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God's Penman

The Reverend James L. Snyder is an award winning author whose writings have appeared in more than eighty periodicals including GUIDEPOSTS. In Pursuit of God: The Life of A. W. Tozer, Snyder?s first book, won the Reader?s Choice Award in 1992 by Christianity Today. Snyder has authored 8 books altogether.

Rev. James L. Snyder has a knack for making fun of daily frustrations and will increase your humor aptitude so you too can discover that life is less stressful when you?re laughing. Through these essays, you will realize that humor and religion belong together and that its OK to keep from taking yourself and others too seriously.

For many years I maintained confidence in my personal identity. I knew exactly who I was and was quite comfortable in my skin. Although, I must confess my skin used to fit me better than it does these days.

Recently several things happened to shake this confidence in my person. I don't know about anyone else, but I take pride in my personal mettle.

About two months ago my credit card company informed me somebody hacked into their records and stole my identity, along with approximately one million other customers. They went on to assure me that my account would be safe.

It wasn't my money I was worried about at the time but my identity. How can anybody steal someone else's identity?

More important than that, why would anybody want to steal somebody else's identity? Especially somebody like me.

In thinking about this I wondered, how much can I charge someone for borrowing my identity? I might have a cottage industry here in the making. Or, perhaps it's just cottage cheese.

I could understand if I were a . . .

For a Christmas present, our children pulled their resources and gave the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly a marvelous little vacation in the eastern hills of Tennessee.

Upon arrival, we were delightfully surprised with all of our children and grandchildren being there as well.

The prospects of the week were simply delightful. I believe with all the children and grandchildren, along with two sons-in-law and one daughter-in-law, there were 13 people in this mountain log cabin.

Although there were many wonderful activities to employ our time, the feminine side of this vacationing clan selected shopping is the premier activity. It was not that the male side of our kinfolk were outvoted, we simply had no vote in the matter. So, a day of shopping was before us.

If you have ever been to a resort area, you will know certain places called ?outlets? dominate the local landscape. Similar to shopping malls in normal communities, ?outlets? possess one distinction separating them from the rest of the normal world.

Contrary to its name there are absolutely no visible outlets once . . .

man-in-bed Any real accomplishment in life begins with a well-laid plan. My plans for Thursday were so well laid I had difficulty getting out of bed. However, this did not in the least bit worry me. For the last several months, I had run myself ragged. What with all the wool-gathering and fleecing of the flock, I deserved a wee bit of a holiday.

I retired to bed on Wednesday evening with the greatest intention of sleeping in as late as possible. I giggled as I pulled the bed covers tight under my chin. "No appointments on the morrow," I softly sang to myself.

Try as I might, sleep avoided me. Every time I closed my eyes, they popped open, uncontrollably. My eyes were so wide open I could see in the dark.

Then my ears caught a sound. What was that noise? Was it an intruder?

I stopped breathing so I could concentrate on the sound. For the longest time I could not detect the origin but there was a definite noise. I heard it.

As the sounds of the night pierced my ears, I began to catch a rhythm to the noise: drip, drip, drip.

At first, it confused me. I had never heard such a sound and at night and, as you well know, sound can be amplified a thousand times. I tried focusing my ears in various directions of the noise. Drip, drip, drip.

What is it that makes people stay up until the wee hours of the morning one night out of the year? My primary objective in life is not to see how late I can stay up, but getting up in the morning.

If I can get up each morning, it is a major accomplishment that I should celebrate with eggs, bacon and a hot cup of coffee ? which is about all the celebrating I can handle.

I'm not anxious to see someone drop the ball on New Year's Eve. I do enough of that myself throughout the year and believe me, nobody cheers.

One thing I am most careful to do each New Year's Day is make out my resolutions for the coming year. New Year's resolutions represent one of the most ancient of human rituals. I say ?human rituals? because it is not known whether the animal or plant world enjoy such exhilarating rituals. The evidence at this point in time is inclusive.

Perhaps Mark Twain was correct when he observed, ?humans are the only animals that blush ? or need to.?

I have not always held such high and lofty views of . . .

A tradition, a friend of mine used to opine, is anything done more than once. He just may have something there. I love tradition; however, many people turn their nose up at the word as though it was a bad smell.

I have always believed tradition is the glue holding families together.

Many important traditions focus on the Christmas season. One tradition in our family centered on the annual Christmas tree. Nobody in our family can remember how this tradition started or even why. I have my suspicions, but some suspicions are better kept to themselves.

Through the years, our Christmas ritual seemed to grow. Each year seemed better than the previous. Of course, it could have been my imagination ? but what is life without a vivid and expanding imagination?

According to my father, no self-respecting family would allow an artificial Christmas tree to invade their home. In his mind, it was sacrilegious and he went to great pains making sure our Christmas tree each year was worthy of our family celebration.

Our Christmas tree ritual had three primary elements to it.

The first element was cutting our own Christmas tree. This called for . . .

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