Recently Read Books

  • A Delicate Truth- John Le Carre (fiction)
  • Perfect - Rachel Joyce (Fiction)
  • The Expats - Chris Pavone (Fiction)
  • An Event in Autumn - Henning Mankel (Fiction)
  • Winter in Madrid - C.J.Sansom (Fiction)
  • The Brothers - John Foster Dulles and Allen Dulles - non-fiction
  • LIfe Among Giants - Bill Roorbach (Novel)
  • Empty Mansions - Bill Dedman (non-fiction)
  • Woodrow Wilson (non fiction)
  • Lawrence in Arabia (Non-Fiction)
  • In Sunlight and In Shadow by Mark Helpren (Fiction)
  • Lesson in French - Hilary Reyl (fiction)
  • Unbroken- Laura Hillenbrand (Non-Fiction)
  • Venice, A New History- Thomas Madden - (Non- Fiction)
  • Life is a Gift - Tony Bennett Autobiography
  • The First Counsell - Brad Meltzer (Fiction)
  • Destiny of the Republic - President James Garfield non-fiction by Candice Millard
  • The Last Lion (volume III)- William Manchester and Paul Reid (non-fiction, Winston Churchill)
  • Yellowstone Autumn -W.D. Wetherell (non-fiction about turning 55 and fishing in Yellowstone)
  • Everybody was Young- (non-fiction Paris in the 1920's)
  • Scorpion - (non fiction US Supreme Court)
  • Supreme Power - Jeff Shesol (non-fiction)
  • Zero day by David Baldacci ( I read all of Baldacci's Books)
  • Northwest Angle - William Kent Krueger (fiction - I have read 5 or 6 books by this author)
  • Camelot's Court-Insider the Kennedy Whitehouse- Robert Dallek
  • Childe Hassam -Impressionist (a beautiful book of his paintings)

Saturday, December 24, 2011


Christmas time.  It is already here and it gets here faster each year.  I have been thinking about what I like about Christmas and what I don’t like about Chruistmas.  I will start with the negatives.

I don’t like the fact the retailers start their Christmas push at Halloween.  It always bothers me that when I go to Kmart wearing a skeleton outfit to pick up Jaclyn Smith household item, like an 8 inch fry pan, there are already artificial Christmas trees out.

I don’t like the entire gift buying process.  If I had my druthers, I would do away with the entire gift buying tradition.  I would limit gifts to something you personally make, to words (letters, poems and stories) you personally put together and to good deeds you personally do.  So in the “Bud Christmas World”, the gifts you give would come from your own hands, from your own brain, or from your own heart. You can buy toys, electronic and gift cards anytime of the year.  For Christmas it would be nice to give and receive gifts of your own creation.

I don’t like it when Christmas Trees are called Holiday Trees.  They are Christmas Trees so call then Christmas Trees.  I have many Jewish friends and I work at the “Jewish” law firm in Salt Lake City. I respect and admire my Jewish friends and the Jewish culture and history.  But a Christmas Tree is a Christmas Tree it is not a Holiday Tree.  This time of year is also Hanukkah (‘Chanukkah, or Chanuka”), also known as the Festival of Lights, an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. This is a special and important time for my Jewish friends.  The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of the Menorah. I respect and appreciate this tradition. The Menorah is a Menorah, it is not a Holiday candle stand.  A Christmas Tree is a Christmas Tree.

Ok, now for the things I like about Christmas.

I like Christmas music.  I don’t want it to start in November, but in last week or two before Christmas I like to hear it.  In the few days before Christmas I like to sing Christmas songs at Church, in the stores, with friends and family or just by myself.  I like Christmas songs sung their traditional way.  I don’t like Silent Night or White Christmas jazzed up.  When I hear them I want them to sound just as they sounded when I was a boy. 

I like to go to Church during the Christmas season.  Not just once but a couple of times.  I like to hear the speakers talk about being a better person, helping those who need help and about having joy in your heart.  I like to sit in the Church and think about what I should do to be a better person, to help the unfortunate, to be nicer to the Lovely Sharon, to family friends and even strangers.

I like to hear someone read the biblical description of the birth of Jesus.  It’s a simple story.  The words are not fancy, but there is a warmth and peace in the words that I never tire of.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world and everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at ight. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which were just as they had been told.

I like to hug my friends and family and say “Merry Christmas”.  For me it is just another way of saying I love you and I am so fortunate to be your friend or relative.

I like to watch Christmas movies.  I like the old ones and I like many of the newer ones.  I like the Christmas movies that are on the Lifetime TV network.  In all of these movies, there is conflict or disaster or some other tragic thing or event.  The main characters are sad or angry.  Things are bad.  But events unfold in the movie and life becomes better.  New love is found, families reunite, people begin to understand the true meaning of Christmas.  As the viewer of Christmas movies, I always feel good at the end of the movie.  Remember the sheer excitement and joy Jimmy Stewart portrayed at the end of “It’s a Wonderful Life”, that is what Christmas is about.

I like that people wear red and put on Santa hats and wear them to the grocery store. I like to see a Christmas wreath attached to the front of a car.
I like that in most years I have some time between Christmas and New Year to relax, to be with the Lovely Sharon for more than 3 or 4 days at a time.

To my friends and family and to those I come in contact with I say:

Silent night, holy night
All is calm all is bright
round yon virgin mother and child
Holy infant so tender and mild
sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Hallelujah
Christ the Saviour is born!

1 comment:

  1. I really loved this, especially your "negatives of Christmas", I couldn't agree more!