Merry Christmas Everybody, today is a wonderful day of joy and family togetherness. I know that everyone does not celebrate Christmas, but to me the lack of a Christmas celebration would be completely foreign. On Christmas my family and I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and I know that he may not have been born in December, but this day just happens to be when we decide to celebrate the miracle. Whether you are a Christian or not, it is an undeniable fact that Jesus walked this earth and that he is one of the most inspirational people to ever live. The reason I have to say that Jesus is my favorite person in history is becomes he did what no other person could and he did it for everyone who ever lived. Jesus was able to draw multitudes of people without promising them any type of earthly treasure or amenity, and he is still one of the most quoted individuals of all time. Jesus showed the world how to love in a way that we still have trouble comprehending, and he managed to start a revolution without ever raising a sword. Today, we celebrate the anniversary of the day that the world welcomed the man who would change it forever. I believe that Jesus was the Son of God, and there are billions of others around the world who are willing to profess that same belief. It is amazing to consider that Jesus was just a baby in a manger some two thousand years ago, but today he is the hope of the world, and the promised messiah that many longed to see but few are willing to accept. This completes the series of my favorite people in history, Merry Christmas everyone, hopefully you enjoyed your day.
Today is Christmas Eve, and as I think about this day I often remember the old poem, A Visit from St. Nicholas. The poem is about Santa’s arrival at the home of a child on the night before Christmas. A Visit from St. Nicholas is an extremely charming poem, however I often wonder how it is possible for children to still believe in Santa Claus. With all of the technology available today, I find it odd that kids are not as jaded as their teen counterparts, but many of them still believe in good old Santa. When I was a kid I never had a chance to believe in Santa Claus, because I had older siblings who didn’t allow for much childishness, and also I may have been too clever to think an old man would climb into my window to give me gifts on Christmas. These days, more and more people seem to be against telling their kids about Santa Claus, and while I am not generally in favor of kids believing in Santa, I feel like part of childhood should be exploring and figuring things out. I don’t plan to tell my future children that Santa exists, but if they want to believe he does, I would rather not tarnish their beliefs unless it is completely necessary. When I think about Christmas, I don’t think about presents, or about a jolly old man spreading joy, Christmas is a time to spread the joy of the life we have been given to those who feel they have no reason to be joyful. Try to be nice this Christmas, it isn’t about getting the last toy or pie on the shelf, tell everyone you see Merry Christmas, you would be surprised by how much those simple words mean to a person who is down. Merry Christmas everyone.
I love the Christmas season, and that surprisingly hasn’t changed since my post elementary school adulthood has kicked in. As a child I believed that the best thing about Christmas was a combination of gifts and time off from school, but as an adult I have seen that there is much more to this holiday season. There are millions of reasons to enjoy the holidays but I will keep this post to my top 5 favorite things about Christmas and the holiday season in general.
Christmas Carols – I love those tunes, some of them can be a bit sketchy and all of them are quite dated, but I love having them blasting from my computer or radio. I especially enjoy modern versions of old classics that are done in a sensible fashion.
Christmas Cartoons – I know that I am an adult, but I will never stop watching my favorite Christmas cartoons. I particularly enjoy The Little Drummer Boy and Frosty the Snowman, since they remind me of my childhood and of all things Christmas. I know that some may categorize television Christmas specials with the cartoons, but I can’t stand cheesy and often disconnected holiday episodes of tv shows.
Holiday Light Displays – I love a great lighting display, one of my favorite things about this season is just driving around on a cool winter evening and checking out some of the lighting displays of my neighbors and of the city.
Christmas food – I love holiday foods but I especially love Christmas themed cakes, cookies, snacks, and meals. The holidays are a time when many people put on extra weight, and with all of these amazing treats available, I’m sure there will be several new members to each gym once the new year rolls around.
Family Time – As we grow older and move away from our families and homes, the holidays become much more important for catching up with family and old friends. Family is extremely important, I love that at least once in a year, I have a chance to reconnect in person with loved ones that I no longer see on a daily basis.
As I said before, there are millions of reasons to enjoy the holidays, and even if these reasons don’t appeal to you, I’m sure everyone can find something to brighten these winter nights. If it is possible, try volunteering during the holidays, it is an extremely rewarding to give to those who are in need of some help and to brighten the holidays for all.
I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.- Atticus Finch
– Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird was one of my favorite books as a child, it was a story of courage in the face of stark opposition. In this quote from the book, Atticus, one of the books protagonists, is explaining his definition of true courage. While I fully agree with the quote, I consider courage to be more than just continuing when the odds are stacked against you. Courage is pressing on in spite of uncertainty, courage is standing firm for your beliefs or convictions no matter who is coming against you. Courage is more than just fighting when you feel you are beaten, courage is fighting to win even when you are outnumbered. I am inspired to write this post today because my younger brother is currently in the hospital fighting courageously against an illness that I know he will defeat. It is never easy seeing a loved one go through pain, but I know by the grace of God, that he will be fully healed of his sickness. I dedicate this post to every person who ever has or ever will fight against an illness. As long as you are willing to fight, you will get better, just be courageous and never give up.
Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sometimes you never know how far you can go until you have another person pushing you. Even when you set a goal for yourself the biggest obstacle to overcome is your own doubt. In my opinion, this quote hits the nail on the head when it comes to speaking about human nature and motivation. We all have goals, hopes, and dreams, but often times we don’t know where to begin or if we can even start. We like to know that it is possible to reach our goals, that is why we speak to others about our ambitions in hopes that we will be inspired to proceed. To illustrate the importance of having outside inspiration I will refer to the job of a personal trainer, these individuals push their clients far past their “limits” in order to prove that they can do much more than expected. It is not always easy to have someone push you, but it is always more beneficial than quitting a task far too early. I understand that everyone would prefer to be self motivated, but it is important to surround yourself with people who are willing to push you harder than you thought you can go, in order to reach the higher levels that you know you deserve.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was proof that people can live a full, purpose driven life, even if it is cut short. Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights leader in the south, who is widely acknowledged as one of the major driving forces behind the end of segregation. Dr. King was an activist at heart, and he wasn’t just chasing any frivolous cause, he was trying to make sure that his children did not have to grow up in the same divided United States of America that he knew from his youth. Dr. King was not only demonstrating and marching for his children, but also for everybody who would ever call Earth their home. King did not want the same hate that existed in this country for decades to be accepted as the popular norm any longer, and he used peaceful methods to protest this hate. The use of peaceful protests is an extremely brilliant tactic, as it gives a clear contrast between two sides of an argument, and right is almost never violent. I admire Dr. King because he showed magnificent resolve in approaching his mission, he was a man who always felt he had a calling in life, and when he found out what it was, he threw himself fully into his task. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of my favorite people in history because his work changed the course of history, and while his dream may not yet be fully realized, the ideals he fought to instill are already in motion, and thriving to this day.
The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.
Never stop chasing your dreams, that is a motto that seems to find its way into my blog regularly, and it is definitely one to live by. I honestly believe reaching a goal successfully takes hard work, preparation, and persistence. There is no better way to portray true persistence than by likening it to breaking down a brick wall. A brick wall is tough, and knocking one down is a daunting task, but the incredible thing is that brick walls are not unbreakable. Though these walls are meant to keep things out, if one wanted to get through it all they need is time and a true desire to break it down. Randy Pausch made this statement to a class of his students during his “last lecture,” he knew he was given a death sentence, but he decided that the brick wall that was his health was not going to keep him from sharing his life lessons and wisdom with his students one last time. Pausch used the brick wall to describe any obstacle that his students may face in life, and let them know that these “brick walls” are only walls to those who don’t want it bad enough. Obstacles in life, like a brick wall, always seem extraordinary, but with persistence, hard work, and desire, any brick wall can be broken down.
Dads get a pretty bad rap nowadays, I understand that there are many bad men who leave women with their children, but Father’s Day is not for them. Father’s Day is for real fathers, the guys who know who their children are. I just had to start with that because, over the past few years, I have seen postings over social media belittling Father’s Day due to the fact that some mothers raise their children alone. I respect single mothers and know they work very hard but today is for the fathers, the ones who do their job. The job of a father is an interesting one, especially in humans, a father is tasked with teaching their son to be a man, and also with teaching their daughter what a man is. In most species on this planet fatherhood is just a means to proliferate the species, but with humans fatherhood is more than just the physical act of producing progeny, it is also about rearing them correctly. Fatherhood is a difficult job, yet many men have taken up this task and done magnificently, so I would like to salute my dad and the great dads out there who have worked hard and raised generations of children aspiring to follow in their footsteps.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is a famous astrophysicist who has seemingly brought the exciting world of physics to a generation that no longer cares for the subject. In this era of pop culture kings and queens, it is important to have a voice that provides education while the rest of the world seems to be running from it. Today I read an article from about a year ago, in which Tyson was asked about his stance on religion, a topic he generally stays away from. He basically stated that he is fine with it, but he just doesn’t want it taught in science classrooms. I respect the answer Tyson gave, since to be honest, science is much easier to understand than faith, but the author of the article seemed to miss the point. The article was written by an atheist writer, who would be considered a “militant atheist,” these individuals attack faith and religion as though it is hurting them, rather than ignore it like other atheists. The author stated he wanted Tyson to completely denounce the idea of religion and take a stance against it, rather than give his non combative opinion on the mater. I think Tyson gave the best response that he could have, since he doesn’t study religion, and he doesn’t want to make it his job to tell others what not to believe. The author of the article ended up sounding like an upset man looking for others to join his crusade against people who are not fighting with him. I have not read many of Tyson’s works, but I am fully aware of his contributions to physics. Tyson considers himself an educator, and the primary job of an educator is to enlighten and foster discovery by experimentation. I hope Tyson continues to educate in the same non combative way he has in the past, since there really is no reason to alienate an entire group due to small differences.
One of my favorite animated movies is The Prince of Egypt, this movie is based on the biblical story of Moses, his birth, and how he was used to free the Israelites from Egypt. The Prince of Egypt is a fantastic movie full of musical scores and a compelling story, as it traces the exploits of Moses in a way that is easy to follow for children and adults alike. This movie, while not completely biblical, is possibly the best adaptation of the story I have seen in years as it ditches the Hollywood style of romanticization for a more humble and heartfelt approach of telling the story. The story of Moses has seen many different cinematic releases, most famously in 1956 with Charlton Heston playing Moses in The Ten Commandments, but few are as effective at showing the moral of the story as The Prince of Egypt. The recent film, Exodus, made an attempt to retell the story in a more modern dramatic fashion but in my opinion the director completely missed the point. In Exodus, Moses was portrayed more as an unstable barbarian than as an unlikely leader, the way Moses was portrayed somewhat cheapened the gravity of what he did in the story. While the Exodus movie is good, when taken as purely an action movie, it fails to effectively tell the story of The Exodus, as it chooses action of storyline. The Prince of Egypt is a great film for the family and a splendid example of story telling via animation. I definitely recommend the movie to anyone who hasn’t seen it. It is a great family film and viewers of all ages will find themselves singing along with the catchy tunes for weeks.