Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Twelth of December

It's the twelth of December. 

Ring the bells. 

Blow the trumpets. Proclaim... What?

There are only 12 shopping days til Christmas. Is someone having another sale? Are you getting ready to have a blowout?

I woke up thinking of the Twelth of December and what, if any, significance today holds. At first I drew a big blank. After further consideration what came to mind was an old Donny Osmond song.

The Twelth of Never.

I know, I know. What does the Twelth of Never have to do with the Twelth of December? Nothing that I know. Maybe that's the day people say they can Never going Shopping again or they might go insane.

Surely something awesome had to have happened on the Twelth of December. The Twelth had to have more many than just a weirdly spelled day. So I went on a history hunt.

Did you know that on this day in History?

In 1474 -  Queen Isabella crowned herself Queen. Who knew it was so easy? Where's my crown?

In 1800 - Washington DC is established as US Capital. Prior to that where did congress meet? I'll give you a clue, they met in several different places. Philadelphia among them. Can you name others?

In 1878 - Joseph Pulitzer starts circulation of The St. Louis Dispatch.

In 1915 - The first all metal plane was test flown in Germany. They called it Junker J-1. Some name for a plane. Makes one want to climb right in a take a ride. I'll have to go see just how well that test flight went.

In 1946 - Tide detergent made its debut touting Oceans of Suds. Dreft laundry detergent came out in 1933, but Tide soap worked better in heavy duty washing machines. They said it gave you clean clothes and sparkling dishes.

We have so many choices for detergent and dish soap, it's hard to imagine clothes soap and dish soap all in one.

In 1962 - US goes nuclear with first test in Nevada. They do another one in 1968 on the same day. And Russia does one in 1970. (Perhaps there is more significance to the Twelth of Never than I first thought.)

In 1965 - Beatles hold their last concert in Great Britain. I was heart broken. Okay, maybe not. But what does a toddler know? Of course they go on their second tour in the US and Beatlemania goes into full force. 55,000 fans fill Shea Stadium and it grossed $304,000. The biggest in show business history to that time.  That little concert also proved that outdoor concerts were profitable.

In contrast... The top concerts since, have taken in more than 300 million. Some 700 million plus.

In 1982 - 9 million plus is stolen from a transport in New York City.

In 1997 - Japanese train hits a record for speed going 332 mph.

In 2000 - the Supreme Court gave its ruling on Gore versus Bush. Were those chads really hanging?

So a few other things happened on this day in history and there are other points to remember, but what does it all have to do with Christmas?

We are halfway there. In Twelve more days it will be Christmas Eve.

The night we curl up by the fire and remember why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. There are candlelight services to attend. We read the story of Christ's birth, sing Christmas Carols and just sit quietly watching the lights blink on the tree and the candles glow around us, and for a moment find a bit of peace in what can be a crazy season.

Naysayers may want to turn this day into the Twelth of Never by removing it from the Calendar bit by bit. By trying to say Christ has nothing to do with Christmas. But they can only stop words, not the heart or history.

If you're feeling somewhat tied up in knots this holiday season, it is my wish that you will take a moment and just sit down and kick off your shoes. Rest a moment and remember Christ is Christmas.

Merry Christmas  

Monday, December 02, 2013

Now Available

Christmas in Shades of Gray

It's Christmastime. David Pareman lies in his hospital bed, dying. The staff visits him, as does a drug induced cowboy and yellow-eyed monster -- so he believes. But not his children. He fears he'll die alone without a chance to share his heart. 

When Arion, a stranger with vast knowledge of David's life and a shroud of mystery over his own, comes to visit, David thinks he's from the newspaper. He learns otherwise. Soon David is tripping through his past in search of the answer to a soul-searing question. "What in your life merits God answering your prayer?" 

Through his past and those of his children he hopes to reach, David finds little to balance the scales against him. He believes he's no good, with nothing of merit that would make God want to help in him. Then he remembers the truth of Christmas and the love the Father sent to earth.

The walls are breathing. Breathing... In. Out. Slowly... In. Out. It's rather astounding.
It sounds foolish even to me to say that, but out of the dim glow cast from the light above my hospital bed, I can see the walls expand and contract. Over the whirr of machines, I'm certain I can hear the hiss of an inhale, and the heavy sigh of a released breath that is not my own.
The spot around the little angel that was put in my room to dress up the dingy dappled wall with some Christmas cheer, is the only place that remains unaffected by the strange aberration. That small section where the likeness of a heavenly messenger hangs, sporting her halo tiara and holding her trumpet, does not move. It remains calm and still while the rest of the walls labor to fill plaster lungs.
The pale light on that edge of the room must be playing tricks on my mind, 'cause only an idiot would think that walls could breathe. Only a fool would believe that lumber and drywall would push and contract for breath like the lungs of life. I shut my eyes and rub them. With a deep draw of oxygen from the tube below my nose, I will the aberration away.
With a quick peek, I see the walls aren't moving. Relieved, I open my eyes. The hallucination -- the reaction to my meds -- is over, or so I think until I see a black spot growing on the dingy white walls. I'm certain it's just a shadow, cast from what... I don't know. A shadow, nonetheless. So why is it growing and why is the blackness oozing from the wall in several places?
Meds again. That's it. Meds. Meds to take care of the cancer. Meds for pain. Meds for indigestion from the meds they give me for the cancer and pain. Meds to build up my blood. Meds to keep it from clogging. Meds so it's not too thin. Meds to make me sleep. Meds. All those drugs the doctors have been cocktailing in my blood are like turpentine to my brain, screwing with my mind, altering my thoughts. Redefining my reality.
As the darkness moves slowly down the white walls like rivulets of tar, even the angel seems to lift and sway slightly. I half expect her to drop her trumpet and raise her skirts so they don't touch the shadow coloring the wall. More disturbing is the way the darkness has begun to push across the room like seeping lava, heading toward my bed. The rivulets are now beginning to form fingers, fingers that splay over the floor like long talons extended and sharpened like knives, reaching for me.
I press the vein where my heart seems to thump in my head. Put a hand to the thrum in my neck. Though I am weak, my blood courses. I want to jump out of my bed and run for safety. I'm frozen.