SOME OF THE BEST
23 December, 1998
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Photo by Dan Chapman ©2001 Stanyan
A Thought for Today
Wear your Sunday face all day today.
SIDE OF CHRISTMAS
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
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
BEGINS AT SUNDOWN
Kurt Angle o
Joshua Bell o
Beau Bridges o
Dick Butkus o
John Cassavetes o
Broderick Crawford o
Rick Danko o
Jakob Dylan 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
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,
to command the whole world pause
to celebrate His coming.
- 1956, first published in "A Book of Days,"