A Proclamation

Wednesday, December 25, AD 2013

 

The twenty-fifth day of December.

In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;

the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;

the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;

the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;

the one thousand and thirty-second year from David’s being anointed king;

in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;

in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;

the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;

the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;

the whole world being at peace,

in the sixth age of the world,

Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father,

desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming,

being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception,

was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.

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9 Responses to A Proclamation

Washington At Prayer

Sunday, December 22, AD 2013

There is an old tradition that Washington prayed in the snow at Valley Forge on Christmas Day 1777.  Certainly the wretched condition of the Continental Army in December of 1777, with a hungry winter beginning, would have driven commanders less pious than Washington to their knees.  However, Washington was pious and prayed every day.

The tradition rests on this account of the Reverend Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, a Presbyterian Minister in Philadelphia who lived from 1770-1851 and who wrote the following:

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5 Responses to Washington At Prayer

  • Some years ago there was a U. S. postage stamp with this same picture on it. I saved one. It is my favorite, over and above the stamp of Albert Einstein. I wish the post office would return the stamp to print. It is so beautiful, that and Washington crossing the Delaware. Frostbitten and hungry that army had the fire of freedom burning in their hearts. God bless America. Thank you Mr. McCleary for posting this.

  • To me, every twenty-five cent piece is a Medal of Freedom.

  • And now, Almighty Father,

    If it is Thy holy will that we shall obtain a place and name among the nations of the earth, grant that we may be enabled to show our gratitude for Thy goodness by our endeavors to fear and obey Thee. Bless us with thy wisdom in our counsels, success in battle, and let our victories be tempered with humanity. Endow, also, our enemies with enlightened minds, that they become sensible of their injustice, and willing to restore our liberty and peace. Grant the petition of Thy servant, for the sake of whom Thou hast called Thy beloved Son; nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done.

    –George Washington

  • Thank you, Lauran. I saved George Washington’s prayer. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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The Bishop’s Wife

Thursday, December 19, AD 2013

Continuing our look at Advent and Christmas movies: ¬†The Bishop’s Wife from 1947.¬†¬†¬† David Niven is an Episcopalian Bishop of a struggling diocese;¬† Loretta Young (ironically one of the more devout Catholics in the¬†Hollywood of her time) is his wife; ¬†and Cary Grant is Dudley, one of the more unimportant angels in Heaven, sent by God to lend the Bishop a hand.¬† The film is a graceful comedy which effectively and quietly underlines the central¬†importance of faith in God as we see in this little scene:

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15 Responses to The Bishop’s Wife

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  • A good movie, enjoyable, although I was a little creeped out by the angel’s attraction to the wife of the bishop. It’s not something that ruins the movie though. The movie also reaffirmed for me how prudent it is to have celibate clergy.

  • I don’t think Dudley was really attracted to the Bishop’s wife. He allowed her to be attracted to him as part of his mission to show the Bishop that his priorities were fouled up, which included him neglecting his wife and taking her for granted.

  • Andre,
    Christ is born! Let is glorify Him!
    I’ve not seen the movie, so I have no comment about the content. I did want to mention, however, that ordaining married men to the priesthood is a longstanding & legitimate tradition (small “t”) of the Eastern Catholic Churches. God bless —

  • Oops, that should say…”Let US glorify Him!” Sorry for the typo.

  • Well noted, Patricia. I didn’t mean to imply that it is imprudent for clergy to marry, but it created (at least in this movie) a whole other set of issues, a divided heart, as our Lord stated. I don’t know how some men manage both.

  • Donald, I agree that the angel let her be attracted to him. And truly any heavenly creature, exuding the love of God, even if they weren’t Cary Grant would be considered attractive certainly by the goodness and holiness they radiate. But this passage from the movie, perhaps you interpreted it differently than I. (There was some novel theology in this movie…)

    (From IMDBūüôā
    Henry Brougham: Dudley, if we should need you again, will you come back?
    Dudley: Not I. I shall ask to be assigned to the other end of the Universe.
    Henry Brougham: Is that because I was so difficult?
    Dudley: Oh, no. This difficulty was in me. When an Immortal finds himself envying the Mortal he is entrusted to his care, it’s a danger signal. Take her in your arms and hold her tight.
    [Coming]
    Dudley: Kiss her for me, you lucky Henry!

    Dudley envies the bishop for being married to this woman, so much that there is a “danger” that he needs to be “assigned at the other end of the universe”.

  • A good point Andre, unless the statements are also part of Dudley’s plan to make the Bishop realize what a treasure he has in his wife. It is interesting that all the females in the film, the maid, the Bishop’s secretary, the wealthy benefactress, in addition to the Bishop’s wife, are attracted to Dudley. The main emotion that is usually elicited when angels appear in the Old Testament is one of fear, unless they are in disguise. Then again, those angels were not portrayed by Cary Grant!

  • The author of Hebrews suggests we are higher than the angels in Christ, who is highest of all. I wonder if the angels envy us. We know the fallen ones did. Angels watch us. They have greater powers, but they quite significantly lack humanity.

  • Well, it’s light, heart-warming entertainment. I doubt that Hollywood screenwriters were ever your go-to people when it came to the finer points of theology ūüôā

    I watched this movie about a week ago, and the suave, charming Cary Grant “angel” made me think of Clarence, the chubby, not-so-suave angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Clarence was hardly the smoothie Grant was, but he managed to earn his wings by keeping the Jimmy Stewart character from succumbing to despair and suicide.

    As enjoyable as Grant was to watch (and, being female, I have always greatly enjoyed watching and listening to Grant ūüôā bumbling old Clarence is still my favorite movie “angel.”

  • PS: I recently read an article about Grant, who was born poor and always joked that when he spoke his native dialect, he sounded like Eliza Doolittle before she met Professor Higgins.

    He was no angel in his personal life, but what struck me about him (and many of the stars and entertainers of that time) is how many of them, born in wretched circumstances, aspired to have “class” and sound educated and refined. That was the cultural ideal then. Quite different from today, when many from upper and middle class homes aim for trashy behavior. I was reading that Obama’s “pajama boy” is from the posh Chicago suburb of Willmette (I believe the garbage-mouthed mayor of Chicago hails from the same wealthy ‘burb). Pajama boy is quite proud of the fact he has “no morals.”

  • No, Hollywood never gets it right. And when it comes to the finer points, they’re completely off the mark. As inspiring as their stories often are, they usually entail implausable elements if viewed from an orthodox perspective. But I guess Hollywood has to sell a story that appeals to everyone, even when it revolves around Christian themes.

  • Jon, Re “The author of Hebrews suggests we are higher than the angels in Christ, who is highest of all. Angels watch us. They have greater powers, but they quite significantly lack humanity.”
    Several years ago our parish priest in a homily said that humans are higher than angels, which surprised me. With the Son of God being human and divine we have a connection that the angels do not. Thank you. I will read Hebrews.

  • To paraphrase a Cary Grant quote about his screen persona, “Everyone wants to be like Cary Grant, even I want to be that Cary Grant.”
    Re Donna’s comment on middle to upper class (I would use “income” vice class”)households: I have seen this so often in teens from comfortable suburban homes who talk, dress, and act like they are from the ghetto. Of course they don’t have a clue how hard life is in those real circumstances, but they sure get attention from their parents. It’s some attention even if it’s negative.

  • Cherished this movie the first time I ever saw it on TV late one night as a young man. Very eclectic cast. It addresses personal loss (Mrs. Hamilton) and family and the Great Gift.

The True Meaning of Christmas

Wednesday, December 11, AD 2013

A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast in 1965 on CBS.  I was 8 years old and I was stunned at the time by the passage of Linus quoting the Gospel of Luke in explaining the true meaning of Christmas.  Apparently CBS executives wanted to cut this passage out, but Charles Schulz, normally a fairly non-confrontational man, was adamant that it remain in.

That was the most important battle Schulz waged and won over this first of the Charlie Brown specials, but there were many others.¬† The CBS executives wanted a laugh track, they didn’t like using kid voice actors instead of adult voice actors and they thought that the jazz music throughout the show was too unusual for what they perceived as a show for kids.¬† When the show was finished the executives were horrified and thought they had a major flop on their hands.

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7 Responses to The True Meaning of Christmas

  • I was four years old when the televised versions came out.
    Luke’s passage and Linus proclaiming it brought tears to my eyes….still does.
    Thanks for the reminder.

  • “thought they had a major flop on their hands”

    How many times the ‘experts” have misunderstood and underestimated the people!

  • I too am a child of the 1960’s and I love this Christmas TV Special! Sadly, we will probably never see another “new” Christmas special for kids mention the nativity or Jesus. On a side note, I also love “The Little Drummer Boy”. Has anyone noticed they don’t run this anymore? And it’s the only Rankin Bass Christmas special that touches on Jesus and his birth. I haven’t seen it in years. I even wrote ABC earlier this week, and asked them why they are not running it during their 25 Days of Christmas, and they have not written me back yet.

  • Hooray for Charles Schultz!

  • Bob: “I even wrote ABC earlier this week, and asked them why they are not running it during their 25 Days of Christmas, and they have not written me back yet.”
    Let us all write.

  • That was a really nice post Donald. I always loved the innocence of Charlie Brown.

    It’s a shame they don’t run any Christ-centred Christmas specials this time of year. I remember 20 years back they would at least give us the token The Ten Commandments (ticking the biblical box). But today….nothing.

    This reminds me on abit of a side note- My 6 year old was sitting with me in the shopping centre today and remarked “Why did they cross out Christ” in reference to a Xmas Sale sign. “Don’t they know Christmas is about Christ?”

    She was disgusted.

    I was very proud.

    This is the same girl that stated bluntly, whilst watching the televised Mandela Memorial where a Sheikh gave a prayer tribute, “he’s going to be shocked when he meets Jesus in Heaven and finds out He IS the Son of God”. I nearly burst out laughing. I love the innocent truth from a child.

  • Ez.

    You rightly should be proud of your lul’ girl. The poor Christ….still being abandoned scorned and scourged.

    We can make reparations with our prayers and fasts. Jesus born in poverty make our hearts like unto Thine.

One Response to Santa Claus Bootcamp

Santa Roosevelt

Wednesday, December 19, AD 2012

Santa Roosevelt

Death had to take him in his sleep, for if he was awake there’d have been a fight.

Thomas R. Marshall, Vice President of the United States, on hearing of the death of Theodore Roosevelt

 

One of his worst enemies once said about Theodore Roosevelt that a man would have to hate him a lot not to like him a little.  It was hard not to admire Roosevelt for his courage, his enthusiasm and his obvious good will.  That last aspect of his character is illustrated by the fact that for many years he would go to Cove School at Oyster Bay dressed as Santa Claus, talk to the kids, and give them presents he had purchased out of his own pocket.  When he did it in 1898, after achieving renown leading his Rough Riders in Cuba, the little boys at the school mobbed their Santa hero! 

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2 Responses to Santa Roosevelt

  • I have been to Sagamore Hill a number of times and I admire him very much. Teddy Roosevelt must be one of the most fascinating (and complicated) Americans who ever lived. He is difficult to understand because on the one hand he was the biggest proponent of American way of life while on the other he was infected by European imperialism and the ‘glory’ of war. He was also the biggest advocate for the working man and immigrant up to that time and he understood the perils of an oligarchic economy. I doubt very much if he were alive today that he would approve of globalization and the resultant degradation of the the American standard of living for the working man and woman. He was a broken man after the death of his youngest son Quentin, a pilot in WWI…..very sad and I believe he felt some personal responsibility since he was a very forceful advocate for entry into that war. His son Theodore Jr. went on to fame in WWII and won the Medal of Honor for heroism on the D-Day invasion.

Francis Pharcellus Church, the Little Girl and Santa Claus

Tuesday, December 18, AD 2012

Francis Pharcellus Church was a newspaper man to his marrow.  As a young man he had covered the Civil War for the New York Times and with his brother William he founded the Army and Navy Journal which dedicated itself to reporting news about the military forces of the United States, along with historical pieces on US military history, and opinion pieces about innovations or reforms in the military.  It is still being published today.

After the War he served as lead editorial writer on his brother’s newspapers the New York Sun.¬† He died in 1906 at 67, leaving behind no children.¬† Although he lived a full life, he would be all but forgotten today except for one incident.

In 1897 Virginia O’Hanlon was upset.¬† She was eight years old and some of her friends had been telling her that there was no Santa Claus.¬† Her father, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon, suggested that she write to the Sun and see what that newspaper had to say.¬† Virginia followed her advice and duly wrote the letter.¬† Mr. Church wrote the reply to the letter which appeared on September 21, 1897 in the New York Sun.

DEAR EDITOR:

I am 8 years old.¬†¬† Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.¬†¬† Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’¬†¬† Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O’HANLON.

115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET

VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

 

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

 

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

 

You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

 

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

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3 Responses to Francis Pharcellus Church, the Little Girl and Santa Claus

  • There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make this life tolerable.

    No childlike faith then! No poetry! No romance! Francis Church.
    There are no coincidences. A fatherless mans act of love bestows, enriches and affirms The Father and His unending gift of Faith, of poetry, of romance.
    Faith is a gift from God. Not earned yet pure and solely from a generous heart.
    Poetry is The Holy Word of God. Truth is poetry lived out in flesh and blood, sorrow and Joy. Unearthing the depths of mans soul so that soul may give All glory to God. Here lies the romance.
    A romance that has no equal. A Father that blesses His only Son to bare the weight of unimaginable illness, unthinkable sadness, inconceivable horrors upon His own shoulders for a ungrateful, unworthy spouse named humankind.

    BELIEVE.
    Jesus is not a myth, nor is the Spirit of St. Nick.

  • No coincidences…Francis Church.
    What is a church, but the dwelling place of a holy spirit, a heart in good standing.
    Francis…..one of the best followers of Christ.
    St. Francis make use of us, rebuild our church, our hearts so that we may better serve our infant Jesus.

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It’s Liberal Tolerance Charlie Brown!

Thursday, December 6, AD 2012

Most liberals prize tolerance, except when they have the opportunity to show some:

A church in Little Rock, Ark., canceled one performance of “Merry Christmas Charlie Brown”¬† after an atheist organization complained and said students should not be exposed¬† to a show with Christian themes as part of a school field trip.

Happy Caldwell, pastor of Agape Church, issued a statement on the church’s¬† website on Wednesday, stating that while he believes the school was within its¬† constitutional rights to bring students to the production, the church has¬† nevertheless decided to cancel a Friday showing for students.

“It is not our desire to put hard working, sacrificial teachers and cast¬† members in harm’s way,” wrote Caldwell. “What we want said is that we love our¬† city, our schools, parents and families. People are at the heart of the matter¬† to us.”

He also said Principal Sandra Register of Terry Elementary School took a¬† “courageous stand” when she decided not to cancel the trip after learning that¬† someone had complained about it.

The controversy began when a parent became upset at the school’s offer to¬† take students to the church to watch the play, which is based on the “A Charlie¬† Brown Christmas” cartoon and contains some Christian themes. Although the field¬† trip was optional, the woman planned to allow her daughter to attend the¬† production out of fear she would be singled-out by her classmates. The upset¬† mother also contacted the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers (ASF), the¬† organization that complained to the Little Rock School District on her¬† behalf.

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10 Responses to It’s Liberal Tolerance Charlie Brown!

  • “…filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” Romans 1:29-32

  • That’s the thing… somehow, conservatives seem to always take the high road & do what’s best for themselves, never wanting to ruin someone else’s good time. I homeschool, but I do know that if my kids were in school & they were having Let’s All Celebrate the Gays or Muslims, I’d keep them home that day. I keep them home & teach them everyday becasue I don’t want them exposed to any of that in the first place. I don’t go around forcing everyone else to miss out on the filth they expose their children to by protesting the schools. Some people have way too much time on their hands.

  • Only the dead have seen the end of liberalizm.

  • On a related note, a California management company is telling the residents of a senior’s apartment complex that there can be no Christmas stuff in the common areas.
    http://minx.cc/?post=335477

  • One of the commenters on that thread Paul referred to this as Christophobia. Naw! Plain old hatred of the Cross.

  • Atheist Mom was reluctant to just quietly withdraw her daughter from the field
    trip because she didn’t want to draw classmate’s attention to her. What does she
    think those classmates feel about the girl now?

    I suspect this incident has little to do with the daughter, and everything to do
    with Atheist Mom’s need to feel victimized and somehow morally superior.
    What is the girl learning about her mother from all of this?

  • You aunt seen nothin yet. Wait till you see what Obama has planned for the next four years now that traitorous Americans have made him a socialist tyrant. Will there be anything left worthwhile in America?

  • Robert.
    Yes! What will be left is the “comrade pale.”
    Govt. Cheese, dried milk and a copy of Obumbsteads “my plan.”
    Pick up your pale during the first week of November 2016 at the mosque closest to you.
    And you didn’t think a Third Term was possible?

  • Amen Paul. A Nation that has kicked God out of the window and enthroned Satan and embraced everything evil is under God’s Judgement. Let us remain on our knees for your beloved country and God will bring Good out of the Evil now running amok everywhere

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One Solitary Life

Sunday, December 25, AD 2011

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

                                                       H.G. Wells

 

 

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth ‚Äď His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress.

I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.

 

I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.

                                           Napoleon

 

 

 

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5 Responses to One Solitary Life

  • I first encountered this about thirty years ago when I lived in Australia. Our parish priest, Fr. Leo Stephens – a wonderful faithful and orthodox priest – of the parish of the Immaculate Conception at Unanderra, a suburb of Wollongong N.S.W printed out hundreds of copies of it, and distributed them after Mass one Sunday.

    I still have my copy, and have used it on occasions, particularly at R.C.I.A

    This demonstrates that Humility and Obedience are much greater instruments than Fame and material Success, as many of our saints have also shown.

  • That One, Solitary Life of God-made-Man. He lives now at the Right Hand of God the Father in Heaven, and on Earth, in all the Catholic Tabernacles and Adoration Chapels in the world until He comes again in Glory. This is Immanuel – God-With-Us

  • God bless you and protect you, Mary.

    That is the reason as we pass a Catholic Church, we should take off our hats (men), bow heads and say a little prayer in homage and thanksgiving for our God and Redeemer who dwelt among us and saved us. And, still is with us in the Holy Eucharist in the Tabernacle.

    And, if time permits, making a quick prayerful visit is ever appropriate.

    “Pray for the living and the dead.”

  • t Shaw, praying for the living and the dead is the central Mission of the Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy. Jesus gave us the Hour of Great Mercy – 3.00 O’Clock – when He died to pray the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy which He dictated to St. Faustina for the sick, the sinners, the dying and the souls in Purgatory and for the whole world. For those who are able and have the opportunity, Jesus recommends we visit Him in the Adoration Chapel at this Hour. He also requests that we especially pray this Chaplet at the bedside of the dying with the Promise that He will defend that soul at that critical Hour and, by His Merciful Grace forgive them their sins and punishement thereof – a Supra Indulgence which ensures that soul goes to Heaven.

Christmas 1944: Battle of the Bulge

Thursday, December 22, AD 2011

In 1944 at Christmas the American and German armies were fighting it out in the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive of the War.

Patton’s Third Army fought its way through to relieve the Americans desperately fighting to defeat the attacking German forces.¬† The weather was atrocious and Allied air power was useless.¬† Patton had a prayer written for good weather.¬† Patton prayed the prayer, the scene from the movie Patton depicting this may be viewed here.¬† The skies cleared after Patton prayed the weather prayer, and Allied air power was unleashed on the attacking Germans.

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101rst Airborne Division made a heroic stand at Bastogne from December 20-27 which helped turn the tide of the battle.  On December 25, a packed midnight mass was held in Bastogne, with Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, who commanded the 101rst troops at Bastogne, in attendance.  Afterwards the General listened to German POWS singing Silent Night, and wished them a Merry Christmas.

General McAuliffe issued a memorable Christmas message to his troops:

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9 Responses to Christmas 1944: Battle of the Bulge

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  • Thanks so much for this reminder of the greatest one word reply in the history of warfare.

    May God remember the souls of these men for good and not for evil.

  • Somewhere in the writings of Maria Valtorta Jesus did say that he had mercy on the soldiers.

  • Manhood catches up with youth. As I traveled by auto with my own very young family from England to France in 1962, we drove directly through some of the fiercest fighting of the Battle of the Bulge and, earlier, the defense of England on the coast of France. When we traveled through Bastogne, stopping there for a break, we did view the tank in the village square. Sadly, only as I grew up a bit more (age), did I learn about where we went, Gen. McAuliffe’s reply “Nuts” and the history of the areas we had to travel through.
    In retrospect, I concluded that we cannot know everything all at once and that history, good and bad, ought to be taught so as not to take a lifetime to learn.
    As I often do, having visited many American Cemeteries in Europe and Hawaii, a generic Salute to all my brothers and sisters in arms that have gone to their rest, as well as for those that are still among us. SMS, USAF, Retired.

  • Thanks for this Don.

    These events are vivdly portrayed in Spielberg’s “Brothers in Arms” – an excellent series on WWII.
    May all those who gave their lives for our freedom, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
    Let us also remember to pray for those who, in our day, would have us forget these events and leave us open to further deception. There are those who even now, are seeking to re-write history, and so deceive us, so that this tyrrany, in another form, may overtake us.
    St. Michael the Archangel – defend us in the hour of conflict.

  • Amen Don! My brother when he was in the Army always wore a St. Michael necklace, as did many of his colleagues, most of whom were not Catholic.

  • Thank you for your service Robert.

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  • My father-in-law was an 8-year-old boy, living on a farm just outside Bastogne at the time of the battle. His family had a young German soldier (just a teenager, he said) that his family had to quarter.

    During the battle, his family hid in the cellar, and they heard American troops moving through the house.

    After the battle, he said that he and his older brother actually played see-saw on the frozen body of a dead soldier. In the Spring, after the melting of the snows, they would find guns and grenades in the forest. They turned the guns over to his father; but, they kept the grenades, using them in the nearby rivers to “fish”.

Festivals of Light

Tuesday, December 20, AD 2011

 

Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival.

Josephus

I have always thought it fitting that Christmas and Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, are so close together usually on the calendar.¬† Approximately 160 years before the Coming of Christ, the Jews revolted against the Seleucid Empire.¬† This was one of the most important struggles¬†in all¬†of human history.¬†¬†¬† It determined that the Jews would remain a people set apart, worshiping Yahweh, and not become, like so many Peoples¬†before and since, a lost people, blended into larger populations, their god forgotten.¬† It was this revolt, led by Mattathias, his name meaning “gift of Yahweh”,¬†and his sons, known collectively as the Maccabees, that is told in First and Second Maccabees.¬† The revolt was successful, but ultimately, through civil wars and the overpowering military might of Rome, the Jews again fell under foreign domination, and Jesus was born into a world ruled by Rome.¬† However, the revolt established that the Jews would remain a separate people, worshiping their God and safeguarding their faith.¬† This was an essential element in setting the stage for the coming of Christ.

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4 Responses to Festivals of Light

4 Responses to Just Plain Christmas Please!

The True Meaning of Christmas

Sunday, December 11, AD 2011

A Charlie Brown Christmas was first broadcast in 1965 on CBS.  I was 8 years old and I was stunned at the time by the passage of Linus quoting the Gospel of Luke in explaining the true meaning of Christmas.  Apparently CBS executives wanted to cut this passage out, but Charles Schulz, normally a fairly non-confrontational man, was adamant that it remain in.

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4 Responses to The True Meaning of Christmas

  • Amen!

    Seems as if Mr. Schulz (RIP) didn’t get the memo. The only people allowed to publicly express their beliefs are godless elitists that don’t believe in anything.

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  • Merrily, Jesus’ Salvation Mystery, like perennial grass, shall never be buried. Just when the godless begin celebrating and congratulating one another He is forgotten and they have buried him for ever, He humbly and lovingly rises up to remind us He loves us and became one of us so that He opens the Gates of Heaven for us.

  • Why can’t we humans just celebrate Christmas the way it was meant to be?? Its a beautiful time of the year.

A Bad Witness to the True Meaning of Christmas

Tuesday, December 28, AD 2010

It was December 21st and MrsDarwin and I were standing in the local branch of our bank, getting a cashier’s check for more money than I like to think about so that we could go close on our new house. These things take time, as people don’t normally come in and asked to cut large chashier’s checks, and as we were standing there I gradually became aware of an increasingly loud conserversation between an elderly male customer and a teller at the other end of the counter.

“I’m very offended,” he announced. “Very, very offended. And do you know why I’m offended?”

“Why sir?”

“Because I am a Christian and when I look around here four days before Christmas I don’t see a single Christmas decoration. Do you know how long I’ve been a customer here? I want to talk to your manager.”

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43 Responses to A Bad Witness to the True Meaning of Christmas

  • Yeah, and the irony is that the paucity of XMAS decorations was probably budget driven. Moreover, I’m 54 years old and cannot recall banks ever having overtly Christmas symbols such as manger scenes, etc.

    I agree with those who lament the timidity of Americans to say Merry Christmas. There is no question that a good part of that is the result of the same phenomena that gives us such absurdities as unity trees. But over-reacting is not the answer.

  • Some people are perpetually in “crank mode” and I wouldn’t be surprised if that gentleman fit in that category. I had a client like that several years ago who found something to complain about every time I talked to him. I finally told him that I did not have the cure for the malady of perpetual dissatisfaction and that he should seek future legal services elsewhere.

  • “Though a nominally Christian country, at least as the polling data goes, people who are in any way serious practicing Christians are increasingly a minority in our culture, and as such ripe for being understood primarily based on their loudest representatives.”

    Loudest, or most prominent in pop culture, whatever.

    Can I vent here a little bit? One of MY pet peeves along these lines. In my own (not my husband’s) extended family, there aren’t many serious practicing Christians at all, at least as far as I can tell — a couple of cousins are Catholic because my uncle married (later divorced) a Catholic, but that’s it. Everybody knows that *I* am some kind of Jesus freak. The end result is that anything that even smacks of Christianity of any kind, everyone in my family assumes that I heartily approve of. This includes awful poetry, dreck-ridden sermons from hired preachers at family funerals, all manner of Protestant heresies, and grotesque liturgical abuses.

    I would like to get it across that actually I’m a *specific* kind of Jesus freak sometimes…

  • Anger management . . .

    I doubt JPMorgan Chase Bank, NA specifically refused to display Christian decor solely to offend subject offendable Christian.

    And, unless he withdrew $tens of millions in deposits, I doubt good, old J. P. noticed his withdrawal.

    Hint: find a local bank with a local focus. You may be able to identifiy a bank whose officers and shareholders are fellow parishioners and you may receive better service (lending in your home town for one) as well as Christian decor.

    I believe in Nassau County, NY there is a credit union run by the K of C.

  • The Customer perhaps was over reacting.But certainly he does not deserve such bad comments .In a country like India where I live and come from,the Nativity Crib does find a place in many Public Places ;perhaps they have no value where they are placed;but it shows that people who have displayed them do want to convey something about Christmas – how Jesus was born,atleast.The Customet in Chase Bankmust be one of those who thought that such a basic thing as a Christmas Crib should have been there in HIS BANK;and nothing wrong in it; and nothing wrong in him withdrwaing his money and closing his account;he stands justified in the eyes of God,certainly,and may not be in the eyes of ordinary men.

  • Perhaps the real challenge is how do we as Christians best deal with the continuous onslaught of bigotry we receive simply because our belief system threatens other’s comfy rationalizations. I agree that we need to improve on how we calmly articulate God’s truth as that is more effective. Before we slam this person as an embarrassment please see the web link below where the wonderful JP Morgan Chase bank has ordered local branches to take down Christmas related decorations while having a Menorah in their lobby of their headquarters last year.

    http://www.fiercefinance.com/story/jpmorgan-chase-christmas-tree-controversy/2010-12-03

    Perhaps we Catholics need to accept the reality that the forces against us, both within and outside of the church, are well organized and that this causes some of us to ‘blow our stack’ despite our noble intentions. I submit that we don’t look down too hard on this guy and instead work to marshal our hatred towards Satan. I would be willing to bet that if all Catholics had the same vigor as this gent and if we ALL together withdrew our cash from these kind of hypocritical institutions ‘ol JP would be sponsoring the Rocketts Christmas tour next year. Besides that local KofC credit union branch would probably give you better service and value beyond the spiritual benefits.

  • My bank froze a message on their exterior sign reading only:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY JESUS

    They also ran a “banner” ad, in the local paper, reading the same on Christmas Eve.

    It’s a small family owned bank that doesn’t give a hoot about political correctness. Bless them!

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  • Our money says, “In God We Trust.” But the sad fact is more people believe in Santa than Jesus.

  • Interesting,

    Would this same gentleman say something similar to a pastor (Catholic or not) who rids his Church of religious symbols? We have far more iconoclasts in our own Churches than we do in the public square. Let’s clean up our house first before shouting at others from our empty sanctuaries.

  • The old geezer sounds like one of those irascible characters we might encounter in a Flannery O‚ÄôConnor novel. One might attribute his behavior to ‚Äúthe violent bear it away‚ÄĚ if only we could know the rest of the story, such as the dubious possibility of acts of charity he performed with all those large bills he withdrew.

  • My bank has the caption “Happy Holidays” on its website. (shudder)

    I think I’ll object, because they really value me.

    I owe them a whole heap of money. ūüėČ

  • I’m tired of panty wearing christians not man enough to stick up for their religion. In the town next to me they removed a Nativity scene from the local park, meanwhile many, many Christians are paying the majority of taxes which pays for the towns expenses, etc, plus the salaries of the bums who removed the nativity scene.

  • Oh, and thank God for the elderly old man, at least some Christians still have some balls..

  • What a crappy post. With friends like you who needs enemies?

  • Yes, Virginia, there really are “Christmas Inquisitors”.

    Seriously, if this man felt the bank was not showing the proper respect toward Christmas he had every right to take his money elsewhere, and explain to the bank why he was doing so. But does that mean he HAD to do so in the most public and obnoxious manner possible? Why not just come in, POLITELY ask to speak to the manager, and then explain his concerns, calmly and civilly, to the manager. And did he have to humiliate the teller — who isn’t responsible for creating the bank’s policy — in the process? That’s not “sticking up for your religion,” that’s just plain being a jerk and pushing people around so that you can feel important.

  • Exactly. I have no beef with someone wanting to use a bank which shares your culture — though personally what I look for in a bank is lots of branches in convenient locations and good products with low fees. My beef is with being rude to customer service people who aren’t responsible for what annoys you anyway. (And to a lesser extent with the sheer delusion of imagining that J P Morgan Chase as an organization has any particular respect for Christianity.)

    When I had my first bank account, back at Quaker City Savings and Loan in Whittier, I remember them having a huge decorated tree — but I closed my account there as soon as I left the area to go to college, because they didn’t have branches anywhere but Whittier. I don’t see why you’d expect that kind of thing out of a national bank like Chase. (Though for the record my teller wished me a Merry Christmas in a beautiful Indian accent as I left.)

  • We need more courageous people like him who are willing to stand up for their religion and God instead of those who are spineless, weak-kneed, silent and cowardly.

  • Being rude to customer service people is not courageous.

    Loudly demanding that a bank be decorated to your liking is not standing up for your religion.

    I mean, seriously. I can see neither how this took courage nor how it represents standing up for God in any meaningful way.

  • The cranky old coot wasn’t standing up for anything. If a purely secular institution doesn’t wish to observe Christmas, that is no skin off my nose. Now if a secular institution decides to observe Christmas and it comes under fire from village atheists, government or the ranks of the perpetually aggrieved, I will rally to the support of those who wish to observe Christmas. That is a far cry from tossing a hissy fit because some business is not observing Christmas. If it bothers people, the proper response is to do business elsewhere and not to conduct a childish public tirade. Some people see this fellow as a crusader, but from Darwin’s description I think he is more likely just a loosely wired crank.

  • Teresa, I agree, but why do people have such a hard time telling the difference between being courageous and being obnoxious? Couldn’t he have stood up for his religion without being rude to the other customers –including Darwin himself, who was forced to wait for his own very important transaction to be completed, with a baby in tow who could have awakened and started crying and fussing at any time? “Afflicting the comfortable” is one thing; imposing completely unnecessary burdens on innocent bystanders who have NOTHING to do with the issue at hand is another thing entirely.

    The man in question could have waited his turn to talk to the manager, explained his actions, and if he wanted the rest of the world to know why he did what he did, wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper.

  • Sometimes this type of action is the only way to get the person or the bank to wake up and really listen to a person’s concerns. Who knows… maybe the bank had been placating his requests for awhile and this was his last stand. Regardless, I see no problem with him confronting the teller or management and complaining about the utter disrespectful or anti-Christian manner in which the bank was capitalizing in on Christmas without recognizing the reason for the season, Christ. If he didn’t take a stand in some fashion then who would?

  • How is it disrespectful or anti-Christian for a bank to not have Christmas decorations?

    In cases where we have some organization trying to actively prevent people from putting up Christmas decorations, I am fully ready to rally to protect people’s right to celebrate Christmas. But I don’t see where one gets off saying, “I am offended that you have not voluntarily chosen to put out your own Christmas decorations.”

    As I say, one is certainly welcome to go find a bank that chooses to “celebrate” Christmas to one’s satisfaction, but I can’t see how one can be offended that they don’t choose to any more than my Jewish friends should feel offended that I don’t celebrate Hanukkah.

    Nor can I see how going around demanding that people decorate for Christmas whether they want to or not is a Christian witness, rather than just being pushy and rude.

  • How many of us would put up with this kind of demonstration from our children? The man was well within his rights to remove his business from the bank. He was not within his rights to inconvenience others transacting business in the establishement, especially by heaping abuse on those who do not control policy. But, as Darwin’s post title alludes, his biggest infraction may be representing Christians as tantrum-throwing brats who will disrupt the legitimate business of others in order to make a point.

    Now, having said that, and noting that man in question was elderly, there are a number of things that may have led to this demonstration, most of which have nothing to do with banking or decor. While the act itself was unfortunate, both for his reputation and potentially that of Christians in the area, why he finally blew a gasket at that time and place will probably remain a mystery.

    My view of Darwin’s story is colored by my experience below:
    Some years ago, the father of one of my daughter’s softball teammates repeatedly acted boorishly at games, berating the coach for his decisions concerning both the team and his daughter. I was embarrased and annoyed by his behavior, and thought very ill of him. I learned after the season that he had terminal brain cancer, and knew that he had only that season to see his daughter play. He was desperate for her and her team to do well. While the effects of his actions were negative, when I learned of his condition, I understood what motivated him.

    I hope everyone is having a Blessed Christmas season and will enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year

  • These people who refuse to post anything Christmas oriented are the same type of people who attack Christmas and Christianity in general. This is why applaud the man for his actions.

    @Elaine

    Maybe, the gentleman could have handled this differently -in a friendlier manner? But, as I stated above, we do not know if he tried to handle this in a less confrontational way prior to this event or not. I would rather give a Christian man who is willing to stand up for Christ the benefit of the doubt in this situation.

  • So let me get this straight… I’m afraid I’m missing something here. Are this man’s defenders saying that a business is in some way obligated to decorate and put up a display for Christmas?

  • Big Tex the issue is that JP Morgan/Chase/Douwe/Cheatem/Andhow is hypocritical by demanding that branches remove Christmas decorations while having a Menorah in their HQ lobby last year. The older gent was on the right path but he didn’t communicate effectively. Still, content is what should matter over style.

    Everyone, please read the link below as it adds more info into the mix:
    http://www.fiercefinance.com/story/jpmorgan-chase-christmas-tree-controversy/2010-12-03

    Based on the link above maybe we should be discussing how we all remove our funds from this bank and focusing our energy into more effective communication to JP? Seriously, can someone please tell me how Christmas decorations are offensive? Doesn’t our government fund ‘artists’ to mock our Christian symbols? These people have us so intimidated… I thought we were supposed to be the ones constantly shooting arrows over the gates of hell… ūüôā

  • Why is it hypocritical? So they had a Menorah. It would lead me to believe those in charge or at least a good number of HQ folks were Jewish. I’m fine with that.

    Methinks people are reading too much into all this. Looking for a fight where there really is none.

  • Well, as the resident crank, let me say that I don’t think private property owners should be compelled to display anything related to any holiday. So while I sympathize with gramps in this case, his complaint is unwarranted.

    My issue was over people who are actually offended BY Christmas – I think they’re fascist control freaks, others disagree.

  • TemplaroftheTruth:
    If, according to the story you linked, JP Morgan had both a XMAS tree and a menorah displayed at its hq last year, why would you only note the menorah in your comment on its alleged hypocrisy?

    Joe,
    I agree that private property owners should not be compelled to display anything related to any holiday. Moreover, they should be allowed to display whatever they wish. Just as private citizens, including customers, employees, and shareholders, should not be compelled to remain silent if they object. The fact that we are all free to do as we wish is not an especially helpful observation in this debate. The point here is that a rather small group of Americans have succeeded in intimidating many private and public institutions into modifying their behavior by removing any reference to Christmas and especially Christ. This vocal minority is free to do so just as the remaining minority of Americans who actually view Christmas as a holy day worthy of social celebration in accordance with our traditions are free to vocalize their views.

  • Mike, I could’ve sworn that when I first read this article it only specified a Menorah in their lobby. There is a reasonable chance this article was edited but then again perhaps this ‘Templar’ is en error. Next time I cite any internet article I’m printing out the version to my electronic files. Perhaps like the older gent I over reacted even though my heart is in the right place. Lesson learned….

  • No worries, Templar. My understanding is that online stories are often edited, so your hypothesis is certainly possible.

    In any event, I think that the vast majority of insitutions and people who avoid mentioning Christmas in public forums mean well — they either are just following well-intended instructions or just wanting to appear inclusive. Unfortunately, this behavior is grounded in complaints asserted by a very small minority who claim to speak on behalf of many non-Christians who have no objection whatsoever to the public celebration of Christmas. I work with many Jews and a handful of Muslims, and have never heard anyone object to a Merry Christmas, etc. When years ago our firm’s Christmas party mutated into a Holiday party, I do not believe it was the result of any internal pressures from Jews, Muslims or atheists; instead it was the result of Christian partners who wanted partly wanted to express a measure of inclusiveness to the minority of non-Christians and partly wanted to signal a measure of political correctness in keeping with the times.

    Expressing anger is counter-productive. Just wish everyone a Merry Christmas and roll on! Most will respond in kind regardless the context or institution.

  • Based on the plethora of comments and the original complaint, the only lesson one can draw from this episode is how thin-skinned people can be. Christ’s said His Kingdom is not of this world, yet his professed followers seem to think otherwise by constantly fretting about secular and often silly concerns. one sees so-called “offensive” symbols every day, on car bumpers, on T-shirts, on TV, on billboards; everywhere, in fact.

    It’s called Freedom of Speech, but it is a freedom which we would reserve to ourselves while restricting it for others. If you don’t like what you see or hear, then put on blinders or plug your ears or simply ignore it. There is an on/off switch on the remote and in our minds. No one coerces you into belief or non-belief. Any rational person can decide for his or herself what to choose. Have your say, then shake the dust off your feet and move on.

  • The old guy sounds like a Christian Soldier who simply needs to pick his fights better. Who cares what Chase does? Their god is manna. But he is right in that what was once a Christian culture is in a death struggle with evil. Pick your fights, but do fight.

  • Well, I own a business and we don’t have any Christmas decorations — or any other holiday decorations. It has nothing to do with political correctness. We are busy running our business and we don’t have time to decorate. My bank has a tree and ornaments.

  • The old guy sounds like a Christian Soldier who simply needs to pick his fights better.

    Bingo, Mike – it’s about picking your battles. This wasn’t the right battle to pick.

  • Well, the old guy could be, as Donald said, just a constant complainer who is never satisfied. But, on the other hand, he could be a generally reasonable man who has been doing a slow, silent burn over the increasingly secularization of Christmas for many years and then, one day, he enters his bank and blows a fuse. And, unfortunately, he blows off steam at someone who is not responsible for the policy.

    Who knows? I reserve judgement because a week and a half ago, I got very angry at a Whole Foods clerk who refused to sell me wine and beer because I didn’t have my driver’s license with me (I walked to the store – it’s 2 blocks away.) I was incensed at the idea of having to walk back to my place on a very cold, windy night to fetch my ID and walk back to the store to buy what I am clearly, obviously, of an age to legally buy. Wisconsin law now idiotically requires store clerks to card anyone who looks like they are under the age of 40 when they making an alcohol or tobacco purchase. I am 51. I look a bit younger than I am, but I do not flatter myself that I look 12 years younger!! Besides, even if I looked 30 or 35 – 21 is still the legal drinking age. How absurd – people who look, not 2 or 5 years, but 19 years over the legal drinking age must still provide ID! As I stomped home to get my driver’s license, I was fuming over the death of plain old common sense. I got the ID, was still livid when I returned to the store and gave the store manager an earful when I returned. He could not understand why I wasn’t feeling flattered – perhaps I might have been if it were June instead of a frigid December night – and gave me a $5 gift card to mollify me.

    The next day, I regretted my anger and apologized to the clerk. Yes, I still think it is a bone-headed law – but the clerk didn’t make the law.

  • An interesting tangent on this discussion, perhaps for another thread, might be how often does bludgeoning work as a tactic to change hearts, versus some other means. Or, is it just that we want performance (orthopraxy) more than we want a change of heart (orthodoxy).

  • “As I stomped home to get my driver‚Äôs license, I was fuming over the death of plain old common sense.”

    I hear you!

    Even when I have a big bushy beard I get carded once in a great while when I buy cigarettes. I once asked a clerk if he thought I had a fake beard when he carded me. He just repeated the store’s policy in monotone.

  • Didn’t this man wait in the same line as DarwinCatholic? Didn’t he have a right to complain and take out his money? What if DarwinCatholic and his wife took extra time checking out of a retail store and complained to the clerk because the retail store didn’t have the product which he was looking for and there were people waiting in line behind DarwinCatholic would they have a right to complain and make the other people wait? Or because of the slight inconvenience, no? The bank did not have the product – Christmas display – that he wanted to be represented at HIS bank so he complained to the teller, talked to the manager, withdrew his money out and left so why is everyone giving making a big deal out of one small incident or an actual Christian witness and standing up for Jesus? Didn’t Jesus call us all to be martyrs and not stay silent? To reach outside of our comfort zones? And, yes sometimes obnoxious and courageous are the same thing, and this happens to be one of those circumstances.

    Plus, how did this attack on Christmas occur? Is it because those who attack Christmas and Jesus stayed silent? Or, is it because we stayed silent while others attacked Christmas? Did we feel the need to play nice and accommodate these people?

  • “I once asked a clerk if he thought I had a fake beard when he carded me. He just repeated the store’s policy in monotone”

    What other choice did he have? He never knows when the owner or manager could use his failure to adhere to the policy as an excuse to fire him. Plus, local cops often run sting operations attempting to bust stores that sell alcohol or tobacco to minors. Usually, of course, they use obviously young people with no ID or patently fake ID as bait; but the ONLY way to be completely safe from getting busted in such a sting operation (which also means having the name of your store printed in the local paper or announced on the local news) is to card everyone without exception.

  • I think he’s brilliant.

    If atheists can walk into a public institution and demand the removal of a Christmas decoration and have their way,

    then Christians should be able to walk in and demand the reverse.

Christmas at Bastogne: 1944

Monday, December 27, AD 2010

During the Battle of the Bulge, the 101rst Airborne Division made a heroic stand at Bastogne from December 20-27 which helped turn the tide of the battle.  On December 25, a packed midnight mass was held in Bastogne, with Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, who commanded the 101rst troops at Bastogne, in attendance.  Afterwards the General listened to German POWS singing Silent Night, and wished them a Merry Christmas.

General McAuliffe issued a memorable Christmas message to his troops:

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16 Responses to Christmas at Bastogne: 1944

  • Ourstanding war film! There is another scene in the same movie where a chaplain delivers an excellent sermon.

    Here is a verse by a troop who spent Christmas 2009 in Afghanistan and expects to spend Christmas 2011 there: ” . . . asks you remember the ones who fell, the pain of detachment a veritable hell. While you sleep on soft bed in this happy, free land remember the warrior asleep in the sand. While you celebrate with loved ones on this Christmas day, send thought and a prayer to those in harm’s way.”

    Bless them all.

  • Interestingly, just as you post this article, the Ardennes is experiencing its worst (best?) snowfall since that battle back in ’44.

    My father-in-law was a 6-year-old boy living in a farmhouse just outside Bastogne at the time of the Battle of the Bulge. His family was “host” to a young German soldier – just a teenager. He vividly remembers the battle, as his family hid in the cellar while it raged above them. During the battle, his house was occupied by both German and American troops. After the battle, he remembers the dead, frozen bodies in the countryside.

    The following spring – in ’45 – he and his older brother would find weapons in the forest, including grendades which they hid from his father. The boys used them in the streams and small rivers to kill the fish.

    Today, there is a huge monument – the Mardasson Memorial – overlooking Bastogne. The monument is free to visit, but the museum/interpretive center requires a (somewhat pricey) fee; however, it is worth it.

    My grandfather ended up serving in the Ardennes after the battle, but – as far as I know – he never ran into my in-laws. There’s a whole ‘nother part to that story, however, that shows exactly how God was working in my life, even before I was born. But, it’s off-topic, so I’ll save it for another day.

    (By the way – if you make your way there, in addition to the famous Belgian beer, you’ve got to try some of the awesome ham – the Noix d’Ardennes – and wild boar sausage – saucisson de sangliers.)

  • Thanks for the background information Nicholas!

  • Very cool! Loved reading this! Thank you posting! It made my day.

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  • NUTS! The most eloquent response to a surrender demand ever spoken.

  • My late father was involved in the Battle of the Bulge. He got severe frostbite in both his feet from the long hours of standing in the snow and later they began to get infected and gangrenous. The military doctors wanted to amputate his feet, but he refused, so they just kept pumping him with penicillin until the infection cleared up and he was able to walk again. That was just one of several instances in his life in which it seems that his guardian angel worked overtime to keep him alive and in one piece!

  • What unit was he with Elaine? That is truly a remarkable story and a tribute to what a determined man I assume your father was!

  • With a bunch of friends we biked some of the Ardennes back in 1996, in the summer. To actually go on some of the roads, and trails, the steep UPS and DOWNS, it really allows you to put into perspective what a battle it was to hold on to territory, let alone advance.

    That was a great movie. Thank-you for sharing clips from it.

  • I have not seen the movie ” Battleground”, but there was a good coverage of the Bastogne engagement in Spielberg’s excelent WWII series, “Band of Brothers”.
    One thing I was surprised about during that series concerning Bastogne was that there appeared to be very little air support. The aliies by that stage had air superiority, and fighters could easily reach that area.
    Do I have the wrong impression, or did the 101st have air support which enabled them to withstand the German onslaught, but it was not shown much on the doco. Perhaps someone may be able to enlighten me.

  • So, I got onto my favorite military history website http://www.nzetc.org
    which details all the wars NZ has been involved in from the Boer War in South Africa up to the Korean War.
    Anyway, I got my answer. The weather was so atrocious that planes were generally grounded till Dec. 23rd. NZ squadrons were attached to 2nd T.A.C ( which I presume is Tactical Air Command). 75 squadron – heavy bombers flying Lancaster and Halifaxes were bombing in Germany. All squadrons in the RAF starting with 4(00) were NZ squadrons, and it appears that 9 of the 25 mosquito atacking German lines were from our 488 squadron, and were flying close air attack on 23rd, 24th, and 25th. December. There’s a whole lot more, but I got my question answered – gotta keep reading. ūüôā

  • I don’t recall what unit it was, but I know it was part of General Patton’s Third Army (which doesn’t narrow things down very much).

  • Bad weather did indeed stop Allied air support during the initial stages of the Battle of the Bulge Don. That led to Patton’s famous Weather Prayer:

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/12/09/2368/

  • Ummm……..( :blush: )
    Got my stories mixed. :mrgreen:

    The 25 mosquitoes, 9 from 487 squadron attacked and destroyed Gesatpo headquarters in Aarhus, Denmark the previous month in a low level precision attack.
    488 squadron was flying along with all the other airforces in the Battle of Ardennes, and around Bastogne (couldn’t refind the reference) on the days mentioned and whenever the weather broke.
    But, don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story.

  • Back in the late 40s I dated a young man who had been in the battle of the bulge. He had terribly frost bitten feet that gave him trouble the rest of his life. He would never talk about his experiences except to comment on the children who were German snipers and the difficulty in killing them. He also went into Berlin and of course the Russians were there. Again, he wouldn’t speak much of his experiences, except that he hated the Russians, apparently based on their actions (gang rape, etc.).

  • Fascinating Lee. I have talked to veterans who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and the terrible cold is always vivid in their memories of the battle.

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Of Christmas and Klingons

Wednesday, December 22, AD 2010

 

Hattip to Midwest Conservative Journal.  I enjoy Christmas traditions.  The Christmas Tree, singing Carols, wretched Illinois weather, hot coco, presents, watching several versions of A Christmas Carol, etc.  Perhaps the wildest version of a Christmas Carol is a Klingon adaptation of the timeless tale, presented, of course, in Klingonese.  The Wall Street Journal gives us the details:

CHICAGO‚ÄĒAcross the country this week, productions of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are warming hearts. In this city, one version poses this question: What if Charles Dickens were a Trekkie?

The answer runs an hour and 20 minutes and includes three fight scenes, 17 actors with latex ridges glued to their foreheads and a performance delivered entirely in Klingon‚ÄĒa language made up for a Star Trek movie.

“It’s like an opera,” says Christopher O. Kidder, the director and co-writer. “You know what’s happening because you already know the story.”

For those not fluent in Klingon, English translations are projected above the stage.

The arc of “A Klingon Christmas Carol” follows the familiar Dickens script: An old miser is visited on a hallowed night by three ghosts who shepherd him through a voyage of self-discovery. The narrative has been rejiggered to match the Klingon world view.

 

For starters, since there is neither a messiah nor a celebration of his birth on the Klingon planet of Kronos, the action is pegged to the Klingon Feast of the Long Night. Carols and trees are replaced with drinking, fighting and mating rituals. And because Klingons are more concerned with bravery than kindness, the main character’s quest is for courage.

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