23 December, 1998











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Photo by Dan Chapman ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment Group

A Thought for Today

Wear your Sunday face all day today.



Christmas is a time of celebration. Bright packages and ropes of pine, starched red bows and ribbons, eggnog and plum pudding, all promising we’ll be touched by something extraordinary.

But Christmas is a time of memory as much as celebration. For some it is memory of loss, intensified because, for all our lives, we’ve seen it as the season of promise. So much promised by friends and family, so little given in the rush. Christmas is and can be lonely. A loneliness that crowds us like no other as we turn inward, farther from reality than at any other season.

Just once we ought to set about preparing for the downhill run that nearly always accompanies the tinsel. The only way to do so is to get outside us and think about the infant in the manger long ago. Not just remembering His birthday, but remembering the trials and truth that marked His life and, down these many years, also mark ours. We are better because He was the best. Throughout His life He carried the passkeys to His father’s house, then threw them to us from the cross. Whatever went before, life only started when His life began.

God may have been the architect, but He sent Christ, His only son, to be the builder of bridges, people to people. He showed us in a thousand ways that none of us need fear again, that worry is worth nothing, loneliness is self - indulgence, and death is only a passport to everlasting life.

This year, as Christmas makes it’s round again, resolve to smile inside and out. Carry kindness to its farthest edge, compassion still beyond. In the process you may even come to know yourself and like what you find. Then, reaching just a little farther through the mists and myths, maybe even grasp the outstretched hand of God.

-adapted from "An Outstretched Hand", 1980, 1998

notable birthdays


Kurt Angle o Joshua Bell o Beau Bridges o Dick Butkus o John Cassavetes o Broderick Crawford o Rick Danko o Jakob Dylan o Emjay o Dame Judi Dench o Kirk Douglas o Morton Downey, Jr. o Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. o Redd Foxx o Hermione Gingold o Margaret Hamilton o Buck Henry o Deacon Jones o Emmett Kelly o David Kersh o Joe Lando o John Malkovich o Dina Merrill o John Milton o Donny Osmond o Elizabeth Schwarzkopf o Dick Van Patten

Rod's random thoughts The historian say, "It was thus"; the veteran, "I was there."

If you loved my face as much as you love Christmas, I’d be safe from year to year.

You get a lot more if you’re willing to settle for a lot less.


To think that down through all these years
these stumbling, dancing decades
these hours given
to spend the way we wish,
that people of goodwill
in country, countryside,
               metropolis, and hamlet
come together / stay apart
but hold the selfsame ritual
as winter starts,
the celebration of an ancient birthday
deep in dark Decembers
too numerous to count.

He must have been extraordinary,
quite something,
to command the whole world pause
to celebrate His coming.

- 1956, first published in "A Book of Days," 1981

© 1979, 1980, 1981, 1998, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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