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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Vantage Point: The Christmas Carp

By Ken Horn
Dec. 22, 2013

Carp are disdained by most American fishermen as beneath their dignity. The majority of U.S. anglers don’t want to catch carp ... and they sure don’t want to eat them!

But it’s a different story in Europe where carp are considered prime sport — and fine table fare. It is not unusual for a European fishing magazine to sport a cover with a fisherman holding a trophy carp.

In Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and portions of nearby countries, families do not dine on a holiday turkey. And there is no Christmas goose. The feast centers on the Christmas carp, which are available for purchase dead or alive. An old tradition, still practiced by some, is to buy a live carp and keep it in the family bathtub until it is time to prepare for the feast.

So the lowly carp brightens many a Christmas table in other parts of the world.

I once was in the cold, crisp air of Macedonia when the locals were celebrating their Christmas Eve — on Jan. 6, the Eastern Orthodox date.

But more than the date was different.

Adults wearing tall party hats and children adorned in masks or full costumes — mostly of cartoon characters — crowded the streets. And, believe it or not, the kids were going door to door for treats.

Christmas celebrations vary from culture to culture, but the meaning of the holiday remains the same — God miraculously became a baby so He could fulfill the plan of salvation. He came as “a Savior ... Christ the Lord.” Some use the occasion as an excuse for self-indulgence; others honor this true meaning.

Whatever our culture, it is imperative that Christians never let customs overshadow the glorious truth. Whether you dine on turkey or carp, Christmas is a day to honor the birth of Christ. Let’s keep Him at the center of the day. Let’s make sure, in the midst of all our traditions, Jesus is the focus. May the cry of our hearts and of our lips be, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14, KJV)!

Ken Horn

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