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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

12/10/2008

Merry Christmas

O Holy Night 1.jpg

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terrified.
10But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
He is Christ the Lord.
12This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'
13Suddenly a great company of hosts appeared with the angel,
praising God and saying,
14'Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests!'
... Luke 2:8-14

This Christmas, many American patriots look forward to the New Year with fear and uncertainty, believing that, for the first time in our lifetimes – for the first time in the history of our beloved republic – America’s future holds little, if any, promise of a return to the foundations that made our nation the most moral and prosperous in the history of mankind. I share that austere and unsettling view of what lies ahead for us all.

Yet we tend to lose sight of the fact that there is a bigger picture ... that man on earth enjoys free will; and that many among us have used that precious gift for evil. Yet God is here among us, and ever watching. His presence is not defined by man in man's words, or in man's artistic renderings. Nor can His presence be forbidden by law or edict. He is here among us ... now and forever.

He abhors lies and oppression. He reveres truth and justice. He knows a man's heart. He is unimpressed with false words ... or counterfeit motives ... or disingenuous façades. He will not be mocked. He cannot be fooled. And those who believe otherwise would do well to revisit, and revise, such beliefs.

Last weekend, Rick and I attended a Christmas concert performed by the Booth Brothers, a young southern gospel group whose concerts never fail to provide incredibly beautiful music, Christian witness, and spiritual uplift. The concert was held in a local mega-church; there was not an empty seat, with probably a thousand people in attendance.

About halfway through the beautiful musical program, in the middle of an especially meaningful Christmas piece, many in the audience, entirely spontaneously, began singing along with the performers, and, at that point, something stirring gradually began to happen in the sanctuary.

Moved by the Spirit, Michael Booth began extemporaneously talking, in a very tactful, but impassioned manner, about the way in which America has abandoned her Christian, and foundational, principals. It was most definitely a personal accounting of his own heartache, as he sees his country wandering so far from its original noble path.

After which the remainder of the program became completely impromptu, with the lead-in group returning to the stage and performing together with the Booth Brothers numbers that were not rehearsed. The audience also joined in on those numbers that they knew. Much was said, and sung, with all thousand-plus people participating in the communal sharing of faith and concern for our country.

At one point, more than a thousand voices joined in an impromptu four-part harmony rendition of 'Amazing Grace'. It was an experience unlike any I have ever known.

Much laughter, and many tears, were shared. And the words and music that caused such an outpouring of emotion were completely unrehearsed, unplanned. It was an act of Providence.

The concert lasted more than an hour longer than scheduled, simply because no one wanted the evening to end -- least of all the performers themselves. We left the church at nearly 11:00, a full five hours after having arrived there -- feeling renewed and revived, with the knowledge that God's promises will be kept, despite man's foolishness.

The Lord was definitely present in that church last weekend. His presence was palpable. And, when it was time to go home, a thousand people exited through those doors in virtual silence. I would be doing the experience an injustice to say that words are insufficient, and I am still experiencing the residual joy to this day.

The Lord is good. And His promises are eternal. All we need do is look to Him for the strength, wisdom and comfort to face what lies ahead, and He will provide ... if we but isolate ourselves from man's cacophony, and listen for His whispers.

He expects His followers to hold fast to His teachings, but He does not always promise us earthly victories. More importantly, He prepares a place for His believers, where joy and glory are eternal, and the heartache and pain that the evil of this world creates will become nothing more than a faded memory of a time when men believed they reigned supreme.

4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies ...
... Ps 23:4-5

As our celebration of our Savior’s birth approaches, we are called to focus on His love. On His sacrifices. To set aside the cares and concerns of the world, and remember that His promises, alone, are eternal.

In wishing all of you a blessed Christmas –- filled with the warmth and love of family and friends -- I offer the following beautiful rendition, performed by Bronn and Katherine Journey, of what I believe to be among the most meaningful of man’s Christmas creations, in the hopes that, as it has for me, it will help you to release your burdens (cast them on Him), and spend some quiet time reflecting on His goodness, grace and love.

Although put to paper more than 160 years ago, the words are a timeless source of encouragement, strength and solace in times of trouble – even unprecedented times such as these. They are as relevant and meaningful today as they were back in 1847; it is as if they were written this very morning.

Simply close your eyes in peace, listen, and reflect:

O Holy Night

three wise men.jpg

O holy night! the stars are brightly shining.
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices!
O night divine! O night when Christ was born!
O night divine! O night, O night divine!

orange star.gif

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
with glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
here came the wise men from the Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger,
in all our trials born to be our friend!

He knows our need, to our weakness no stranger.
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Your king, before Him bend!

orange star.gif

Truly He taught us to love one another.
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother.
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we.
Let all within us praise His holy Name!

Christ is the Lord! Sing praise to Him forever!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!
His power and glory ever more proclaim!

Heartfelt wishes to all for a blessed Christmas, and a New Year filled with personal peace, joy and contentment!

~ joanie

46 comments:

kathymlynczak said...

Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Merry Christmas Joanie, and God bless!

Brad Zimmerman said...

Thank you for the very inspirational words, Joanie. Very beautiful!

Merry Christmas to you and Rick!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.

no_way_a_liberal said...

Joanie,

Once again you, elegantly, put into words what we all feel.

Bless you and your family with a Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.

lori_gmeiner said...

Such a beautiful story and wonderful words of wisdom! Thank you and merry Christmas!

John Galt said...

Yet we tend to lose sight of the fact that there is a bigger picture ... that man on earth enjoys free will; and that many among us have used that precious gift for evil. Yet God is here among us, and ever watching. His presence is not defined by man in man's words, or in man's artistic renderings. Nor can His presence be forbidden by law or edict. He is here among us ... now and forever.

He abhors lies and oppression. He reveres truth and justice. He knows a man's heart. He is unimpressed with false words ... or conterfeit motives ... or disingenuous façades. He will not be mocked. He cannot be fooled. And those who believe otherwise would do well to revisit, and revise, such beliefs.


AMEN!

I hope you and Rick have a great Christmas!

smithy said...

Along the same lines:

Where is Christ in Christmas? (The Counterfeit Christmas)

Jocasta said...

"O Holy Night" is best sung by a solo soprano. The instumentals in this are wonderful too - mandolin, cello and harp. Very beautiful!

SharonGold said...

Your experience in that church is something I wish you could have captured and "replayed" over and over again, for the rest of us too.

Merry Christmas Joanie!

calbrindisi said...

Your whole column is inspiring, Joanie, but the link to the video at the very end is tremendous. Do you know who produced it?

calbrindisi said...

P.S. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Steve Bannister said...

When I was in high school (back in the stone age), for our Christmas concert, a solo senior was always chosen to sing "O Holy Night" to end the program. At that time and in that city it was considered a great honor to be the one chosen for that honor. I was chosen to sing my senior year and, even though it was so long ago, because of the song involved it remains one of the greatest honors of my life.

First_Salute said...

Sometimes, coming back to this forum, is like coming home, and this occasion is one of them.

God Bless the Host and Hostess

God Bless this home.


First_Salute

LouBarakos said...

Sometimes, coming back to this forum, is like coming home, and this occasion is one of them.

God Bless the Host and Hostess

God Bless this home.


Ditto here.

cw-patriot said...

Kathy, Brad, No-Way, Anonymous, Lori, John, Jocasta, Sharon, Cal:

Thanks, all, for the very kind words, and heartfelt wishes for a Merry Christmas to you and yours!

cw-patriot said...

Steve Bannister:

What a precious memory indeed! Wouldn't it have been wonderful if your solo had been recorded for you to enjoy over the years since?

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful memory, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

First_Salute:

Very kind words, very much appreciated. :)

Merry Christmas, dear friend.

~ joanie

robmaroni said...

Thank you very much Joanie, and merry Christmas to you and Rick.

Anonymous said...

I come here on and off during the year, but I always make it a point to drop by at Christmastime. You never disappoint.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

John Cooper said...

Terri and I really loved the video of "Oh Holy Night". Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderful Christmas story. Merry Christmas to you and Rick and your family Joanie!

Anonymous said...

Very nice.

Merry Christmas to you.

arlene albrecht said...

This is a very moving story Joanie, thank you for sharing it and Merrry Christmas!

Luis said...

Joanie,

Thank you for sharing such an uplifting experience with us at a time when so much in this world seems gloomy. It is good to be reminded of what really matters and of truth.

Merry Christmas to you, Rick and all your family.

Carly Weaver said...

Joanie:

I thank you for the wonderful story about the concert you attended, and for the two meaningful links.

How did your piano recital go?

And a merry merry Christmas to you and Rick and the children!

Anonymous said...

Joanie-

I think you will appreciate this:

Christmas Concert Honors Greatest Generation

Euro-American Scum said...

Joanie --

Let me return the heartfelt wishes you have extended to those who read and contribute to this forum.

I will be officially out of touch from December 20 through the first week in January. But since next week figures to be pretty hectic as well, this may be my last contribution of the year.

It has been an honor and a privilige to contribute to this site. And doing so has often made a life that is oten unbearable, marginally tolerable.

As we approach the Christmas season in California, the place has taken on all the trappings of a foreign land, at once familiar, yet unknown at the same time. It has come to bring a new definition to the term "The Undiscovered Country", and not necessarily in a good way.

My thanks to you, for having been something of an online anchor, going back to the early days before I embarked on the pilgrimage of a lifetime to Normandy in 2004, up to including the disasters that followed, right up to this day. That presence has been much appreciated, since your commentary has been singularly valuable, credible and meaningful.

It may seem that things are falling apart, indeed the center does not hold, as T S Eliot so aptly put it. And it may be true. But we can all rest in the sure and certain knowledge that The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

I suppose we can rest in that. And trust Him for the outcome.

Merry Christmas to all. It's been an honor to interact with all of you.

Euro-American Scum

cw-patriot said...

It's good to hear from you, Luis.

No, it hasn't been a good year for America, or the world, for that matter.

Will next year be any better? We can only hope.

Best wishes to you, and K and N, for a blessed Christmas!

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Carly,

Thanks for asking about the recital -- although it wasn't actually a 'recital', but a Christmas program that we put on for the residents of a local nursing home. It went very well, thanks. :)

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for the link to the 'greatest generation' article. I have it bookmarked and will read it tomorrow when the hour isn't so late.

Merry Christmas!

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

E-A-S:

Many thanks for the very kind words.

Travel safely to your Christmas destination, and enjoy a blessed holiday with your friends.

I pray that next year proves to be a better one for you, and that the Lord seeks to use your many gifts to His glory.

Stay well, friend ...

~ joanie

cw-patriot said...

Thanks, all, for the kind words, and for your continued participation here.

Heartfelt wishes for a blessed Christmas, and a New Year filled with personal peace and joy ...

~ joanie

Max Shapiro said...

Thank you for this past year of illuminating commentary, Joanie. I am looking forward to next year's.

Euro-American Scum, I have enjoyed your writing too. I hope you will continue to write here. You have very good observation skills and a wonderful way of expressing your conclusions.

Happy holidays to all!

Detlef Rost said...

Fröliche Weinachten!

danthemangottschall said...

Thank you for all you do Joanie, and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

A very merry Christmas to you and yours Joanie, and a happy new year too!

Proudpodunknative said...

God bless you, c-w!

And have a very merry Christmas!

kathymlynczak said...

I hope you and your family had a merry Christmas Joanie, and best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year to you all!

Anonymous said...

Where are you? How about a column to start out 2009 with a bang? :-)

daveburkett said...

How about posting your thoughts on Inauguration Day, Joanie?

Anonymous said...

Where are you Joanie?

Anonymous said...

Hello?

Anonymous said...

Hello?

Anonymous said...

Will someone please let us know what is going on with this site?

robmaroni said...

"Anonymous", from email correspondence with her, I believe Joanie is finished with politics and policical commentary. I suspect she'll write something about that here soon.

Anonymous said...

rob,

If you care to, will you please contact me at pocomarc@yahoo.com
and let me know what is going on?

Thanks