Saturday, December 24, 2005
Now the above text is about the sun - and its light, as days will progressively grow longer henceforth. The eternal cycle of nature and its four seasons (most noticeable where I am located - indeed! No - I am not particularly fond of winter...!)
The Christian Faith came in and made the ADEQUATE SUBSTITUTION - instead of worshipping a natural phenomenon that is a mere aspect of the grandiose Creation of God, the Light of the World - the True Light - the Saviour Is Worshipped on the same date now.
Verily, it is not important WHEN the Lord Jesus Christ was born - what matters is that He Was Born! And He Is The Way!
And on December 24th - we celebrate Him!
No knock on other traditions - just a question of perspective. A man is more important than his environment... Society sure acts that way - man and his PROFIT are more important than the environment! Hence - be consistent now... The Son of Man Is much more important than the sun! (And no "sun of men" puns now...! You know who you are - those who make these puns, that is!)
by Melissa Lim (homemakers.com)
December is an ideal month to reflect on all the joys that make life special. Holiday specials on television and many Christmas carols on the radio illustrate what a lovely season it can be. However, the time to reflect often gets overlooked and pushed out of the way as the hustle and bustle of Christmas errands keep many of us preoccupied with what to get, rather than with what to give.
Good intentions are often marred by the tendency to fight over the last parking spot, the last sweater and the last toy, yet Christmas seems to bring out both the best and worst of people.
To show that the good really does outweigh the bad, especially at Christmas, we asked readers to share their stories of Christmas kindness. Here are just a few letters that warmed our hearts, and will hopefully spread the Christmas spirit.
Santa drives a taxi cab
From Cathy Sarson:
My story is not about a Christmas gift of kindness given to me personally but rather gifts given to MANY by my dear late cousin Leonard. Dear Len, who passed away in March, 1999 at the age of 72, was a cab driver for many, many years in busy downtown Toronto.
Len's outlook on life was always to help as many people as possible, as often as possible. This was especially true during the holiday season when even on Christmas Eve, Len would often work for as long as 10 hours a day, no matter what the weather.
Many of Len's fares were festive and in the holiday mood. Others would perhaps be tired and stressed from holiday preparations and were anxious to reach their destinations.
In any case, rides would all have the same happy endings: with smiles from the passengers and Len as he would announce that the ride was free and wish them a Merry Christmas.
Perhaps someone reading this now might have once been a recipient of Len's gift of kindness by riding in his cab and are now smiling as they remember a Christmas Eve gone by.
The gift of giving
From Lois Alexander:
I recently lost a friend to cancer that I have known for over 20 years.
When I first met her 20 years ago, she was wearing a beautiful necklace. When I commented on how beautiful it was, she said, "When I die, I will leave it for you."
Twenty years later she passed away. I went to the visitation and her husband called me aside and said, "I have something for you." Apparently, the night before this wonderful person died (she knew she did not have long to live), she told her husband to go upstairs and put the necklace in a box and be sure to give it to me. Not only did this person remember this from 20 years ago, but also, here was a man who had just lost his wife of over 30 years and he remembered to bring it to the funeral home. What an amazing couple. This is kindness beyond belief.
The kindness of strangers
From Sue Kang:
This wasn't something that was done to me, but there was this time when I was working at a grocery store.
People would sometimes realize that they bought too much and wouldn't have enough cash. I've helped customers out with loose change, but one day a woman who didn't have enough money for two roast chickens asked me to put them away. As I was doing so, the customer behind her said he would take them. After he paid for them along with his groceries, he handed the lady the two roast chickens and walked away. It was something I never thought I would ever see.
From Dave Austin:
In 1990, a close friend was moving from Vancouver back home to Toronto after a break up. I flew out west to make the drive with her back across the top states of the US.
It was late November, Thanksgiving holiday, when in the Dakotas we encountered white out conditions that forced most traffic off the highway. My friend and I were not prepared (clothing-wise) for what were very uncommon weather conditions at the time. We had no choice but to seek out lodging in a small community called Wall.
Not surprisingly, the town had just one motor inn, which was completely full. As we stood in the lobby of the inn contemplating whether or not to drive on or to risk a night in the car. A woman, hearing this, came to us offering coffee. We were more than glad to have an excuse not to go out in the weather, not realizing that this woman was making calls in search of a home that would take us in for the night! My friend and I were taken in by the sister of this woman, who turned out to be the owner of the inn. We were welcomed like family into a stranger's home. We each had a hot shower, were given our own room and clean pajamas. When we very gratefully entered the kitchen to thank this kind woman and her son for their hospitality, to our amazement, there was an entire Thanksgiving dinner laid out on the table. As it turned out, the single mom and her teenage son would both be working on Thanksgiving Day and had planned to have their Thanksgiving dinner a few days early! This did turn out to be a day to give thanks. The next morning, we woke to find a note in the kitchen telling us to help ourselves to breakfast and to have a safe trip home to Canada! We were both touched by the goodwill and trust of these strangers and will never forget their kindness.
From Elaine DeBock:
Christmas 1982 was a difficult one for our family, as out four year old daughter, Janina, was dying of leukemia.
After eight weeks in hospital, she was home for the Christmas season. We had just come back from the Christmas Eve service at our church and were getting the children ready for bed when there was a knock on the door. In walked Santa Claus! Without a word, he greeted us with a nod and gave each of our wide-eyed children a small gift. With a wave of his mittened hand, he was out the door and gone. To this day, 20 years later, we have no idea who the kind stranger was who helped make our little girl's last Christmas a magical one!
7 ways to celebrate each other's holidays and truly enjoy the season
By Carole-Anne Vatcher
Maybe you were raised in the United Church and your partner is Jewish or you're Muslim and your partner is Catholic. Perhaps you're religious but your partner is an atheist. The reality of our diverse world is that many of us are falling in love with someone of a different culture or faith. And during the holidays, when both of you have a strong commitment to your own celebrations, those differences can cause conflict.
Follow these important principles to create a holiday experience that satisfies each of you:
Talk to each other about which traditions feel most important for you to observe and explain why. Tell each other about what those traditions mean to you, and discuss what it was like for you growing up with these practices. The better you can understand where each other is coming from, the less conflict you'll have, the more flexible you'll both be, and the more likely you are to find holiday solutions that work for your relationship.
2. Be a willing spirit
Approach the holidays with a spirit of adventure by being open to trying something new and different. Your partner will likely appreciate your generosity and be more likely to reciprocate by joining in your traditions. Ask calmly and clearly for what you'd like and explain what it would to mean to you to have your beloved involved. At the same time, if your partner isn't willing to participate in your holiday traditions, try to understand the reasons why and be respectful of his/her comfort level.
3. Give each other space
There may be some things that are simply not comfortable for one or the other to do. That's OK. It's reasonable to expect some willingness to participate as part of contributing to the relationship. But it may be unreasonable to expect that your partner will be a full participant in all your traditions if that's not comfortable for him/her. Remember to respect each other's comfort levels. You can do some things on your own or in a modified form but be prepared to be flexible and accept that some things simply cannot be shared.
Some interfaith couples celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah and place a Star of David on top of their Christmas tree. Why not? To successfully integrate traditions, you'll need to create your own unique roadmap that may not make sense to anybody else but the two of you.
5. Respect your differences
Enjoy what the other brings to the relationship, both spiritually and culturally. Learn from what the other's tradition has to offer. Remember that participating in your partner's traditions does not negate or diminish your commitments to your own.
6. Set loving -- but clear -- boundaries with your families
Family members may disapprove of your holiday choices. Know that their disapproval can stem from many things and often originates from fear: the fear of change and the fear of losing your presence and involvement at holiday time. You can be understanding of their feelings but, ultimately, you need to make decisions that are right for you and your relationship. Explain to them, in a loving way, that this is how you've decided to do things and you need to insist that they respect your choices.
7. Finally, a word about children
Children are often flexible, adaptable little beings. There is no reason why you can't raise your child within two different traditions. In fact, your children can be greatly enriched by being exposed to two different religious and/or cultural practices.
They -- and you -- can experience great joy from joining in the best of both of your holiday celebrations.
Carole-Anne Vatcher is an individual and couple therapist in private practice in Kingston, Ontario. She has been a reliable source for Canadian Living, Homemakers and Reader's Digest Magazines and has made guest appearances on CBC Radio, Canada AM, TVOntario, W Live and City TV's TalkTV. You can visit Carole-Anne's website at Kingston Therapy.
Sorry... couldn't resist making a... ah... lugubrious funny!
Call it a cross-over event between "brother blogs"!
Brought to you by: The Lugubrious Blog
22/12/2005 9:40:00 PM
(HealthDay News) - If you scrimp on sleep, you could be setting yourself up for health problems, according to the Harvard Women's Health Watch.
It offers six good reasons to make sure you get enough sleep:
- To remember. Sleep helps learning and memory. While you sleep, your brain commits new information to memory through a process called memory consolidation.
- To stay slim. Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way your body processes and stores carbohydrates and by altering levels of hormones that control appetite. -
- To stay safe. If you don't get enough sleep during the night, you're more likely to feel sleepy during the day, which increases your risk of falls and mistakes such as traffic accidents and work errors. -
- To stay happy. Lack of sleep can result in irritability, impatience, problems with concentration, and moodiness. Sleep loss can also make you too tired to do activities you enjoy. -
- To stay heart-healthy. Research has found a link between serious sleep disorders and hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and irregular heartbeat. -
- To stay strong.Lack of sleep weakens your immune system.
Copyright 2005 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.
What Can Feng Shui Do For You?
by Justine Kim, TheSoko.com
'Tis the season to be jolly - but can Feng Shui make it even jollier? Believe it or not, the ancient Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui may help you add some extra holiday cheer around your home.
What is Feng Shui?
Simply out, Feng Shui is the art of placement. The personal belongings in your home are positioned in a specific arrangement to enhance 'chi'. Chi is an invisible energy that constantly surrounds us and good chi is believed to bring harmony and balance to our lives. Translated literally, Feng Shui means wind and water, because chi travels on the air and water currents.
The idea is to bring energy to highlight certain aspects of our lives, such as family, career and health through Feng Shui tools like color, living things, objects and artwork. The 'bagua' is considered the map of Feng Shui. It can help you figure out which key areas of your home correspond to the different areas of your life.
Putting Feng Shui to Use
So, how can you use this Chinese principal to enhance your spirit during the holiday season? Seasonal decorations and ornaments are a great way to temporarily add all kinds of chi-enhancing items to your home. Here are just a few ways you can make a difference in your life just by adding your favorite holiday decorations.
1. Enhance your Career
On the bagua, the north represents the career aspect of your life. So try to add items that represent water to the front, centre area of your home, as water can symbolize wealth and learning. Holiday decorations with a water theme can include snowmen, icicles and snowflakes.
2. Enhance your Family Life
Feng Shui can help bring your family together this holiday season. It can also enable a harmonious family gathering for those of you that dread the big family get-togethers. To the east/left centre of your home, add items that represent wood. Examples are a Christmas tree, Hanukkah bush, inherited ornaments, or holly.
Living plants provide fresh, vital chi and a Christmas tree can be a powerful enhancement to your home. Even an artificial tree will add a significant amount of wood energy to the home.
3. Improve your Health
The centre of the home and the centre of each room represents your health and well-being. Earth elements placed in these areas of the home can promote good health. Try placing a fresh centrepiece with real earth/soil or a fresh bowl of fruit in the middle of your dining room table. Fire or other sparkling objects, such as stars or Christmas lights can also assist with your health.
4. Enhance your Romance
The southwest area of your home will bring positive energy to your relationship - that will mean lots of love this holiday season. Add items that represent love and sweetness to the back, right area of your home. Look for chocolates and other sweet holiday treats!
5. Increase Wisdom and Knowledge
Okay, so maybe Feng Shui can't boost your IQ, but maybe it can bring the harmony needed to allow you to think clearly and rationally. Add items that represent skill or knowledge to the northeast corner or the front, left area of your home. Religious figures, such as the Wise Men or a Nativity set will work.
6. Increase Wealth
Keep you wallet fat all throughout this shopping season. Add items that represent money to the southeast/back, left area of your home, such as gifts (especially the ones your receive) and chocolate Hanukkah gelt (chocolate made to look like gold coins.)
Feng Shui Extras
Other Feng Shui holiday decorating tips include hanging angels to the "helpful people" area, which is the northwest/front, right of your home. Decorate with lots of festive red this season to ward off evil. Red is the color of life in Feng Shui and is related to growth, happiness and joy. Also add blue if you are seeking a calming effect during the hectic season. Blue is associated with spiritualism and fidelity.
Whether you believe it or not
To some, it may be a bunch of nonsense. Nevertheless, the intrinsic nature of decorations and the act of getting your home decked out for the holidays are sure to bring happiness. Therefore, don't take this whole Feng Shui thing too seriously. Just do your best to put yourself in the spirit of the holiday season.
Lest it is... The Sucka.com - of course!
Sorry - couldn't resist... again!
Off to bed I go!