December 24, 2009

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 10:01 pm

SantaAndSleighMerry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

+++++++++++++++++++

This post is a BizzyBlog Christmas Eve tradition.

+++++++++++++++++++

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas
by Clement Clarke Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes–how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Wesley Pruden’s Christmas Classic: The amazing grace on Christmas morn

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 4:01 pm

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This post is a BizzyBlog Christmas Eve tradition.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The malls and the Main Streets will soon fall silent. The ringing cash registers, the happy cries of children, the hearty greetings of a thousand fraudulent Santas will soon be ghostly echoes in shuttered shops and across silent streets.

But the Christ born in a manger 2,000 years ago yet lives. The story of Christmas continues to quicken the hearts of sinners and transform the lives of the wicked, and nothing illustrates the redeeming power of the authentic message of Christmas with greater clarity than the story of a wastrel English slaver named John Newton.

Newton was born 300 years ago into a seafaring family in England. His mother was a godly woman whose faith gave her life meaning, and he recalled as the sweetest remembrance of childhood the soft and tender voice of his mother at prayer. She died when John was 7.

His father soon married again, and John left school four years later to go to sea with him. He easily adopted the vulgar life of common seamen, though the memory of his mother’s faith remained. “I saw the necessity of religion as a means of escaping hell,” he would recall many years later, “but I loved sin.”

On shore leave, he was kidnaped by a press gang and taken aboard HMS Harwich. Life grew coarser. He ran away, was captured and taken back to the Harwich and put in chains, stripped before the mast, and flogged. “The Lord had by all appearances given me up to judicial hardness,” he recalled. “I was capable of anything. I had not the least fear of God, nor the least sensibility of conscience.”

The captain of the Harwich traded him to the skipper of a slaving ship, bound for West Africa to take aboard wretched cargo. “At this period of my life,” he later reflected, “I was big with mischief and, like one afflicted with a pestilence, was capable of spreading a taint wherever I went.” John’s new captain favored him, however, and invited him to his island plantation off the African coast, where he had taken as his wife a beautiful but cruel African princess. She grew jealous of John, and was pleased when it was time for them to sail. But John fell ill and was left in the care of the captain’s wife.

The ship was hardly over the horizon when she ordered him from her house and thrown into a pigsty. She gave him a board for a bed and a log for a pillow. He was left in delirium to die. Miraculously, he did not die. He was blinded, kept in chains in a cage like an animal, and fed swill from her table. Word spread through the district that a black woman was keeping a white slave, and many came to taunt him. They threw limes and stones at him, mocking his misery. He would have starved if other slaves, waiting for a ship to take them to the Americas, had not shared their meager scraps of food. Five years passed, and the captain returned. When John told him how he had been treated, he branded John a thief and a liar. When they sailed again, John was treated ever more harshly.

“The voyage quite broke my constitution,” he would recall, “and the effects would always remain with me as a needful memento of the service of wages and sin.”

Like Job, he became a magnet for adversity. He was shipwrecked in a storm, and despaired that God had mercy left for him after his life of hostile indifference to the Gospel. “During the time I was engaged in the slave trade, I never had the least scruple to its lawfulness.” Yet the wanton sinner, the arrogant blasphemer, the mocker of the faith of others, was finally driven to his knees: “My prayer was like the cry of ravens, which yet the Lord does not disdain to hear.”

Rescued, he made his way back to England, to reflect on the mercies God had shown him in his awful life. He fell under the influence of George Whitefield and John Wesley, and was wondrously born again into a new life in Jesus Christ. He spent the rest of his life preaching of God’s mercies.

Two days short of Christmas 1807, he died at the age of 82, and left a dazzling testimony to the amazing grace of the Christmas story. “I commit my soul to my gracious God and Savior, who mercifully spared and preserved me, when I was an apostate, a blasphemer and an infidel, and delivered me from that state on the coast of Africa into which my obstinate wickedness had plunged me.” Set to music, his testimony became the most beloved hymn of Christendom.

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
and grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear,
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis grace hat h brought me safe thus far
and grace will lead me home.

Positivity: A Soldier’s Christmas – Call to Action

Filed under: Positivity,Taxes & Government,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 12:01 pm

Note: This has been carried to the top because of its importance.

____________________________________________________

Posted by kmunchausen at YouTube (also at his National Institute of Prevarication), narrated by a gentleman I know, and whom in the short time since I’ve met him I’ve come to greatly admire:

Full text:

The embers glowed softly and in their dim light,
I gazed ’round the room and I cherished the sight.

My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
transforming the yard to a wintry delight.

The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment or so it would seem,
So I slumbered. Perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near.
But it opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know.
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.

Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood his faith weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some 20 years old.
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and he smiled,
Standing watch over me and wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear.
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve.”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with the warm fire’s light.
Then he sighed and he said, “It’s really all right.”

“I’m out here by choice, I’m here every night,
It’s my duty to stand in the front of the line
That separates you from the darkest of times.”

“No one had to ask or beg or implore me.
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
My gramps died at Pearl on then day in December.
Then sighed, “That’s a Christmas gra’m always remembers.”

“My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam.
And now it’s my turn. And so here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while.
But my wife send me pictures. He’s sure got her smile.”

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white and blue, the American flag.

“I can live through the cold and being alone,
Away from my family, my house, and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet.
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
I can carry the weight of killing another,
Or lay down my life with my sister and brother,
Who stand at the front against any and all,
To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said. “Harbor no fright.
Your family is waiting, and I’ll be all right.”

“But isn’t there something I can do?
At the least give you money?” I asked.
“Or prepare you a feast.
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done.
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret.
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for your rights back at home while we’re gone,
To stand your own watch no matter how long.”

“And when we come home, either standing or dead,
To know you remember we fought and we bled
Is payment enough. And with that we will trust,
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

*********

Since the founding of our country, brave soldiers have always left their homes and families to fight and to protect the freedom that we enjoy.

All too many have willingly given their very lives to ensure that their families and their posterity will be able to enjoy peace and prosperity.

Wherever our soldiers have fought, they have established freedom. No lands were conquered, no people subjugated. After every conflict, each soldier quietly returned home, leaving behind only freedom in place of the conflict which cost so many of their lives.

Wherever there is freedom, it has always won by the shedding of blood.

Can we at home do any less than fight for our freedom? Can we stand idly by as our Constitution is being trampled on by those who seek power over us?

We owe it to our Founding Fathers to stand up, take notice, and take action. We must ensure that our rights and freedom are preserved for future generations.

To arms, to arms! The war cry sounds again. Now is the time for each of us to do our part.

It is time for a new generation to rise, to recognize the gifts of freedom, and to fight for freedom now at home.

Lickety-Split Links (122409, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:54 am

FT.com“Climate change alliance crumbling.” Not nearly as much as the entire premise of man-made global warming has crumbled in the wake of ClimateGate.

______________________________________________________

Oh, I guess that makes it OK“Schumer Says Every State Got Special Treatment in Health Bill.”

______________________________________________________

From the Weekly Standard (HT RightBias e-mail)

CBO: Real 10-Year Cost of Senate Bill Still $2.5 Trillion

The Democrats are irresponsibly and disingenuously claiming that the bill would cost $871 billion over 10 years. But that’s not what the CBO says. Rather, the CBO says that $871 billion would be the costs from 2010 to 2019 for expansions in insurance coverage alone. But less than 2 percent of those “10-year costs” would kick in before the fifth year of that span. In its real first 10 years (2014 to 2023), the CBO says that the bill would cost $1.8 trillion — for insurance coverage expansions alone. Other parts of the bill would cost approximately $700 billion more, bringing the bill’s full 10-year tab to approximately $2.5 trillion — according to the CBO.

I would suppose that the $2.5 tril is before adding up all of the “special treatments” Chuckie Schumer extolled in the previous item.

Related: Democrats have apparently been “double counting the savings from Medicare as a means to pay for the Senate health care bill.”

_______________________________________________________

Don’t tell Keith Olbermann – At Time (“Domestic Terror Incidents Hit a Peak in 2009″; HT Gateway Pundit), Rand Corporation expert Brian Jenkins says that “more terrorist threats were uncovered in the U.S. during 2009 than in any year since 2001.”

The list of terror-related “events” that follows includes the Ft. Hood killings. Time put “events” in quotes, which I suppose is acceptable, given that the list is a mix of attacks, thwarted plots, and an attempt to join enemy forces.

MSNBC’s Olbermann, who obsessively criticizes anyone who dares to describe the Ft. Hood killings as a terrorist attack, will apparently have to call out reporter Bobby Ghosh and his lefty layers of editors and other bosses at Time.

Update: I expanded on this a bit at NewsBusters.

______________________________________________________

Contrast Ronald Reagan’s aggressive effort to keep Polish repression visible in 1981 and beyond with the passivity and virtual silence of Barack Obama and his administration on the treatment of Iranian dissidents. The latest outrage that will be ignored — “A semiofficial Iranian news agency says a former government spokesman who became an opposition supporter has been sentenced to six years in prison.”

______________________________________________________

Contacted by National Review, Michigan Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak says “you don’t buy me off,” and that he’s disappointed that Democratic leaders have offered him legislative favors in exchange for supporting ObamaCare.

I’ll be disappointed if Stupak eventually caves, but given the disgraceful conduct in the Senate by Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, and others, I won’t be surprised.

Latest Pajamas Media Column (‘A ‘Progressive’ Christmas: More Financially Trying, Less Visible’) Is Up

grinchIt’s here.

It will go up here at BizzyBlog on Saturday morning (link won’t work until then) after the blackout expires.

__________________________________________________

Intolerance Update, from Illinois – A sign “put up by the Freedom from Religion Foundation” in the Illinois State Capitol building “placed next to a Christmas tree and also near a nativity scene,” reads as follows –

At the time of the winter solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is just myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

Perhaps someone should place a sign next to this POS (Piece of Stupidity) that reads, “This typifies the confused muddle of mental slavery that takes place when people turn away from God and spirituality.”