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    The Religion Network publishes Monday, Wednesday & Friday
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Welcome To The Religion Network!

I'm Lisa Bowman, editor of The Religion Network, a multi-faith Web site. This site provides inspirational quotes through an
exploration of a new spiritual theme every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Religion network is offered with the
conviction that inspiration can be found in all spiritual faiths, and furthermore, that finding the commonalities
among the world's religions is more healing than pointing up their differences.

Religion as an institution is a precious gift, blessing individuals and uplifting communities. However you choose to
worship, I hope this site enhances your journey. If you'd like to know my story, click on biography.

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ON TODAY'S SITE:

Book of Luke, Anonymous Marine, Saint Nicholas

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Dear Readers,

When the angel Gabriel announced to young Mary that she would
bear the Son of God, it was far from a command. Mary had been
chosen as most blessed among all women, but she could have
said 'no,' and that would have changed human history. At that
crucial moment, heaven asked her if her heart was brave
enough: was hers a heart willing to carry the Divine to earth?

No mere human has ever been charged with such a responsibility.
Our own messenger from heaven may not ask as much from us
as Gabriel did from Mary. However, we are continually asked if
our hearts are brave enough and therefore willing to do
what is asked of us. Will we say 'yes' to God?

On today's Home Page is the Virgin's moment of truth, followed by
a poem written by a US Marine. It, too, speaks of a heart that
is brave and is willing to do what is asked of it. As we savor
the final days of Advent, let us be inspired by those who
willingly face, with great faith, the challenges of life.

- Lisa

    
Annunciation by Sandro Botticelli
"The Annunciation"    Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and
the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, "Hail, full of grace!
The Lord is with you." But she was greatly troubled at what was said and
pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her,
"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God."

"Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name
him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the
Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over
the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end."

But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with
a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon
you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child
to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your re-
lative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for
her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God."

Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me
according to your word." Then the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38


American soldiers in Iraq at Christmas
2007: Marines in Iraq receive Christmas stockings from Santa
Courtesy of Boortz.com



The following poem was written by an anonymous Marine.
We salute all our military's men and women:
May the peace of Christmas find them and comfort their hearts.

*****

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
AND TO SEE JUST WHO
IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
A SOBER THOUGHT
CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
SILENT, ALONE,
CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
NOT HOW I PICTURED
A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO
OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP WONDER
HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT
BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
"SANTA, DON'T CRY,
THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
MY COUNTRY, MY CORPS."

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
SO SILENT AND STILL
AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
WHISPERED, "CARRY ON, SANTA,
IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE."

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS, MY FRIEND,
AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT."


_________

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Below is a custom search box for The Religion Network site.
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The Last Word:

One who aspires to the grace of God
must be pure, with a heart as
innocent as a child's.

St. Nicholas (yes, that St. Nick (270-346)
Also known as Nicholas of Myra,
Nicholas the Wonderworker,
and Nicholas of Bari



 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 








 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 





Totally Random Bonus Quote:

Santa Claus has the right idea.
Visit people only once a year.


Victor Borge (1909-2000)
Danish pianist and comedian

 


SEE ALSO:
Advent: My Soul Waits
For The Lord


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