Friday, December 23, 2011

EDITOR'S NOTE:  TO POST A CHRISTMAS GREETING TO YOUR FELLOW READERS GO TO THE END OF OUR CHRISTMAS STORY PAGE.




Happy Christmas to all of our readers from the Raytown Report. Please enjoy the following Christmas stories as our gift to you this Christmas.
Greg Walters            Paul Livius

The first story is by a writer named Luke. He was one of four scribes credited with compiling and writing the New Testament of the Bible. As you will see, he had a gift for reporting a story in a concise manner that told everything.

The Birth of Jesus  by Luke

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 


Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The editorial, penned by veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church, has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial.

Francis Pharcellus
Is There a Santa Claus? by Francis Pharcellus Church of the New Youk Sun

DEAR EDITOR:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in THE SUN it's so.” Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

VIRGINIA O'HANLON.
115 West Ninety-Fifth Street


VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.


There are writers, and then there are writers. No one can match prose of Charles Dickens. His classic rendering of Christmas in 18th Century England has characters so real that you can taste them. The story of redemption is so clear that it fits in perfectly with what Christmas is about . . . A chance for all to start anew.
The following is excerpted from his masterpiece, “A Christmas Carol”.

Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Again the spectre raised a cry, and shook its chain and wrung its shadowy hands.
"You are fettered," said Scrooge, trembling.  "Tell me why?"

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.  Is its pattern strange to you?"

Scrooge trembled more and more.

"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself?  It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago.  You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.

"But you were always a good man of business, Jacob," faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

"Business!" cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again.  "Mankind was my business.  The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. 


"Forgive me if I am not justified in what I ask," said Scrooge, looking intently at the Spirit's robe, "but I see something strange, and not belonging to yourself, protruding from your skirts. Is it a foot or a claw?"
   
"It might be a claw, for the flesh there is upon it," was the Spirit's sorrowful reply. "Look here."

From the foldings of its robe, it brought two children; wretched, abject, frightful, hideous, miserable. They knelt down at its feet, and clung upon the outside of its garment.

"Oh, Man! look here! Look, look, down here!" exclaimed the Ghost.

They were a boy and a girl. Yellow, meagre, ragged, scowling, wolfish; but prostrate, too, in their humility. Where graceful youth should have filled their features out, and touched them with its freshest tints, a stale and shrivelled hand, like that of age, had pinched, and twisted them, and pulled them into shreds. Where angels might have sat enthroned, devils lurked, and glared out menacing. No change, no degradation, no perversion of humanity, in any grade, through all the mysteries of wonderful creation, has monsters half so horrible and dread.
Scrooge started back, appalled. Having them shown to him in this way, he tried to say they were fine children, but the words choked themselves, rather than be parties to a lie of such enormous magnitude.

"Spirit, are they yours?" Scrooge could say no more. 

"They are Man's,' said the Spirit, looking down upon them. And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased. Deny it! cried the Spirit, stretching out its hand towards the city. Slander those who tell it ye! Admit it for your factious purposes, and make it worse! And abide the end!" 

"Have they no refuge or resource?" cried Scrooge.

"Are there no prisons?" said the Spirit, turning on him for the last time with his own words. 

"Are there no workhouses?"

The bell struck twelve.


"What's to-day?" cried Scrooge, calling downward to a boy in Sunday clothes, who perhaps had loitered in to look about him. 

"Eh?" returned the boy, with all his might of wonder.

"What's to-day, my fine fellow?" said Scrooge. 

"To-day?" replied the boy. "Why, Christmas Day."

"It's Christmas Day!" said Scrooge to himself. "I haven't missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can. Hallo, my fine fellow!"

"Hallo!" returned the boy.

"Do you know the Poulterer's, in the next street but one, at the corner?" Scrooge inquired.

"I should hope I did," replied the lad.

"An intelligent boy!" said Scrooge. "A remarkable boy! Do you know whether they've sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there? -- Not the little prize Turkey: the big one?"

"What, the one as big as me?" returned the boy.

"What a delightful boy!" said Scrooge. "It's a pleasure to talk to him. Yes, my buck!"

"It's hanging there now," replied the boy.

"Is it?" said Scrooge. "Go and buy it."

"Walk-er!" exclaimed the boy.

"No, no," said Scrooge, "I am in earnest. Go and buy it, and tell them to bring it here, that I may give them the direction where to take it. Come back with the man, and I'll give you a shilling. Come back with him in less than five minutes and I'll give you half-a-crown".

The boy was off like a shot. He must have had a steady hand at a trigger who could have got a shot off half so fast.

"I'll send it to Bob Cratchit's." whispered Scrooge, rubbing his hands, and splitting with a laugh. "He sha'nt know who sends it. It's twice the size of Tiny Tim. Joe Miller never made such a joke as sending it to Bob's will be!"

The hand in which he wrote the address was not a steady one, but write it he did, somehow, and went down-stairs to open the street door, ready for the coming of the poulterer's man. As he stood there, waiting his arrival, the knocker caught his eye.

"I shall love it, as long as I live!" cried Scrooge, patting it with his hand. "I scarcely ever looked at it before. What an honest expression it has in its face. It's a wonderful knocker."

To post a comment on this blog click on the word comments below:

17 comments:

Pat Cassady said...

I could really say something about the hats
and who's wearing them but, instead I will
use this time to say
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Anonymous said...

Pat, I admire your ability to take the high road. May you and yours be blessed.

Andy Whiteman said...

I wish all of my friends a Merry Christmas. Please drive safely.

Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

Anon from 12-20: You are right about the Raytown times. theres a guy who has another Raytown website but he only copies what other people write. He don't wright his own stuff like Greg and Paul does. This is the only website that has original thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Merry Crhistmas to Paul and Greg. I really like your reporting of what's going on in town.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

My wish for the year is that we all work together to make Raytown a better community

Greg Walters said...

I accidentally combined the two last posts -- which made the placing of comments a little more cumbersome than usual.

Soooo, I re-posted our Christmas Greetings page with its own comment page. I also moved all of the Christmas Greetings posted to our blog page.

Sorry about all the confusion.

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Love your choice of stories!

Merry Christmas to everybody.

Despite all of our problems Raytown is still the best places to call home. Or, as I like to call it, "20 minutes to everywhere!"

Darth Seriness said...

"Humbug"

Andy Whiteman said...

Went to Raytown, MO City Hall tonight to pay my Jackson County taxes because the city receives a percentage from the county for collecting the taxes. There was a sign posted on the front door to City Hall, "CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAY DECEMBER 26th." These idiots refuse to recognize Christmas and simply call it "THE HOLIDAY." Raytown also purchased Holiday Lights with taxpayer money but wouldn't specify which holiday. I am expecting the lights to be displayed for EVERY holiday since these Grinches aren't specific as to which holiday the the lights are for.

AndyWhiteman

Anonymous said...

Humbug!!!

I don't think so. At least there is one publication in Raytown that still celebrates Christ's birth as more than a holiday created to make more tax money for city hall.

Please, everyone remember the true meaning of this "holiday".

Have a blessed Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Darth -

Come back from the dark side old buddy. Come into the light.

Merry Christmas.

Even to the grumpy and ill-content!

Anonymous said...

Mayour Bower reminds of the proud mother who was watching the marching band and exclaimed, "Ohhhh! look at my little Johnny. He is doing so good. Why all of the other band players are out of step.

Read the following article from CNN and you will see what I mean.


TRENDING: Americans still prefer 'Merry Christmas' over 'Happy Holidays'


(CNN) - For many, it's an annual December conundrum - greet people with the traditional "Merry Christmas" or the secular "Happy Holidays"?

It's a small decision with seemingly oversized cultural significance, coming amid pressure to "keep Christ in Christmas" while also remaining inclusive of people who don't celebrate the Christian holiday.

A new poll from Marist and the Knights of Columbus shows that nationwide, two-thirds of Americans prefer to go with "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays." There is a divide, however, between Americans living on the East and West Coasts, and Midwesterners and people living the South.

Fifty-six percent of Northeasterners and 57% of West Coasters said "Merry Christmas" was their greeting of choice. In the Midwest, 70% chose "Merry Christmas," and in the South 69% felt the same.

Older generations were also more likely to choose "Merry Christmas," while 50% of millennials (people ages 18-30) preferred to make merry with "Happy Holidays."

Americans over 65 overwhelming chose "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays," 74% to 22%.

The Marist-Knights of Columbus poll was taken by phone November 8-10 from 1,026 adults. The sampling error was plus or minus three percentage points.

Anonymous said...

By the way. There are no laws in America that say you must use the term Happy Holiday instead of Christmas.

It is up to those running the institution to make that call.

Bad call, Mr. Mayor.

Andy Whiteman said...

I believe a precious city attorney made the decision that the word "Holiday" must be used instead of "Christmas" to avoid offending anyone. I am offended mainly because I hate holidays as useless days (usually 3 useless days in a row.) Christmas is a different day where I don't posses the hatred of that holiday, but just don't use that ugly name (Holiday.)

There was a recent news story that the Congressional Franking Commission has forbidden Congressmen from using the terms "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year" in their correspondence. So maybe there is a law we are unaware of.

Merry Christmas
Andy Whiteman

Anonymous said...

An extension of that misguided logic would be to refer to Martin Luther King Day as another holiday as well as the Fourth of July as another holiday.

Some people have their priorities all mixed up.

It's late and the clock on my computer says it just turned midnight.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Andy Whiteman said...

12:01AM, I am in agreement. Since most holidays fall on a Monday, they have become a 3 day (or longer) vacation stopping commerce in this country. These are 3 wasted days costing business $$$$$$$$$. If holidays would fall on their proper day, they would have more meaning and not be a distribution to commerce. I have an intense hatred of holiday unless they fall on the proper day.

MLK day is now a useless 3 day vacation. If it fell on the correct day, it would be more respectful of the man.

Andy Whiteman