A Blessed Merry Christmas!

Christmas Lights 1Our home has looked like Christmas for quite a while now. Our travel schedule was fairly heavy this fall, so Terry started decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving. About that same time I put up the outdoor lights that line our sidewalks. For both of us, that’s a bit earlier than usual.

But there’s a reason. The local neighborhood association sponsors an annual Christmas tour of homes and Terry was invited to open ours for the occasion. Since December 10 was the chosen date, our preparation and decoration schedules had to be adjusted accordingly.

Terry has always loved to celebrate the seasons! Her primary expression of such celebration has been to unpack the stuff related to the respective season and to display it skillfully around our home. She finds places for decorations that I would never dream would be just the right place. And heaven only knows where she stores all these decorations between seasons. I surely don’t!

Manger scenes in olive wood, ceramic and other media serve as silent testimony to the reason for the season. Collections of angels dominate the parlor, standing guard beside an ancient Bible opened to the Christmas story in Luke 2. More than a score of Nutcrackers stand watch in the kitchen. Swarms of Santas line the stairs. Christmas trees are everywhere, each one decorated to the hilt with ornaments collected during our nearly 48 years of life together.

Different families have different traditions. One of our favorites is for the family to gather for Christmas Eve worship, come home to a dinner of homemade lasagna, gather around the tree in the den for opening gifts, and cap off the evening with a traditional desert, usually “Mint Dazzler.”

Since shopping is not my favorite activity, virtually every gift we give has been selected and purchased by Terry. The lady loves to shop! My contribution to the cause is a few gifts for her and a personal letter to every member of the family, including her, flavored with a monetary gift. The color is always right! The size could be larger, but no one complains or offers to return it.

Even with decorations, family gatherings, special meals and gift giving, Christmas can be a time of stress and sadness, often exacerbated by memories of loved ones who have passed on before us or hearts bruised or broken by decisions or events from the past. But primarily it’s a time of joy!

Terry and I hope for each of you a Christmas full of peace, joy, and thankful hearts. Here is our prayer for you, in the words of A Prayer for Christmas Morning by Robert Louis Stevenson:

The day of joy returns, Father in Heaven, and crowns another year with peace and good will. Help us rightly to remember the birth of Jesus that we may share in the song of the angels, the gladness of the shepherds, and the worship of the wise men. Close the doors of hate and open the doors of love all over the world. Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting. Deliver us from evil, by the blessing that Christ brings, and teach us to be merry with clean hearts. May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children and the Christmas evening bring us to our bed with grateful thoughts, forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

A very Blessed Merry Christmas to each of you!

Reminders to help us keep an open mind—Part 3

Open Box 1Two weeks ago I began a series of prophetic statements reported to have been made in the past that have proven to be inaccurate. Here we go with the third and final installment:

  • “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” – David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
  • “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Co., rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
  • “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.
  • “The super computer is technologically impossible. It would take all of the water that flows over Niagara Falls to cool the heat generated by the number of vacuum tubes required.” – Professor of Electrical Engineering, New York University.
  • “I don’t know what use any one could find for a machine that would make copies of documents. It certainly couldn’t be a feasible business by itself.” – Thomas Watson, head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox.
  • “Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.” – Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.
  • “The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon.” – Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” – Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

So, there you have it, dear friends and readers: “Reminders to help us keep an open mind.” The statements from folks of yesteryear considered at that time experts in their respective fields proved to be short sighted and inaccurate. You’ve heard it said, Never say “never.” They essentially said “never.” But they were wrong.

It’s my hope and prayer that at least in some small way this series encourages you to think big thoughts, to dream big dreams, to not automatically dismiss a courageous vision because it seems impossible, to work and plan and pray for God’s blessing on the endeavors of the bold, the courageous folks who are not satisfied with the status quo. “With God nothing is impossible!”

May God bless and keep you in his love and care!

Reminders to help us keep an open mind—Part 2

bright red and orange open signLast week’s Perspectives began a series of prophetic statements reported to have been made in the past that have proven to be inaccurate. Here we go with the second installment:

  • “The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” – A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. Smith went on to found Federal Express Corporation.
  • “Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” – Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.
  • “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” – Marechal Ferdinand Foch, French Soldier and First World War Commander in Chief of the Allied Armies.
  • “I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” – Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone with the Wind.”
  • “A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” – Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.
  • “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” – Lord William Thomson Kelvin, University of Glasgow and President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1895.
  • “If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” – Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M “Post-It” Notepads.
  • “Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” – Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

Again we see how God has blessed his creation with incredible intelligence, even though premature prognostications, in hindsight, turn out to be equally incredibly short sighted.

Stay tuned for next week’s conclusion to this series.

May our gracious God bless and keep you in his love and care!

Reminders to help us keep an open mind—Part 1

ReminderFrom time to time I receive communications interesting enough to pass along. The next three editions of Perspectives will share prophetic statements reported to have been made in the past that have proven to be inaccurate. Here we go with the first installment:

  • “Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.” – Dr. Lee DeForest, father of radio and grandfather of television.
  • “The bomb will never go off.  I speak as an expert in explosives.” – Admiral William Leahy, Chief of Staff to Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, 1945.
  • “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” – Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923.
  • “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” – Popular Mechanics, 1949.
  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
  • “I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” – The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.
  • “But what is it good for?” – Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, commenting on the microchip, 1968.
  • “640 K ought to be enough for anybody.” – Bill Gates, 1981.
  • “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876.

Stay tuned for next week’s prognostications. In the meantime, thank God for the incredible intelligence with which he has blessed mankind and pray that the crown of his creation will use his gifts for the betterment of mankind.

May our gracious God bless and keep you in his love and care!