Thomas Jefferson, Human Rights, Racism, and Slavery


By James D. Agresti and Amanda Read Sheik

June 6, 2018

Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States. Until recently, he was also one of the most widely revered people in U.S. history. Now, he is often spurned and reviled for racism, but the charges against him are highly misleading.

Abruptly Changing Views of Jefferson

For more than two centuries, the Democratic Party proudly traced its roots to Jefferson. In 2008, Wesley Clark, a former Democratic candidate for President of the United States, wrote: “Every year in most states, Democrats flock to their annual Jefferson-Jackson dinners. The emphasis is on Thomas Jefferson, of course, considered the founding father of the Democratic Party.”

From their very beginnings, Republicans also laid claim to Jefferson. The Republican Party, which was formed for the purpose of opposing slavery, was so-named because its founders considered their principles to be aligned with that of Jefferson and the party he formed, which was called the “Republicans.” and later the “Democratic Republicans.” The first Republican platform called for “restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson….”

“All honor to Jefferson,” wrote Abraham Lincoln, for having “the coolness, forecast, and capacity, to introduce into” the Declaration of Independence the “truth” that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The 2007 World Book Encyclopedia contains an article by Ph.D. historian Noble E. Cunningham that states: “Jefferson molded the American spirit and mind. Every later generation has turned to him for inspiration.”

A mere decade later, longstanding and widespread admiration for Jefferson has turned to rejection and scorn in some major segments of society. Jefferson is now under blistering attack from professors, students, and others who say he was a racist. In April, some of these people even vandalized a statue of Jefferson at the University of Virginia, the school that he founded.

As recently as 2007, the history page of the Democratic Party touted Jefferson as “the first Democratic President.” This page has since been scrubbed of any reference to Jefferson. Now, the earliest president it mentions is Woodrow Wilson, a staunch segregationist and supporter of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 2017, the Democratic Party of Louisiana renamed its largest annual fundraiser from the “Jefferson-Jackson Dinner” to the “True Blue Gala” to “reflect the progress of the party and the changing times.” Likewise, the Democratic Parties of ConnecticutArkansasIowaVirginiaMissouri, and Colorado have all struck the names of Jefferson and Jackson from their major fundraising events since 2015.

In 2016, hundreds of professors and students at the University of Virginia condemned the university’s president, Teresa Sullivan, for quoting Jefferson while calling for “cooperation and civility” after the election of Donald Trump. This group of scholars and pupils wrote that they were “deeply offended” and “incredibly disappointed” that Sullivan used Jefferson “as a moral compass,” because he “owned hundreds of slaves” and said that blacks are “as incapable as children of taking care of themselves” and are “inferior to the whites in the endowments of body and mind.”

Those snippets from Jefferson reveal far more about the people who quoted them than they do about Jefferson, because they grossly misrepresent him.

“Incapable as Children”

Regarding the claim that Jefferson said black people are “as incapable as children of taking care of themselves,” his actual words, written in an 1814 letter, say something very different in context:

For men probably of any color, but of this color we know, brought from their infancy without necessity for thought or forecast, are by their habits rendered as incapable as children of taking care of themselves, and are extinguished promptly wherever industry is necessary for raising young.

In a nutshell, Jefferson wrote that people of all races would likely be reduced to dependency by being raised in slavery. In a 1789 letter, Jefferson detailed why he thought this:

  • “A man’s moral sense must be unusually strong, if slavery does not make him a thief. He who is permitted by law to have no property of his own, can with difficulty conceive that property is founded in any thing but force.”
  • “Many Quakers in Virginia seated their slaves on their lands as tenants. … These slaves chose to steal from their neighbors rather than work. They became public nuisances, and in most instances were reduced to slavery again.”

Jefferson emphasized that his understanding of these events was “imperfect,” because they occurred at a distance from him. Thus, he said he would be making a trip to investigate the situation in person.

In the same letter, Jefferson stated he had “no doubt” that black people “brought up, as others are, in habits of property and foresight” would be “good citizens.” This directly refutes the accusation that Jefferson viewed black people as incapable. In fact, he was commenting upon the harmful effects of slavery.

“Inferior to Whites”

Regarding the claim that Jefferson said blacks are “inferior to the whites in the endowments of body and mind,” he actually said this was his “suspicion only.” In the same work, Jefferson did write degrading things about the “superior beauty” of whites, the “very strong and disagreeable odor” of blacks, and the “improvement of the blacks” when they mate with whites. However, he expressed skepticism about many of his conclusions and later wrote that he wished to see a “complete refutation” of them and find that black and white people are “on a par.” He then added:

My doubts were the result of personal observation on the limited sphere of my own State, where the opportunities for the development of their genius were not favorable, and those of exercising it still less so. I expressed them therefore with great hesitation; but whatever be their degree of talent it is no measure of their rights. Because Sir Isaac Newton was superior to others in understanding, he was not therefore lord of the person or property of others.

Looking at these and other writings by Jefferson about race, it is clear that he struggled to make sense of the limited science and observations available to him. Furthermore, he was keenly aware that his knowledge was restricted, and hence, he largely avoided firm conclusions. As he wrote in a 1791 letter to the Secretary of the French Academy of Sciences:

I am happy to be able to inform you that we have now in the United States a negro, the son of a black man born in Africa, and of a black woman born in the United States, who is a very respectable Mathematician. … I have seen very elegant solutions of Geometrical problems by him. Add to this that he is a very worthy and respectable member of society. He is a free man. I shall be delighted to see these instances of moral eminence so multiplied as to prove that the want of talents observed in them is merely the effect of their degraded condition, and not proceeding from any difference in the structure of the parts on which intellect depends.

Slavery

Some people are willing to look past Jefferson’s ownership of slaves, because he was a product of his time. This, however, does not tell the full story, because Jefferson was ahead of his time in this respect. In the world in which he lived, Jefferson and other founders of the U.S. were unique in that they opposed slavery, despite the fact that it was widely practiced throughout history and across cultures.

Barack Obama and many others say that slavery is America’s “original sin,” but there was nothing original about it. Per the Encyclopædia Britannica:

  • “Slavery is known to have existed as early as the Shang dynasty (18th–12th century [BC]) in China. … Slavery continued to be a feature of Chinese society down to the 20th century.”
  • “Slaves have been owned in black Africa throughout recorded history. In many areas there were large-scale slave societies, while in others there were slave-owning societies. Slavery was practiced everywhere even before the rise of Islam, and black slaves exported from Africa were widely traded throughout the Islamic world.”
  • “Slaves were owned in all Islamic societies, both sedentary and nomadic, ranging from Arabia in the center to North Africa in the west and to what is now Pakistan and Indonesia in the east.”
  • “Slavery existed in ancient India, where it is recorded in the Sanskrit Laws of Manu of the 1st century [BC]. The institution was little documented until the British colonials in the 19th century made it an object of study because of their desire to abolish it.”
  • “Slavery was widely practiced in other areas of Asia as well. A quarter to a third of the population of some areas of Thailand and Burma (Myanmar) were slaves in the 17th through the 19th centuries and in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, respectively.”
  • “Slaves were also prominent in Scandinavia during the Viking era, 800–1050 [AD], when slaves for use at home and for sale in the international slave markets were a major object of raids. Slaves also were present in significant numbers in Scandinavia both before and after the Viking era.”
  • “Slavery was much in evidence in the Middle East from the beginning of recorded history. It was treated as a prominent institution in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi of about 750 [BC].”

As John Jay, president of the Continental Congress, wrote, “Prior to the great revolution, the great majority or rather the great body of our people had been so long accustomed to the practice and convenience of having slaves, that very few among them even doubted the propriety and rectitude of it.”

In stark contrast to most of the world, Jefferson and other founding fathers saw slavery as evil and began a process of eradicating it.

In his original draft of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson called the slave trade “a cruel war against human nature itself” that violated its “most sacred rights of life & liberty.” He accused the king of England of “suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.” However, the Continental Congress removed Jefferson’s anti-slavery language to preserve enough unity among the northern and southern colonies to survive a war against Great Britain.

In the early 1780s, Jefferson supported a plan to end slavery in Virginia, even though he felt that the peaceful coexistence of blacks and whites was not practical there because of “deep rooted prejudices entertained by the whites,” and “ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained.” Thus, he proposed to:

  • “emancipate all slaves born after passing the act.”
  • keep them “with their parents to a certain age, then be brought up, at the public expense, to tillage, arts or sciences, according to their geniuses.”
  • equip them “with arms, implements of household and of the handicraft arts, feeds, pairs of the useful domestic animals, etc.”
  • settle them in “such place as the circumstances of the time should render most proper.”
  • “extend to them our alliance and protection.”

In 1784, Jefferson drafted a law to prohibit slavery in all of the western states. It lost by one vote, and Jefferson wrote, “The voice of a single individual would have prevented this abominable crime from spreading itself over the new country.”

Two years later, Jefferson lamented:

What a stupendous, what an incomprehensible machine is man! Who can endure toil, famine, stripes, imprisonment, & death itself in vindication of his own liberty, and the next moment be deaf to all those motives whose power supported him through his trial, and inflict on his fellow men a bondage, one hour of which is fraught with more misery than ages of that which he rose in rebellion to oppose.

As president in 1807, Jefferson signed into law an act “to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States.” The law also prohibited any U.S. citizen from building, fitting, equipping, loading, or otherwise preparing a slave ship.

Why, then, did Jefferson own slaves? He was born into a slaveholding family and inherited about 40 slaves when he was only 14 years old, because his father died. He later inherited slaves from his father-in-law and bought about 20 slaves in order to reunite families and fulfill labor needs. Jefferson owned about 600 slaves, freed two of them during his lifetime, freed five more in his will, and effectively freed three others by letting them escape.

Scholars have speculated as to why Jefferson did not free all of his slaves, but given what he heard about the ill fate of other freed slaves and his view that slavery robbed people of the self-reliance needed to survive in that era, it may have been that Jefferson felt trapped between his disdain for slavery and the hard realities of life at the time. To that effect, in 1820 he wrote:

I can say with conscious truth that there is not a man on earth who would sacrifice more than I would, to relieve us from this heavy reproach, in any practicable way.

Later Developments

A year before he died, Jefferson wrote that slavery was one of the “greatest anxieties” of his lifetime, but “the march of events has not been such” to end it “within the limits of time allotted to me.” Hence, he left this task to “the work of another generation.”

Four decades later, Jefferson’s vision became a reality when the U.S. Constitution was amended to prohibit slavery. The amendment, which banned “slavery” and “involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted,” echoed the words that Jefferson drafted to ban slavery in the west:

That after the year 1800, there shall be neither slavery or involuntary servitude in any of the said states, otherwise than in punishment of a crime, whereof the party shall have been convicted to have been personally guilty.

Many years later, Jefferson’s desire to see a “complete refutation” of the view that there are fundamental biological differences between human races came to pass due to the advances of modern science:

  • The science of physiology proved that all races have the same coloring pigment in their skin (melanin), and differences in skin color stem merely from the quantity of it.
  • The science of genetics showed that there is more genetic variation among the people of any race than there is between one race and another.
  • Medical experience demonstrated that the “transplantation of organs across racial groups can be performed without fear of an additional problem occurring as a result of some inherent difference between the donor and recipient races.”
  • Nationally representative tests on the mental capacities of children found “only minor racial differences” that “disappear with the inclusion of a limited set of controls.”
  • Standardized tests revealed that people of all races excel intellectually when they have competent schooling.

Jefferson didn’t have this scientific data, but his words and deeds still moved the causes of universal freedom and racial equality forward. Ironically, the same factions of society that slander Jefferson revere others who came after him and set these causes backwards. A prime example is Charles Darwin and his early supporters, who routinely declared that blacks were evolutionarily inferior to whites. For example, in an 1871 book entitled The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote:

At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world. At the same time the anthropomorphous [human-like] apes … will no doubt be exterminated. The break between man and his nearest allies will then be wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, even than the Caucasian, and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as now between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

In the words of a Harvard University Press book written by Stephen Jay Gould, one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century:

Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1859 [when Darwin’s Origin of Species was published], but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory.

This continues to the current day. A 2015 serial work about academic theories on Africa describes “a significant body of modern scientific literature” from “comparative and evolutionary psychology” claiming that “sub-Saharan African populations have, on average, very low intelligence….” This book also:

  • states that it is “by no means outside the mainstream in some fields of scientific research to claim that Africans are cognitively and/or culturally inferior specimens of humanity not fully evolved from earlier forms or left behind in the course of recent and rapid biological and cultural evolution.”
  • cites six sources to document that the “evidentiary basis” of such conclusions are “extremely poor….”

Yet, the University of Virginia celebrates a “Darwin Day,” and the first 100 Google results for Darwin Day University of Virginia show no criticism of this event. This, in conjunction with professors’ and students’ deceitful attacks on Jefferson, beg the question of the real basis of these attacks.

Given the leftist and anti-U.S. attitudes that prevail on many college campuses and in other segments of the public, and given the facts that Jefferson “molded the American spirit and mind,” wrote that people’s rights don’t come from government but from “their Creator,” statedthat government should “not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned,” and declared that the U.S. Constitution does not allow the federal government to create social welfare programs, it is understandable how Jefferson would become the object of their hatred and slander.

Addendum (6/22/18): In addition to Jefferson’s anti-slavery actions listed above, in 1783, he drafted a constitution for the state of Virginia that would have immediately stopped “the introduction of any more slaves to reside in this state” and outlawed the enslavement of anyone born after December 31, 1800.

Epiphany of the Lord


H/T to Lucille for the following video.

The Feast Of Epiphany


 

On January 6 Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany of our Lord. The word epiphany comes from the Greek word epiphainen and means “to manifest” or “to reveal.”

In the Catholic Church in the United States we observe Epiphany this year today, Sunday January 5th, rather than the actual date. So, some confusion for me as to which day to post this, so I am putting it up today, to be here for all to enjoy, whether you choose to observe today or tomorrow.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. the great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee.

In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation.

The magi’s coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations.

Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament.

The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”) [CCC 528]. Taken from a post on NCR here.

The magi, also known as the Wise Men and the Three Kings, although the number was never specified in the Bible, came seeking the King because of a widespread belief that a universal king would come from the nation of Israel.

 

AlleluiaMT 2:2

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMT 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea,
in the days of King Herod,
behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews?
We saw his star at its rising
and have come to do him homage.”
When King Herod heard this,
he was greatly troubled,
and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people,
He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea,
for thus it has been written through the prophet:
And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
since from you shall come a ruler,
who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly
and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said,
“Go and search diligently for the child.
When you have found him, bring me word,
that I too may go and do him homage.”
After their audience with the king they set out.
And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them,
until it came and stopped over the place where the child was.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star,
and on entering the house
they saw the child with Mary his mother.
They prostrated themselves and did him homage.
Then they opened their treasures
and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod,
they departed for their country by another way.

 

Happy New Year


Re Posted from Armstrong Economics Jan 1, 2020 by Martin Armstrong

According to Chinese Zodiac, the Jade Emperor said the order of the zodiac would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Ox was about to be the first to arrive, but Rat tricked Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox. Thus, Ox became the second animal in the zodiac and the Rat the first.

Happy New Year 


From all the crew here at the The Conservative Treehouse, we wish you the best new year ever. Over the years you have laughed and cried, celebrated and prayed with us, not only for our country, our President, and many events that have brought this rag tab bunch together in mutual interest, but for each other and our families.

We wish you the very best today and every day to follow, and appreciate the fact that you are here with us.

Some of us believe in New Year’s Resolutions and some don’t. In the past I have devoted a lot of time to coming up with too many things to put on my list. These past years I have greatly pared it down to a few things.

After that I looked underneath the one or two things most important to me, to see if I could think about specific things to bring about the end result I wanted, and work on basics.

This year I have yet another approach, but it is really hard to put into words and share. A few weeks ago our priest suggested (and of course I am paraphrasing his idea here, but trying very hard to stick to his meaning) that we limit God with our idea of who He is, what He is capable of, what His plans ought to be.

Because we are small, timid, afraid spiritually, and most of all perhaps, afraid to really trust Him enough, we stick to really little things, we approach the perimeters of His greatness, glory, mercy, and wonderful design, for us, for all humanity, for all of history, unfolding now and forever.

Despite constant evidence that great things are accomplished by people just exactly like you and me, despite the two thousand year history of Christianity, despite the ages old history of God’s faithfulness to His people, we cower and rarely venture out in faith, in hope, in charity, fully clothed in the power that is ours to call on.

This year I am going to work on changing my vision. Can’t say that today or any other day it will be a done deal, but I am going to try to remember to ask God not only for what might be no trouble for Him, some little thing that is likely to come my way anyhow. And nope, it won’t be asking to win the lottery or something along those lines.

I am going to try to open my heart, give God my fears and insecurities and let Him help me grow into whatever He might intend. That isn’t really easy for me, because first of all, I am a control freak. Second, I naturally try to boss people around, and I think I am pretty good at logistics and getting things done. I like to plan things.

Most of all though, I read a lot, and observe things. Giving God control is not an easy thing, and there actually is a lot that can be scary about it. He has a habit of taking a lot of people where they don’t want to go.

John chapter 21, v 18 says:

* Amen, amen, I say to you,j when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

Now, I do not expect to be martyred as St. Peter was, and every other apostle except St. John, but I do think that God expects me to sacrifice myself to His work and plans, and I absolutely have no agreement or basis of understanding for the prosperity gospel folks.

As I read the Bible, I am told that Jesus expects me, tells me himself, to take up my cross and follow him. And I should do it joyfully because he promises to help make that burden light.

So, this year I hope to work to trust that promise, and learn that way. I really suck at that. I’ve pretty much failed every attempt, with a few exceptions, exceptions that were in fact gifts of pure grace from God, not my doing at all, just rare moments of me not getting in His way.

So, this year, I figure my best bet is to start everyday with the truth. Jesus, Father God, Holy Spirit, I am afraid, I can’t do this, but I believe you can. Help me, lead me, carry me today, for I have nothing to give, so please, please, help me empty myself and let you do the work. I am not sure I even have the ability to crack the door open God, so please, would you just come in and get started on me today?

You see, I might never be courageous, faith filled, or even able to say yes and do it, even in little ways. But I finally believe that I can just tell Him that and hopefully hang on for the ride.

I hope you will pray for me, as I will for you guys. Happy New Year. Ask.Big.Things.

A New Year Dawns…


I have long felt that life is like a series of links in a chain. You might be driving down the road and you hear a song on the radio, or see a picture, and you feel a memory…. Something that reminds you of a different time and place than where you are right now.

You reflect.

The memories you consider remind you of a totally different time in your life. Perhaps you lived in a different place. Perhaps you were surrounded by different people. Perhaps a different job or completely different friends.

You recognize those memories were constructed like frozen moments in time. They become individual links in the chain in your life.

We never actually realize, in the immediate moment, when one link closes, and another link begins. But when we look back, we can clearly see distinct points where things changed, the link closed, and a new link began. The links are only clearly visible in reflection.

As we reflect we find parts of the chain in our life where each link closes and connects with the other. A beginning, and an end.

At the point where the links are joined we carry parts of the previous link forward to the next.

For many people those connections are bonded by family, or very strong life long relationships. Connections which continue beyond our geographic moments, jobs, or temporary acquaintances.

But for everyone, the primary bonding agent brought forward from one link to the next is ourselves, our center, our values and core principles. Our beliefs.

The strength of the steel which comprises the links of our life is determined by forging in the fire of adversity, weakness, challenge, pain, loss, and painful growth. The steel is then cooled with the tears of triumph, hurdles overcome, and resolve.

The forging makes the steel stronger and able to withstand the pressures that accompany the additional length. Slowly the chain becomes wiser as it lengthens. Able to reach further, form more significant benefits, and become more useful.

Hope replaces fear. Love replaces loneliness. Success replaces adversity. These are successful links began and finished while contributing to the whole.

At times we may manipulate the links with avoidance. We hide from or choose to avoid an issue in our effort to begin a new link before the old one was naturally, and spiritually, prepared to be closed. Eventually as life continues, and the chain lengthens, the weak link can fracture and we are forced to revisit/repair what we originally chose to avoid.

You see, in life we cannot control the universal laws that guide us. So if we manipulate circumstances to avoid confronting our own weakness, we cannot fully strengthen our life of links. Eventually, the weakness of our past will impact our future.

So what principles do we carry from link to link? What core values and beliefs stay with us throughout the journey of our lives? The answers to these questions are what makes us human spiritual beings.

We possess freewill able to make choices about what we do, and how we define our individual humanity; but can we then define ’right’ and ‘wrong’ according to our individual principles? Or are there principles that exceed our influence and definition? Are there natural laws of right and wrong, good and bad, that cannot be subjected to the determination of man? These are the bigger questions, perhaps the more important questions, and yet perhaps the ones we reflect upon the least.

Consider the example of the ‘Law of the farm’ vs. the ‘Law of the School’. Natural principles vs. those made by man.

A student can skip class, take few notes, pay only half attention, then stay up all night cramming for a test and manage a decent grade. It depends on the students goal: grades or learning.

The student can choose to manipulate the education, by avoiding the learning and capturing the grade. This is possible in the ‘Law of the School’. However, a farmer cannot take short cuts. A farmer cannot avoid tending to the soil, preparing the seed, fertilizing and nurturing the crop, and still gain benefit of an abundant harvest. The farmer must necessarily do all of the appropriate work in order to benefit from it. Such is the ‘Law of the Farm’, the natural law.

When one considers the weakness remaining within a poorly constructed, and manipulated link, perhaps established by selfish choices and driven by avoidance and fear, one can be faithfully be assured those who have dealt dishonestly with us will have to visit the issues of their association again. No amount of manipulation or avoidance is going to improve the frailty of any link without first resolving the lack of character which created the weakness.

So we have choices in our lives. Decisions we each make regarding how we interact, and participate in the lives and links of others; As well as how we choose to construct the links that compromise our own lives. Do we base our sense of purpose around natural principles? Principles based on natural laws of right and wrong, good and bad, truth and lies.

Do we forge strong links based on following our heart, our values? If we can interact with others absent of a prideful self-driven agenda, or manipulative intent, we can then apply such principles and strength to our endeavors.

If we protect the integrity of the soil upon which we build the foundation of our lives, we can live without regret. If we fertilize and cherish our crop, and the crop of our neighbor with honesty and sincere appreciation for the souls we meet along our chosen path, we will live a life of abundance. If we tend carefully to the consideration of everyone, yet holding true to our values and principles, we can strengthen ourselves amid the face of adversity and disenchantment.

If we do not hide from, nor ignore, our individual and collective faults, we can build the chain of our life with strength, humility, and purpose.

I wish for each of you a long chain of bold, strong, beautiful links, polished with the reflective brilliance of Love……..  The very happiest of blessings for a brand New Year.

Sundance

Story of the day – Christmas Day In The Morning (Pearl S. Buck)


Because giving at Christmas is always better than receiving, isn’t it?

He woke suddenly and completely. It was four o’clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years, and yet he waked at four o’clock in the morning. He had trained himself to turn over and go to sleep, but this morning it was Christmas, he did not try to sleep.

Why did he feel so awake tonight? He slipped back in time, as he did so easily nowadays. He was fifteen years old and still on his father’s farm. He loved his father. He had not known it until one day a few days before Christmas, when he had overheard what his father was saying to his mother.

“Mary, I hate to call Rob in the mornings. He’s growing so fast and he needs his sleep. If you could see how he sleeps when I go in to wake him up! I wish I could manage alone.”

“Well, you can’t, Adam.” His mother’s voice was brisk. “Besides, he isn’t a child anymore. It’s time he took his turn.”

“Yes,” his father said slowly. “But I sure do hate to wake him.”

When he heard these words, something in him spoke: his father loved him! He had never thought of that before, taking for granted the tie of their blood. Neither his father nor his mother talked about loving their children–they had no time for such things. There was always so much to do on the farm.

Now that he knew his father loved him, there would be no loitering in the mornings and having to be called again. He got up after that, stumbling blindly in his sleep, and pulled on his clothes, his eyes shut, but he got up.

And then on the night before Christmas, that year when he was fifteen, he lay for a few minutes thinking about the next day. They were poor, and most of the excitement was in the turkey they had raised themselves and mince pies his mother made. His sisters sewed presents and his mother and father always bought him something he needed, not only a warm jacket, maybe, but something more, such as a book. And he saved and bought them each something, too.

He wished, that Christmas when he was fifteen, he had a better present for his father. As usual he had gone to the ten-cent store and bought a tie. It had seemed nice enough until he lay thinking the night before Christmas. He looked out of his attic window, the stars were bright.

“Dad,” he had once asked when he was a little boy, “What is a stable?”

“It’s just a barn,” his father had replied, “like ours.”

Then Jesus had been born in a barn, and to a barn the shepherds had come…

The thought struck him like a silver dagger. Why should he not give his father a special gift too, out there in the barn? He could get up early, earlier than four o’clock, and he could creep into the barn and get all the milking done. He’d do it alone, milk and clean up, and then when his father went in to start the milking he’d see it all done. And he would know who had done it. He laughed to himself as he gazed at the stars. It was what he would do, and he musn’t sleep too sound.

He must have waked twenty times, scratching a match each time to look at his old watch — midnight, and half past one, and then two o’clock.

At a quarter to three he got up and put on his clothes. He crept downstairs, careful of the creaky boards, and let himself out. The cows looked at him, sleepy and surprised. It was early for them, too.

He had never milked all alone before, but it seemed almost easy. He kept thinking about his father’s surprise. His father would come in and get him, saying that he would get things started while Rob was getting dressed. He’d go to the barn, open the door, and then he’d go get the two big empty milk cans. But they wouldn’t be waiting or empty, they’d be standing in the milk-house, filled.

“What the–,” he could hear his father exclaiming.

He smiled and milked steadily, two strong streams rushing into the pail, frothing and fragrant.

The task went more easily than he had ever known it to go before. Milking for once was not a chore. It was something else, a gift to his father who loved him. He finished, the two milk cans were full, and he covered them and closed the milk-house door carefully, making sure of the latch.

Back in his room he had only a minute to pull off his clothes in the darkness and jump into bed, for he heard his father up. He put the covers over his head to silence his quick breathing. The door opened.

“Rob!” His father called. “We have to get up, son, even if it is Christmas.”

“Aw-right,” he said sleepily.

The door closed and he lay still, laughing to himself. In just a few minutes his father would know. His dancing heart was ready to jump from his body.

The minutes were endless — ten, fifteen, he did not know how many — and he heard his father’s footsteps again. The door opened and he lay still.

“Rob!”

“Yes, Dad–”

His father was laughing, a queer sobbing sort of laugh.

“Thought you’d fool me, did you?” His father was standing by his bed, feeling for him, pulling away the cover.

“It’s for Christmas, Dad!”

He found his father and clutched him in a great hug. He felt his father’s arms go around him. It was dark and they could not see each other’s faces.

“Son, I thank you. Nobody ever did a nicer thing–”

“Oh, Dad, I want you to know — I do want to be good!” The words broke from him of their own will. He did not know what to say. His heart was bursting with love.

He got up and pulled on his clothes again and they went down to the Christmas tree. Oh what a Christmas, and how his heart had nearly burst again with shyness and pride as his father told his mother and made the younger children listen about how he, Rob, had got up all by himself.

“The best Christmas gift I ever had, and I’ll remember it, son every year on Christmas morning, so long as I live.”

They had both remembered it, and now that his father was dead, he remembered it alone: that blessed Christmas dawn when, alone with the cows in the barn, he had made his first gift of true love.

This Christmas he wanted to write a card to his wife and tell her how much he loved her, it had been a long time since he had really told her, although he loved her in a very special way, much more than he ever had when they were young. He had been fortunate that she had loved him. Ah, that was the true joy of life, the ability to love. Love was still alive in him, it still was.

It occurred to him suddenly that it was alive because long ago it had been born in him when he knew his father loved him. That was it: Love alone could awaken love. And he could give the gift again and again.This morning, this blessed Christmas morning, he would give it to his beloved wife. He could write it down in a letter for her to read and keep forever. He went to his desk and began his love letter to his wife: My dearest love…

Such a happy, happy Christmas!

The Glory of Western Civilization: A Christmas Inheritance They Must Not Destroy


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The soaring arches of a cathedral and the high, pure voices of an English Christmas choir inspire Bill Whittle, Scott Ott and Stephen Green, to reflect on our inheritance in a western civilization that finds its fountain in immutable, enduring, divine principle. From the secular joys of Santa Claus, to the birth of the Christ, our treasure has endured, and they must not destroy it. See this show produced live aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in May 2020, and meet a lot of people like you. Find out more, and reserve your cabin now at https://BillWhittleCruise.com Right Angle is a production of our Members: https://BillWhittle.com/register/ Listen to audio versions of this show: https://Bit.ly/BWN-Podcasts

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Live At The Helix In Dublin…


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Celtic Woman “Home for Christmas” Available Now on Amazon! Deluxe Edition (Studio CD + Live Concert DVD)http://smarturl.it/CWH4C_AmzDlx Home for Christmas: Live from Dublin (DVD):http://smarturl.it/CWH4C_AmzDVD Also available on BluRay! http://smarturl.it/CWH4C_AmzBR Music video by Celtic Woman performing Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. (C) 2013 Celtic Woman Limited Under Exclusive Lincence To Manhattan Records

The People Who Walked In Darkness Have Seen A Great Light


nativityIS 9:1-6

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for flames.
For a child is born to us, a son is given us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
from David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
by judgment and justice,
both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

GospelLK 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus
that the whole world should be enrolled.
This was the first enrollment,
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.
So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town.
And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth
to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,
because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there,
the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son.
She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger,
because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields
and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid;
for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David
a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you:
you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel,
praising God and saying:
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

This is a Christmas post. Absolutely no tolerance will be given to any off topic comments. Please respect the intent and nature of this post, keeping it open for Christmas greetings and comments.