23 December 2004

Christmas Ornaments

credit: www.thesavvytraveller.comHere are some ornaments that are helping me enjoy this Christmas.

Church of the Brethren hosts 2004 CBS Television Christmas Special:

Suddenly I'm homesick for Richmond, Indiana! Bethany Seminary's extraordinary Nicarry Chapel is the location for the event, to be broadcast tomorrow on CBS. Visit this Web site for more information.

credit: www.thesavvytraveller.com"It's important for the children."

Yahoo carried a Chicago Tribune news story from Iraq about this year's celebrations of Christmas among Iraqi Christians. I paused at these words:
"Our beliefs will never fade," said Hazim Jameel, 47, a taxi driver who was buying a Christmas tree on his day off. "It's vital that people live their normal lives." His wife, Fadia Issa, 31, said the family would prepare a traditional Christmas dinner and give gifts to their three young children. "It's important for the children," she said.
For some reason, I find this little story incredibly powerful.

credit: www.thesavvytraveller.comChristmas in space

I remember Christmas 1968 especially for the Apollo 8 space mission, a navigational rehearsal for the later Apollo 11 landing on the moon. I was up all hours listening to news accounts as the command module went behind the moon, cutting off communication with the earth, and, with millions of others, heard the astronauts' Christmas greetings and the reading from Genesis.

Nowadays it isn't as exciting to follow the news from space, but a Christmas drama is unfolding for the crew of the International Space Station ... and for them it is anything but routine. As food and other supplies run dangerously low, the Progress M1 cargo flight launched today from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, must dock successfully on Christmas Day or the crew will be forced to abandon the space station. If at all possible, I will take some time out mid-afternoon to watch NASA television's coverage of Progress M1's arrival.

Mission executives have promised that the cargo isn't strictly utilitarian. Quoting space.com's report,
While the new Progress supply ship is primarily filled with practical cargo like food, water and other consumables, its anticipated Christmas arrival for the ISS crew was not lost on mission controllers.

“There are going to be some good things and fun things in there too,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s ISS program manager at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, during a Dec. 9 prelaunch press conference.
It's important for the ... spacemen.

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