Monday, November 21, 2011

Message from Roger Bemis, Band Teacher

"Come on everyone! Let's gather round the turkey and sing Jingle Bells. Does everyone have their sleigh bells ready?"

Jingle Bells, originally titled "One Horse Open Sleigh"
Author James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893) wrote the song in 1857. This song was meant for a Thanksgiving program at a church in Savannah, Georgia where Pierpont was organist. The song was so well accepted that it was again sung on Christmas day and since then became one of the most popular Christmas carols.

What do you have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving?
I share the following to simply provide a different perspective on this Thanksgiving.

We, as Americans have a lot to be thankful for. When I was deployed to Iraq as a video broadcaster, the units I was doing stories on visited schools to give out basic school supplies, like coloring books, crayons, pencils, noteboooks, backpacks, perhaps a little food, sometimes desks, maybe some clothes and of course, soccer balls. I saw and shot footage of school children sitting in a room, two or three to a small benchlike seat, eagerly waiting to learn from a teacher who only had a chalkboard to teach from.

The rooms didn't have heat. For "air-conditioning", they might of had a ceiling fan, but I'm not sure the ones I saw worked. They probably opened a window, but sometimes that wasn't necessary; the windows were already broken. The walls were bare and the paint was chipped. Their dilapidated state had nothing to do with the war. These schools were the norm; especially in rural areas.

When voices in America cry out asking for 'more money for education', they should think about what they already have, for they are already richly blessed. There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for our kids. Broken windows and leaky roofs need to be fixed, but there needs to be balance between need and want. "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:12

I know that those of us here at PCUS are very thankful for what we have. Of course, we all struggle with balancing need and want. That's normal, but God will provide exactly what we need. "And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." 2 Corinthians 9:8

If nothing else, we should be thankful that we have the freedom to ask, and the freedom to pray for what we believe is the best for our children.

So I guess, at the end of the day, you have the freedom to decide whether or not to be thankful that you're not singing Jingle Bells as the Thanksgiving meal is set on the table. ;-)...And if you do break into song as you set the table on Thursday, I'll never tell anyone it was Jingle Bells.

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Psalm 95:2

Interesting Fact: On December 16, 1965, astronauts aboard Gemini 6, Wally Schirra and Tom Stafford, played a prank on Mission Control. They said they saw some kind of UFO stating that the pilot was "wearing a red suit." They then played "Jingle Bells" on a harmonica backed by sleigh bells. They are considered the first musical instruments to be played in space!

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