Marilyn Writes

Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall began her career as a journalist with the Wyoming Eagle in Cheyenne. During her 20 year banking career, she wrote extensively for The American Banker, Bank Marketing Magazine, Trust Marketing Magazine, and other major industry publications. The American Bankers Association (ABA) published Barnewall’s Profitable Private Banking: the Complete Blueprint, in 1987. She taught private banking at Colorado University for the ABA and trained private bankers in Singapore.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Trump Is Right On Trade

By Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall
News With Views, Mar 04, 2018
Dr. Walter Williams was the first guest on Mark Levin’s new show on Fox News last week on Sunday night.  It was a fabulous show.  We should pay attention to many comments Dr. Williams made, but one statement stands out as a basic philosophy we all need to heed.
He said those who think security is more important than freedom will get little of either; and, those who think freedom is more important than security will find both.
Keep that in mind as you read this article.  It is important… and it will likely make you aware of your own personal priority structure.  Which do you place first?  Do you prefer security or freedom?  We would all like to have both, but if you had to choose, which would it be?
Other questions you need to ask yourself as you read this article and listen to supposed experts on the subject of President Trump’s imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum include the following:
1.     What nation is the biggest threat to America’s world leadership?
2.     Which nation in the world controls North Korea and its threats of nuclear war against America?
The answer to both questions is:  China.  Russia is significant and is not to be ignored, but China      has a population of 1.4 billion and the Russian population is about 1/3 the size of America’s.
This final question is one that will indicate whether or not you have any common sense.
Is your nation (in this case America) dependent for defense materiel like aluminum and steel on the nation that is the greatest threat to our security internationally?  China produces 1.7 billion tons of steel annually.  The answer to the question is “yes.”  Is America’s ability to respond to threats of – or indeed an actual attack of  – war impacted by this?  The answer to that question is also yes.
That should give you some idea of the importance of the actions regarding tariffs on steel and aluminum taken by President Trump last week.  It was interesting to watch Utah politicians react negatively to the tariffs (which will stimulate steel industry jobs in their state and others).  Follow the money.  Look up the history of Geneva Steel and Anderson Development and the intended use of  Geneva’s 1,750 acres by Anderson.  Interesting stuff.
The U.S. imports most of its steel from Canada but much of Canada’s steel is owned by investors in India.  We need to remember how 20 percent of our uranium ended up in the hands of the Russians when Hillary Clinton arranged to sell it to a “Canadian” company which was owned by Russia (which bought the uranium from the “Canadian” company).   Eighty-eight percent (88%) of Canada’s steel is shipped to the United States so it is unlikely that Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government will be happy with the tariffs.
The U.S. is the largest importer of steel and aluminum in the world.  What are two of the most needed things required to produce weapons of war?  Steel and aluminum.
There is little doubt that the cost of goods will increase because of the tariffs, but how much?  According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the increased cost for a can in which to deliver the beer you drink will be one cent.  How much the beer companies will increase the price, telling you it is because of the increased cost of aluminum, is a different issue.  One cent per can is the actual cost.
According to Andrew Kenningham, chief global economist at Capital Economics, “The direct impact on the global economy of the tariffs President Trump announced yesterday would be minimal.  But the fact that they are being justified under a flimsy pretext of national security increases the risks of retaliation,” Kenningham says.
We can tell from Kenningham’s title – chief global economist – whether he is a globalist or a supporter of American sovereignty (and German, French, British, and other European nations’ sovereignty, too).
“Steel is needed for the military” is a flimsy pretext for President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum?  Let’s take a look at reality.
An aircraft carrier contains 47,000 tons of structural steel and serves as home to 6,000 Navy personnel.
We have all heard the stories – well, those of us who pay attention to things like this have heard – how military jets have crashed because they do not have access to new parts.  According to a recent article by James Hasik, senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center on International Security, however, all segments of America’s domestic steel industry contribute directly or indirectly to the defense of our nation.

“Whether it is missiles, jet aircraft, submarines, helicopters, Humvees or munitions, American-made steels and specialty metals are crucial components of U.S. military strength.  Steel plate is used in the bodies and propulsion systems of the naval fleet.  The control cables on virtually all military aircraft, including fighter jets and military transport planes, are produced from steel wire rope.  In addition, land-based vehicles such as the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Abrams Tank and MRAP vehicles use significant amounts of steel.”
President Trump has sworn to strengthen our military.  It starts with tariffs on steel and aluminum so that our own production of these key metals can become instantly available to us should we need them for our national defense.
I understand that under an anti-military administration like Barack Obama’s that steel is considered “a flimsy pretext,” but under a President who recognizes that America is not just an ordinary country and who vows to put “America First,” it is not a flimsy anything.  The military uses it for everything from nuclear submarines to Patriot and Stinger missiles and armor plate for tanks and field artillery.  Military aircraft and our fleet of ships are also dependent upon it.
Under President Obama, our military was reduced in size and necessary goods to support it… in ships available to defend us, in aircraft available to defend us, and in all ground troop equipment.  President Trump is making sure we are able to defend ourselves but, more important, is making sure we are sufficiently strong militarily so other nations will think more than twice before attacking us.
Remember under whose American administrations North Korea became a nuclear threat to us:  Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.  President Trump is working hard and is playing catch up before Kim Jong-un achieves his nuclear missile delivery capabilities.
In an April 2017 memo from President Trump to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Trump asked Ross to consider whether “steel is being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security.”  Thus, while the media is portraying the Trump tariff decision as an instant, reactionary action, it’s untrue.  The President has been looking into this issue for a year.
What’s the old saying about the penalty we pay if we forget history?  We are bound to repeat it.
I was alive during World War II… a child, but I remember it well.  I recall that for Japan to sustain its war effort in China, it needed territories that produced oil, iron for steel-making and other natural minerals (which Japan lacked).  Japan seized oil fields in Indonesia, Malaya (as it was then known), and Burma.  The military-industrial results tell the story.  During the war, Japan produced 70,000 aircraft; the U.S. produced 300,000 aircraft and ten times more munitions.
Trade wars are not pleasant events.  We can plan on an increase in the cost of some goods while President Trump keeps his promise to keep American as his primary consideration for any action he takes.  For too long, emphasis has been on industries profiting at the expense of our national security.  It will take a short period of time for the pendulum to swing away from industrial profits back to the center of the scale where it belongs.  It is not as if the President has a choice.  This is the only way to make his economic policies work for the people instead of against them and in favor of industry.
The stock market has been over-valued for a long time.  In other words, the price per share is often greater than companies deserve based on actual productivity.  Don’t worry about the initial reaction – downfall – in the stock market.  I believe it will right itself quickly.  We may pay more for goods shipped from Europe.  China may increase its prices for consumer goods where it knows will be the most painful for lower and middle class Americans:  WalMart.  That, too, will have a relatively short life because China’s entire economy is based on its exports.  That fact controls how high they can increase costs.  If it gets sufficiently high so the American people stop buying their goods, it will be too costly for them to continue.  The Chinese economy is big, but it is not in good health at the moment.  President Trump could not have found a better time to take these actions.  Are you going to feel some economic pain?  Probably… but it’s far better than slavery to government and it won’t last long.
For those who hate capitalism, you might want to learn an economic lesson here.  The greatest weakness of socialist and communist nations is their lack of being able to develop a middle class.  Socialism and communism are two class systems… the elite and labor.  The lack of a middle class creates an economic problem:  Their system of economics (socialism, communism) prevents them from creating a class of people who can afford to buy products made in their own nation.  That, in turn, requires the socialist/communist economy to be totally dependent upon exporting its goods to other nations who can afford to buy them.  That is China’s current problem.
All of the college students out there who think socialism is cool will, undoubtedly, enjoy their status as laborers after graduating from college.  The elite class in socialist and communist nations is very limited to the extremely wealthy and since the only other class available is labor, welcome to the realities of socialism!
“Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the Government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian.”  Henry Ford
Trump is right on this issue – though by the end of the week you will hardly be able to believe it based on all of the fake news about his tariffs you’re about to hear.
© 2018 Marilyn Barnewall – All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Are The School Shootings Being Used As A Tool To Disarm The Population?

By Marilyn M. Barnewall
News With Views
Feb 25, 2018

“I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

That was what Nikolas Cruz said on You Tube.  A man in Mississippi saw the Cruz statement and did what the FBI, President Trump, and the Justice Department encourages all of us to do.  He saw something and he said something about it – to the FBI.  He reported the Cruz You Tube statement that he intended to be a professional school shooter.

As it turns out, there were several notifications from the public to law enforcement about Nikolas Cruz.  Because no one listened almost 20 young people with all of the potential in the world were killed.  The FBI has apologized for its errors.  That statement made me ill.

The FBI contacted and interviewed the man in Mississippi and decided the information he provided “was not prosecutable” and investigated the matter no further.  Perhaps they were too busy trying to find Russian connections to Donald Trump.  They just didn’t have time to identify someone who felt powerless and chose to prove he wasn’t by killing students at a school  where he was once a student.

Alicia Blonde is a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and teaches many of its 3,000 students.  She was interviewed on Fox News last week.  She too made me ill as I listened to her words that made clear she is one of the blind progressive liberals who just cannot see the core of the problem causing violence in America.

“It’s guns.  It’s mental illness.”  No one seems to see the culture that has grown up around the world of technology.  Children no longer have real relationships with friends.  They have Facebook.  Writing a message to someone on a computer or a cell phone isn’t the same as playing games or eating dinner with them or telling them your real secrets.

We can identify the timing of the change in our culture from non-violence to violence.  It happened about the same time we removed God from our schools.  As long as there were firm moral guidelines in place that told everyone do unto others as we want done to us we didn’t have violence.  We had childhood exuberance… which if you are a male has been toned down by drugs.  The feminists who run our school boards want boys to become girls (easier to handle).  They have largely succeeded.

Like most progressives, Blonde seeks simple solutions to complex problems.  You would think she might have learned from her own background.  Her parents brought her to America when they fled Cuba where no one is allowed to own a gun.  She should know that guns are not the problem.  The people who wield guns are the problem.

She reminds me of the liberal Californians who move to other states because liberal policies ruined that state.  They immediately support political candidates who implement the same kind of policies that caused California to become a nightmare from which people seek escape.

Are people just stupid?

We have had guns in this country from the first day a Pilgrim set foot on American soil.  For almost 400 years we had no school shootings. We had very little violence until the last 50 years.

Facts like that do not penetrate thick skulls like Blonde’s and her progressive friends.  That piece of factual history does not cause the “let’s take the guns from people” crowd to ask “Why did we go from 1607 when Jamestown was founded until 1990s when the Columbine high school shooting in Littleton occurred started all this violence? What has caused school shootings to occur with periodic regularity ever since?

“What has changed and when did that change occur?”

There are several answers, but it is much easier for the limited logic skills of progressives to say the words “gun control is needed.”  It is a stupid, short-sighted, emotional and non-factual answer to a problem progressives seem incapable of grasping:  It’s called “human nature.”

Throughout history, people have reacted violently when very specific things happen.

1.              When government becomes abusive, a sense of tyranny permeates social attitudes.  When citizens observe government abusing their power it becomes acceptable in their minds to abuse others; especially for children.  They learn by example.  Government tyranny creates a social order dependent on a survival-of-the-fittest mentality.

2.         When firm guidelines of moral behavior are removed from the social order, people push the envelope as far as possible.  We see that in the Middle East today.  Because Sharia Law makes violent behavior acceptable – it’s okay for men to abuse women; it’s okay to lie to non-Muslims, it’s okay to kill non-Muslims.  Violence is part of their culture (if that can be called culture).

Has it ever dawned on anyone that in those specific environments tyrant leaders like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Syria’s Bashar Hafez al-Assad are the only form of power that prevents violence in Islamic societies?  They are not sufficiently advanced socially to handle freedom.  It is a world that encourages violence!

The schools where teachers, most of whom are liberal, teach the “beauties of this peaceful religion” would get fired if they taught the peaceful, loving and individualist philosophy of Jesus Christ.

3.              In a country where its founders wrote laws to govern the nation on the basis of their Christian faith and when the people of the nation are not served by strong churches they seek leadership elsewhere.  Because no one in their church tells them anything that might be considered politically incorrect and those who define what is incorrect are liberals, people ignore what is best and seek what is easiest.  Easiest and better are not the same.  Better requires a willingness to do the right thing rather than the easiest thing.  But to do the right thing, someone has to set standards of right and wrong.  The people can then begin to see things in black and white rather than amoral grey.  Without leadership, people seek gratification rather than fulfillment.  The latter requires commitment and character.  The former does not.

4.              People get used to “easy” rather than “better.”  But not all things are easy.  The loss of a national election that everyone thought would be easy to win hit hard people who have little character and who have been spoiled by getting what they want.  If they want something, they feel entitled to it.  They vote for people who promise the biggest something for nothing deals.  Thus, there is no character in the political forum, there is little meaningful character in the nation’s churches, and people will follow almost anyone who declares himself or herself to be a leader.  As Robert Mueller’s report evidences, they willingly (enthusiastically) follow those whose primary objective is to cause chaos among voters.

As was made clear last week, all of the people who showed up for pro and anti Trump demonstrations held in New York on the same day were following Russian disinformation specialists whose objectives included injecting violence into American elections.  So much for New Yorkers being more sophisticated than the rest of the country.

Character – and lack of it – matters.  In their frustration, people have become violent.   President Donald Trump is telling people with no character that they must develop it to survive – and it scares them to death.  It motivates violence among the mentally and emotionally unstable which clearly defines the personalities of liberal progressives.  They are so unreasonable in their thinking as to believe guns are the problem rather than the general lack of character that permeates our society.

What does a lack of character in politicians, corporate CEOs, and church leaders mean?  It means a willingness to sell one’s vote or products or religion on the basis of what people like rather than what people need.

I know it’s a hard word to deal with:  Truth.  They need truth!

What does a lack of leadership based on a lack of character cause?

It causes young people who feel powerless to seek a way to matter.  They aren’t in control because government has become God.  There is no greater drive in the physical world than the need to have your life matter.  You know you’ll get your picture on the front page of the newspaper if you pick up a gun to kill other people.

The truth is, if guns are not available those who feel they don’t matter will start fires to kill people.  Or they will use poison.  Or they will use explosives.  Why?  Because they gain fame which they think makes them matter.

The problem is not guns.  It is a society that is permeated by “me, me, me” and a total lack of character.  We have two generations raising children who haven’t got a clue as to what good parenting requires.  The result is a generation of spoiled brats unable to handle problems because their mommy solved problems for them rather than letting them learn life’s lessons.  Women of the 1970's felt liberation meant getting what they wanted in life.  They decided they wanted a baby to love (me, me, me) and were never told that having a baby is about what the baby needs, not them.

Since 2012, the number of people who have been killed in school shootings is 239.

On the other side of the coin, in 2010 alone, 230 people were shot while committing a felony.  From 2007 through 2011, the total number of firearms used for self-protection was 338,700.  That means at least a half-million lives were saved because people owned a gun.  That statistic comes from the New York Times.  According to the National Rifle Association, self-protective gun use is much higher.  The NRA states that just owning a gun can dissuade someone from attacking your person or your home.

So liberal logic goes like this:  To save 239 people from school shootings, we must sacrifice the 338,700 that saved themselves by having access to a gun.

They find that acceptable and enthusiastically support it.  They are idiots!

Every year guns have killed innocent people in the hands of those who have NOT been taught by their parents, schools, churches, politicians and business leaders how to develop character.  They have certainly been given no example of character outside of the home (and often inside the home as well).  They are not taught to stand up and fight for themselves in school yards.  Rather, they are told to adopt a fetal position and to wait for help to arrive.  They are taught that when they lose a contest they really are not losers but are winners for participating.  They are given a ribbon (which denigrates the value of the ribbons of the winners).  They are told they matter when, until they do something worthy of mattering, they matter little.  Kids believe what they are told.

And liberal progressives think guns are responsible for shootings rather than the frustrated people who cannot deal with their problems because no one has taught them what the rules are or about morality?

It is as if school shootings are being used as a tool to get the guns out of the hands of the people.  It is as if planned chaos is being used for the same reason… like tying up FBI agents’ time looking for proof that Donald Trump is guilty of something — anything — that involves the  Russians.  That, of course, would only happen if our Justice Department were trying to destroy the nation.

Get Trump and get our guns.  That’s all they care about.  And they will continue to let innocents be murdered because of their closed minds.  It’s the way they fight their battles:  Dirty and with lots of publicity sure to follow.

God bless the parents of the children and the adults and their families killed in Florida.  He is already blessing the dead.  We are all losers of the potential they brought to this life.

© 2018 Marilyn Barnewall – All Rights Reserved

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Black Friends: Please Wake Up

By Marilyn M. Barnewall
News With Views

“It (self-esteem) cannot be replaced by one’s power to deceive.  The self-confidence of a scientist and the self-confidence of a con man are not interchangeable states, and do not come from the same psychological universe.  The success of a man who deals with reality augments his self-confidence.  The success of a con man augments his panic.”  John Galt, Ayn Rand’s hero in Atlas Shrugged.

The news the past few days has been about Donald Trump’s supposed verbiage used to describe nations known by all civilized societies to be hell holes.  The President theoretically used a different word… but I wouldn’t believe anything Democrat Senator Durbin from Illinois said if my life depended on it.
There were six members of Congress in the room.  Dick Durbin is the only one who heard President Trump say “s**t holes.”   I find it interesting that Durbin had nothing to say about Barrack Obama when he called Libya a “s**t show.”  There is evidently a difference in Durbin’s mind between a “s**t hole” and a “s**t show.”
In this instance, Donald Trump is the realist to whom John Galt refers; Dick Durbin is the con man… and panic motivates this kind of behavior, as Rand’s John Galt said it would.
The fact is, Trump is right in his assessment.  And it has nothing to do with race.  It has everything to do with poverty, dependency, violence, poor health, and the drain the natives of hell holes place on our economy when millions of them enter our country illegally every year.
If one seeks truth, one cannot ignore a significant fact about which no one speaks.  It is this:  All of the nations of the world being invaded are white-dominated societies; all of the invaders are non-whites.  If that simple fact makes me a racist, so be it.  It makes the fact racist, too.
A second fact is this:  The only race of people in history that has consistently avoided or quickly thrown off the bonds of slavery is the white race.  This may lead you to recognize a third fact.
That third fact is this:  It is a distinct possibility that the reason all white nations on this planet are being invaded by non-white populations is not because the invaders are in any way inferior.  Nor is the invasion of white worlds occurring because corrupt politicians worldwide want to hold out a compassionate hand to those in need.  It’s quite possible the invasion is because as long as whites dominate by number any nation, it is impossible to enslave that nation.  And the world government theme is based on precisely that:  enslaving the labor class to serve an elitist class… the planned oligarchy.  History tells us that non-whites do not defend against slavery as determinedly as whites do.  It’s as simple as that.  Pick up a history book and check it out.
Over the years, I have learned that when progressive liberals flood the front pages of the liberal media with flashy, sexy, divide and conquer headlines, it is because they are hiding what is really occurring.
What you are hearing about Donald Trump calling some nations “s**t holes” really has no significance relative to what is really going on.  The Democrats have no issue on which they can win an election and their issue has become telling any lie they can about President Donald Trump and finding every way they can to play the race card.  It’s all they have… and it is a deplorable card to play.
Think about some inconvenient facts with which liberal progressives are now wrestling… a very difficult conflict.  Answer these questions:
1.     On whom do Democrats rely to win elections at both the state and federal level?  Answer:  Black people.

2.     To whom is the Democrat Party now giving all of its attention?  Answer:  Illegal aliens, most of whom are Hispanic.

If there is any way to support illegal aliens, progressive liberals are for it… from no wall, to an international lottery which lets nations with societies that are the hell holes send the worst of their problem makers to America, to making the “Dreamers” (DACA) sound like the most honorable and hard-working people in the world.  To hear Democrats talk about those who come to America illegally is to hear them talk about how they are serving in our military to protect America.  There are some who do and they are to be commended above and beyond the normal “thank you for your service” statements that are sincerely given by civilians to members of our military.
The fact is:  Only 7/10ths of one percent of non-Americans serve in our military.  So when you hear Democrats make it sound like half of our military personnel are illegal aliens, it’s a huge lie… excrement from male cattle.  The fact is, 21 percent of those behind bars in federal prisons are illegals.  Many are anything but contributors to American society.
3.     The above facts create a problem for Democrat liberals and progressives.  They are giving full attention and support to those who are Hispanic, illegals who cannot vote, and are ignoring their Black constituents on whom they depend to win elections.  Oops.
What startles me is that the Black population is allowing itself to be drawn into this political conflict of interest.  Those they elect to support Black communities support illegal aliens who cannot vote (legally, at any rate) and are ignoring those who can and on whom they rely to win elections.  It’s not the smartest strategy in the world and Republicans have an opportunity to play the race card against the Democrats (if they’re smart enough to know how without offending people).

Within the first year of Barrack Obama’s presidency, the Black unemployment rate hit 16.8% and it stayed high during his entire administration.

In the first 8 months of the Trump Presidency, Black unemployment is down to 6.8 percent, its lowest level in many years.

Black family income fell by more than $900 a year under Obama.  Within just 8 months of Trump’s presidency, Black family income is up more than $1,000 – that is a $1,900 per family net turn-around.

Will our Black population wake up, open its eyes and realize that Democrats are abusing them by favoring illegal aliens?  Democrat abuse usually comes in the form of making promises that are lies and then ignoring them – but this is more apparent and it is worse.

Who is taking jobs away from Blacks?  Why, it’s none other than the same people white workers have complained are taking jobs from them:  Illegal Hispanic aliens.

It was made pretty clear on Laura Ingraham’s radio show last week when Black men from Chicago, Atlanta and a few other large cities called to complain that jobs normally filled by Black men are now being filled by lower-paid illegal aliens.

Democrats evidently believe the most effective way to keep Black eyes on Donald Trump as the racist problem rather than Democrat policies is to invent ways to call the President a racist and to tell their Black constituents that the President is insulting nations with Black populations… like Haiti, Sudan, Somalia, and El Salvador.  Here are some stats from those nations. published by Laura Ingraham on her Fox News broadcast last Friday:

El Salvador
Its capitol has the highest murder rate in the world;
Cities and towns are among the most dangerous on the planet;
40”% of migrants deported from the US were fleeing violence;
5.5 million people are at risk of getting cholera;
Is a safe haven for terrorists;
ISIS has established a faction there;
Is one of the largest sponsors of terrorism.
Is on the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (1 of 4 countries);
Poverty rate 50.6%;
Over one-third of the population lacks access to food.

Whenever a Democrat’s lips are moving and the comments being made involve race, look for a racial crisis Democrats are responsible for but are hiding from public view.
The only thing Democrat liberals and progressives understand is divide and conquer.   The problem is, they have painted themselves into a corner from which it will be very difficult to extricate themselves.  Their policies that support the illegal immigration of Hispanics into America are destroying employment opportunities for their most loyal voters:  Black people.  Not very smart… but who would expect anything else from the Dick Durbins of the world?  The panic of the con man, as John Galt said it would, is becoming apparent.
President Trump is right about immigration, legal and illegal.  America needs to make sure that those who come to our shores are capable of supporting themselves and have the potential to add, not detract, from our society.  I don’t care what color they are, I don’t care what religion they are (or are not).  They need to migrate legally, want to become American, be productive, and be loyal to their new country.
The days when the American economy can afford to support the world are long gone… and the lies Democrats tell about the positive impact illegal aliens have on the American economy are, too.  Many do make a positive contribution… but the percentage of social welfare given to illegal families is very, very high (some say as high as 80 percent).
Wake up, my Black friends.  It is you the Democrat policies are hurting most!
© 2018 Marilyn M. Barnewall – All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Tis The Day Before Christmas

News With Views, Dec 24, 2017
Love.  Family.  Friends.  Children.  Santa Claus.  Giving and Receiving. Food.  Lights and other decorations.
To many people, these words define Christmas.   They are correct but miss the reason for the season.
To many, Christmas is about an infant born on a cold winter night and placed in a manger.  It is about Joseph and Mary and Jesus.  It’s about shepherds in a field who are frightened when they are visited by angels.  It is about three kings who traveled so far to give gifts to the newborn King (though Jesus was almost two years old when they arrived).
700 years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah (9:6) tells us “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
As our society has become more secular, it is apparent that Christmas has become more of a people day than a God day.  Love, family, friends, children, Santa Claus, giving, food… all of these things should be part of our daily lives as Christians rather than something we celebrate for a day annually.  Instead, our government removes Christmas scenes from public property, totally reversing the meaning of our founders who limited government from involving itself in religion rather than governing how it should be celebrated.
Hallmark Christmas movies are a good example of the move towards secularism.  First, let me make clear that I love their holiday movies and, time permitting, have been known to watch them.  It is so nice to get away from the sex, violence and filthy language so much a part of Millennial entertainment!  Hallmark movies, however, portray Christmas as a season of miracles and romance (and it’s true that wherever there is hope, miracles happen) but there is little spiritual inference.
There is no doubt that Christmas is a time of miracles, but the great miracle we celebrate on December 25th has little to do with saving a romance.  It has to do with saving people from themselves.

A sermon I listened to yesterday asks a crowd of people a simple question:  “Do you believe human beings have dignity?”  Everyone raised their hands.  A second question followed:  “Are people born with dignity?”  Half of the hands were raised and the other half were not.  The Pastor was pointing out that though people tend to agree with one another on big issues, the devil is truly in the details.

He pointed out that atheists and Darwinists (most people do not realize that Charles Darwin was a Christian at the time of his death) believe they came from a big pool of mud in which a couple of cells got together by chance and over millions of years eventually produced a human being.  Atheists, he added, do not believe they are going anywhere after death… so they come from nothing and go nowhere.  He is right that there is not much “dignity” in that scenario.  So much for the idea of being born with it.  It is something we earn as we develop our character.
To put it into language anyone can understand, Christmas is God in a manger.
That massive power that created the world and a universe became a human baby.  He loved the human beings He had created in the beginning and saw that they needed help to understand what He expected of them if they were to share eternal life (heaven) with Him.
What is a baby born of a virgin?  It is Total Innocence.
Atheists (and often agnostics) point out how totally impossible it is for a virgin to become pregnant… yet have no problem accepting the idea that two cells in a huge puddle of mud once joined together and begin producing life.  There have been a lot of big, long-lived mud puddles since the beginning and it hasn’t happened again, but it is impossible to explain how some people think.
It has always puzzled me why people doubt the virgin birth.  Many of those people believe in God… believe He created the world and the universe, but think He lacks the ability to impregnate a woman via the Holy Spirit.  It strikes me as… almost funny it is so illogical.
So we have innocence and God, the only absolute eternal Truth, in a manger on Christmas Day.  That is God’s greatest gift to this world and those who populate it.  That is what we celebrate four days after the date of the winter solstice.
Since no one recorded the date of the birth of Jesus Christ, no one really knows the precise day we should celebrate.  Does it really matter?  What we celebrate is the birth of innocent Truth that will sacrifice His life so we can have eternal life – and that should be celebrated every day of our lives.

Our atheist and agnostic friends scoff at the December 25th date, pointing out to Christians that in the olden days it was the celebration of the winter solstice and they laughingly tell us we are so dumb we don’t know we are celebrating a heathen holiday.

The truth is, we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25th which happens to occur within less than a week of those who did (and may still) celebrate the winter solstice.  Further, Jonathan Cahn, author of the blockbuster book The Harbinger, has put out a video on You Tube that makes an excellent case for the birth date of our Lord and Savior as being April 1st.

If you are a /Christian, it matters not what day you celebrate His birth.  If you get a bee in your bonnet and want to celebrate His birthday again in July, go for it!

It all gets back to John 3:16:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but will have eternal life.”  That is what the greatest gift ever given was and it is the reason the celebration of Christ’s birth involves giving.  It is the reason it involves love, family and celebration.  All are symbolic of God’s greatest gift to His creations:  We, the people.

Our Christmas carols would have us believe that the night Jesus was born, life was quiet and peaceful.  It was not a “Silent Night” kind of world.  Very much like Washington, D.C. today, it was a tremendous time of turbulence in Jerusalem.  The Romans were not the kindest of rulers and their political system was corrupt – a bit like America today – and the angel’s message to shepherds in the field, “good will toward men” does not suggest that people should show good will to one another.  It tells us that God, through the birth of His Son, is showing good will towards men.  It says there will be peace to men of good will.  It does not say we should offer good will to those who would destroy us or our Christian way of life or to those who violate our laws.

There is a feeling of love in the air during the Christmas holidays.  People appear to forget that they are beings who not only need to be loved, but need to love, as well.  We seek love as a means of finding happiness.  The spirit of the season gives us hope… and perhaps that is the thing that gets less significance in defining Christmas than it deserves.

Christ signifies hope… for love, for a giving spirit, for kindness and happiness – and, most important, for the possibility of eternal life.  Christ is the only vehicle on which humankind can rely for the hope of eternal life.  (I realize the Jews will argue with me on this point.)  Without hope, it is all but impossible for love to exist, let alone thrive.  To receive love, we must also give it.

The same is true of kindness.  To even be able to find love, kindness, happiness, et al, you must first have hope of being able to find them and then you must be able to give them.  Every worthwhile thing in life is a two-way street.  You give and you get.  Without both, the result is merely an imitation of the real thing (or a selfish grabbing of these things for yourself without the ability to return them).

And that’s why I believe the key to understanding the meaning of Christmas is to understand hope – which means learning to understand the message of Jesus Christ – and to behave in a way that invites it not only into your life, but into the lives of all the people in your world.  With hope, anything is possible.  To have it, we must believe in it.

When you walk through the mall to return the necktie you don’t like or the scarf that is the wrong color for you, a worthwhile objective is to make three people – total strangers to you – smile.  Smiles and hope go together like white on rice.

It’s a great way, as Scrooge might say, to “keep Christmas in my heart every day of the year.”

God bless and Merry Christmas!  (And now please smile so I can meet my objective of three smiles from strangers every day!)

© 2017 Marilyn Barnewall – All Rights Reserved