Catchy (Sitting 18) Where in the Hell Is Exactly Where … October 22nd, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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After an exhausting three-day search through the streets of Las Vegas, Prophet Morgan finally ran across Jimmy the Runt (that’s what folks called him), who tried to explain in an animated and often-squeaky voice what had happened to Jubal Carlos.

Matthew had contacted Prophet and asked him to go to Vegas, locate Jubal and keep him in a safe place until Matthew could join them and make the proposal to Mr. Carlos about what certainly might be the bravest and most bizarre promotion in the history of mankind.

It was not an elaborate ruse, but rather, a performance art piece, presenting Jubal Carlos as Jesus–in character, personality, mannerisms and speech. That was the idea.

So Prophet Morgan was sent to locate Jubal, only to discover that he was nowhere to be found. After Jimmy the Runt nervously offered his rendition of the events that had brought about the disappearance, which only left Prophet Morgan with more questions than answers, the Prophet decided to go a little deeper into the honeycomb of the homeless community.

There he met an old Indian chief named Plato. The street folks called him Plato because they thought he possessed great wisdom (and because he insisted that was his name). Plato was just the opposite of Jimmy the Runt. He was slow of speech, overly thoughtful, and unwilling to change his pace for anyone, especially Prophet Morgan, who apparently resembled some of the early settlers who had stolen his people’s land. After three-and-a-half hours of interrogation, Chief Plato finally came out with it.

“They have arrested young Jubal and taken him to jail.”

Prophet Morgan squinted. It seemed completely unlikely. Jubal was well known up and down the Strip, and unless he had gunned down a showgirl outside the Golden Nugget, he probably was not going to find himself in trouble with the law.

But just to make sure, Prophet Morgan headed down to the Clark County Jail, and was able to confirm that there was a Jubal Carlos being held prisoner. He not only was in jail, but had already been tried, convicted and sentenced to spend thirty days there, courtesy of the county.

It was all too odd–and when Prophet Morgan demanded to see Jubal, he was told that unless he was an attorney or had clearance from the federal government, there would be no possibility of making contact.

“What was he convicted of?” demanded Prophet.

A policeman in his late forties, who had obviously forgotten how to smile two decades ago, looked down at the arrest orders and said, “Not that it’s any of your business, but Mr. Carlos was arrested for second degree disturbing of the peace.”

Morgan frowned. “What is second degree disturbing of the peace?”

The cop, without missing a beat, replied, “It’s one degree more serious than first degree disturbing of the peace.”

Prophet Morgan smiled, hoping it was a joke, as the cop stared at him without moving a whisker on his 1973 mustache.

Prophet Morgan left the Clark County Jail and called Matthew, giving him the status. Matthew swore in four languages, three of which he did not know. He hung up the phone and he took the first plane to Las Vegas. Arriving in town, he immediately took a taxi to the Clark County Jail, where he, too, had the pleasure of meeting the Mustachioed Quiet Man, clad in Baker’s Brown.

As Matthew was trying to convince the constable of his need to meet with Jubal Carlos, he glanced down at the file on the desk and noticed that written across it in large letters was the word, “PRIORITY.”

Pointing at the file, he asked, “Is that Jubal Carlos’s file?”

The cop fired back, “It’s none of your damn business, but yes.”

Matthew giggled because even though it wasn’t his business, he still got a reply. He continued, “Why is ‘priority’ written on the file? And while you’re at it, answer another question. What is second degree disturbing of the peace?”

The policeman opened a book, thumbed a few pages and came to Statute 469-374-8. He read from Paragraph Three: “Any individual who engages in any activity which causes the disruption of the common good shall be arrested and pay a fine of $264 and spend thirty days in jail.”

Matthew shook his head. “That’s the weirdest damn thing I’ve ever heard in my life.”

The cop half whispered, “It’s from 1954. Vegas was weird back then. There were a lot of gangsters running around town, carousing and shootin’ their guns off at night. The good folks of the community wanted to make sure they had some law to protect them from the hooligans.”

“Hooligans,” repeated Matthew. “Have you met Jubal Carlos?”

“I have not had the pleasure.” At this point, the cop turned on his heel and walked away. Matthew thought he was going to retrieve another document, so he waited for a few minutes, but the stoic law enforcement officer never returned.

Matthew wasn’t sure what to do. He didn’t have enough legal training to know whether a writ of Habeas Corpus could be rendered, since Jubal was already convicted.

So figuring that Mr. Carlos could be no more than three or four rooms away, he ran through the police station screaming at the top of his lungs, “Jubal! Jubal!”

Actually he was fairly astounded at how long he was able to continue the rampage before he was tackled and thrown to the ground by two burly cops.

Still, they would not throw him into the common clink, where he could be united with Jubal. Desperate and not willing to wait, he shoved one of the policemen, who fell over a trash can, landed against a computer, which knocked over a desk and spilled over to a nearby secretary, who was innocently watching but suddenly found herself tipped over in her chair, unceremoniously landing on the floor. She squealed like a family of mice.

The original cop, who had been watching the strange scene from a distance, ambled over to Matthew and said, “You are under arrest.”

Matthew took a deep breath and replied, “It’s about goddamn time.”

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Catchy (Sitting 17) Come and See … October 8th, 2017

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Matthew stared at his computer screen which had a heading of “International Federated Mercantile Institution”–a fancy name for “bank.” He had been peering at the same page for nearly a half an hour. Actually, the same number. It read, “Balance: $248,798,565.38.

It was hard to fathom. He had mixed feelings. There was joy over having that much capital to play with, but also a responsibility to turn it into somewhat of a completed vision for what Old Man Harts had desired.

What was originally 250 million had been eaten away by legal fees, surveys, transportation and just the transactions that happen when legal and business minds collide. It was still a hell of a lot of money. A hell of a lot of money for a heavenly purpose.

Matthew remained uncertain about why he had decided to take on the project. Even a week ago his inclinations had been negative. But something happened in Vegas that didn’t stay in Vegas.

He’d had an awakening. Not so much a religious eruption, but rather, a clarity of thought. When he met Jubal Carlos, who was working frantically to assist the homeless, Matthew asked himself what was he doing to make the world just a little less crazy?

He didn’t want to be overly analytical. He was certainly basically a good person. He tried not to purposely do harm to anyone and on occasion his generosity was worthy of note.

But was it possible to do more? Especially if you were granted hundreds of millions of dollars to try?

So after the awkwardness with Jo-Jay and Soos in the suite at the casino, he decided to meet with Tomlinson, and see if he could change the attorney’s mood into a positive direction instead of the grumpiness that had ensued.

He stopped off at headquarters and picked up Sister Rolinda and Prophet Morgan, realizing that the uptight attorney with the bow tie, Tomlinson, would have no counter for such creatures.

Sure enough, when Prophet began to preach salvation to Tomlinson and Sister Rolinda recited promises and possibilities for inner healing, the barrister couldn’t wait to transfer the money and get the crazies out of the room.

It seemed strange to Matthew that in a world of emotional agnosticism, Prophet Morgan and Sister Rolinda carried the day with their passion.

But what finally sealed the deal, causing Tomlinson to loose the purse strings, was the plan. Matthew was going to get Jubal Carlos to travel the country, playing the part of Jesus–in character, in appearance, in wisdom, in knowledge and in pungency.

Jubal already had the look. He had the intensity. And he certainly had the inclination to be a helper of mankind. Keeping him out of churches and just in public arenas–colleges and even rock festivals–would create the adequate controversy that could simulate the upheaval which occurred two thousand years before in Israel, when the real guy walked the earth.

It was a plan that needed tuning, clever applications, great press releases, You Tubes and even maybe a short movie. But once again people could come and see Jesus–even though it wasn’t the actual one, but another human being, carefully crafting an image that was sensitive and faithful to the original.

The slogan for the campaign would be “Come and See.”

Prophet Morgan was ecstatic.

Sister Rolinda thought it had potential, but she wanted to meet Jubal to see if he had the goods.

All systems seemed an outrageously wonderful “go.” There was only one problem:

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Catchy (Sitting 13) Can Bad Come Out of Good? … September 3rd, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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In a fit of weary and dreary delusion, Soos stumbled her way through the parking lot en route to her Hertz Rent-a-car, fumbling with her keys. Opening the door, plopping her exhausted backside into the bucket seat and slamming her bag beside her, she gently hammered her head on the steering wheel and unleashed a poetic proclamation of prayer.

“Dammit!”

Having just sat through four-and-a-half hours of meeting–no, not just meeting, mindless meeting. No, more than that–mindless, menacing meeting–with seven or eight folks which could have been nine, her brain had turned inside out, dumping both its knowledge and its will to live, exposing the insanity that had always lurked within.

She ran the words through her mind.

“Soos, I was wondering if you could type up some notes to summarize today’s meeting with the attorney, Marcus Tomlinson.”

She had stared at Matthew, who made the request, as if he had possibly had a stroke. How was anyone supposed to sum up four-and-a-half hours of lethargy in motion? For after all, it was a meeting to prove that a meeting had occurred, to discuss why a meeting was necessary, to conclude that a future meeting would be required. It was like paint drying while staying wet.

It began painfully slow, but Soos knew she was in real trouble when Tomlinson arrived with a guest–a tall, elegant man of color in his late forties, garishly dressed in expensive clothing which shouted its value. His name was Bishop Merrill Handerling. He was the director of the Believers International Fellowship (B.I.F.)

She remembered thinking to herself that Bif was the villain in “Back to the Future.” Quickly regaining her maturity, she attempted to listen as Matthew, Randall, Jo-Jay, Marcus Tomlinson and Bishop Merrill discussed the potential, but mostly the dangers, of the project of making Jesus popular again.

Although Attorney Tomlinson was careful to be respectful of Arthur Harts, who had been dead for less than three months, he also made it completely clear, in his litigious way, that the old fart was crazy.

The Bishop objected to any criticism toward the billionaire–but also wanted to establish that he felt there was a sinister element in commercializing Jesus and turning him into the new “flavor of the day.” (At this point, the dignified black gentleman actually held for laughter. Jo-Jay was generous and giggled a little.)

How was Soos supposed to immortalize the collision of imaginary trains of thought? No one actually knew what they were talking about. To some degree, no one actually cared.

But things really stalled when Prophet Morgan stepped into the room, arriving late, and the Bishop and the Prophet came face-to-face. Soos remembered thinking to herself that it sounded like great stage direction for a Shakespearean play. It became quickly obvious that everything Bishop disliked Prophet approved of, and likewise, everything that profited the Prophet baffled the Bishop.

They just didn’t like each other.

Meanwhile, Matthew sat over in the corner trying to shrink and disappear, looking like he wished he was a cube of ice that could simply melt.

Soos was shocked. After all the discussions and back-and-forth agreements, it seemed that Attorney Tomlinson was trying to find a way to euthanize the whole “popular Jesus” idea, hoping he could use this overstated Bishop to be the hit man.

After hours of exhausting listening, Soos spoke up for herself. She remembered the moment well because it was so contrary to her normal personality that it seemed to be coming from a different person who had temporarily taken occupation of her soul.

“I don’t think anything bad can come of doing something good.”

That’s what she said. It was not terribly intellectual, but in this room full of disconnected thoughts, it sounded almost Biblical.

Matthew sat up in his chair as if suddenly aware that life was still going on. The Bishop accidentally spoke a quick “amen” before realizing that Soos was disagreeing with him. And Prophet? Well, Prophet leaned over and kissed Soos on the mouth.

Immediately after that simple statement, the meeting was adjourned to a future time which would be determined in the future if such a future was necessary.

It was also shortly after that statement that Soos received the instruction to “type up a summary” of the meeting–her punishment for profundity.

She now sat in her car and just tried to decompress. She needed a diversion. If she were a drinker, this would require a martini. If she were an exercise freak, she would need to go run. If she were religious, prayer would be demanded.

But Soos was a carboholic.

On her way back to the Holiday Inn Express, she picked up a dozen doughnuts.

 

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Catchy (Sitting 10) The Three Muster Tears … August 13th, 2017

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Randall changed his mind.

He came into the office on Monday morning, apologized for the legal maneuvering and explained that he was interested in being part of the project.

Matthew was suspicious. Perhaps Randall was just trying slip into the inner workings to find out if there was any money in play–to gain further ammunition for the court battle.

Matthew always hated himself for being cynical, regretting it even more when he was right.

Randall apparently sensed Matthew’s skepticism. “I suppose you wonder if I was visited by three ghosts, who spooked me into joining the club.”

Matthew said, “Well, I wouldn’t call you Ebenezer Scrooge, but you certainly might have attended one of his seminars.”

Randall laughed. “I was trying to explain it to Landy last night. She was pissed off at me. But you see, I’ve spent my life watching opportunities come my way, and analyzing them so much that they seem to run away from me in terror and leap into the lap of friendlier faces.”

Matthew got quiet, allowing Randall some space.

Randall continued, “I thought about it. Here’s an old man who dies who wants to give 250 million dollars to take an old religious icon who is known for loving and giving, and make the dude popular again. I thought to myself, what in the hell is wrong with that? Sure, I wish it wasn’t religious, or tied to some church, but when you need a cure, you don’t ask where the medicine comes from, right?”

Matthew just nodded his head.

About that time, Jo-Jay walked into the room and said, “I feel the same way. At least, I think so. I don’t want to miss out on something. I feel like I missed drugs and rock and roll. I never protested against anything. I missed civil rights. Gay rights. All rights. And by the way–what is heavy metal anyway?”

“It’s when you stack up a lot of light metal,” Matthew answered, chuckling at his own joke.

Randall added, “It was worse for me. I even missed Barry Manilow. My parents were very strict. It wasn’t all religion–part of it was our culture. But I wasn’t allowed to do much but study, go to school and attend church.”

Matthew sighed. “So you’re a church boy…”

Randall shook his head. “No–I went to church but I was never a church boy. I used the hour in church to quietly express my hatred for the Divine. While others sang praises, in my mind I asked God questions and then laughed at Him when He failed to come up with an answer.”

Jo-Jay stared in disbelief.

“So you want to do this because…?”Matthew posed.

Randall shook his head. “I don’t know. I know there are no answers in politics. Most of the law is mumbo-jumbo. Education just makes people smart-asses. There’s gotta be something else. I really don’t think it’s Jesus, but maybe we could at least get people to think.”

“Or maybe,” said Jo-Jay, “we just advertise the church and they end up ripping off more money from poor folks and spreading the message of doom and gloom.”

Matthew shook his head. “You know how sometimes the more you think about something, the better it sounds? I gotta tell you–the more I think about this the more it seems like a gigantic turd factory.”

“So you’re quitting?” Randall asked, surprised.

“Well, actually, I never started,” responded Matthew. “I just said I would check it out.”

“And here I came along to go on the magic carpet ride and Aladdin’s folding up shop.” said Jo-Jay.

Matthew squinted his face. “I would be Aladdin?”
Randall inquired, “And the magic carpet ride would be what?”

Jo-Jay laughed. “You guys are definitely over-educated, under-informed and without any natural feeling.”

“Part of me thinks I should say thank you,” Randall said.

There was a knock at the door. Matthew opened it to find a large man dressed in bib overalls and a plaid shirt, with a huge head of hair combed straight back. He reached out a big paw for greeting. Matthew placed his little hand into the acreage, shook it, and asked, “May I help you?”

The big, burly country boy responded. “Yes. My name is Prophet Morgan. I’m here to help you make my man Jesus, popular.”

All at once, Jo-Jay broke out in tears, which for some reason stimulated Randall to do the same, causing the recently arrived Prophet Morgan to sprout his own waterworks.

Matthew stared at the three of them in disbelief. “What in the hell is going on?”

Jo-Jay cleared her throat and managed a little smile. “I don’t know. But it’s neat shit.”
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Jesonian… May 20th, 2017

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jesonian-cover-amazon

 

“A certain lawyer.”

This is how the King James Version of the Good Book describes a chap who comes to hear Jesus teach. We do not know his real name, but we are made aware of his agenda.

So was he “a certain lawyer” because he was identical to the other lawyers around him, or was he referred to as “a certain lawyer” because he had a legal mind–already made up and sure of itself?

As the story unfolds, we find that actually he’s a bit of both. He’s on a mission. His job is to take his intellect, his knowledge of Mosaic law and his wit, and trip up the bumpkin would-be prophet from Nazareth.

He crafts a plan. It’s the classic trap. He asks Jesus “how to gain eternal life.” He figures this will cause the over-wrought preacher to launch into a series of crazed statements which are easily contradicted by existing spiritual philosophy. Imagine how astounded he is when Jesus defers to him.

“What does the law say? How do you read it?”

The lawyer was not expecting this response, but seeing the crowd of people, he thought it would be unwise to be absent a reply. He grabs a safe answer. (That’s what “certain people” do. Even “certain lawyers.” They grab safe answers.)

He said, “You should love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself.”

To which Jesus replied, “Fantastic! Go do that.”

The certain lawyer is embarrassed. He has been out-maneuvered by a former carpenter. He has been managed. He has been handled. He gained no additional information, and made the audience think he was completely in tune with the teachings of Jesus.

So he does something truly dastardly–he tries to justify himself. Every lasting malady happens when we come across a reality and explain why we’re already doing something else.

The certain lawyer (who is losing certainty by the moment) asks, “Who is my neighbor?”

In other words, there must be some restriction. Jesus is not talking about Gentiles, is he? He’s not referring to nasty whores and thieves?

“I need you to clarify. And in the clarification, it is my hope that you will foul up, so I can go back to those who hired me, and have a good laugh concerning me bettering the Galilean.”

Jesus doesn’t miss a beat.

He tells a story about a man who fell into a situation where he was robbed and beaten. He immediately establishes that those who “the certain lawyer” respected–a priest and a Levite–passed by and did not help the bleeding fellow. Instead, he offers a hero. He introduces a Samaritan–which by the way, to that “certain lawyer” was even worse than a Gentile–who comes to the aid of the gentleman, binds his wounds, takes him to an inn and then leaves real money behind to make sure he’s cared for until he recuperates.

Jesus directs the story. In politics, they refer to it as “controlling the narrative.”

A lawyer who thought he was so smart was side-stepped; trapped by question from Jesus which could only evoke one logical response. Upon finishing the narrative, Jesus asks the certain lawyer, “Who was neighbor to the damaged man?”

The lawyer was surrounded by people, and the answer was so obvious that any hem-hawing or parsing of words would make him look foolish, not thoughtful. So he splurted out:

“The neighbor was the one who showed mercy to the wounded man.”

And even though the “certain lawyer” had hoped that the end of his dialogue with Jesus would leave the Master speechless and him dominating, instead Jesus turns and as he walked away, says, “Go and do thou likewise.”

There must have been a chuckle throughout the crowd.

The humiliated, foiled, aggravated and convicted lawyer left to go lick his wounds.

Over the next few weeks, he devises his own story–a retort he should have given to Jesus. Why do I feel that? Because the Gospel writer never told us his name.

The “certain lawyer” didn’t matter. He was a prop–a vehicle to share wisdom.

A story for the ages: The Good Samaritan.

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Jesonian… April 22nd, 2017

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jesonian-cover-amazon

Cousin John was creating quite a stir.

He had found himself a wide spot on the Jordan River at Bethabara and was dunking people to cleanse them from their sins. News of the words and deeds of the flamboyant relative/prophet had reached Nazareth, and members of the community were split on their opinions of the events–based upon whether they had any family ties with the locust eater.

There was a lot of conversation in the home of Joseph the Carpenter, since Brother John was a part of the bloodline. Papa had died a year earlier, leaving the household to the care of his eldest son, Jesus. That oldest boy, though loyal, faithful and true, had never found great solace in carpentry, and with the death of his father, had become disillusioned with the daily chores.

After Joseph’s death, he had slipped away for a few days into the wilderness to think, and upon returning was greeted with the reports of his cousin’s outreach.

Some jealousy tried to slip in–for Jesus also felt a great calling to share a message with mankind. Knowing that John had already begun such an endeavor created a spiritual itch in him which he desperately needed to scratch.

In these fleeting moments of jealousy he was tempted to join the critics of his cousin. But ashamed of those inclinations, he decided to instead go to Bethabara and observe for himself.

It was a first step to sanity.

If something good is going on in the world, go hear it, understand it and support it.

So without announcement, he arrived at the encampment of the Baptist. He spent two weeks doing nothing but listening to his cousin, watching the events unfold and noting how John handled the contrary natures of the scribes and Pharisees.

He heard the Voice.

He dodged a huge clump of jealousy and instead developed a deep sense of admiration.

After hearing the Voice, it came time to make a choice.

Was he just going to be a watcher? Was he going to go back to Nazareth and try to be the dead carpenter’s son?

John talked about the Kingdom of God being at hand and the need to repent. Jesus stayed up one night thinking about his own repentance. For after all, there is nothing more sinful than believing you are sinless. He saw his errors. He saw where his discontentment with carpentry often came across to his family as if he had a feeling of superiority.

He knew he was tempted like everyone. He was touched with the same sicknesses that each and every human being experiences.

He wanted John’s baptism. He needed John’s baptism. It was the righteous thing to do–because if there was to be a mission, the first step to usher in the possibility was to make a choice.

Jesus made a choice.

He stood in line, waited his turn and stepped down into the Jordan River with his cousin to be cleansed.

To his surprise, the Prophet prophesied. The burly preacher called him “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”

Jesus had only met John a handful of times. There was no private coalition. So he took John’s words into his heart as he immersed himself in the experience of the Jordan River baptism.

He rose from the water, walked to the shoreline and realized it was time for him to begin his own work. What was the best way to do that?

How could he change the noise in the world around him?

He smiled and took off across the countryside, bellowing, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!”

He borrowed the message of his cousin.

It had been a successful slogan–it was a great place to start.

At that fateful day at the baptism of Jesus, no one would ever have guessed that the Nazarene’s work would spread across the entire planet and that John would historically be viewed as a forerunner.

It was all made possible because Jesus had the sensitivity and wisdom to hear the voice and then make a choice before he went out to change the noise.

 

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Populie: Christmas is for Children … December 3, 2014

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star over manger bigger

I read it over twice just to make sure.

But even with this double scrutiny, I was unable to find the mention of any children in the original Christmas story, except for one baby born in a manger.

The tale contains a king, three astrologers from Mesopotamia, shepherds, a confused purported virgin, a bewildered carpenter-in-training, a prophet and a prophetess, a greedy innkeeper, and many souls who were finding their situation quite taxing.

But there was no one under the age of fifteen who was mentioned except the little fella with straw for a pillow.

Yet today you would assume that Christmas was conceived in the minds of the Madison Avenue elite, who were desiring to come up with a holiday that focused on “tots before they were teens.”

Politics loves this populie, because it provides new stumping ground extolling the family and high-sounding ideals.

The entertainment industry certainly focuses on kids because it frees them from having to put a spiritual spin on December 25th, but instead, advertises Santa Claus, candy canes and overgrown elves.

And religion can barely contain itself, trying to yank that baby out of the wooden cradle and on to the cross as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, the significance of “peace on Earth, good will toward men” dissipates into the background in favor of sitting back in our easy chairs, shaking our heads in awe as the youngsters rip open their presents.

Attention one and all: Christmas is for us. It may be our only chance.

It offers three very important possibilities which tend to escape us by the middle of January, and certainly have run away in horror by April 15th, when the IRS drains our sensibilities.

1. We are all the children of God.

If Christmas is for children, it is only because we live in the household of “Our Father which art in heaven.” We have lost our innocence. We favor a jaded outlook. We have resigned our place in the human family, running away to live in an orphanage, simply to make ourselves seem abandoned.

2. Children need to be taught.

For a very brief moment, we begin to look at the Jesus-born-in-the-manger as the life coach he was intended to be instead of the human sacrifice we have thrust upon him. After all, the angels foretold of “peace on Earth, good will toward men,” not a sacrificial blood-bath that ends up with us forming religious institutions with dark, dank corridors.

3. Going forward means going back to pick up what we lost.

There is nothing more precious than being nine years old on Christmas morning. To reject that memory as being idealistic, foolish or silly is to lose one’s soul before dying.

It’s not so much that “Christmas should be in our hearts each and every day of the year” as it is that our hearts should never surrender Christmas and the memories that make us chill with anticipation.

Bluntly, if you’re not excited about what’s going to happen next, you need to change what’s next.

So be careful with the populie that says “Christmas is for children,” because you soon will find yourself angry at the holiday, and also at the little fellows and ladies who keep trying to hang the holly and trim the tree.

It is only true that Christmas is for children as long as we understand that to gain a true spiritual and emotional sensibility… we must all become as a little child.

 

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