Saturday, December 16, 2006

Hayrides, Carols, and Lights

Every year about this time (as we are told), various folks in our neighborhood put together elaborate trailers and structures for their trucks for the sole purpose of hauling boatloads of screaming kids around the neighborhood at night, singing carols and looking at Christmas lights. Our neighborhood is pretty big, so each trip could last about an hour.

Some friends on our street built a pretty impressive little ride... complete with two generators mounted on the front of the truck, a blasting stereo system with speakers attached to the top of the cab, and a six foot long trailer filled with hay in tow -- all covered, and I mean covered, with Christmas lights. It was 80 degrees outside today, and the night air was cool and breezy - how could we not go along for a ride? It's not my usual gig, but it was spontaneous and fun. Frequently during our little journey around the neighborhood, we would pass other trucks with trailers, filled with kids.
California vs. Texas
Honor the Texas flag;
I pledge allegiance to thee,
Texas, one and indivisible.
That is the pledge of allegiance to the flag of Texas, and I am told that children are even taught this pledge in elementary school here along with the pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States. And did you know that the lone star featured on the flag of California refers to Texas, which, like California, did once exist as an independent republic before it eventually became part of the United States.

On that note, I would like to draw your attention to a post written by my beautiful wife concerning some of our observations: California vs. Texas.
Most people wouldn't put Texas and California in the same sentence, unless noting how opposite they are supposed to be. I've lived in both states, and find that they have a few things in common:

1. Both were once part of Mexico
2. Both were independent republics before joining the US.
3. Both have fabulous historical sites reflecting items 1 & 2.
4. Both states are huge, geographically speaking.
5. Residents of each state think they live in the best of all possible places, not just on this planet, but possibly in the known universe. Ask them. Neither can fathom why anyone would want to live in the other state.

Texas, however takes its state pride to a slightly different level than California. Furniture stores in Texas often feature pieces with the Lone Star emblazoned proudly upon them. You don't see many Californians looking for furniture with the Bear on them. Texas even has its own pledge of allegiance... I did a Google search, to see if California has its own equivalent. All I got was references to news articles and court cases about people in California trying to ban the national Pledge of Allegiance because of the words "under God". A similar Google search for the Texas pledge got notably different results.
Ah, California... Ah, Texas.
Parish Mission with Scott and Kimberly Hahn

We just got back from an advent parish mission at our parish, which included mass this morning followed by speakers Dr. Scott and Kimberly Hahn... Very enriching... and standing room only. I'm sure that folks benefited very well from having such articulate speakers come to visit us and talk about the beautiful truths of our Catholic Faith.

I was pleased when Kimberly Hahn referred to the conciliar document Gaudium et Spes, from the Second Vatican Council, to underscore her point about the life giving nature of the marital union as being a union with the life creating power of God Himself; this God who is Love and pours out love (as Love can only do) in the creation of new life. Also the important fact that just as children benefit from the love and education given by their parents, parents also benefit from the love and education given to them every day by their children. Gaudium et Spes (paragraph 50) says it this way:
Marriage and conjugal love are by their nature ordained toward the begetting and educating of children. Children are really the supreme gift of marriage and contribute very substantially to the welfare of their parents. The God Himself Who said, "it is not good for man to be alone" (Gen. 2:18) and "Who made man from the beginning male and female" (Matt. 19:4), wishing to share with man a certain special participation in His own creative work, blessed male and female, saying: "Increase and multiply" (Gen. 1:28). Hence, while not making the other purposes of matrimony of less account, the true practice of conjugal love, and the whole meaning of the family life which results from it, have this aim: that the couple be ready with stout hearts to cooperate with the love of the Creator and the Savior. Who through them will enlarge and enrich His own family day by day.


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