Friday, December 18, 2015

Rudolph, Rosie and another "Foggy Christmas Eve!"

Rudolph, Rosie
and another 
"Foggy Christmas Eve!"

It was a dreary foggy Christmas Eve.
We were flying from Minnesota to the west coast to have Christmas with our grandchildren... all small youngsters.
But while changing planes after landing on the first stop, we were told we might not make it that night because of bad weather. Our destination was fogged in.
Now waiting in any airport isn’t particularly appealing, but on Christmas Eve it seemed a little more gloomy.

What happened? 

To our surprise it was suddenly announced that the flight was going to take off and see if we could finish our trip. But we might have to turn around and come back.
We were kind of a quiet bunch of folks in the plane. I remember some big guys in the seats behind us, with the word “Raiders” emblazoned on their jackets. But I didn’t know if they were professional football players heading home for the holidays.

When we flew over our planned landing, it had fogged over again. We were in a circling pattern for quite a while. I kept telling my head that it didn’t want to throw up. Concentrate on something else I told myself!

Here’s an idea! 

Well, the airline attendants had an idea. 
The gals had put on little red and white furry Santa caps for the occasion. And while we kept circling, they suggested we all sing some Christmas songs!
Nobody complained that this was offensive to them.
Actually, I just wanted to think of something happy besides my brain repeating its dislike of circling so much!

And what did we choose? 

And… appropriately enough... the song chosen was "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer"! 
You know... the “foggy Christmas Eve” song.
Well, after a few choruses, we had all gotten warmed up and were smiling. We may not have been the best singers, but we were enthusiastic! 
And I was kept busy videoing the passengers as we were singing and laughing with each other.
Then the clouds opened up and we could land!

Another surprise… 

As I was leaving the plane to head over to the glassed in concourse where three little grandchildren were jumping up and down and waving... one of the big Raiders guys came over and said, you’ve got a reception waiting for you! 
I smiled.
Then he added, “I’ve just got to hug you!”

You see, even though I have never thrown a touchdown pass in the National Football League... I still had a cheering section!
And I’ll never forget the sweet hug the “Raiders” guy gave me too!

Merry Christmas!
and may the tradition of Christmas 
and its meaning bless us all.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Commercializing Christmas could be good?

Could commercializing Christmas 
be a good thing?

Does the commercialization of Christmas degrade it?  Should it be more wholesome and spiritual?
Actually, the person honored at Christmas most likely wasn’t born on December 25.   And back in the 1800’s I’m told folks just had a church service and maybe a  special dinner.

My research also says Christmas just became a popular holiday after Clement Clarke Moore wrote his famous story, "'Twas the Night Before Christmas".  The actual title was “A Visit from St. Nicholas”.   Note that it was not a “Visit from Jesus."

 So, is it the fault of businesses that they promote sales? Though as a kid I wished we would celebrate the holiday a day later so I could take part in the “After Christmas Sales!”  I didn’t get much allowance.

But here’s another thought  

There’s another way to think of the holidays.  Commercialization of Christmas might actually make its message more visible to more people!

What other religion is so popularized?

On what other occasions are you able to promote Jesus to this extent?     
Yes, there are the crass sales pitches encouraging folks to focus on the presents they will get.  But the reverse of this is seeing the touching commercials and fund raising campaigns motivating people to buy gifts for others... to make them feel loved and cared about.

“Do you hear what I hear...” (again and again!)

 And, if you, along with me, find you're getting tired of hearing the songs of Christmas repeated and repeated, (and keep in mind that I’ve heard some of them for a zillion or more years)...  and although I love them, I sometimes want a break too!

But Christmas music is being played over and over on the airwaves... and broadcast in the malls... and while you’re on “hold” on the phone.  

Even at my dentist’s office.  He was so happy to tell me they had just started playing Christmas music in the background. But since he was about to put the drill in my mouth I thought it was wiser to be quiet about my opinions on hearing this music too much!

On the other hand, I am playing my drums to accompany some of the holiday songs for gatherings.  That’s fun!

So here's the plan

Keep in mind the true meaning of the occasion.  Remember that the words of the songs spread hope and good tidings and cheer.  And words themselves have the power to change and enlighten and create.  

(I'm having fun checking out Quantum Physics studies on the effect of the observer... but also the book of Genesis: “And God said... and it was so.”)

I believe it's good to hear songs with wishes of happiness and love and joy. 
I wish that for you too.

  Merry Christmas… 
Happy Holidays… 
Peace on earth!


Saturday, December 5, 2015

You're telling me to get in trouble?

 “You’re telling me 
   I should get in trouble?”

“If you’re not in trouble... you’re not doing your job.”  With their fist raised high in a power salute, the guest speaker forcefully encouraged the multi-racial graduating class at a nearby metropolitan high school commencement program to get in trouble!  
But are there no other ways to solve problems?

I was sitting in the upper levels of the huge arena listening with growing concern as I saw the frustration bristling in the audience.
It was like being held hostage because you couldn’t politely interject your opinion in the situation.
Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate for the speaker to praise the students for their hard work in achieving their diplomas?   
In comparison, the student class president spoke and was much more encouraging to her fellow students as to their abilities to succeed.

But how do you respond?

Watching the anger being suppressed by some in the audience I realized that this could partly be because they had no way to respond to this outburst.  I wondered if this was a key point: knowing that you can express your opinion and that it will be listened to.  Does this help you moderate your reaction?  
I decided to talk to the high school principal and express my concerns about the speech.     
It took a while to get our schedules connected but we had an enjoyable conference later last summer.  He even took a “selfie” of the two of us to show to students!

But I have not been able to meet with the politician-speaker.  Her staff has not been able to find time for me.  I have e-mailed some of the flyers I had brought to the principal explaining a unique program we have in Cannon Falls and she replied that she appreciated that.
But I was asking for ten minutes of her time to explain our program.  (Actually, I explained, that if I was nervous and didn’t breathe it would only take five!)

But by October, with no success, I was informed that she would be out of the country for a while.  I said I would try later.
Well, I got busy too and it got to be November.  I tried again.  I just wanted to look in her eyes and see if there wasn’t some way to ease the pain that she was reacting to.

Senior citizens and teens... cool!

I had wanted to make her aware of one way that we have been creating a relationship model at our Cannon Falls Area Citizens and Law Enforcement Partnership.  This is a group of Senior Citizens who like to find out more information about what is really going on in law enforcement.  Is it really like CSI and other TV shows?  

We have speakers like the regional medical examiner and the head of security for the Timberwolves professional basketball team.  We’re planning  programs on drones and getting a “bomb squad” speaker too.

Since we were meeting in the same building as the Alternative Learning Center, we invited the teenagers to join us.  This could provide great career knowledge for them by personally meeting these speakers.  (The Minnesota Commissioner of Commerce was a good start!)
And besides the teens and cops and seniors eating doughnuts together, the kids have been told, “You ask the best questions!”  
Another bonus

A couple other benefits occured.  The kids, with their unique hair styles, clothing and adornments made the “Seniors” more comfortable with them and the kids were kidding around with the cops.

You know... actually, this program doesn’t take long to explain.  I really think I could share it in less than ten minutes... even if I took a breath once in a while!  
(As of press time I am still waiting to meet with the speaker mentioned.)


A past meeting of the Cannon Falls Area TRIAD with senior citizens, cops, kids and doughnuts!