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Men and masculinity?  Blogger Brent Ladd wants men to talk to each other, change their ways, and challenge conquest culture. Addressing men, his strategic points are: 1 —listen to women; 2 —honor the feminine; 3 —name the mask you live in; 4 —become aware of your implicit biases; 5 —connect with wild earth; 6 —recognize and honor everyday natural beauty; 7 —be creative and share your beauty; 8 —practice gratitude; 9 —take your mask off and become the wilderness; 10 —embrace your inner feminine. 

Troubling translations: The Webster Parish school system became embroiled in a student's protest over the existence of unicorns in the Bible. The King James Version, Job 39:10, definitely says unicorns, but not the New Revised Standard Version —the translation we used here during Advent.  Too bad that a student was punished for merely objecting to the existence of unicorns and challenging the Bible's authenticity, when wild ox found in the NRSV would have avoided a contest.  The inculcation of religious belief by a public school is, however, the greater error. Bible translations matter, yes, and so do the words of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

New lyrics for an old song: Richard Rodgers' tune, My Romance, inspired me to compose new lyrics for a blessing I performed here at the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Leah Hartman, pianist, and Thomas Oswald, violinist. 

Christmas Eve, You bring mystery to our humble lives again.  Something breaks through, and we come alive before a child can count to ten. 
New thoughts arise.  Some startlingly fresh surprise. 
A laugh, a smile, might linger more than for awhile. 
Christmas Tree, There's no ornament that we wouldn't show. 
You're a Stately Tree, We imagine you in our December snow. 
Creatively.  You're a memory we long lastingly behold. 
At Christmas time, may every wish of love unfold. 
Oh, Christmas Folk, We are blessed again to count one more year. 
Wow, What a tribe! In this moment all of us gathered here. 
Some sorrows, some pain, some losses, some gain, 
But the fact remains, we learned to strive somehow. 
Christmas Wish, I hope it's not too late for peace and goodwill to all. 
Make it real.  In the morning light and into night fall. 
And as for dreams, I hope there's still a most fantastic one for you. 
For love is possibly the best dream and precious gift come true. 

The next Child Dedication is planned for Mother's Day, Sunday, May 13. We had an outstanding number of families participating on Christmas Eve morning with their children.  What a joyful sight. 

Stewardship - Our stewardship drive is considerably short of its goal. Please contact the church if you have not made a financial commitment for the new-year or if you wish to increase your pledge. See you at the congregational meeting.