Hi, Everyone! It's another Christmas letter from Coyne'r'Butch.
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world
should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one unto his own city. And Joseph also went up from
Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem...
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was that, while they were there,
the days were acomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped
him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country, sheperds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in
swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly
host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
The message of Christmas never changes,
and neither does its beauty or its power.
Great to see you made it here, and that my little note about http://cbxmas.com worked. Did you like the little
picture on the insert? If you did, you can see the original
here on WikiMedia Commons.
December, 2011, Already?
So another year has gone by, and I could swear the year was on warp speed. Frankly,
I'm not ready for Christmas (though it looks like I will get cards sent almost on time).
I've tried and tried, and I just can't seem to get in
So you're not getting much of a letter I'm afraid, if you go by happy news from me.
I'm well; still living in the same place; working away at the same project as last year.
Beyond that, well, I guess I'll let a few stories and the card speak for me...
God's Grace Simplified
I received this from someone by email.
There once was a man named George Thomas, pastor in a small New England town. One
Easter Sunday morning he came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and
set it by the pulpit. Eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, Pastor Thomas began to speak....
I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me swinging
this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright.
I stopped the lad and asked, "What do you have there, son?"
"Just some old birds," came the reply.
"What are you going to do with them?" I asked.
"Take 'em home and have fun with 'em," he answered. "I'm gonna tease 'em and pull out their feathers to
make 'em fight. I'm gonna have a real good time."
"But you'll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?"
"Oh, I got some cats," said the little boy. "They like birds. I'll take 'em to them."
The pastor was silent for a moment. "How much do you want for those birds, son?"
"Huh?? !!! Why, you don't want them birds, mister. They're just plain old field
birds. They don't sing. They ain't even pretty!"
"How much?" the pastor asked again.
The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, "$10?"
The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy's hand.
In a flash, the boy was gone. The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of
the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door,
and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.
Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story:
One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting. "Yes, sir, I just caught a world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn't resist. Got 'em all!"
"What are you going to do with them?" Jesus asked.
Satan replied, "Oh, I'm gonna have fun! I'm gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other, how to hate and abuse each other, how to drink and smoke and curse. I'm gonna teach them how to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I'm really gonna have fun!"
"And what will you do when you are done with them?"
Jesus asked. "Oh, I'll kill 'em," Satan glared proudly.
"How much do you want for them?" Jesus asked.
"Oh, you don't want those people. They ain't no good. Why, you'll take them and they'll just hate you. They'll spit on you, curse you and kill you. You don't want those people!!"
"How much? He asked again.
Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, "All your blood, tears and your life."
Jesus said, "DONE!" Then He paid the price.
The pastor picked up the cage and walked from the pulpit.
That's the long version, of course. The short version is perhaps more familiar:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son; that whosoever
believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:16 (NIV)
And finally, another prayer by Chaplain Lori Engle:
I pray that your joys be as bright as the morning,
your years of happiness as numerous as the stars in the heavens,
and your troubles but shadows that fade in the sunlight of God's love.
May the blessings of the Lord pillow your hearts all the days of your lives.
Peaceful and Happy New Year.