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Do You Have Salt?

Raoul’s 2 Cents

Bah Humbug!

I was chatting with 2 friends this morning and I found out that they were modern-day Scrooges. They didn’t like the stress, the surprises, and especially the obligation to give gifts. I was disappointed that they didn’t see any joy in this festive season.  But as the conversation unfolded the source of their bitterness was deep pain — a loss of a mother, a loss of a father, etc. How could I blame them? They could only see the fake commercial side of Christmas. I was reminded not to judge the Scrooges in my life but offer sweet patience and understanding because my friends shared the original tale of young Ebenezer Scrooge whose bitterness grew from a broken heart,

We live in a fallen world infested with fallen creatures. Since childhood, most of us are taught about truth, justice and love so bitterness understandably kicks in when our high expectations are dashed when “life” happens. Our traumas can easily transform us into little Scrooges.

The other night I was reading the scriptural verses in the book of Matthew pertaining to the birth of Christ. Three gifts were given to the Christ child by the wise men from the East: Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.  Some scholars guess they came from the area in Iraq maybe even as far as China. Tradition has it that one of them was dark skinned. The statues and religious paintings depict him with African dark-skinned features but Africa is South not East of them. So I’m guessing he was more probably Indian because India also had a strong astrological science at that time. And it wasn’t three Kings but a three men of science who probably traveled with a whole entourage. And they arrived in Bethlehem where the child was born long after the actual birth. They followed a star. It could have been Halley’s comet but whatever it was it stopped right on top of the location of the child. And it wasn’t on the birth day they arrived but no more than two years after because the jealous King Herod ordered babies killed two years and below (read all of this in the book of Mathew).

There was a symbolism behind the three prominent gifts. Gold to acknowledge that he was to be king; Frankincense to acknowledge that he was God and fit to be worshiped; And then we have this strange fragrance used in funerals called Myrrh. I can just imagine Mary, the young mother, looking at the strange gifts: “You sure you got the right address? Thanks for the gold and the frankincense but this myrrh stuff … isn’t that for burying?” I’d like to think these majestic visitors came to visit Mary and Joseph at a low point in their early marriage to remind and encourage the young couple that they were living a prophecy. Apparently, even at his young age, Jesus’ mission to suffer on the cross was already predetermined. Jesus was to die for all of us including the Scrooges among us. If you think about it, Jesus was the ultimate bitter-sweet Christmas present. His birth was a fulfillment of a promise given since Adam and Eve … a gift of love from a father to his children … an unselfish gift to impact the whole human race.

This Christmas what’s at the top of your wish list? A tech gadget? A dress? A new car? How about a gold ring? How about accolades for being the king of your industry? How about a funeral package?

I wish the Scrooges among us could understand the magnitude of this gift packaged in a young child because this is a gift of grace that erases all bitterness. Only then will one experience the true joy of Christmas.

But this is just me.

TGIF people!


Joke of the Week

Thanks to Peter Paul of S Pasadena, CA for sharing this joke.

TGIF Joke of the Week: Salt

Don’s Puns

Sent by Don of Kelowna, B.C.

Don's Puns: Brewed Awakening

Funny Video

Photo Bomber

Sent by Jackie of Whittier, CA

Parting Shot

Thanks to Tom of Pasadena, CA who shared this:

Parting Shots: Emotional-Support-Dog

Thanks to Naomi of North Hollywood, CA who shared this:

Parting Shots: Did You Bring the Money?


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  1. Laura

    December 13, 2019 at 9:16 am

    What a beautiful message!
    Thanks for sharing !


  2. Marilyn

    December 13, 2019 at 9:16 am

    thank you


  3. Tom

    December 13, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Thanks Raoul.
    I enjoy your two cents worth and feel they are worth a lot more. The Gospel and writings of Mathew are terrific for the Advent Season and each year reading them reinforces the message they contain. Match that with Isaiah predicting the birth of the Messiah and your wonder why he did not get a more rousing welcome.

    I think they were expecting a more regal birth and aggressive King that would smite the Romans and chase them from the Holy Land. What they got was more profound .

    A plan for Eternal Life and Love everlasting. I love the whole season of giving and anticipation of the coming of the Lord.

    Your missive every Friday is a Treasure and I love the 2 cents worth.

    Merry Christmas and I so appreciate your talent and gift giving every week of the year. Tom of Pasadena


  4. Chuck

    December 13, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Merry Christmas Tide Raoul,

    Thank you for your email. Are you going to Global Kalinga E=Rotary Christmas gathering on Sunday? Hope to see you two there.

    This is one of my favorite images of Christmas. My Tio Rudy Vargas was commissioned by a man to sculpt this. When I first saw this Santa statue it kind of seemed out of place. They displayed it on a station break on PBS TV, and I didn’t know at the time that Tio Rudy had created it. Just like our culture has made the Easter Bunny almost into a part of Christianity. We know that is not so. Uncle Rudy said that the World knows a good thing when they see it, so they took Santa for their own, but his proper place is kneeling at the manger giving thanks to God for the best ever present to the World. Because of this gift, Saint Nicholas carried on the tradition of gift giving at Christmas. Not only the World loves Santa, but so do Christians. There are more churches named after and dedicated to Saint Nicholas than any other man or saint in the world. The photo you see here is my plaster cast copy of the original. There are two originals that were cast in bronze. My cousin has one and the other belongs to the man that commissioned my uncle to sculpt them.

    My uncle carved them at his studio on Whittier Blvd, about 1 block west of Indiana in East Los Angeles. Uncle Rudy and Aunt Margaret lived in City Terrace. He also had a studio at this home in the basement at home. He also did a lot of work for the movie studios and Disney. One of his other famous carvings was for the Madonna family that owns the Madonna Inn in Santa Maria, CA. For Mr. Madonna’s 60th (?) birthday his wife commissioned Uncle Rudy to carve a Madonna and Christ Child which you can see at the Inn in a display case. They are host to a Wood Carvers Convention. In case you haven’t been there I know you will love it. It is a unique place.

    Christmas was the theme of our Toastmasters meeting this morning and Kathleen Rabago was the Table Topics Master and she reminded us that St Nicholas had a giving heart, even after being imprisoned for some 12 years before being releasted from prison for being a Christian. That might make you qualified for a Humbug!

    I love sharing this at Christmas time.

    Brother Chuck


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