“Peace on earth” seems only a hollow Christmas card cliche today what with civil wars, terrorist attacks and rioting in the streets throughout the world.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow didn’t feel in much of a holiday mood either when he heard the bells on Christmas Eve during the Civil War. His wife had been burned to death when her clothing caught fire in 1861, and his son had been critically wounded in the War in December 1863. The famous poet is believed to have penned “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” in 1864—at the height of the war! [Continue reading]

For more hope and ho! ho! ho! visit The Twelve Sites of Christmas

A visit from Jeff Bezos

December 20th, 2019 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

‘Tis the week before Christmas,
when all through the house
Not a creature is stirring, except for my mouse.
The wishes are posted on Amazon’s list,
in hopes that Jeff Bezos had stocked all the gifts.
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
but a delivery drone a-hovering near!
Away to the front porch I flew like a flash,
To beat the porch pirates after my stash!
It dropped all the packages in a snow drift,
Then blinked and hummed and started to lift.
And I heard in announce as it started to climb,
“Thank you for shopping with Amazon Prime!”

Copyright © 2019 James N. Watkins

For more hope and ho! ho! ho! visit The 12 Sites of Christmas

Putting the X back in Xmas

December 16th, 2019 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

At the risk of sounding like “The Grinch,” Ebeneezer Scrooge, and Henry Potter all gift-wrapped into one big “Humbug,” I’d like to propose that we put the X back in Christmas.

I tend to agree with Peanut’s Lucy that “Christmas is a big racket. It’s run by a big Eastern syndicate you know.” What originally was called “Christ’s Mass” to commemorate Jesus’ birth has now been commercialized into the secular time of gift-giving. Don’t get me wrong. I like getting and giving gifts as much as anybody. In fact, I love getting gifts!

However, a bit of history. Early Christians didn’t celebrate the rituals of Yule (a Wicca celebration of the winter solstice) or Saturnalia (a Roman holiday celebrating the births of various gods called “Birthday of the Unconquered Sun” on December 17, which often lasted nearly a week.) The original disciples celebrated Easter as their main religious holiday. [Continue reading]

For more hope and ho! ho! ho! visit The 12 Sites of Christmas

I hope you enjoy this rendering of the story of Christ’s birth in chronological order from Jesus: His Life and Lessons.

Jesus is God from eternity

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness hasn’t overcome it.
The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-5, 14). [Continue reading]

Or if you prefer a more modern version: A Very Twitter Christmas. What if the Christmas story had been tweeted?

For more hope and ho! ho! ho! visit The 12 Sites of Christmas

If you’re struggling with mental health issues, the Christmas season may not be “the most wonderful time of the year.” So, with apologies to Andy Williams:

It’s the Most Difficult Time of the Year

It’s the most difficult time of the year,
With the hustle and bustle
And gift shopping tussles while feigning good cheer
It’s the most difficult time of the year.

[Continue reading]

Not feeling thankful?

November 25th, 2019 | Posted by jameswatkins in Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Have you had one of those years where you’re dreading Thanksgiving? Do you feel you have nothing for which to give thanks? Does the holiday just emphasize your losses? I’ve been there! So here are . . .

Fifty praises between bed and bathroom
Today, I vowed not to ask for anything, but to simply praise God. I found fifty things for which to praise him just between the bed and bathroom:

Top ten reasons to give thanks . . . when you think you don’t have any
10. You have a newspaper (or a mobile device”) in your hand. Thanks to Guttenberg’s press and the World Wide Web you have access to more information today than all previous generations combined.

Thanks for nothing
Little is known of the prophet Habakkuk. except that he lived in the time when Israel was oppressed and many had been taken captive by the Babylonians. There was little reason to give thanks. But, in spite of living in captivity and facing what appears to be a famine, Habakkuk writes, “Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord!”

Thanksgiving turkey trivia
Do you enjoy playing “Jeopardy” from your Laz-Z-Boy (“I’ll take ‘Fowl Friends’ for $1,000, Alex”)? Would you like to raise the intellectual level of conversation at Thanksgiving dinner above that of the cranberry sauce? Enjoy my highly educational special report on Melgris Gallopavos.

Thanksgiving cartoons
And get your daily dose of my cartoons on Facebook, Instagram
and at the archives.

If you enjoyed this issue of Hope & Humor, please share on your social networks. Thanks!

I’m sure that even Mr. Rogers had one of those days:

      It’s a terrible day in the neighborhood,
      A terrible day for neighbor,
      Won’t you please go, leave me all alone.
      I’ve always wanted to move away to warmer weather,
      I hate this TV house and this stupid sweater.
      So why don’t you go and watch “Power Rangers”
      Play in the street and talk to some strangers?
      Please won’t you go, leave me alone.
      Get off my lawn, my neighbor!

Copyright © 1991 James N. Watkins

If you’re having a terrible day in the neighborhood, please visit my archives for encouragement and entertainment.

Several friends are daily posting one thing for which they are thankful during November. I found 50 things just between the bed and bathroom:

1. God’s protection, providence

2. His love and grace

3. I slept straight through the night

4. No horrible nightmares resulting from real-life trauma

5. I don’t work the night shift

Continue reading

Photo: Nathan Dumlao

Books make great Christmas gifts, so here are some for everyone on your list.

Books for adults
God, I Don’t Understand: Unanswered Prayer, Unfulfilled Promises, Unpunshed Evil
Overcoming Fear and Worry
The Imitation of Christ: Classic Devotions in Today’s Language
Intimacy with Christ: Beyond Information and Involvement
Squeezing Good Out of Bad

Books for young adults
The Why Files: Are There Really Ghosts?
The Why Files: Is There Really Life After Death
The Why Files: When Can I Start Dating?

Books for communicators
Communicate to Change Lives
Writing with Banana Peels [Writing with humor]

But wait, there’s more . . .
Complete catalog of my books

Whereas November is one of the hardest months for those suffering with mental health issues. (Suicide rates actually increase this month.)

Whereas People love to support and pray for those with cancer,

Resolved mental health issues shall now be referred to as “mind cancer.” Mental illness is an illness!

Help me make November “Mind Cancer Awareness Month.” (Right click on the meme on right, save, and then share.)

Here are some links to previous posts:

Are authors in their “write” mind
Charles Spurgeon’s struggle with depression
Dealing with death and grief
Emotions real but not reality
Hope and help for suicidal thoughts
Hope for those affected by Alzheimer’s disease
Jesus, ADD and me
Mood altering hugs
I’m a mess. You’re a mess. (Audio)
You may depressed if . . .

I am so grateful that God has chosen someone with clinical depression, ADD, OCD and just a touch of ASD to share hope and humor. God’s grace is amazing . . . and ironic!

If you’re struggling with a mental health issue, please seek professional help. There is help and hope!