Sometimes wars stop because of the thoughts, words, and actions not of presidents and generals but of ordinary people. Other times, on-the-ground combatants exhibit genuine mercy towards each other. Occasionally, good leaders hold out an olive branch to their foes. In the long run, and sometimes the short run, the power of peace is greater than the power of war.
By Mark D. Harris
Every December my family and I watch short videos about Christmas, in addition to our normal Christmas movie fare. I have two favorites, the video describing Handel’s Messiah, and a video discussing the Christmas Eve Cease Fire between German and British troops on the Western Front of World War I in 1914. A similar but smaller truce happened on Christmas Eve in 1915. Local truces, occasioned by ordinary soldiers rather than politicians or generals, have happened in military history.
Continue reading “Local Cease Fires and Other Humanities in War”
A 15 minute (or so) play about a good and faithful but worn-out pastor who needs to be reminded about what really matters at Christmas.
By Mark Harris
- Pastor Tim – male, mid 40s
- Cindy – female, late 30s, Pastor Tim’s wife
- Michael – son of Pastor Tim, 12-13 yo
- Candali – daughter of Pastor Tim, 9-10 yo
- Rinna – daughter of Pastor Tim, 7-8 yo
- Jenny – Church secretary, female, 50s to 60s
- Jose – male, mid 30s
- Mariana – female, late 20s
- Joshua – infant
Setting – A Baptist church in Detley, South Virginia. Pastor Tim and Jenny the secretary are the only paid staff. Tim’s 4th grade daughter Candali and 2nd grade daughter Rinna are doing homeschool work in his office. The roof is leaking, with drops falling into a bucket on the floor.
Time – late Tuesday morning
Continue reading “Remembering What Counts at Christmas – Play 15 minutes”
Want more joy in your Christian life? God ordained special days in Scripture for His people to focus on Him and enjoy His goodness. This article provides one way to discover our Lord more fully and bring more contentment into life…to celebrate the beginning of Lent.
By Mark D. Harris
Jesus died on Passover, the perfect sacrifice to wash away the sins of man. He rose from the dead, the first and only man to ever do so, on the third day. Forty days later, on Ascension Day, Jesus ascended into heaven. Fifty days after Passover, which is ten days after Jesus’ ascension, the Jews celebrate the Feast of the First Fruits, also known as Pentecost (Leviticus 23:9-14).
Continue reading “Celebrating Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, the Beginning of Lent”
A Christian look at William Ernest Henley’s famous poem, Invictus.
By Mark D. Harris
Julie fumbled with the lock of her dorm room. Laying her purse, nursing notebook, deli croissant sandwich, and coffee on the floor in the hall, she finally opened the door. My biology quiz didn’t go well this morning, and my anatomy project is late. At least I’ll get English right. I’ve got 30 minutes before I have to leave for work.
Sitting at her desk a few moments later, Julie began reading the poem her English professor was expecting an analysis of on Monday morning.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley, Britain, 1875
Continue reading “Invictus at Christmas”