Thought For The Day 10/31/13

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like….

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joy-love-faith-hope-peace-christmas-card-william-martin

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“We have much to learn of the right keeping of Christmas. I do not think children now-a-days find the pleasure we found when we were young in preparing our simple little gifts and hiding these from one another. Now there is a surfeit of gifts, and a most unwise choice, and the children are not trained into the joy of giving. The hurry and bustle obscure the sacredness of the season.”

Elizabeth Channing

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/business/hancock/blog/2007/12/complaints_about_christmas_com.html

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I send an annual Christmas letter to family and friends every year. And it’s not because I am trying to make sure they all know all of the wonderful things that Landon is accomplishing…. although that’s  certainly part of it! No, I do it because as is they way of the world in this time that we live in, my near and dear are no longer near, but they are far, far away. The branches of my family tree alone span from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans, and that doesn’t add into the mix, my list of friends that circumnavigate the globe! But writing that letter the weekend after Thanksgiving is my tradition. It signals the start of my family’s Christmas celebration, which is why I am always stunned to walk into my shopping mall during the middle part of September, only to find that Christmas merchandising has already begun. What has happened to Back to School shopping and preparing for some other holidays that fall in the fall, so to speak, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving?  Isn’t September just too soon?

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They’re just responding to demand is the pat answer that I am given when I ask merchants I deal with why this is. But the truth is that Christmas has lost its true meaning. Instead, Christmas and the $$$$$$ it generates for our economy has gained while the memories of the birth of a tiny baby in a stable 2000 years ago, has been relegated to the “nether regions” of our hearts and our minds!

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Now there are some who would say I’m a contributing partner to this by simply bringing it to our collective attentions and if I am, well my view is a resounding AMEN! You see, I am sick and tired of our spinning “Merry Christmas” into a politically correct “Happy Holidays”.

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Yes, I know not all of my brothers and sisters out there celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, which will be heralded 55 days from today, if I have added correctly (and yes, I used both fingers and toes). I always acknowledge and celebrate the specialness of the holidays of the faiths professed by all my friends, whether it is Hanukkah (for my Jewish friends), or Bodhi Day (for those Buddhists I know), or even the cultural time of Kwanzaa (established to unite and assist African-Americans connect with their African cultural and historical heritage, of which many of my friends partake). But for these friends, the holidays I have named are not a hugely significant holiday for the faith or culture they embrace.

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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are much more significant to the Jews. And Buddha Day, celebrated every May during the full moon is much more significant to Buddhists. However, for my faith…..CHRISTIANITY, Christmas which celebrates the birth of Christ the man, and Easter which celebrates the death of Christ the Savior, are the only two that are of such great significance, that every branch of Christianity holds them as sacrosanct. So forgive me when I become offended when people choose to water down the importance of this day into nothing more that a moneymaking opportunity. It is not. It is a holy time when all of us change for the better!

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The birth of that tiny baby was a pivotal turning point for history and humanity. Even when we write today’s date, we reference our year based on His birthday. And yes, I know the Gregorian calendar was used to modify the Julian Calendar based on Easter, not Christmas. But we still reference our years using Christ’s birth as a starting point to count years that existed before (B.C.) and after (A.D.). And while we have these things to reference when we think of the importance of Christmas, there is one other thing to consider. Christmas gifts to mankind a singular time of the year when even those whose hearts are as hard as a diamond suddenly find themselves filled with love and compassion and joy. And that alone signifies that this time is different from any other.

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The Pesach Seder may charge those around the table at Passover to answer a question, “why is this night different from all other nights?”. And now I charge you to ask and answer almost the same question, “why is this time of the year different from all other times?” If you know the answer, I ask that you remember this as you visit your local retail establishments, and refuse to allow yourself to be swept into the commercialism of the times and instead, allow your heart to be opened by the wonders and mysteries of these days that are just ahead!

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“I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory..”

Colossians 1:25-27 NIV

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Copyright © 2011-2013 “MandysPath” Ministry

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About Mandy Bruscella

Mandy's Story: As a Registered Professional Nurse with Certification in a number of specialties including home care, I was afforded the opportunity of working closely with various Social Service Agencies in NY and NJ. ~ A lifelong Christian, I was ordained as a Presbyterian deacon in 1993 and, after relocating to SC in 2000, elected to become ordained as a non-denominational minister. ~ I established "MandysPath" Ministry in 2011. "MandysPath" Ministry is a member of Pacific Life Church, El Sobrante, CA, network of ministries. ~ I direct an outreach ministry in an alternative setting, providing spiritual care to a congregation of more than 500 people from around the world via the Internet. ~ As part of this outreach, I write a daily faith based blog. In March, 2012 I was asked to become a board member of Heroes For Children which is a non-profit foundation, established to assists the Guardian ad Litem program of Horry County, SC. Guardians ad Litem are a group of court appointed advocates who represent the best interests of children in Family Court proceedings involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Working closely with these men and women who make a difference in the lives of children, I completed training and have been sworn in to serve as a Guardian ad Litem for the state of South Carolina . ~ I have been married since 1975 to a wonderful man, Daniel. I have a son Daniel and his wife Melissa who live in NYC. My daughter Sabrina and my grandson Landon live here in SC. ~ My father Harold continues to share his wisdom with me and is responsible for many of the ideas I write about!

4 responses »

    • Thank you although I may also be part if the problem in that I also have Landon and Sabrina’s gifts already bought. But that was opportunity and cash availability. Otherwise, except for planning gift shipping, Dan and I love being swept up in the hustle and bustle of the week or two before! But that said, we never lose the true meaning of the day!

      • As a Marionite, I look more towards Mary during this time of year…her labor…her isolation in the village…the STRENGTH she had, the animosity she endured…and I too draw strength from her example…and that gives me peace in my soul…

      • Peace is something that we need to allow to wash over all of us. The problem is that we seldom stop the hurky jerky long enough to allow it to catch up. Glad you have your monivator!

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