Archive for December 17th, 2009

Joy to the World-It’s Christmas Caroling Time; A Journey to the Celebration

Posted on December 17, 2009. Filed under: Christmas, Family, Friendship | Tags: , , , |

In 1982, while I was in the Navy, aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Jouett CG-29, we stopped in Busan, South Korea during Christmas for a couple of days of liberty.  The first day we were in port I had duty, which included standing watch on the quarterdeck, (where the gangway is attached from the pier, in order for crew and quests to enter and exit the ship).  While I was standing watch, a local businessman came to visit our ship’s Captain.  As the businessman was leaving the ship, he invited my watch partner and I to go with him the next day for a tour of the city, including the plywood factory he owned, dining, and to experience their culture.  Being sailors without much money as we were, and having an opportunity to see the city with one of its significant business people seemed like a great idea, so we accepted.

The following day, the gentleman came back to the ship, took us out on the town, therefore giving us the tour he promised.  Afterwards, he asked us if we would like to join his family as they went to church for worship at a Christmas Eve service; they were Christians.  At the time, I really did not have any solid religious belief system, although I did believe in God, so we accepted their invitation.  We had a great time at the service, but the evening was not over, as their tradition dictated going Christmas caroling around their neighborhoods.  By the time we began to go caroling, it was already late, now after midnight.  Caroling at this time of night was not an issue, as this course of action was an expected part of their tradition; so we proceeded to walk through the streets of Busan, going house to house, singing Joy to the World and other Christmas carols until about 4 o’clock in the morning.  The temperature was bitter cold, and all I had to keep warm was a sports coat, which was not enough coverage since the temperature was near 30 degrees.  Yet these people were extremely cheerful as they sang Joy to the World, for it was Christmas caroling time in Busan.

It was fantastic being part of their practice of walking from house to house singing Christmas carols all night long, yet this event alone is not what really made this time special for me.  I experienced a genuine level of generosity from my newly found friends, a generosity that I was not used to seeing in people whom I had just met. This family included us as their own, making us feel like we were part of their family.  After coming back from Christmas caroling, with the time now approaching Christmas morning (yes we had been up all night as it was now about 4 o’clock am), it was time to exchange gifts.  Of course, my friend and I did not have any gifts to give, nor were we expecting to receive any.  This family decided to take some presents from their own gifts that were under the tree, and furnish us some to unwrap and enjoy, in order that we would feel like we were part of the family and not awkward in the moment.  Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with how hospitable these people were, as they shared their lives, traditions, food, gifts, and time with my friend and I.  Watching them in this way, helped me understand they were true to their faith and belief in God the creator.  Yes, as we sang Joy to the World to their neighbors, it was special.  Remembering this time makes we wonder if it’s Christmas caroling time again in our neighborhoods?

This week I have been trying to remember a time when I saw people going Christmas caroling door to door, house to house since that occasion in Korea, and I can not recall ever experiencing caroling in this way.  I have watched movies where people Christmas carol, but not live and in person; the only exception being the time in 1982.  If we were to go Christmas caroling, it should not just be for the benefit of those we are caroling for, but also should be beneficial to ourselves as we are spending time worshiping the God of the universe, the creator of all things.  I like how (Psalm 95:1-2) says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Let us come into his presence with; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”  When we sing praises of worship to the Lord, we are letting Him know how we appreciate Him, acknowledging His greatness, majesty and holyness.

When we sing Christmas carols for ourselves and others, we should be sure of why we are singing.  Are we singing to worship the Lord, or just to be part of the group?  If a person is not singing for the Lord, then I think that maybe this might be a time to reflect on God, and the meanings behind the songs.  In 1982, I did not have a relationship with God, but this time was a stepping stone in the long process of me coming to know Him.  The generosity of the family that I stayed with will live in my memory forever, as they were instrumental in showing me how people can care for one another, giving of themselves, regardless if they know the people they are sharing with or not.  Yes, this time of year we should be singing Joy to the world because it’s Christmas caroling time again.

What a huge blessing the singing and the unconditional sharing of a families life with another can be.  I am greatful for the time I spent in Korea in 1982, and hope that I too, can be a blessing and a beacon of hope to another in my life, through my generosity, and through my faithfulness to my God, the one who is always faithful to me, giving me purpose for living.  If it is possible, I pray that somehow. through song and our actions, we can bring Joy to the World that so desperately needs God’s love.

May your journey this year be blessed,

Daryl Dho

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Love Shows Mercy; A Journey to the Celebration Takes an Emergency Detour

Posted on December 17, 2009. Filed under: Assurance, Children, Christmas, Faith, Family, Righteousness, Sacrifice, Salvation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Last night, at 9:39 p.m., I got a frantic call from my wife concerning our youngest daughter.  My daughter, a very disciplined and highly driven young lady, is a high school varsity cheerleader, enjoys performing, and diligently practices nearly every day.  Last nigh she was at a tumbling class when she missed a double round off back flip and landed on the back side of her neck and head.  According to my daughter and her tumbling coach, she instantly was in terrible pain while beginning to cry.  Her fellow team mates and coach came to her to evaluate how she was, realizing right away that she was hurt and needed medical attention.  So my wife received the call from the coach about her condition, as he instructed my wife that one of the other parents would be bringing her home.  I was at work when my wife called me with tears in her eyes as she was concerned about our baby girl, who by the way, isn’t really a baby anymore, since she now drives.

Rushing home to be there for my daughter, seeing my wife in tears when I walked in the door made me a little sad, but I kept my emotions in control.  We would be taking my daughter to the emergency room upon her arrival.  One of our sons friends came to our house about 1 minute after I did to pick up some cookies that my wife had made for him, and he stayed to see how my daughter’s condition was.  He has known her for about 14 years, and was concerned for her status, and through his love, he showed mercy. Then the parent driving my daughter home pulled up in front of the house, assisting us in getting her out of the vehicle.  One of her friends, who was showing a lot of care, got out and aided her while showing that she too was hurting for my daughter.  Both the parent and his daughter were showing a lot of compassion due to their love showing mercy.

The next part of her adventure took us to Gilbert Hospital, where I have gone before with my mother in law and another friend to their emergency facility.  I have always found that the personnel at this hospital exhibit a lot of care, concern, love, and mercy for the patients, family, and friends.  I realize that someone in this profession is somewhat required to show compassion for those they are treating, but it is not always the case in every hospital or medical facility that I have been in throughout my life.  We are still talking about individuals who either have compassion or do not when it comes to caring for patients.  I can understand that at times it may be difficult for someone in this profession to deal with all of the patients they do, some of them undoubtedly not very coorperative.  But, it is evident that every person in this hospital has the gift of mercy in their heart.  They are truly agents of love showing mercy to the patients, family, and friends that come to their facility on a daily basis. They made my daughter comfortable, relaxed, and gave her confidence in the treatment she was receiving.  For my daughter, this was her first experience in a hospital, other than when she was born.  She even remarked how the medical staff that works at this hospital certainly care a lot for their patients, and that they are love showing mercy.

During this Christmas season, as we celebrate the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, it is apparent to me now how we must also reflect on how Jesus was love incarnate, showing mercy to a world so desperately needing it.  Jesus healed the lame, the diseased, and brought the dead back to life, for He proved that love shows mercy. In Matthew 4:23 (ESV), the Bible tells us the following, “And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people.”  Jesus, whom is God incarnate, was teaching, proclaiming the truth about God and His kingdom, and healing the people because He truly loves us and it is His desire to show mercy to us.

This is the Christmas story, Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth to reveal God’s love and mercy to us in a way we find difficult to comprehend.  Jesus came to save us from ourselves, from the evil that lurks in our soul, from our tendencies to do wrong when we know right, from our unrighteous thoughts that we keep hidden from all in our midst, from our pride, from all of our actions that prove we are, as the Bible says in (Romans 3:23), sinful, falling short of the glory of God.  Yes, Jesus is love showing mercy to all who accept Him as their redeemer.  He willingly came to serve the needs of all mankind, somewhat like the hospital staff who so willingly accepts the task of being a beacon of hope for those who are sick and injured.  You see, we are all injured when it comes to our ability to do good all the time.  Due to our sinful nature, we can’t help but to do what is evil in God’s eyes, therefore requiring medical attention for our eternal soul.  Jesus is the great physician, willingly serving those of us who know Him, have faith in Him, and trust that He can and will redeem us for our unrighteousness.  Jesus, came from heaven, was born as a human, walked the earth, died a physical death, then rose again three days later victoriously in order to defeat sin for all of us.  Jesus was love showing mercy.  Amen.

May your journey in life be blessed by our almighty God,

Daryl Dho

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