short, sweet, and to-the-point — by Keith Elder

Archive for the category “Christmas”

“Mark Zuckerberg for the Nobel Peace Prize?”


It’s not the first time the thought has occurred to me: the possibility that the committee has overlooked an obvious, worthy candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.  As millions have enjoyed yet another holiday season of reconnecting with friends and family from around the globe, without so much as walking out to their mailbox, I have found myself thinking again: “What other technology, teaching, scientific formula, fictional writing, piece of art, or political leader has done more to connect people in peaceable ways than Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook.

It may have started as a college kid’s idea to revolutionize the dating game, but it has morphed into a world-changing manner of staying in touch with people and groups and issues–in real time. Has it been misused at times?… preyed upon by malevolent spirits and hackers?  Absolutely…but then, what hasn’t?  Evil, all the way back to the Serpent in The Garden, has always found ways to distort the truth and taint even the best of life.  For the most part, though, Facebook has been a good thing.

Question: How many reading these words have enjoyed seeing pics, over the past week, of that faraway soldier-loved one in Iraq or Afghanistan?  How many have seen photos of holiday decorations and favorite dishes, and families opening gifts–pics that almost made you feel like you were there?  Has anyone seen video of folks sharing their renditions of “Frosty the Snowman or “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer”?  How about generational pics—baby and new mother and grandmother and great-grandmother? How about a baby experiencing their very first Christmas?

Talk about “peace on earth, good will toward men”.  I would venture a guess that ninety-eight percent of what I have experienced over the past week has been good news!  Bridge-building… “let’s be friends”… “miss you”… “wish you were here” material.  Exclude the Duck Dynasty—let’s call it “perspective sharing”—and you have a pretty cool, “We are family!” love fest going—complete with a candle-lit “Silent night…holy night” conclusion.

I’ve shared before that religion, in its purest form, was meant to bring people back together, back to God, back to our best selves. The goal?  Peace.  Shalom.  I, for one, am of the opinion that Facebook has helped to nudge the Earth ball in that direction.

For that reason, I vote, “Mark Zuckerberg for the Nobel Peace Prize in Technology.”

Now,…where do I send my ballot?




“Bonanza, the Baby Jesus, and a Cartwright Christmas”


If you grew up watching the cowboy drama, Bonanza, and tuned in on Sunday nights to keep up with Ben Cartwright and sons, Adam, Hoss, and Little Joe; if you’ve watched the forever reruns since the final episode aired in January of 1973 (I did have to look up that detail); then you are primed to appreciate this colloquial retelling of the Luke 2 Christmas narrative.

“A Cartwright Christmas”

Me and the boys were tendin’ to our sheep one starry night.

The little lambs were snoozin’ and the fire was burning bright.

We’d had our fill of pork and beans, and drunk our coffee black.

And everybody figured it’s about time to hit the sack.

Well, there ain’t a lot to do when you are sittin’ ‘round the fire.

You pick yer teeth and clip yer nails, and play some Solitaire.

But this here night was meant for extra-ordinary things.

We knew it when we saw them shiny fellers with the wings.

Little Joe thought they were rustlers!  Paw, thought that they were fairies!

And dumb ol’ Adam thought that they were foreign dignitaries!

But bein’ smart the way I is, I figured out this scandal,

When all them fellas started singin’ songs by G.F. Handel.*

We harkened to old Harold, and the angels as they sang.

Man, you won’t believe the campfire story them old fellas brang.

They told about a coming King!  A bonafied Messiah.

And one poor angel burned his bathrobe standing by the fire.

They said that Bethlehem was where the wonder would occur,

So off we traipsed, not know just what we were looking fer.

They claimed a lowly manger was the place that he would be.

And so now you’ll understand his stable personality.

So, we were there—you be we were!  And, boy, do we remember,

That night the Lord decided he’d have Christmas in December.

The angels sang and did their thang…and gave Old God the glory.

You know, it’s really hard to Ponder-o-sa wonderful a story.

I suppose the story didn’t have to happen in the land of Judea, in the City of David. The angels didn’t have to appear to shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Why, Jesus could have been born any time or place to and through anybody.  Come to think of it, I guess He still can.

Yee Haw!… and Merry Christmas!



* G.F. Handel composed The Messiah…including “The Halleluia Chorus”.

“A Cartwright Christmas” by Keith Elder.  © Copyright 1983.


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