The Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong, And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I don’t’ know when this song first had an impact on me, it’s meaning has changed over time as I have heard it year after year. In the last few years, it has changed from a song of dispare to a song of great hope and joy! I love to hear it and in my church, the organist really makes it wonderful and uplifting!

In my own life, I have moved through this opinion of the world and mankind in it. I remember a time when I was not interested in the affairs of those around me. It was typical of me to avoid others and not care what happened to those around me. At one point I didn’t even care about my siblings. Over the course of several years, my life took me into hard times and an actual and spiritual all desert.

It took a a few small acts from friends and family to soften my heart. Then I was presented with a choice … the choice between dark and light. The choice between walking the path of faith of the path of rebellion.

I was attending church with a very dear friend of mine, a guy who was and is an example to me. During the sermon, the pastor spoke about making New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t remember most of his sermon, at the very end, he said; “If there is only. one resolution that you make this year, make it to become more like Christ.” It was in that moment a decision had to be make. I was acting like the Israelites and halting between 2 decisions. It took me 3 days to make a decision about what path I would take.

As this year comes to a close, the twentieth year since that day, I have reflected upon the path my life has taken. I have often reflected on the decision I made and all the good things that have come from that day. I am ever so grateful for my wife – Lauren, my 4 boys, the faith that has developed, my education, the experiences, the books, the friends, my home, and job. All the good things that have come into my life, have come from that day.

The relationships with my siblings and parents have improved, my friendships have grown and more friends have come into my life. My gratitude abounds and my desire to share that gratitude and abundance continues to grow the more abundance and blessing flow into my life!

My hope and desire for this New Year is that you will be able to see and experience the blessing and abundance that is there for each and every one of us!

iron wil

Mankind

An ancient term that has come under attack because of the word “man”.

By definition:

man·kind n. 1. The human race; humankind. (1)

mankind (n.) “the human race,” c. 1300, earlier man-kende (early 13c.), from man (n.) + kind (n.). Replaced Old English mancynn “human race.” Also used occasionally in Middle English for “male persons” (late 14c.), but otherwise preserving the original gender neutrality of man (n.). For “menfolk, the male sex,” menkind (late 14c.) and menskind (1590s) have been used. (2)

I don’t understand why after centuries this term has become controversial. It has stood for the human race since about the 1300’s. I think it is disingenuous for groups to disparage our own kind and terminology. This post I found on Today I Found Out sums up many of my thoughts quite well:

It wasn’t until about a thousand years ago that the word “man” started to refer to a male and it wasn’t until the late 20th century that it was almost exclusively used to refer to males.

Before “man” meant a male, the word “wer” or “wǣpmann” was commonly used to refer to “male human”.  This word almost completely died out around the 1300s, but survives somewhat in words like “werewolf”, which literally means “man wolf”.

Women at the time were referred to as “wif” or “wīfmann“, meaning “female human”.  The latter “wifmann”, eventually evolved into the word “woman”, but retained its original meaning.  The word “wif” itself eventually evolved into “wife”, with its meaning obviously being changed slightly.

Interestingly, the word ‘men’, meaning “to think” or “to have a cognitive mind”, was also gender neutral and connected to “man”, which meant “the thinker”.  So we can see from that how “man” originally referred to all humans.

Largely due to the stigma that using the word “man” meaning “humans” is supposedly sexist, despite its original meaning, the use of the word “man” in that fashion has all but disappeared in the last 50-100 years, with it now only showing up in words like “human” and “mankind” as referring to both male and female.  Even those instances still garners quite a bit of controversy in terms of being thought of as sexist, despite these words predating the point when “man” meant “male” only. (3)

We call all lions, lions. Yes, there is a term specifically for girl or lady lions … lioness. We have specific words to describe homo sapiens ladies … we call them females; which comes from the Latin femella. It was later changed in the English language to reflect the spelling of male, in the 14th century. (4)

Words have meaning. Unfortunately, in American society we are seeing the willful subversion of terminology and it is causing the destruction of our language and the meaning of words. This causes people to not understand the context of a discussion or the true meaning of a person’s (or group’s) statements or comments. It would benefit every person to pick up a dictionary from the early 20th century to use as a reference because then people understood the meaning and definition of words.

(1) Dictionary.com: Mankind

(2) Online Etymology Dictionary: Mankind

(3) Today I Found Out: Man

(4) Wikipedia: Female

iron wil