It’s time to rewrite the book on the world’s secular Christmas story. If we must have a Santa Claus, I’d prefer him to be a Super Hero type. We already know he can leap buildings and cross skies with impossibly gifted reindeer who are guided by all things, a red nose beacon. However I want Santa this year to do something really Herculean; I want him to spread more sanitizer and less ho-ho-ho.

I don’t care what errand I do or where I travel, I feel as if I have been banished to a tuberculosis ward. Hacking and coughing by every known pedestrian and customer around me occurs daily. Never mind their loogy inducing sputum, is the bane of my existence. For me, trying to stay healthy during the holiday season is tantamount to being the last runner in the Pamplona Running of the Bulls and having a club foot. It’s going to end painfully and you know where.

I feel like a National Basketball star each time I enter a store for my agility. As I traverse the store aisles, I dodge, weave and try to avoid every sniffle, cough, and wheeze. It gives me a whole new meaning to the greeting, “Have a safe holiday.” To make matters worse, relatives call and say, “I know I’m vomiting like a fire hose, and I sound like an asthmatic aardvark, but can we still come if we stay upstairs?” Haven’t you heard that everything trickles down; economics, pay raises, germs? No, you can’t stay upstairs, I’ve placed a bed in the carport closet and I’ll slide your chicken broth under the door.

I’d consider getting the flu shot, but from everyone I’ve spoken to who’s received it, the end results were the same. It inoculated your body from last years flu strain but not this year’s. If I want to feel like I’ve been hit my a Mack truck, I’ll step in front of a Mack truck.

You’d think everyone would be healthier this year. Outside temperatures have been balmy and perfect for outdoor activities. Yet, it seems everyone is ill. I’m doing everything I know how to do to stay healthy. I’m popping vitamins like Skittles, drinking enough water to fill a camel hump, and I’ve eschewed anything that looks like it tastes good (including cookies). This Christmas I don’t want a Santa, I want a Santa-tizer. I want him spreading germ killer all over the world like he’s a Nebraska Crop Duster.

I think it may be the proper time now to unpack my surgical white mask and gown from last season. Despite my quest for wellness, I remain undaunted. I might look like a Beijing resident when walking around in my get-up, but at least from the world’s perspective, my looks have improved. Merry Cough-mess everyone.

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A Starry Night Agape Dinner

Each year my wife and I as a gift to our churches, cater a special dinner for each of them. The Christmas dinner is by far the most difficult, yet it is the most satisfying. We transform our church and fellowship hall into a Bethlehem scene.

Simple lighted trees some as tall as 9 feet tall bathe the room in soft light. A cross and Manger offers a solemn entrance, and a 50 foot mural of a Bethlehem landscape replete with bright stars covers two walls in the hall. Candles reflecting off the windows adds the finishing touch.

The event included the most amazing piano playing by my friend Dr. Calvin Taylor. Interspersed around the music, Christmas stories and 3 minute video vignettes of the Christ child tug on the heart strings.

The end of the evening is made complete with a simple communion service and a small gift by the hosts. No one is to help cleanup, we want the peace of the evening to accompany all attendees as they leave for home.

We have included some pictures from our Friday night affair.








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My Long Absence

I have traveled the past four weeks to Denver and the Northern Kingdom of Vermont. I had classes in Denver I needed to take and family business in Vermont. I eschewed traveling by airplane because I choose peace and tranquility over long lines and irritable travelers any day.

I set out for Oklahoma City the latter part of September, then I took back roads all the way to Denver. I saw little towns like Forgan and Guymon, Oklahoma. I traveled desolate prairie roads where I dodged armadillos and tumble weeds more than errant drivers. I traversed dirt roads for miles looking for obscure historical events I never knew occurred. One of these places was in Eads, Colorado. This obscure historic place was eight miles off the main road. It was on this spot where an eight hour massacre changed the Plains forever.

The Sand Creek Massacre is unlike any other site in America. No wonder few Americans have ever heard about it. I’d try to forget this ever happened if I could. On November 29, 1864, 675 cavalrymen came around a bend to the camp of Chiefs Black Kettle, White Antelope, and Left Hand and proceeded to kill as many men, women and children as they could. Why? No one knows.

SandCreek 4

Over this hill rested the peaceful encampment before they were massacred. The site looks exactly like it did in 1864.

SandCreek 3

Notice the sacred emblems left by ancestors even today

Sand Creek Historic

For more information on this historic site visit

Two weeks later I found myself in the Northern Kingdom of Vermont. It was here I had the task of doing some chores to get my parent’s home ready for the winter. It comes early to northern Vermont. As I left, it was flurrying, and later in the day my mother called and said the ground was covered with snow. I prefer to remember Vermont this way.

wilmington, vt 3

Route 7 in southern Vermont near Wilmington

Near Wilmington, VT

Near Wilmington, VT

back yard

Cabot, VT

Cabot, VT

I am home now and prepared to get caught up. It sure is good to be back in my own bed.

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“Ouch That Hurts”

I never met such a talkative hair stylist. You know the ones like her. They are middle aged, and have an age identity problem. They want to be young so their hair color is as natural as cotton candy; and it changes often. If she was vaccinated as a child, they used a phonograph needle, because she only paused in her conversation to take a breath.

I remember once reading a list of wise counsel by six year old children and surprisingly it was very insightful. The one I remember most was by a little girl who said, “Never let anyone brush your hair if they’re angry.” Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ll add additional counsel; “Don’t visit a hair salon if it’s really busy.”

As I awaited the stylist’s first move, she opened her beauty brief case and began to pull out dull and overused hair tools like my daughter used to do when she played pretend hairdresser. I didn’t recognize some of her accouterments; it’s just as well. Her first faux pax was placing the large bib like fabric across my chest and around my neck. Presumably it’s meant to deflect falling follicles. Never mind the neck width was more appropriate for chihuahua, she snapped it into place and proceeded to be oblivious that my face was turning a vibrant shade of purple. Kudos to her however, she is only the second woman in my life (besides my lovely wife) that has made my eyes bug out of my head. I prefer my wife’s way of doing that better.

One of my pet peeves in life is when someone asks me my preference and then proceeds to do exactly what they wanted anyway. She picked up her round hair brush and began to brush my head like she was starting a primitive campfire to earn her Girl Scout honor. She rubbed my head raw. I quickly yelled, “Ow, Ow” to which she said, “What’s wrong, is your head too tender?”

I said, “No, your brush feels like a garden rake.” Defensively she said, “This brush doesn’t hurt, the metal tines have little plastic ends over it.” I said, “Let me see the brush!” To which she handed it over to me for inspection. She quickly realized her error. Of the thousand tips that should have been on the brush, 990 had been worn off. With all the sincerity of a kindergartner, she offered a hasty “I’m sorry”, then found a newer brush and continued her quick task.

My head burned for a few hours after her sad attempt to wrangle my hair. I must be one of only a handful of Americans to know what it feels like to comb your hair with a porcupine.

Later as I thought about my experience, I thought some people are like that hair stylist. Instead of a weapon of ‘mousse destruction’ they carelessly and cluelessly use their mouth instead of a brush to do the marring. As a Christian I am always expected to forgive and move one, but what about the individual who consistently and carelessly is oblivious to the pain they inflict? If the hair stylist had just inspected her implement prior to me arriving, my head would not have felt like it was rototilled.

The fallout (forgive the pun) is, I may never want to go back or have a relationship with that person again. Word to the wise, check your tongue and your hair brush before you leave for work in the morning. I can take the occasional teasing a little easier on both counts.

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