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    I always look forward to it as one of the season's great Christmas moments - the lighting of that towering Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

    This year's going to be different. Just a tad more exciting. Because I have sort of a second-hand personal connection this time.

    The tree comes from the farm owned by our good friends' daughter and son-in-law. As I write this, our friends are waiting to be chauffeured to ringside (actually rink-side) seats for the big doin's. So I'll not just be watching the tree and the performers - hey, I've got friends on the front row!


        thanksgiving-blogMaybe it was the dumb voices I did. But the kids used to love it when I read "Winnie the Pooh" to them. Tigger with his irrepressible "hoo-hoo!," bouncing everywhere. And Eeyore with his head down and his ever-present gloom.

        I'd rather be Tigger than Eeyore. Maybe without the bouncing. I want to be the one who leaves sunshine in the room, not storm clouds.

            Marysville Memorial

            The shooting that killed two students (and the shooter) at Marysville (WA) High School last week shocked everyone. At first when it appeared 15-year-old Jaylen Fryberg was the shooter, that made it all the more shocking.

            He wasn't the typical loner, bullying victim, outsider. He was the Homecoming prince, football player, popular guy.

            But, it turns out, there were hints of the anger and anguish in his soul.

               

              ebola-300I was watching the news story about the Dallas nurse who is now the first person to ever contract Ebola in America. And I was hit by a lesson that is intensely personal to me.

              The authorities were talking about the "contact tracing" they're doing to identify people she'd been with. They also did that with Thomas Duncan, the first person to die of Ebola here. In Africa, and now in America, contact tracing is a top priority in containing the spread of this medical serial killer.

                Fear

                For some reason the headline sounds so ominous. "First Ebola death in America."

                I don't think most of us thought it would ever come close. But it has. Ebola is out there, and the world is on edge.


                  People are worried. The news is pretty unnerving.

                  Our family's seeing more anxiety through social media recently. People who seldom watch the news are watching it now. Our national leaders are speaking more ominously than we've ever heard them speak.

                  Yesterday a U.S. Senator said Ebola is "one of the most explosive, deadly epidemics in modern times." In Africa, the number of cases doubled in just the past month. You feel fine for three weeks after you've been infected. It's so easy to spread.

                    A friend recently asked me for advice on a new relationship he had begun with a girl he was interested in. I have been extremely happily married for almost 20 years now. So I thought about it for a bit, and came up with a few ideas about new or developing Christian romantic relationships. Hopefully they'll be useful for you or someone you know:

                                  

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