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An Uplifting Christmas Message

I recently had the occasion to read Sir Walter Raleigh’s letter to King James the First of England (yes, he that’s associated with the KJ Bible) wherein he (SWR) begged for his life as he wrote from his imprisonment in The Tower of London. He cried out to his Sovereign, “I beseech thee from the knees of my heart…”

Isn’t that a great line?

I love that … although shortly thereafter, the King sent the world back a message saying, “No, but thanks for asking,” and then off to the gallows our trepid explorer went, where he urged the executioner to be quick about it. “At this hour, my ague comes upon me. I would not have my enemies think I quaked from fear.” And…upon inspecting the executioner’s axe, “This is a sharp medicine, but it is a Physician for all diseases and miseries. [Why do you tarry?]  Strike, man, strike!”

As we would all expect, his embalmed head was presented to his newly made widow, who was said to have kept said head with her for the remainder of her life. Upon her death, SWR’s head and body were rejoined, or at least placed in near proximity, within a tomb in Westminster Abbey, where they lie today. I tell you this in case you need some inspiration for that last-minute Christmas shopping, but upon greater reflection, perhaps this is not what “they” were asking for when I was directed to write an uplifting Christmas message. Also, keep in mind that a photo fits a bit more easily in a wallet.

The tale I tell also reminds me, on a mostly unrelated note, that my wife fears that if candidate X is elected as president of the USA next year, beheadings and book burnings will become the order of the day. “No, but there may be a beheading around here if you keep reading and telling me that stuff,” – a rejoinder offered by an anonymous party. I think next month I am going to write about all the things I am resolving not to say in 2024 … or ever again. That’ll be a mountain to climb—the doing, even more than the writing.

So, what were we talking about before you distracted me with your insistent curiosity about Sir Walter Raleigh?

And yes, he was a really interesting character who led an amazingly full life, and you should read about him, but perhaps we shan’t go down that trail again just now. Oh yes, we were talking about “from the knees of my heart.”

Christmas and New Year’s are a time when I am led by the themes of the season to the knees of my heart. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, as well as being moved by the unscalable mountain of need in a world where pain and suffering are the daily norm, I want to become more of a healer in this world. It’s a long road, isn’t it? I think John Bunyan had something to say about that.

I hope you enjoy the holiday season and that the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas and on to New Year’s is a joyful adventure for you this year and every year. I hope it is not a rat race, a time of strained relationships, or a memory of loss. If it is any of the latter for you, I am beseeching the Almighty from the knees of my heart on your behalf that you may have peace of heart, joy in the days, and hope.

Always, may there be hope.

I think Ty Webb said it best, “Be the ball, Danny .”Ok, maybe that wasn’t the best quote to fit here. How about “Go to the light, Carol Anne”? Yeah, I guess that was another swing and a miss. How about this, then:

Perhaps my job at hand is not to change America, but rather to change Americans. And those, one at a time, with the first one being, the one within. This season, I will resolve to continue that journey.

May hope live in your heart and your journey be enriching. May all the wealth of life be yours.

And, oh yes, that uplifting Christmas message?

It’s already been written. It’s in a big book; the story was foretold, told, and retold. Give it a read; you’ll find it interesting. Then, you can do with it as your heart dictates.

December 2023

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