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By Mac McKinnon
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It seems like the past few weeks have been very busy, as I'm sure it
has been with just about everybody, with Christmas coming and
Thanksgiving just having gone by in a flash.
Of course, it seems everybody is behind and the reason for that
apparently is due to Thanksgiving falling later than usual. Many people
are still struggling to get up decorations.
There have been a number of activities I've been wanting to work into
my schedule for a long time, and this year I made the time. One was
mentioned in Friday's column - that being going to see Christmas on the
Pecos in Carlsbad, N.M.
Also, this past week, we got to go to Odessa to see the Living
Christmas Tree presentation by First Baptist Church of Odessa. It was
presented for the 14th year and was as great as I've always heard it was.
The cost is minimal - $3 per person - and is presented at 6 and 8 p.m.
for four days. It's too late to make it this year but is something I'd
like to encourage people to attend in future years.
The key to this is to make reservations early. The large church fills
up quickly unless you have your tickets in advance.
In addition to wanting to see it because of my love for religious
music, I also am a big fan of my cousin who is a great singer and is
involved in that production. That's Harold Lewallen who, along with his
brother, Curtis, and their families, have been an integral part of that
church for many years.
Curtis says he doesn't sing but Harold does well enough for everybody.
He, like myself and my brother and other members of our family, sing a
very deep bass. Let me hasten to add that all the others do much better
than I although I'm probably louder than the rest.
The Odessa church has a tremendous music program. If you ever have the
chance, tune them in on Sunday morning on Channel 7. In addition to
their choir, they have an orchestra and that really adds to the music.
Of course, I'd be remiss not to mention the many good musical programs
that take place in our own town. Many churches have choirs that present
special music for Christmas. And there are many great voices in those
And we have many young voices coming along. First Baptist of Pecos
Sunday night had their Children's Choir presenting "Candy Cane Lane," a
recipe for life. It was well done.
I really get in the Christmas spirit these last few days before the big
day. I believe the key to that is to get out and enjoy everything that
is available. The only problem is there just isn't enough time.
Mac McKinnon is editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise.
His column appears on Wednesday and Friday.
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Why the world needed Christmas ...
The late Louis Cassels' "Parable of the Birds" has been reprinted many
times in the 37 years since it first appeared in the Christmas editions
of newspapers across the country in 1959.
It has also been read many times on the radio. I myself broadcast it
that first year over the CBS station in Boston where I worked. Cassels
was religion editor of United Press International.
"Once upon a time," the story began, "there was a man who looked upon
Christmas as a lot of humbug. He wasn't a Scrooge. He was a very kind
and decent person, generous to his family, upright in all his dealings
with other men.
"But he didn't believe all that stuff about God becoming man, which
churches proclaim at Christmas. Why would God want to do anything like
"So when his family left to attend midnight services on Christmas Eve,
he stayed home.
"Shortly after the family drove away, snow began to fall. He went to
the window and watched the flurries getting heavier and heavier. Some
time later, as he was reading his newspaper by the fire, he was startled
by a thudding sound that was quickly followed by another. Then another.
"When he went to investigate, he found a flock of birds huddled
miserably in the snow. They had been caught in the storm, and in a
desperate search for shelter had tried to fly through the window.
"'I can't let these poor creatures lie there and freeze,' he thought.
`But how can I help them?'
"Then he remembered the barn. It would provide a warm shelter. He
quickly put on his coat and boots and tramped through the deepening snow
to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on the light.
"But the birds didn't come in.
"'Food will bring them in,' he thought. So he hurried back to the house
for bread crumbs, which he sprinkled on the snow to make a trail into
"To his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs and continued to
flop around helplessly in the snow. He tried shooing them into the barn
by walking around and waving his arms. They scattered in every direction
- except into the warm, lighted barn.
"'They find me a strange and terrifying creature,' he said to himself,
'and I can't seem to think of any way to let them know they can trust
"'If only I could be a bird myself for a few minutes, perhaps I could
lead them to safety,'
"Just at that moment the church bells began to ring. He stood silently
for awhile, listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of
"Then he sank to his knees in the snow. `Now I understand,' he
whispered. `Now I see why you had to do it."'
DID THE KING HAVE TO STRETCH HIS LEGS? - Audiences have been standing
during the singing of the "Hallelujah Chorus" since 1743. There are two
versions of how this tradition began.
One version is that King George II was attending a performance of the
"Messiah" and had already been sitting for two hours by the time the
"Hallelujah Chorus" was sung.
Feeling the need to stretch his legs, he got up. The audience, seeing
their king stand, followed protocol and stood too.
The other version is that King George was attending the oratorio's
first London performance and was so moved by the "Hallelujah Chorus"
that he involuntarily rose from his seat.
Out of respect to their king, members of the audience rose too.
Whichever version you believe, Merry Christmas!
EDITOR'S NOTE: George Plagenz writes a religion column for the Newspaper
Enterprise Association, which holds the copyright.
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Emotional pain - not a chemical imbalance in the brain - causes mental
illness, says Dr. Ty C. Colbert in "Broken Brains or Wounded Hearts."
This may be the first book to truly answer the major questions
concerning the origin of mental illness.
For centuries there has been an ongoing debate as to what causes mental
illness. Even today such institutions as the National Institute of
Mental Health and the American Psychiatric Association openly admit that
the cause of mental illness is unknown.
As a solution to the mystery of mental illness, Dr. reintroduces an
"emotional pain model" that starts from a place of human consciousness
and vulnerability. Without creating a blaming model, Dr. Colbert clearly
demonstrates that the source of all emotional disorders is the need to
be healed through unconditionl acceptance, understanding and love.
Through the development of an emotional pain model, Dr. Colbert
convincingly illustrates that even the most difficult to understand
disorders are the result of a wounded selfhood and do not need to be
treated with drugs, and that all conditions of mental illness can be
"Broken Brains or Wounded Hearts" illustrates with great clarity the
major mistakes still made by biopsychiatry and our society that often
result in life-long disability for individuals diagnosed as mentally
ill. Since mentnal illness will eventually affect most families, this
book is for anyone concerned about mental health and happiness.
Don Schrader, Ph.D., professor emeritus of the University of Southern
California, said the book is "a must for anyone, from the professional,
to the parent, student, minister or community leader, who wants a true
understanding of mental illness."
Dr. Colbert is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice
in Orange, Calif.
Available from Kevco Publishing, 2639 N. Grand, Ste. 265, Santa Ana,
California 92705; 800-631-BOOK, $23.95 hard cover.
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Copyright 1996 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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