. . .and send a “Thank You” card to a U.S. serviceman.
End this year with an act that isÂ noble, decent and oh, so simple.
I linked to the wonderful Peter Hitchens below. The other day, my friend Fergus (who is married to the other Angel of the North), sent me a link to a deeply moving and typically well-written piece by Christopher Hitchens in Vanity Fair.
That Hitchens is, of course the militant atheist who has become the toast of the God-hating crowd with his book, God is Not Great. Nevertheless, Hitchens, in spite of (or perhaps because of) his Marxist/socialist leanings, has been one of Western Culture’s most articulate advocates for aggressively fighting militant Islam.
This Vanity Fair essay was flagged by New York Times’ token conservative, David Brooks, as one of the best of 2007. It is stout stuff.
I recommend it. Here.
As in Canada, it accelerates in England. Here’s Peter Hitchens in the British paper, The Mail:
The deeply English, deeply Christian city of Oxford, one of the homes of free thought, is now being asked to accept the Islamic call to prayer wafting from mosque loudspeakers over its spires and domes.
If that is not a threat to our “way of life”, then I don’t know what is. Allowing the regular electronic proclamation of Allah’s supremacy in a British city is not tolerance, but a surrender of the sky to a wholly different culture. Just you wait and see what opponents of this scheme are accused of.
This is where the multiculturalism fetish takes you.
I suppose the weather we’ve had recently could in one sense be called “Christmas-y”Â in that, like a holy infant, it has been mostly “tender and mild.”
Sixties and low 70s during the dayâ€”cool crisp nights with the brightest, full moon I canÂ ever recall seeing. The rising moon was so bright on ChristmasÂ Eve, and with a planet hanging close alongsideÂ that I hit the Sky & Telescope web site to see if there was anything special about it.
Indeed, I discovered that the moon and Mars were both “in opposition,” which means they were directly opposite the sun (relative to earth). Which translates into extra, double-plus brightness. I’m telling you, looking directly at that moon almostÂ required sunglasses. It was something.
I’ll leave you with what is my favorite Christmas verse of scripture. It is one not normally associated with Christmas but it captures what the holiday means to me much better than any other:
Philippians 2:5-11 (NASB)
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,Â who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard [His] equality with God a thing to be [selfishly clung to],Â but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,Â so that at the name of JesusÂ every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth,Â and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That’s the good news of Christmasâ€”God the Son, suddenly, shockingly being found “in the likeness of men.” Breathing our air. Walking our sod.
That’s also the challenge of Christmasâ€”the charge toÂ follow the exampleÂ of the one who did not cling to His rights,Â privileges and pleasures. But rather became an obedient servantâ€”living and dying for others.
And that’s the promise of Christmasâ€”that one day,Â the knowledge of His glory will cover theÂ Earth as the waters cover the seaâ€”as every creature acknowledges the truth about He who came.
And we can avoidÂ the rush and start now.
We have good friends withÂ one child still under the age of 12. Our girls are all teenagers. Thus they were cajoled and harangued out of bed at 6:15 this morning, while I got to sleep until 9:00. That’s what I’m talking about.
Add to that, the fact that thereÂ wasÂ nothingÂ that requiredÂ assembly at 1am and you have an excellent picture of the advantages of this season of life.
Of course, there are manifold compensations and rewards for staging a Christmas for little ones. Those were fun.
All in all, I’m awash in gratitude. More thoughts later.
A highly influential imam, after lots of time for quiet reflection and intropspection in an Egyptian prison, has come to the conclusion the the 9/11 attacks, along withÂ the 3/11 attack (Spain) and 7/7 attack (London) not to mention the dozens of thwarted jihadiÂ operations that have been planned over the last 6 yearsâ€”were all a big mistake.
As the New York Sun reports:
One of Al Qaeda‘s senior theologians is calling on his followers to end their military jihad and saying the attacks of September 11, 2001, were a “catastrophe for all Muslims.”
In a serialized manifesto written from prison in Egypt, Sayyed Imam al-Sharif is blasting Osama bin Ladenfor deceiving the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, and for insulting the Prophet Muhammad by comparing the September 11 attacks to the early raids of the Ansar warriors. The lapsed jihadist even calls for the formation of a special Islamic court to try Osama bin Laden and his old comrade Ayman al-Zawahri.
Â AÂ couple of thoughts and questions. . .
ButÂ thisÂ justÂ seemsÂ wrongÂ toÂ me.
Is it just me? Or does appropriating the jolly old elfÂ toÂ hawkÂ LuckyÂ StrikesÂ crossÂ someÂ sortÂ ofÂ line?
Sure,Â IÂ knowÂ theÂ oldÂ manÂ smokedÂ aÂ pipe,Â butÂ thatÂ just seems different somehow. Could it be that L.S.M.F.T. actually stood for: “Look, Santa’s MouthÂ has theÂ Frangrance of Tar!”?
Â “And I heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight, “Hey buddy, Zippos’s dry. Can I bum a light?”
Â If I’m ever attacked by 17 maniacal five-year-olds with murder in their hearts, I should be okay. That’s the expert evaluation of the web site, howmanyfiveyearoldscouldyoutakeinafight.com.
I’m not making this up. I have this certificate to prove it.
Â Add an 18th five-year-old and I’m likely to get my tail kicked, apparently.
The survey I took not only asked questions about my physical stature and fitness, but also my willingness to grab a viscious five-year-old and swing himÂ like aÂ weapon against his grubby little comrades.