Category Archives: Christmas

Put Christ back in Christmas, Holy back in Holiday, Give Santa Claus and commercialism the boot, Make Christmas the celebration of Christ’s birth

Put Christ back in Christmas, Holy back in Holiday, Give Santa Claus and commercialism the boot, Make Christmas the celebration of Christ’s birth

“What’s to-day, my fine fellow?” said Scrooge.
“To-day!” replied the boy. “Why, Christmas Day.”
“It’s Christmas Day!” said Scrooge to himself. “I haven’t missed it.”

“He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew.”

“God bless us every one!”…Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol”

“Thank God for the life of Charles Dickens.”…Citizen Wells

 

I think about this often, especially during Christmas Season.

I have been planning this article for some time, what I would say, saving fitting articles.

And there it was a few minutes ago, running errands getting back in my car, on the rear of the car in front of me.

Santa was very much a part of Christmas and the gluttony of “I want I want” of my childhood.

As I got older the empty feeling after it was over began to make an impression on me. The empty feeling of thinking more of myself instead of others and the letdown that material goods always eventually provide.

Thank God it did.

Even though I was raised in the church and actively took part in the services, the pull of material possessions was too great.

Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, being with family, giving not receiving and reflecting on life.

Sadly, the focus on non Christian materialism, Santa etc., has steadily increased since then as well as the me me me mentality that permeates our society.

Many folks these days substitute holidays to avoid a reference to Christ but even that word originated as Holy Days.

So let’s put the Christ back in Christmas and Holy back in holidays.

Greet people with Merry or Blessed Christmas even if they don’t understand or feel uncomfortable.

Help them to understand.

God bless and Merry Christmas.

 

More here:

https://citizenwells.com/

http://citizenwells.net/

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We were unseen poverty report from News Record, Living among Greensboro’s unseen, Frank McCain and Michael Cottingham, 41 million Americans living in poverty

We were unseen poverty report from News Record, Living among Greensboro’s unseen, Frank McCain and Michael Cottingham, 41 million Americans living in poverty

“And although the slights they felt that day during instances of people who knew them basically looking right past or through them might have momentarily hurt their feelings, they said they felt worse knowing that homeless and needy people are “looked past” every day.

“People don’t admit it, but most people in our community are two to three checks from being in that same position,””…Frank McCain, News Record expose

“Feeding the homeless sounds like you are not the same, that we are not the same community, but if I invite you over and serve you dinner it’s because you are my friend, we are in the same community, we are the same.”…Greensboro’s Amy “The Chicken Lady” Murphy

“He who has two coats, let him give to him who has none. He who has food, let him do likewise.”…Luke 3:11

 

This morning Zero Hedge reported.

41 Million Americans Are Living In Poverty This Christmas

It is being reported that 41 million people are living in poverty at this moment, and 9 million of them do not receive a single penny of income from anyone.  Once you have been unemployed for long enough, you don’t qualify for unemployment payments any longer, and once you are on the street there is nowhere for other governments programs to send a check to.  I have previously discussed the rising epidemic of homelessness in our nation, but most people don’t want to think about that sort of a thing these days.  Even though New York City has the most homeless since the Great Depression, and even though homelessness in Los Angeles is at an all-time record high, most people want to pretend that everything is just fine.

Read more.
The Greensboro News Record reported Christmas Eve.
“We were unseen”
“Poverty is not unique to the state or to this,

North Carolina’s third-largest city.

It is fueled by the addition of families who have fallen out of the middle class because of layoffs or companies closing or underemployment; of working-class people grappling with loss of benefits or reduced hours or rising prices that have given them less to live on; and of those who can’t find work or have given up on looking for it.

Many of those people and families have ended up in a state of homelessness or near homelessness — either sleeping on the streets, in vehicles or couch-surfing among friends and family. Or struggling to stave off an eviction.

Those who work with the local homeless and needy population say it is difficult for others to fathom the depths of the problem — or even see the people behind the statistics.

Such as the family who found a place at the YWCA’s family shelter after neighbors in an out-of-the-way cul-de-sac noticed a car idling there for hours. When the car’s dome light flipped on, children could be seen moving around inside. The residents called police, who called the shelter.

Also at that shelter was the single dad who had been sleeping on a park bench in a quiet park with his 4-year-old daughter because an old eviction kept him from being able to rent again.

That’s one of the reasons McCain, the vice president of community impact and investment at the United Way of Greater Greensboro, and Cottingham, the vice president of marketing and communications, came up with “GSO Unseen.”

In recent winters the extent of the need for shelter has been so intense that the Interactive Resource Center, a day center for the homeless, has been forced to double as a warming station during brutally cold nights because even those people who try to brave the outdoors in the city’s numerous “tent cities” needed a place to go. The YWCA does the same.

At the same time, the United Way decided to focus more of its resources on a long-term approach to fighting poverty.

McCain was telling a good friend about the work, as a way of moving the whole community forward.

“He said, ‘Well, Franklin, what do you really know about poverty?’ He said you don’t know poverty. I do.”

McCain admits he initially was offended. He had upper-middle-class roots, but growing up he had friends whose families struggled. That was also true in college and in his life as an adult.

“Unless you are blind, you see things,” McCain said. “I went to school with people who had less than they needed — but had I truly experienced it? I said maybe he’s right.”

He said he thought about a story on the nightly news about a woman in Phoenix who had left her young children in the car during a job interview. The woman later was arrested.

“Who could think that’s right?” he said he thought at the time.

But as McCain delved more deeply into the root causes of poverty, it became clearer how she came to that bad decision: The woman didn’t have child care. She took a chance, and it was the wrong one. But the story also shed light for him on the kinds of support low-income people need that other people would assume they had.

“I thought, maybe for me to be more effective in the work that we are doing, maybe I needed to get a better understanding, and he was right,” McCain said.

He looked first at the homeless population.

“I saw them as being those who had the least of all,” McCain said.

He shared his thoughts with Cottingham, who had also grown up in a family that didn’t have any needs there weren’t met. Cottingham, who had worked with needs for Medicaid recipients and people with mental-health issues, substance abuse and developmental disabilities, said he knew McCain was onto something.

“It’s easy to think you understand populations you are serving,” Cottingham said.

But had he ever had to choose between food and heat? No.

The idea was to step into the shoes of someone homeless or nearly homeless.

Cottingham, who grew up in Kernersville and graduated from Mars Hills College, has two children younger than 6. McCain, who grew up in Charlotte and graduated from N.C. A&T, has two children, the youngest of which is in college.

On a Monday morning in November 2016, McCain, dressed in a hoodie and slightly stained pants he wore around the house to do odd jobs, and Cottingham, in a flannel shirt and blue jeans, parked their cars near downtown and mentally closed the doors on their middle class lives.

Stepping into their “characters” would be, invariably, easier than they thought.

Traveling with luggage in the middle of downtown during the day gave them an instant invisibility of sorts.

“We were unseen …,” Cottingham said.

“… Even by people who knew us,” McCain added.

As they navigated downtown, two people — a past and a current board member — walked out of a building on Elm Street and directly in front of them.

“People who know us, work with us …,” McCain said.

“… We had to move out of the way,” Cottingham added.

These people who knew them on a first-name basis quickly moved past without even a glance in their direction.

“I almost said, ‘Hello,’ because it was natural to say,” McCain said.

Instead, McCain and Cottingham just looked at each other and kept walking.

The two found the building on the edge of downtown, on a path familiar to those needing help.

“We knew it was important to start the day off at the IRC,” Cottingham said of the day center for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless.

The IRC provides showers, a laundry, an address for mail that could come from a potential employer or family states away and access to services, such as mental-health management.

McCain said he had known very little about the IRC up to that point.

Developing similar cover stories — each said he was unmarried with a child and girlfriend who would be coming in the near future — they separately walked into the lobby and signed up for an appointment with a case manager. Each took a seat among tables full of people already there.

Nothing seemed unusual to those around them.

When McCain spotted Michelle Kennedy, the IRC’s executive director, walk through the open area, he pulled a newspaper up to his face, fearing she might recognize him.

People in the nonprofit world tend to know him because he is among the people who they talk to about needs.

He wasn’t worried about anyone else.

“I think that people made the assumption that if you are here with us, it’s because you have to be here,” Cottingham said.

Many of the chairs were filled with regulars, but McCain and Cottingham were not the only ones there for the first time. Some others had suitcases or carried bags of clothes and seemingly, the last of their belongings.

“I was sad because there were just so many people,” McCain said. “Women, children and families. Young and old. People with disabilities.”

McCain and Cottingham took in the faces and conversations going on around them, from sports to the challenges of fighting for custody of children.

“Some of the most basic things that they offer there help make the people who use those services feel like they are human,” McCain said of seeing people stop by the IRC to take showers and change clothes.

Among those who rested or waited for appointments, they found people in khakis and button-down shirts, dressed for the lives they hoped for, and others waiting for the shower, to get out of clothes they had slept in.

“There were some people who seemed really into making positive steps, and there were some people who seemed checked out, who seemed tired, worn out,” Cottingham said.

They asked those around the different tables where they could find food and a place to sleep, even a job.

Someone mentioned a temporary agency that had luck with helping the homeless find work, including on a construction project going on downtown.”

I urge you to read more:

http://www.greensboro.com/news/local_news/living-among-greensboro-s-unseen/article_cb3a0bc1-f523-5c55-a372-fb6e8efcf978.html

 

More here:

https://citizenwells.com/

http://citizenwells.net/

 

A Christmas message, Christ is born praise be to God, Jesus leads us to the father and guides our actions, Christianity changed the Roman Empire the Vikings and caused a spontaneous truce on 1914 battlefield, God intervened in 2016 election

A Christmas message, Christ is born praise be to God, Jesus leads us to the father and guides our actions, Christianity changed the Roman Empire the Vikings and caused a spontaneous truce on 1914 battlefield, God intervened in 2016 election

Luke 2

“2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there,
the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

2:7 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.

2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.

2:9 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.

2:10 And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

 

Merry, blessed Christmas.

I have about a million things that I want to say simultaneously.

But the message is simple.

Christ was born to lead us to the father and salvation.

The prince of peace who abhorred evil.

Who overturned the money changers’ table in the temple.

Whose message and followers changed the Roman Empire, the warrior Vikings and caused a spontaneous truce on the WWI battlefield in 1914 with the singing of “Silent Night.”

The problem with our world is not guns or money .

The problem is not obeying and respecting the creator of the universe, God and his messenger, Jesus Christ.

God does work in mysterious ways.

I told several of my friends after the election that the hand of God was involved.

I was pleased to find the following.

From the Greensboro News Record December 20, 2016.

“Franklin Graham: It wasn’t Russians who intervened in election, ‘it was God’

Evangelist Franklin Graham doesn’t believe it was the Russians who intervened in this year’s controversial presidential election.

It was God, he declared during President-elect Donald Trump’s final public rally before the Electoral College vote Monday.

“I don’t have any scientific information. I don’t have a stack of emails to read to you,” Graham told the crowd in Mobile, Ala., according to the Washington Examiner. “But I have an opinion: I believe it was God. God showed up. He answered the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people across this land who had been praying for this country.”

His comments also included a prayer that God heal “the divide that we have in this country.”

I encourage everyone—whether you voted for President-elect @realDonaldTrump or not—to come together & pray for him. https://t.co/qbbZuH6k1S

— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) December 18, 2016

Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham, hosted well-attended prayer rallies across the nation before the election, urging Christians to vote. He’d like to believe those rallies succeeded.

When Trump took the stage Saturday, he praised the younger Graham and said he’s heard that Billy Graham, at age 98, “is doing well.””

Read more:

http://www.greensboro.com/ap/state/franklin-graham-it-wasn-t-russians-who-intervened-in-election/article_aec027b1-3cbe-5d45-a3be-77065a6a38c5.html

Amen.

 

 

 

Christmas 2013, Christ Mass, Jesus saviour of the world not Santa Claus, From darkness to light, Transformed Roman Empire Vikings, Message of Christmas simple

Christmas 2013, Christ Mass, Jesus saviour of the world not Santa Claus, From darkness to light, Transformed Roman Empire Vikings, Message of Christmas simple

“I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”…Martin Luther

“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”...John Newton, former slave trade captain, author of “Amazing Grace”.

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”…First Corinthians 1:25

One historical figure:
Transformed the Roman Empire.

Caused a message of love and peace to be spread throughout the world.

Inspired some of the greatest art produced.

Was the catalyst for the invention of the printing press and subsequent spread of knowledge.

Transformed the Vikings.

Inspired Johann Sebastian Bach.

Inspired Martin Luther.

Inspired and motivated the early settlers of the US.

Inspired and motivated the founding fathers of the US.

Was the catalyst for removal of slavery in the western world.

Inspired and motivated the US and western nations to repel the fascism and tyranny in WWII.

Inspired and motivated the US and western nations to overcome Soviet communism.
The figure was not Santa Claus.

It was Jesus Christ, saviour of the world.

Image derived from data embedded in the Shroud of Turin.

J

Christmas 2012, December 25, Jesus Christ message, Tolkien CS Lewis, Where there is darkness light, Jesus Christ transformed the Earth

Christmas 2012, December 25, Jesus Christ message, Tolkien CS Lewis, Where there is darkness light, Jesus Christ transformed the Earth

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”…First Corinthians 1:25

In pondering what to write for Christmas Day my thoughts were dispersed, distracted and delayed. But that often happens.

I believe that in many ways we have become distracted and have missed the point.

In recent discussions with a wise lady, who happens to be Roman Catholic, we both shared observations about the human side of Barack Obama, what has formed his thought processes and the fact that he is a prisoner to his influences.

This does not apply only to Obama but to many on the left, to many people who believe that the problem with gun attacks is guns. Many of these people have no grounding in religion, a moral compass and right from wrong. They are driven by knee jerk feelings and political ideologies.

I have become less of a fan of organized religion and more a proponent of what Christ actually said and did. I am not against organized religion but I believe that we have lost our way with it and have let too many layers of interpretation and discussion and intermediaries come between us and the essence of Christ’s simple message.

The impact we have on others combined with the “smallness” of the world is powerful. Each life touches the lives of others and can ultimately be world changing. A good Christmas example of this is the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, one of my favorites. Another example of how small the world is, “6 degrees of separation” and one person changing the lives of others is this. One of my friends knew Tolkien and CS Lewis. Small world. But the bigger story is the impact of the life of Tolkien on CS Lewis and the world.

From The Blaze December 12, 2012.

“In “The Christian World of the Hobbit,” a new literary analysis of the popular writer, author Devin Brownexamines the intense religious nature of Tolkien’s written works. In a recent interview with CBN.com, Brown provided some fascinating tidbits of information. Among them, a fact that many Tolkien fans might not be aware of: “The Hobbit” author was responsible for bringing C.S. Lewis to the Christian faith.

Here’s what Brown had to say about Tolkien’s religious views and his assistance in helping Lewis find Christ:

[Tolkien] was Roman Catholic. His mom converted; she had been an Anglican. His dad died. So, he went with her in the Catholic faith and was very devout, very pious. That said, when he helped bring Lewis to Christianity—he didn’t bring him to Catholicism, he brought him to Christianity. Certainly, his commitment to Christ was first and his denomination second. But, yeah, he was very pious, went to church not just every Sunday, but often every day. He was one of those kind of people, that I don’t know that very many of them exist anymore.”

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/did-you-know-about-these-christian-themes-in-j-r-r-tolkiens-the-hobbit/

What the nonbelievers fail to realize and we fail to present is not only the message of love, peace and tranquility of Jesus Christ but the impact on the Earth that he had.

Here are some simple, self evident, truths for all to ponder.

Jesus was born in the Middle East of medium skin color, right in the middle, not black, not white.

Christianity transformed the Roman Empire.

Christianity tamed the vikings.

Christianity was a dominant force in stopping Nazi Germany.

There is clearly good and evil in this world.

“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.”…Saint Francis

Obamacare forces 93000 hospital job cuts in 2013, NC hospitals costs up $7.5 billion the next 10 years, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, Mass layoffs

Obamacare forces 93000 hospital job cuts in 2013, NC hospitals costs up $7.5 billion the next 10 years, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, Mass layoffs

“Nobody who makes under $200,000 a year will see their taxes go up as long as I’m president.”…Barack Obama

“I absolutely reject that notion [mandate is a tax].”…Barack Obama

“Glenn Beck has presented the frightening spectre of Christmas past created by Obama. But as in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”  it is the Ghost of Christmas Future that frightens me. The impact of Obamacare on our health care system and the combined impact of Obamacare and record deficit spending on our economy. The taxes of Christmas future to pay for Obama’s actions.”…Citizen Wells June 30, 2012

By March 26, 2010 I referred to Obamacare as a tax and control bill.

From the Greensboro News Record November 25, 2012.

“Hospitals feeling the pinch”

“Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center launched a distress signal in a gathering storm when it said on Nov. 14 that it will cut 950 jobs.

That storm has at its center national health care reform, possible lower reimbursements for Medicare and Medicaid services, and an increasing number of older patients who need more care.

The hospital industry is in for a direct hit — that’s not in doubt.

But mass layoffs may be only one of many solutions for the health care industry’s problems.

The problem for hospitals is choosing the right one: mass layoffs, refined management techniques or some middle ground.

Wake Forest declined an interview request for this article. But it has said in other accounts that the roughly 6 percent staff cut is a pre-emptive measure for expected budget cuts and rising costs. And it expects remaining workers will become more productive as a result.

That’s a delicate balance, said Mark Graban, a national expert and consultant on health care management who lives in San Antonio, Texas.

“It’s easy to add up the cost savings of reduced payroll,” he said. “But it’s hard to add up the side effect of those layoffs.”

He said layoffs are sweeping the industry. Graban referred to a report from the American Hospital Association that says hospitals will cut 93,000 jobs during 2013.

Wake Forest and other major hospitals across the nation pledge that nurse-to-patient ratios won’t change despite the job cuts. Graban said that simple pledge may only mask lingering problems that hurt the quality of patient care.

Nurses and other professional staff, for example, see the headlines, see friends who may be laid off and work in fear, he said.

“A lot of times, quality and good patient outcomes are a result of nurses and other staff going above and beyond,” Graban said. “My concern would be not that the professionals are going to get lazy, but are they going to continue to be motivated to go above and beyond?”

Across the nation, he said, many medical centers are choosing “no layoff” policies and using management techniques pioneered in industry.

“Lean management” is a term many industries use for a variety of techniques that train workers to improve performance, make fewer mistakes and work with higher morale, he said.

Lean does not mean, as many joke, “Less Employees Are Needed.”

Graban worked with one hospital, ThedaCare in Appleton, Wis., which typifies the technique. The medium-size hospital manages conservatively, he said, doesn’t over-hire workers and saves cash for slow times.

Don Dalton, the spokesman for the N.C. Hospital Association, said hospitals throughout the state are using lean-management techniques — especially the smallest hospitals.

The coming changes could cost North Carolina’s hospitals up to $7.5 billion over the next 10 years , Dalton said.

With limited resources, the state’s small and medium-size hospitals feel financial pressure first, he said. So they are looking for any way they can to operate without compromising service.

Hospitals are combining resources to save money. In some cases, that means nothing more than “group buying” of supplies and services — lower prices for bulk buyers.

On a larger scale, Greensboro’s Cone Health signed a managing partnership earlier this year with Carolinas Health Systems in Charlotte.

Doug Allred, the spokesman for Cone, which employs more than 8,000 people , said: “We do not have plans for any layoffs right now.”

When asked to discuss issues facing the hospital industry in general, Allred said: “We are going to decline” an interview.

Jeffrey Miller, the president of High Point Regional Health System , freely discusses what led to the hospital’s planned merger with UNC Health Care.

He said that many unemployed people in the Triad don’t have health insurance, and those who do find that rising deductibles are too expensive.

“So we have a bad-debt problem,” Miller said.

Federal Medicare reimbursements have declined or remained flat, and the program is asking hospitals to fill out more documents to justify expenses.

And finally, the state, which administers Medicaid programs, is cutting its own stretched budget and program reimbursements.

As a result, High Point Regional has operated at a loss for two years. With its 2,212 workers, the hospital lost $40.8 million on unreimbursed care last year.

“It’s coming at us from all directions,” Miller said.

Through careful expense control, Miller said, High Point has not laid off workers, but it has had to cut hours from time to time to save money — and jobs.

Saving money, changing the way a hospital works, changing the way hospitals work together — all are key issues for UNC Health Care and its subsidiaries, said Karen McCall, vice president of public affairs and marketing for the system.

“We need to reduce costs, and all of us are aware of that and we’re trying to take steps to be able to do that through re-engineering,” she said.

Lean management is a big part of how UNC has managed its hospitals.

“It’s really been a core value at UNC for quite some time.”

UNC is planning for a difficult future, especially the unknown effects of more insured people and a growing population of older people who will need more care.

UNC plans to create a system in which each patient has a “medical home,” or a central doctor and staff that can manage the patient’s total care. That doctor would coordinate care from specialists and a variety of other services.

But getting there, McCall said, means spending more money to upgrade technology.

Finally, UNC is constantly keeping an eye on its employees to make sure their morale is good.

“Having worked very, very hard with patient satisfaction, the key to patient satisfaction is employee satisfaction,” she said. “Employee satisfaction is just very important and it’s something we measure and take into consideration all the time.

“We’re looking for best practices outside the industry,” McCall said. “But I really feel that we’re not the only ones doing that. Everyone in health care looking to the future feels that’s very necessary.””

http://www.news-record.com/content/2012/11/24/article/hospitals_feeling_the_pinch

 

Merry Christmas 2011, God bless, December 25, 2011, Jesus birthday celebration

Merry Christmas 2011, God bless, December 25, 2011, Jesus birthday celebration

“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”…Magi, Matthew 2:2

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”…Jesus, John 8:12

“the truth shall make you free.”…Jesus, John 8:32

Merry Christmas

God bless