George’s Journal

Merry Christmas…Season’s Greetings…Happy Hanukkah…Happy Holidays!

First of all, Happy Belated-Birthday to my Mom (Sue Ghindia), and Carmilla Lau, both great ladies, born December 11th.  However, the big news of the month belongs to my Mother-in-Law, Madeliene, and her companion Tom, on their marriage in Naples, FL, December 17th.   Tom and Madeliene have been together for 4 years, and recently decided to make it official. Cheryl and I are thrilled for them. Eva said to us, “Is it OK for me to call Tom, Grandpa now?”  Last year at this time, Tom and Madeliene were visiting us, and helping Cheryl around the house and with the kids. I was in the hospital for most of December, and was discharged on Christmas Eve.  They have been amazingly supportive throughout my illness. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Perry!

MY HOLIDAY BLESSINGS – CONTINUED

I listed a number of holiday blessings at Thanksgiving, knowing that there would more entries to the list. Here are more blessings:

  • Alexandra Rae Blett, our favorite college student and role-model for Jacquelyne and Eva.
  • Jill Del Cid, we have celebrated our July birthdays together just about every year since 1988.
  • Carol Storch, you checked in with me frequently throughout my illness, with great compassion and the perspective brought on by her husband’s successful battle against cancer.
  • Cousin John Bruno Caruso, a cancer survivor (Hodgkin Disease), whose positive encouragement and support was inspiring.
  • Cousin Nancy Sutherland who would check in with me from her home in Michigan.
  • Scott Smykowski, my brother’s friend, former Michigan football player, who shared his own experiences as a recipient of an unrelated doner stem cell transplant with me back in April. “Take things one day at a time, and no matter what, keep a positive attitude.” With all of the thoughts racing through my mind at the time, I found this within my control. Though, seemingly simple objectives, I was challenged many times during my hospitalization and subsequent recovery. Very wise words.
  • Our family outing to pick out the Christmas tree
  • Putting lights up around the house….and enjoying the Christmas look of the neighborhood
  • Eva putting together her list for Santa Claus….”Dad, should I put _____ on the list? Do you think Santa will bring it?”
  • Having Eva say to me, “I still belief in Santa, but I’m too old to visit him…”
  • Attending mass Christmas Eve….and singing Silent Night.
  • Christmas morning…seeing the joy in Jacquelyne and Eva’s eyes. Enjoying them excitedly open their gifts.
  • Evis Presley’s, “Blue Christmas.”  John Lennon’s, “So this is Christmas.” Bing Crosby’s, “White Christmas.”
  • Above all, the true meaning of Christmas.  The birth of Jesus Christ, our savior. But the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10 (NLT). We celebrate Christmas because of this good news from God!

THE THREE WISE MEN

I have always been fascinated and been inspired by the story of the three wise men, who traveled far to see baby Jesus and pay their respects.

“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (NLT). They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense, myrrh. Matthew 2:11 (MSG)

While my family is a member of the Thomas More Catholic Church in Irvine, I receive a daily devotional via email from Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, the brilliant and wise author of “A Purpose Driven Life.”  I have excerpted a portion of his last three “Daily Hope” devotionals below:

One reason the wise men were wise is because they came to Jesus for the right reason. They were seekers of the truth. And they would go to any length to find Jesus, but they came to worship Jesus.

The wise men came for the right reason. They didn’t come to get something from Jesus; they came to show gratitude, to show love, to show honor, to show respect.  They gave Jesus the best they had. They thought what to give him. The three presents that the wise men brought had very important significance:

Gold is the gift you give to Kings.  In days of old, tribute was paid by bringing gold to the king.  It was the most precious metal of the time, and so the wise men are presenting it as a gift to the king.

Frankincese was a kind of incense, used to worship God in the temple. So the wise men are saying this baby, Jesus, is not only king, he is also God.  He is worthy of being worshiped.

Myrrh was a spice used to embalm the dead.  Now that’s an unusual gift for a baby:  the spice put on a dead body before wrapping it in linens.  So the wise men, by their gifts, acknowledged that Jesus is God incarnate, he is king, and he is going to die.  Jesus is the savior of the world and he has come to die for our sins.

Even before Jesus said his first word, it was known that, ‘This is the Savior who will die for the sins of the world.’

BEST WISHES FOR A BLESSED HOLIDAY SEASON & HEALTHY, HAPPY NEW YEAR

I thank God for His blessings of (much) better health and “being home” this December. Have a safe, wonderfully memorable holiday season.  Cheryl and I are very blessed to celebrate with you in spirit, if not in person.

God bless you and yours,

George

…”With God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

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