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Byline: The Register-Guard

Enjoy trees sans guilt

Self-described pagan C.S. Chandler (letters, Dec. 10) seems to want to play the Grinch by telling Christians that our beloved Christmas trees are pagan symbols. To his credit, Chandler did get one of his facts right: Christmas trees did originate in Germany, but they are not a pagan tradition. According to the Christian Research Institute, they evolved over time from two Christian traditions dating back to the Middle Ages. One was a paradise tree hung with apples as a reminder of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The other was a triangular shelf holding Christmas figurines decorated by a star. In the 16th century, these two symbols merged into the present Christmas tree tradition.

So, fellow Christians, we can enjoy our trees without guilt as we celebrate the coming of Christ, the real reason for the season.



Katrina survivors welcomed

Thanks to the generosity of the sales department of Symantec and Troy Davenport, owner of the Couch Potato furniture store, Christmas came early for three members of our family, Hurricane Katrina survivors Matt and Karen Beveridge and their daughter, Heather. The family's home on the bayou in Gulfport, Miss., was destroyed by the storm. They escaped the devastation with literally the clothes on their backs. The family has since relocated to this area.

Last Monday night, Symantec representatives brought gifts of furniture, tools, kitchen gadgets, dishware, gift cards and many other items to the family to help them as they continue to outfit their new household.

A single call to East Side Faith Center, one of the many local churches and organizations that reached out to storm victims, linked our family with these generous people who "adopted" Matt, Karen and Heather as their "Christmas family."

The employees join others in this area, including the Nill family of the Guaranty company in Junction City, members of St. Alice Catholic Church, St. Vincent DePaul, and friends and neighbors, who have helped us help our brother and his family re-establish their lives.

Their kindness is truly the epitome of this season of giving - and greatly appreciated by us.



Another Christmas sojourn

With the pressures of the holidays, one should remember a miracle that took place during Christmas a long time ago. Three wise men journeyed far to represent all mankind. These wise men were the crew of Apollo 8.

Their journey to the moon began on the morning of Dec. 21, 1968. They entered lunar orbit early on Dec. 24. They spent 20 hours circling the moon gathering data for the upcoming Apollo 11 moon landing in July 1969. They read to all the world from the book of Genesis. They blasted out of lunar orbit in the early hours of Christmas morning. As they reappeared from the back side of the moon for their trip home, they called to the Earth, "Pleased be informed there is a Santa Claus!" This confirmed that the single engine, which had to fire to get them home, worked perfectly.

After a fiery decent into the atmosphere at 25,000 miles per hour, they returned to Earth in the Pacific on the morning of Dec. 27. An anonymous citizen sent them a telegram that said, simply, "Thanks, you saved 1968."

Apollo 8 was crewed by Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders, but they were only the tip of the iceberg. Four-hundred thousand Americans worked directly on the Apollo program while many millions more provided tax dollars and moral and spiritual support. This was not just an American triumph. It was a triumph for all humanity. When we put our minds and spirit to it, we can achieve the impossible.

Please, let's never forget the legacy of Apollo 8! America had its shining hour, and we can have it again. Merry Christmas!


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Dec 25, 2005
Next Article:For soldier's mother, a painful deal with God.

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