annual race against time somehow completed in the nick of time. Sleep swept over the land once again, in the age-old way God had created and arranged it to be. The white blanket once again tucked in the earth, and all was quiet, save the lowing of the cows at milking time.

The cowbyre smelled of the wonderful warm dampness of dairy cows; a comforting and security-encouraging aroma of Providence. It wafted over and enveloped you in a moist, warm wall of welcome belonging as you walked into barn at supper chore time, the final and daily harvest: that of milk, making complete the circle of life.

Nothing but a feeling of 'all is well' could prevail, and dwell deep, soothingly and comfortingly, in your soul, in such simple times and atmospheres. I long desperately, achingly, for such a feeling, in this age and era of 'modern convenience', so many years later.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Only You, Lord, Only You.

Lord Jesus,
I present myself before You,
With head eternally bowed in reverence,
On knee perpetually bent in subservience,
Awed at Your Power,
Humbled by Your Grace,
Shamed by Your Perfection,
Absolutely undeserving of any of it.

I am saved by Your Grace, and Your Grace only;
Not any of my own sinful, selfish doing.
Only Your Love and Forgiveness.

Please be with me all my days,
Please guide my every thought and action,
Please always remind me of a higher standard,
Please protect all those I care about,
And draw them near to you that aren't already.

These things I humbly ask,
In my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's holy name,
Praising God forever.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

All Good Things Come From God

In reality, nothing I have is anything I actually earned; it all is granted from God.

He tells us not to worry about how we'll feed or clothe ourselves;

Matt 10:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

And, He tells us how all good things come from Him:
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Sometimes I get indignant when I hear how my neighbors talk about me. I respond with, "Well, if I'm so stupid, how did I manage to create Import Tractor Parts, and..." Blah, blah blah.

No, I'm a high school dropout, and pretty much hapless in all aspects of life. The Apostle Paul said it best: "...there is none that doeth good, no, not one". (Romans 3:12) That verse comes to mind any time my head tends to get fat on self-exaltation. It brings me down to earth and reality, and turns my mind back to humility and recognition of the grace of God.

God gave me the abilities I have. He gave me a background in farming, the interest in tractors, the mechanical and technical inclination, the entrapenuerial instinct, and the opportunity and resources to put these other abilities and qualities to work. I provided nothing of my own making except maybe the effort. All the 'good things' came from God. Without them, how could I have ever managed?

Maybe He gave me these abilities because He knew I'd have the gratitude to give the ultimate recognition and glory to Him. Who knows? Somehow, it is all part of His plan, and I'm just glad to be given the opportunity to acknowledge the gifts He gave me that make it all possible.

Thank you, Lord Jesus - all good things come from You! Praise God!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Wisdom of Animals

Y'know, I can never think of the Nativity scene without thinking about how every animal in that blessed stable HAD to be aware Who was laying in that manger. How am I so sure they knew Who the Babe was? I'll give you the one glaringly apparent Biblical example I know of:

Numbers 22:20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.

Numbers 21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.

22And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.

23And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

24But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.

25And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again.

26And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.

27And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.

28And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

29And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.

30And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay.

31Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

Now look at that example: even though the Angel of the Lord was INVISIBLE to Balaam, his donkey SAW, and was either afraid or trying to protect Balaam from harm. Either way, the DONKEY saw and recognised the Angel, where the MAN did not. Three times the donkey saw where the man did not! Animals aren't stupid, you know. Now, that was only an Angel; what about the perfect Son of God Himself? I am convinced every single animal in the stable that blessed night knew the Gift to the world their eyes were beholding... right down to the mice in the walls.

Think of the way a dog responds to his master's voice; then consider John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: Yes, the 'sheep' here are the Lord's people, but the response is the same--alert, and immediately gladly obedient. All domesticated animals have a level of this obedience within them. A horse, a pony, or a donkey, letting their charge ride, or carrying burdens; a cow, standing and allowing herself to be milked, an ox, plodding along hour after hour, pulling a heavy burden; an elephant, acting as nature's all-terrain forklift, logging in the jungle... the list goes on. And wilder animals can be domesticated and show the same loyalty to their master; for instance you can't get a more loyal and fierce watchdog than a wolf.

Animals recognise and respond to their master's voice (think of the old RCA ad) the same way we, as mankind SHOULD recognise and respond to OUR Master's voice.

Yes, the animals in the Nativity scene knew Who was laying there in the manger--the holy, infant Son of God Himself, come to save the world, even if humanity by and large YET doesn't know. By their humility, they shrugged off ignorance.

If only all of mankind were so wise and so seeing and so obedient as animals, instead of so foolish and so blind and so defiant!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to save mankind from our 'wisdom' and 'enlightenment' and 'liberty'!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to Avoid the Tempest to Come

Last night I had a bad dream. I was in unfamiliar farmland somewhere, touring around looking at the sights to see. The weather was bad, but I didn't pay it heed. I was on a high plain, and, although I should have, I didn't notice the clouds closing in, darkening the sky, and the wind picking up. The other people that were with me, must have sensed what was happening, and, rather than warn me and take me with them, they just left me there.

Things got bad; I... mean... BAD. Among other debris, there were even entire machine sheds flying through the air, and one of them crashed into the ground very close by. I had no shelter. There was no place to hide. A violent tornado was tearing up the plain, and getting closer, and I had no options whatsoever for self preservation. With the debris crashing into the ground around me like meteorites, I didn't have to wait for the main event to get killed--it was just a matter of time.

Crouching there with my hands over my head in a vain effort to protect myself, with no options available to me, I was suddenly aware of a horse sidling up to me. Yes, in that chaos, a horse. It was a big chestnut mare, with no saddle or reins. She shielded me with her body, and seemed to want me to climb aboard. I'd never ridden a pony with a saddle much less a big horse bareback, so that seemed impossible. I didn't even know how to get on! Incredibly, she kneeled down, so I could get on easier. I quickly oafed my way onto her back, and leaned forward against her neck and she stood up. I wrapped my arms around her strong neck and whispered into her mane that I didn't know how to ride (as if she didn't know that by now!), and I felt reassurance from her telepathically. She started to run off out of the pending doom with me clinging to her, and she sensed every wrong in my balance and corrected for it. We came to a narrow ledge that was sloped, with, of all things, a sheet of roofing tin laying across it, soaking wet from the now driving rain. I thought, "There's no way she can maintain her footing across that!", but she did, and nimbly. In short order, she brought me outside the limits of the tempest, and into calm. When she had delivered me to complete safety, she stopped, and once again very considerately kneeled down so I could get off safely. I hugged her neck and petted her and thanked her profusely for saving my life.

I woke up shortly thereafter. I lay there thinking about this powerfully symbolic dream.

I was myself, of course, but mankind also. The storm and tornado was the end of the world, and Hell. The horse was the Lord. "But a mare; a female?", you ask? Yes, a female, to symbolize the Lord's compassion upon the lost and needy.

I had NO options to save myself--I was as good as dead; The Lord said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me". (John 14:6)

The horse correcting all of my imbalance could be seen as the Lord forgiving me of all of my sins for turning to Him; "...Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee".(Matt 9:2)

The narrow, sloped ledge represented the Valley of Death, and "...narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt 7:14)

Being delivered out of certain destruction, was being saved by the Lord, by believing in Him (me clinging for dear life to the horse's
neck) "He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)

There's only one option available to anyone who wants to live forever, and that is to ask the Lord Jesus to save you. Nothing and nobody else can do this for you. Heaven awaits, but you can't earn your way in, you can't sneak your way in, you can't buy your way in, you can't bargain your way in, you can't bribe your way in, you can't break or force your way in--there is NO way into Heaven and everlasting life than through the Lord, as stated above in John 14:6

Take the opportunity today, and go to http://www.av1611.org/getsaved.html and follow the super-simple steps, and your place in Heaven with the Lord will be reserved for all time for you! "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)

There you have it--a promise from the Son of God Himself of your permanent reservation in Heaven, just for asking Him to save you! Praise God!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown

What does Christmas mean to me? It means the birth of our Lord on the earth. It doesn't mean Santa Claus, it doesn't mean Rudolph, it doesn't mean the North Pole, it doesn't mean getting presents, none of that. I do nothing to reinforce fables. I don't like the Santa Claus thing because it shifts the focus of the real meaning of Christmas. If Santa was portrayed as saying that he's only a symbol of Christmas, but Jesus is the reason for the season, I'd be more on board with the concept, but he doesn't, so I'm not. I don't want to be the 'Grinch that stole Christmas' by any means, mind you--I just want the focus to return to Whom it rightfully belongs!

You know what Christmas TV Special I admire? 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. Charles M. Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts strip, had the guts to go up against the liberals running CBS, and he managed to get his way. He stated in his argument for the special, "If we don't tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?" He showed his Christianity and wisdom in his argument. In the special, Linus quoted the King James version of Luke, Chapter 2:

"'8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

THAT is the true meaning of Christmas, right there!

'A Charlie Brown Christmas' was a hit. The half-hour special first aired on Thursday, December 9, 1965, and has become a Christmas TV staple ever since. The resonant chrystal purity and innocence of Linus's recital still chokes me up today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's CHRISTmas, man!

It never fails to irk me how the celebration of our Lord's physical entry into the world has suffered due to 'political correctness'; that is, the agonizingly ridiculous effort not to offend anybody. Well, as a Christian, I find such greetings as 'Happy Holidays', and 'Season's Greetings' offensive! It's CHRISTmas, man, and it's named that because it's the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

I enjoy CHRISTmas trees, CHRISTmas decorations, CHRISTmas cake, CHRISTmas pudding, CHRISTmas presents, and CHRISTmas spirit. If you want to put a (momentary) damper on my CHRISTmas cheer, just salute me with, "Happy Holidays", or "Season's Greetings", because I find that offensive, and derogatory.

Don't be afraid of offending someone with the Truth this CHRISTmas season--greet them with a hearty, "Merry CHRISTmas!", and you'll not only be refusing to take part in the denial of the Lord in our lives, but you'll be spreading and re-inforcing the Word, and that carries Heavenly reward.

Jesus is Lord. CHRISTmas is about Him. It's not called CHRISTmas for nothing!

If you, in turn, are offended by this post, then you are missing the core message of John 3:16. Read it and hopefully a spiritual seed and awakening will take root in your life.