Riverdale — Graduation Day — Chapter 79

Tonight’s episode of Riverdale is special.  After four seasons, the Riverdale gang graduate. And on the heels of getting ready for caps and gowns, we learn today (February 3, 2021) that Riverdale has been picked up for season six.  While I’d like to speculate on that, tonight should honor the fact that Archie, Veronica, Betty, Jughead, Kevin, Reggie, Cheryl, and Toni survived four years at Riverdale High without dying.  Let’s face it!  The mortality rate at Riverdale over the past four years been high.  Add to that cults, mind control, deadly games and Hiram Lodge and it is a miracle.  But graduation is a time for celebration so let the party begin.   By the way, would someone tell me the years this group have been in high school?

Last Day of School

Well, we open the night before the last day of school…Jughead does his usual narration and goes back through all the unique (I guess that’s a good word) for the craziness they have seen – cults, Gargoyle King, and on and on.  Jughead is looking at Jellybean’s masks and wondering how things go so out of hand.  Upstairs FP is talking to Jellybean and realizes that Riverdale isn’t the town for her.  When he comes down he surprises everyone (especially Alice) with an announcement that he is taking Jellybean and moving to Ohio.  (Another ship down as Ulrich is leaving the show).  He also knows where Jelly’s crew is hanging out – Archie’s gym.  FP and Jug goes to Archie’s house and also collect Mr. Kline.  Sure enough, they find Jelly’s gang under the boxing ring.  Somehow it caused a visit to Hiram also.  Later Jughead, Betty and Jellybean is in the living room and Jelly is very quiet.

Later that night, Jughead and Betty talk and question how they survived the last few years.  Meanwhile Archie has a dream of the gang getting their picture made at his house by Mary and Fred.  The memory of Luke Perry/Fred is another fitting tribute to his contribution to the show. 

School Time

The next morning, Mary is laying out Archie’s suit.  He reminds her that he may not graduate.  Cheryl is remembering Jason as she puts a pin (his, I think) on her blouse.  Veronica remembers a gift of her parents for her first day in high school – pearls of course.  She puts them back in their box because she doesn’t need them now.   Betty doesn’t get this type of memory.  Instead, she and Alice are talking and Alice is worried about being alone.  Betty assures her that she will always be there for her.

At the school, the seniors gather outside to open a time capsule.  Did they say it was from 1945?  Anyway, Mr. Weatherbee is there as items comes out.  The items included are newspaper, a menu (with burgers costing 15 cents), a comic book and a photography of four boys who entered the military the day after graduation.  As the gang gather in their common room, Betty and Veronica brings in the yearbooks.  Remember, Mr. Honeybee didn’t want these to be produced but they got them anyway.  The memories are from the last year with pictures of all of them. 

Later, in class, Jughead and Archie are called to Mr. Weatherbee’s office.  Good news for Jughead!  He gets to graduate but Archie must repeat the entire senior year.  Doesn’t matter that Archie had suffered through the years, he still must repat his senior years.  Mr. Weatherbee will allow him to walk with his class and perform the senior song (“Time of Your Life).”   As the last class ticks down to three, they wait patiently and celebrate as the bell rings.  Archie heads toward Veronica but Reggie interrupts.  As the rest go down the hall, Archie returns to look at the military picture from the time capsule.  (Yeah, we all know now rumors are true.  He’s going to enlist.) 

Jughead, Betty and Jellybean are in the living room talking.  Jellybean is quiet.  Veronica meanwhile returns some things to Archie.  She also wants to be with Archie on the night before graduation.  He can’t think of anything better.  She drops the box and they kiss.  The next morning Archie and Veronica discuss life after school.  Ronnie is afraid he’s going to join the military but he says summer school.  Later FP and Jughead are talking and FP says that Jughead is old enough to be on his own. 

Graduation Day

At school, all gather in their blue robes (except for Cheryl who has a designer red robe).  Tina and her grandmother are at her locker.  While her grandmother tells Tina how proud she is, Cheryl arrives but decides not to interrupt.  Archie sees all the family and misses his dad.  In the graduation address that Betty does, she remembers all the strange things that has happened to the gang.  She also remembers that Riverdale was a quiet, sleepy town.  She hopes it return to that.  While they do not get their degree in alphabetic order.  Surprisingly, Kevin and Sweet Pea walk across the stage together and Mr. Kline looks on proud.  All of this is bittersweet especially for Archie.  He looks at his empty folder.  As all exit outside, he stops at the military table and signs up for service.  A rumor is confirmed from the summer.  Archie is going into service like the 1945 series of Archie comics.

Later outside a pictures are made.  As families start to disperse, Cheryl gets a visit from her mom.  She’s turning herself in and feels that she will get off due to that.  Mom wants to see Cheryl graduate in four years from college, but Cheryl has other plans.  She plans to rebuild the family name.  FP and Jellybean are heading out to Ohio.  Alice asks if their story is over and FP says he doesn’t know (Falice is no more.)  He rides out of town with Jellybean in a side car in his Serpent jacket with others following him.   Ronnie takes a trip to see Pop Tate.  She gives him full ownership of Pop Tate’s.  While he’s surprised, he’s happy.  She tells him that she never thought she could call Riverdale home but Pop Tate’s made it feel like home.

One Final Act

The time capsule needs to be reburied.  Betty puts in papers.  Ron puts in a menu from Pop Tate’s.  , Reggie a football signed by the team.  Kevin does a musical play.  Cheryl gives her cheerleader suit while Toni puts in a Serpent’s jacket.  Jughead makes the ultimate sacrifice an dputs in his beanie and Archie guitar picks and his father’s hammer.  The capsule is then buried and Betty, Jughead Veronica and Archie sit and talk on the bleachers.  Archie spills that he’s joined the army and leaves the next day.  Ronnie gets upset.  There’s a war going on and she’s scared for him.  She leaves with Betty running after her.   

Cheryl also has made a hard decision.  She’s not going to college but staying behind.  Toni tells her she’ll stay also but Cheryl tells her no.  What Cheryl needs to do, she needs to do alone.  She’s going to remake the Blossom name and fix things with the town of Riverdale.  Toni does have some good news.  Her grandmother is more accepting of Cheryl.  They say they will always love each other and maybe be together after college.

Finally, we get Jughead and Betty.  Betty admits to kissing Archie and Ron knows and is upset (duh – of course she is).  She tells Jughead she only kissed Archie once.  She then tries to make Jughead forget what she has told just told him.  They kiss but the next morning there is a coldness between the two of them.  They talk love but he doesn’t kiss her as he goes to meet Archie to go to the station.

Life After Graduation

The day after graduation, Jughead goes to Archie’s house to walk with him to catch the bus to basic training.  They leave after Archie says goodbye to Vegas (his dog) and his mom.  Ronnie is still in tears at her house when Betty shows up.  They mend that fence and get the jalopy out to go see Archie off.  They arrive as Jughead is leaving in the old car that Archie and Fred had restored.  The bus as just picked Archie up and they decide to follow the bus for one last good-bye.  (We do get Archie day dreaming while the bus leaves of the fun they had had in the past.)  The gang catch up with the bus and Ronnie blows him a kiss.  They pass the bus and Archie gets the bus to stop.  Ronnie comes up and they talk, pledging their eternal love.  He goes over and does the “dude” message with Jughead and hugs Betty.  Ronnie walks with Archie back toward the bus but he goes up the steps alone.  It’s all set like a flashback to what I saw of the 1945 Archie comic (even the cars and bus look old???  What year is this show set in?)  Cheryl and her grandmother discuss the future as they go back through the gates to the old home place.  Jughead and the girls go to Pop’s where Ronnie says she’ heading to New York with her mom.  Betty and her mom leave on a trip.  Jughead feels lonely in the Cooper’s home and goes to Archie’s place to stay until they turn the power off.  Where does he go then?  The bomb shelter until he leaves for college!! 

The gang has made a pack to meet back every year but Jughead is the only one who shows up.  In his end narration, he tells us that it will be six years before the gang gets together again with a new crisis and mystery in Riverdale.

Note to the producers from me.  Yes, I know you wanted to do a salute to the 1945 series of Archie but if you are setting this up for a LOST style ending to the show, I will not be AMUSED.  I sat through that series after predicting during the first season that they were in purgatory.  Please don’t make this the same thing.

Next Year – A Move to Five or Six Years in the Future

Archie was in war and had to come home due to injury. Ronnie is married and apparently happy. Betty looks to be in the FBI and investigating everything. And Jughead?????  That’s a question to come.

Riverdale– Chapter 78 — Archie Comes Full Circle and Meet the Auteur

Riverdale is back in its glory.  Tonight, as we approach graduation, Riverdale promises to tie up at least some loose ends from season one to now.  I already have a new suspect as the auteur (I was wrong and surprised but no spoiler yet).  And with graduation next week, we have to have this week’s episode to set the stage for the jump five years as the series moves forward.

By the way, hold on to your seats.  From just the opening, it looks to be a wild, wild night that may not play well to my sarcasm.  It’s also a big Jones family night.

Archie’s Life Comes Full Circle

As Archie hits the boxing bags (and wakes his mom), he has a flashback to the shooting of Fred’s at Pop Tate’s.  I thought this was settled but evidently Archie’s guilt always goes there.  Mary tries to comfort him, but Archie isn’t having it.  He feels ashamed and runs off to the cemetery for a heart to hear with Fred.  Nice touch with honoring the memory of Luke Perry guys.  And I feel it was much needed honor.

Poor old Archie!  He just can’t buy a break as he arrives to caps and gowns delivery at school.  Remember Principal “Honey Bee” told Archie he probably wouldn’t graduate.  Cheryl is having a melt down because she doesn’t like the outfit and plans to do something about it (a fashionista to the end).  Veronica, on the other hand, tries to make everything seem as if she and Archie haven’t broke up over Betty.  Jughead and Betty walk up which for some reason makes Archie leave suddenly.  Ron goes after him and tells him to hold it together for graduation.  Yeah Archie – we know the jail time and Hiram. 

Sheesh!  I forgot how much Hiram had been involved in the story since joining in season two.  While Archie is lifting weights, Hiram shows up at the gym to get revenge for the break-up with Veronica.  When he can’t get the rise out of Archie (a fight) that he wants, he brings up Fred and Hermione.  That did it and Archie is ready to go but Mr. Kline is there to break it up!  (Well, at least one of the two remaining hunk dads were there to stop it.  It’s all in the day for Archie!

In addition to all else going on, Mary has been in touched with the lawyer of the may who killed Fred.  They want the family to write a letter so the punishment won’t be so bad.  Archie tries but can’t.  Guilt is back when the father shows up and admits that his son, Jeffrey, has admitted all to the police and pled guilty to the hit and run.  Archie tells him that the one thing he knew was that Fred didn’t deserve to die alone that way.  Archie would have not run but stayed and faced what he did.  He all but tells the boy’s father he can’t write the letter.

Later, Archie returns to see his mom watching the auteur tape that reminds Archie of all that has gone on (which arrived last week).  Mary is a basked case and even called Uncle Frank.  Archie gets upset and destroys the television and tape.  He runs upstairs and starts hitting the bag again but Frank Walks in.  He’s there to talk to Archie and Archie isn’t having it.  They have words that evolves into a fist fight with Archie throwing the fists.  In the end, Frank tells Archie to let the anger out and Archie realizes what he has done.  He falls in Frank’s arms and cries.

Later the family meets for a counseling session.  Frank tells Archie that Fred would have been proud of him.  Archie tells him that he didn’t have to come back but Frank admits that he’s feeling guilty himself.  He’s turning himself in for becoming a mercenary (I won’t say anything with what we’ve been through lately) and needs a lawyer.  Of course, Mary volunteers.   Archie and Frank then goes to visit Fred’s grave.  (Hey, we got a genuine Archie smile!)

The Preppie Murder Mystery

The night that Archie has his meltdown isn’t easy for Betty and Jughead either.  Brett calls Betty late at night and tells her he needs to talk.  He feels like he’s marked for death and will talk for a solitary cell.  When Betty and Jughead get to the prison, they find out that Brett is dead.  He hung himself in the cell.  The funny thing is that later they find out from their friendly morgue doctor that Brett had stab wounds on his abdomen.  Okay. Could it be worse.  This is Riverdale folks.  A murder is never that easy!  Brett’s was only hung and stabbed.  He has his eyes gorged out.  How gross is that.  (Betty’s face said it all.)

Next stop is, of course, friendly brother Chuck.  They decide to do some investigating with the smut store owner.  What do the three find?  Another death by hanging of course.  No answers there (it’s too easy and quick).  Hey!  That’s what Betty thinks.  When they get home though, Jughead gets good news.  He’s been accepted in the Writer’s Program at the university of his choice.  Jellybean though seems upset.  Is she hiding something g(well, I’m not telling you now!)

That night, Betty gets a call from another prep school baddie, Donna.  Donna needs help because now that Brett’s dead, she believes she’s next.  (Wonder why?  Could it be because she was his girlfriend and co-conspirator?)  Betty drops here because she was the one who framed Betty with Jughead’s fake death and hit Jug with the rock.  When they call the school asking for her friend, Jess, they learn that she is dead while walking home through the woods.  The murder weapon:  a blow to the back of the head with a rock.  Now just who would do this.

Later Betty and Jug find a videotape outside the door.  In this one, the auteur has gotten into the house and filed a knife on Jellybean’s face.  FP isn’t having anymore and tells the family to pack their bags to leave the house.  At the motel, Jughead and Betty realize that something just isn’t right.  They go back to the house and call Chuck.  When he arrives, Betty shows him the bug they found that he planted to listen in to the house.  He admits that he killed Brett and Jess and tried to kill Donna because they deserved to die.  He also made the first films of the houses but he isn’t responsible for the latest ones.  He knows who it but won’t tell.  They are smart.  They can figure it out.  And the rest will have to wait til the end of this recap.  (And some sympathy is shown for Alice with two supposed sons who are killers.)

So Where Is Veronica (and Hermarosa)?

Ronnie, before work, has a talk with her mom about Hiram’s return to his mobster’s way.  While tired of Hiram’s putting his life in danger, she wants Hermione to give Ronnie the stock in her dad’s business.  Mommy dearest loves the idea and allows it to happen and loves the thought of a hostile takeover which plays  out oin the board room but not before Ronnie is almost killed at Pop Tate’s while taking the trash out.  The Mallory’s are there seeking revenge.  Luckily they didn’t know that Hermarosa and Ronnie were meeting.  Hermarosa takes them out and the sisters are now ready to take on daddy dearest.  What follows is the interruption of a board meeting and an angry Hiram.  He does not want them messing with his business and he will continue to control things with a fist and a gun.  Good idea Hiram!   Tell Ronnie that later when you call her with your face smashed up.  Ronnie uses the knowledge to tell him that he ”may be a Scorpio” but is acting like a dog.  He’s battling his disease but still up to his old ways and goes to her room where Hermarosa is waiting.  Their next step is coming.

The next day, Hiram says he is thinking of retiring.  Ronnie and Hermarosa have decided that they can run the business.  They say Hiram can take a sabbatical in the Caymans.  He ways that he and Hermione will enjoy that.  Guess what Hiram!  Hermione has her own plans.  She is getting a divorce and heading back to New York to star in “The Real Housewives of New York.”  Bye, bye family!  Ronnie and Hermarosa are now in charge (and seemingly friends). 

Cheryl Blossom and the Future?

With Ti-Ti’s family calling it off between the two, they’re having problems.  Cheryl isn’t having much better luck with family issues.  She wants to sale some land and reopen the family business but the rest of the family won’t allow it and call it retribution for what Cheryl did by killing their brother (whatever — I can’t keep this family straight).   Cheryl visits her mother and she tells Cheryl to disappear.  I forgot how diabolical Mama Blossom could be.  Cheryl returns home later to find that her “family” all committed suicide by drinking poison but leaves everything to Cheryl.  She has no delusion on who caused it and the family may have bonded over the death (er murders). 

So Now for the Big Auteur Reveal

Sorry the post is so long but there was so much going on.  The auteur’s identity finally comes to Jughead and Betty when they realize that one person has had access to the house to film the last tape.  Since it wasn’t Chuck that only left one suspect.  Three guesses – oh let’s  don’t play that game.  It was Jellybean.  As Jughead tells FP, she did it to keep Jughead in Riverdale.  If she set up threats and mysteries, she was sure Jughead would stay behind.  It started out because of her ex-boyfriend’s return to town.  They started going to Blue Velvet which led to the films.  She and their friends would make the mini-movies complete with the costumes they designed and masks they made.  Jughead tells FP that he doesn’t think that Jellybean realizes just how serious what she did was.  FP goes home to talk to Jellybean and greets her with a hug.

So now everything looks wrapped up right.  We still have one episode to go with graduation.  How will that end and why are the masks show in the preview?  We have one more episode before the epic five year jump.

Fourth Sunday of Advent — Youth

FOUR SUNDAY OF ADVENT – YOUTH

SPECIAL STORY – THE STAR

Linda Martindale

(Note:  I use the term astrophysics in this piece.  I have a friend who is one.  It means:  someone who studies the stars and space.)

There’s been stories about the Saturn and Jupiter alignment in the news.  It’s being called the Christmas Star.  This alignment would not last long enough for the Wise Men to follow it though.  Today, I submit the following famous short story by Arthur C. Clarke for you to consider.   I am telling the story in my own words but with quotes.  The link to the story and video are at the end of the piece. 

“The Star,” written in London in 1954, appears in Clarke’s book, The Nine Billion Names of God:  The Best Short Stories of Arthur C. Clarke.  The story has been used twice as a script for the Twilight Zone

In the future, a spaceship visits a planet.  One of the astrophysicists is from the Vatican in Rome.  As a member of the Catholic church he studies the planets.  What he has just seen troubles his faith.  The reason?  Their latest stop has been on a planet where they have found proof of life.  The people have left records that he is studying. 

Most of the others on the ship are not Christians.  The crew has had a hard time with having a Catholic priest on board.

Dr. Chandler, for instance, could never get over it (Why are medical men such notorious atheists?) Sometimes he would meet me on the observation deck, where the lights are always low so that the stars shine with undiminished glory. He would come up to me in the gloom and stand staring out of the great oval port, while the heavens crawled slowly around us as the ship turned over and over with the residual spin we had never bothered to correct.

“Well, Father,” he would say at last, “it goes on forever and forever, and perhaps Something made it. But how you can believe that Something has a special interest in us and our miserable little world—that just beats me.”

But no matter the arguments, the crew found it funny that a priest had been assigned to the ship.  The area they were investigating was a small nebula called the Phoenix.  It surrounded what had once been . . . a star.

The priest now was staring into space and praying.  Some would say he questioned God.

What would you, Father (note:  his teacher), have made of this knowledge that has come into my keeping, so far from the little world that was all the Universe you knew? Would your faith have risen to the challenge, as mine has failed to do?

As the first ship to reach the Phoenix Nebula, no one was prepared for what they found.  The priest looks at a book from the planet, “AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAN.“ Even for us who might not understand Latin, we can see Glorian as Glory.  The priest knows that every year stars explode. 

But three or four times in every thousand years occurs something beside which even a nova pales into total insignificance. When a star becomes a supernova, it may for a little while outshine all the massed suns of the Galaxy. The Chinese astronomers watched this happen in A.D. 1054, not knowing what it was they saw. Five centuries later, in 1572, a supernova blazed in Cassiopeia so brilliantly that it was visible in the daylight sky.

He and the crew are here to find out what had happened, when and why.  The crew had seen what remained of the star first.  As they started searching for planets, they really hadn’t expected to find one.  It wasn’t until they reached the outermost area of the star’s system that they found a “shrunken” planet.  The people had left their records in an underground vault with a marker over the top.  The people who had lived here had lived in harmony and peace with no war.  They traveled to other planets.  They created great things of beauty.  They were warned that the star would explode and had hidden their history, art and music so their story could live for the future.  When the crew opened the vault, the pictures showed life as we know it here on earth.  They had left a key to decode their language. 

The priest had dated the year the star went supernova.  It happened during a key earth event and it troubled him.  Why did these people have to die in such a way at that time?  He knew now when the light from that explosion reached earth.  Knowing he shouldn’t question, he found it hard.

Now, from the astronomical evidence and the record in the rocks of that one surviving planet, I have been able to date it very exactly. I know in what year the light of this colossal conflagration reached the Earth. I know how brilliantly the supernova whose corpse now dwindles behind our speeding ship once shone in terrestrial skies. I know how it must have blazed low in the east before sunrise, like a beacon in that oriental dawn. There can be no reasonable doubt: the ancient mystery is solved at last. Yet, oh God, there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?

The Twilight Zone takes it a step further.  His friend shows up with a new document from the surface. A poem has been found on the planet.  He hopes that it offers peace for the priest.  The poem goes:

Mourn not for us—for we have seen the light.

Have looked on beauty.

Have lived in peace and love.

Grieve but for those who go alone,

Unwise, to die in darkness

and never see the sun.

The Twilight Zone, aired December 20, 1985.

Link to the story:  https://sites.uni.edu/morgans/astro/course/TheStar.pdf

Link to The Twilight Zone.  You can find it on the CBS site but the YouTube site comes up faster.  Part One:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SECLzGKDTgY

Part Two:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZgjX9MJTdtM

Question:

What would you have done if you were the priest and discovered what had caused the Christmas star?  Would you question God?  Would you accept it?               

Let me know the answer because I’m interested in your thoughts.

Fourth Sunday of Advent — Children

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT! 

The Wise Men Came

By Linda Martindale

If you have heard the news, you have heard about the Christmas Star that will appear in the sky soon.  Well, as a child I had my own Christmas star.  It is brightest during the November/December season and always in what we see as east.  But let’s think really about the Christmas Star that led the Wise Men.  They followed it for two years.  Here’s the story as we’re told in the Bible.

When Jesus was born not only did the shepherds see the angels, but at least three wise men (there may have been more) saw a star of great light shining in the East.  This star stayed in the same position every night and didn’t move like stars do.  They knew it was a signal that something important had happened and they knew that they had to find what it was showing.

Now these men didn’t live in the area around Nazareth.  They lived far away.  Some people say India, some people say even further than that.  Remember, they didn’t have planes or cars to take to see what they wanted to see.  They mounted camels and set out to find the reason for the light.

The Wise Men traveled for two years.  Think of it – riding a camel, not being home – what a hardship!  To them it was a mission that they had to complete.  With them came gifts to what they supposed was a king of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Each was valuable and proper to honor someone that was important.

They arrived in Israel and stopped by the palace in Jerusalem.  If a king or someone important had been born that would be where he would be they thought.  The king, Herod, knew nothing but called his religious leaders and asked them.  These leaders consulted their scrolls and found that Nazareth would likely be the site of whatever the Wise Men sought.  The King informed them of this and sent them on their way.  All he asked was that they returned and tell him what they found so he could go and see this Child.

The Wise Men followed the star to Nazareth where Mary and Joseph was living.  They found the three in a house, not stable, and knelt and worshipped the Child.  They presented their gifts.  That night, God sent an angel and told the Wise Men to go an alternate path back to their homeland.  They could not tell the king anything.  The Wise Men followed this advice.

Now the king got very mad and ordered some terrible things be done but Jesus was safe.  An angel had told Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and go to Egypt.  They packed their supplies and went to Egypt where they stayed until King Herod died which was around two years. 

So Jesus’s life was very different and not as easy as we think.  He was given to us as a Gift but some people just couldn’t accept him.  We should remember that there are times things are hidden under a plain wrapper like Jesus’ birth with no big party.  All people should be celebrated and help.

As you go through Christmas, think of people you have already helped.  I am so proud of you kids at Emmanuel for all you have done to feed the hungry.  When this virus is over, let’s plan our next goal.

Third Sunday of Advent: Youth

A Christmas Carol

Third Sunday Meditation for Youth

By Linda Martindale

One of the Christmas stories I love is called simply A Christmas Carol. Written by Charles Dickens in Victorian England, it tells the story of a man named Ebenezer Scrooge who didn’t believe in Christmas.  In fact, he was so mean that he made people work at Christmas.  That is until the year that he was visited by his dead business partner, Jacob Marley. 

Marley had been just like Scrooge – money before the true meaning of Christmas.  Now, he wore chains. His message to Scrooge was simply this.  You will be visited by three ghosts tonight and if you don’t change you will suffer my fate.  The fate was to be chained for life to the misery of the world.

Now Scrooge didn’t believe, at least not a first.  Then he was awakened by the first of the three ghosts.    The First, Christmas Past, showed him scenes from his childhood and youth.  It was joyous.  He celebrated.  He had friends and family that he didn’t treat shabbily.  The next ghost, that of Christmas Present, showed him what his actions had done and what kind of lives his employee, Bob Cratchitt, and Bob’s family had.  He saw his clerk’s family barely getting by and their very sick son, Tiny Tim.  He saw his nephew and wife celebrating with their friends.  His nephew‘s wife even told all that she had known Scrooge wouldn’t come.  The final Ghost was of Christmas Future.  Scrooge had died.  No one came to pay their respects except his nephew and his family.  He saw his employee’s Christmas but there was no Tiny Tim.  When he asked about Tiny Tim, the Ghost of Christmas Future, who didn’t speak, just shook his head.

Ebenezer woke up from the dream and found out that it was Christmas morning.  He went down and started spreading the Christmas spirit that Christ would want him to spread.  He woke up the butcher and order a nice fat goose for his employee, Bob Cratchit.  He went back and dressed up and set out for his nephew’s house.  He went in as a grump but suddenly, the true Christmas spirit shown and  he gave gifts to all in attendance.  The book tells us that he surprised everyone with his Christmas spirit.  We also learn that Ebenezer never forgot and always kept Christmas in his heart.  And little Tiny Tim, well Scrooge help Bob Cratchit take care of the boy and watched him as he grew up.

This year seems to have made Christmas extremely different for us.  Some of my friends consider it a Scrooge year (or better yet the Grinch year).  So maybe we should adopt a more positive attitude than Ebenezer Scrooge.  Maybe we should look for the good in this year.  Let’s try this.

For our Ghost of Christmas Past – remember the good things and fun stuff you have done in the past.

For our Ghost of Christmas Present – think of the good and not the bad.  Sure, we may not be with our friends, but don’t turn into a Scrooge.  Share smiles, phone calls or socially distanced season visits. 

And for our Ghosts of Christmas Future – let’s look at how next year we can celebrate with love and joy.  We will, hopefully, be back together with no sign of a virus and can celebrate with parties, music and song.  But most important of all, we need to adopt the true meaning of Christmas just like Scrooge.  Here is my take:  Jesus came to give us joy.  Look for the good in every situation and for the best.  With this, maybe, just maybe the season will seem a little brighter.

Third Sunday of Advent — Children

Shepherds Came

By Linda Martindale

Luke 2: 8-20

Imagine yourself outside.  There are no car noises, no televisions, no sirens.  All you can hear are birds.  There are no city lights.  All that can be seen are the stars.  The Milky Way looks like a path across the sky but something seems off.

That is what happened to the shepherds.  They were in a field outside of Bethlehem with their sheep.  It was quiet.  They could not hear anything that might attack the sheep.  The sky was bright with no clouds to see and the stars – the stars kept getting brighter. 

All of a sudden one seemed to fall to earth.  As it came nearer, the shepherds became afraid.  What would they do?  Would this star kill them?  Wasn’t it taught in the synagogue (church) to beware of things falling from the sky. 

Suddenly, out of the light from that star, an angel appeared.  Now they knew they should be afraid.  Angels appeared to important people like Jacob and Elijah.  They didn’t appear to common shepherds in the fields.  Then the angel spoke:

“Do not be afraid.”  The angel then told them: “I am here to tell you some good news from God.  It will bring you great joy and is meant for you and all people.  Today in the city of David, Bethlehem, a Savior, the Messiah, the Lord has been born.  And you are to go and find him.  This will be a sign to let you know that you have found Him.  He will be wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Now if this hadn’t startled the shepherds enough, suddenly more angels appeared.  And they were praising God saying:  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to all men.”

The angels disappeared as suddenly as they came.  The shepherds look at each other.  They knew their flock would be alright if they left.  God would protect their sheep.  They agreed that they HAD to go to Bethlehem and see this thing that the angels had told them.

They ran straight to Bethlehem where they found Mary, Joseph and the Baby who was lying in the manger as the angel said.  They were amazed but knew that they needed to praise this Child and tell all they saw about the Child.  As they spread the news, all were amazed but Mary treasured the memory in her heart from that day forward.

Now who would think that God would tell common shepherds after He told all in heaven?  Why didn’t God tell the Kings.  That is no mystery.  Jesus is the Savior of everyone.  It is right that God told the common man first because they were the Ones in need of knowing that the Savior who brought the love of God had come.  They were the one in need of hope which this world has always needed.

As you walk outside during Christmas, it probably won’t be as quiet as the world the shepherds live in.  Yet, listen carefully.  Can you hear the angels’ song?  I think you can if you listen carefully.  

Second Sunday of Advent — Youth

The one for today is taken from A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle’s) adult fiction.  I had the pleasure of meeting her and she was a wonderful woman.  Let me know what you think.

First Coming
Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Children’s Meditation — Second Sunday of Advent

The Trip to Bethlehem

Linda Martindale

Mary and Joseph were to be married but Mary was pregnant with God’s son.  Joseph could have walked away from the marriage but he didn’t.  He was engaged to Mary which meant in those days that they were already married.  What Mary and Joseph didn’t expect was that the government was going to ask them to do something.  The ruler of Rome, Caesar Augustus decided that he needed to know just how many people lived in Israel.  He sent out a message that said that everyone needed to go to their parents’ family home town.  They couldn’t go to their hometown counting office where they lived.  For Mary and Joseph this meant they had to go to the birthplace of King David.  They both belonged to his family tree although it was in the long-distanced past.  This meant they had to go to Bethlehem.

What were they to do?  It was a long trip because they didn’t have cars.  The wealthy people rode camels and travelled by caravan on donkeys.  They were part of a big crowd of people who could have every opportunity.  Joseph and Mary were poor so they had to figure out a way to go by themselves.

So Joseph went out and found a donkey and brought it home to Mary.  Together they packed up and placed on the donkey enough food and clothing for the long journey.  Since Joseph could only find one donkey, he had Mary ride it as she was going to have her baby very soon.  He walked the long distance on foot with them stopping to sleep and eat.

When they arrived in Bethlehem, their home place, there was no room available anywhere.  Each inn they stopped at sent them away.  Finally they got to one innkeeper.  Now don’t be mad at the guy.  He gave Mary and Joseph a place to stay.  It was in a stable which was really a cave.  There was straw and the animals were more than pleased to share their space with them. 

That night a wonderful thing happened.  Jesus came into the world.  He was special.  The cows and lambs were quiet or softly singing in sheep and cattle song,.  But nothing bothered the family.  They were together in a warm safe place.  They knew that God would take care of them and His Son.

An Meditation for the First Sunday of Advent Sunday

Written for youth and children:

By Linda Martindale

I’m going to be writing a set of meditations for the holidays for the children and youth.  Today’s is meant for both groups because we are facing a very unique holiday season.

COVID this year has changed the way we think of Christmas.  In fact, I’ve started calling it the Grinch.  We probably won’t be able to have our annual Christmas party at the Church.  It’s going to be hard for you to actually sit on Santa’s knee this year.  You will see more masks (and not the Halloween type) when you are out in stores.  And all our Christmas traditions will be slightly different. 

But wait!  It’s a chance for us to remember the true meaning of Christmas.  Sometimes we get so lost in the presents and the visits that we don’t stop and think.  Sometimes, in our rushing around, we forget that Christmas is really something entirely different.

Jesus was not born in a hospital, castle or a big house.  He was not even born in his  home town!  Let’s really think about this.

Mary and Joseph were both poor.  They lived in Nazareth which wasn’t considered the best of towns.

Mary and Joseph had to travel while Mary was pregnant.  They could only afford to take one donkey.  It wasn’t to a family party.  It was to a large gathering of people with the same family so the Romans would know how many people lived in a region.  It was called a census and we have these today.

Mary and Joseph didn’t have a place to stay when they arrived in Bethlehem.  The innkeeper took pity on them and let them stay in his barn.  And it wasn’t actually a barn but a cave.  Their only companions were the animals.

Mary had her baby with only Joseph to help her.  She didn’t know what to do but trusted that God would help as she was having God’s Son. 

But you know with all this something wonderful happened.  Legend tells us that the animals bowed down and worshipped the newborn Baby.  Angels appeared to shepherds in the fields and told them where to find the Child.  They went and worshipped Him.  And a star, a magnificent star, appeared in the sky and would start the journey for three wise men who would follow it until they found Jesus.

So, Christmas really started out simple but gave us so much more.  We will adapt as we always do and find new ways to celebrate.  And as we do, we need to remember that the story of Christmas isn’t about having fun but the tiny Child who came into the world in such a quiet way but made such a difference.  For without Jesus, we wouldn’t have a reason to celebrate.

Big Brother #22 — 10/15/2020 — Nicole Didn’t Reign Supreme

Good evening all and welcome to Big Brother #22.  Well, we’re down to the final five (yes!).  The only problem is:  Who will leave the house tonight.  During Wednesday evening, they kept flipping their thoughts and when I checked Twitter after 5:00, the system had crashed.  So, I’m not sure where they decided to place the vote tonight.

PRE-VOTE

After another retell of the “Wise Guys” and the same old repetitive, boring themes, we get a recap of the week.  Since it’s boring – er – been told before, I won’t waste the space again.  Since Enzo and Cody played “waffle ball” last night with who to go, I just want to get to Tyler’s arrival at Jury House and forget about these clowns.  Wait a minute!  Kaysar is surprising these house guests.  It may be good after all. 

Julie welcomes all and tells us that the “Root” alliance controls the vote.  If you don’t know, that’s Enzo and Cody.  Julie asks which “wise guy” is the wiser and I’m thinking:  wise guy, Julie, don’t you mean “clueless.”  Christmas promises to do the dirty work for Nicole.  Memphis feel confident that they’ll keep him around.  Enzo is happy that Nicole didn’t use the PoV. 

Oh, and they’re eating — again.  Girls sharing ideas.  Later, Cody and Memphis playing pool.  Memphis of course squeals to Cody that Christmas planned to back door him.  I guess that Memphis hasn’t learned yet that talking like that shows what you would do.  Of course, since you did it too, Memphis, Cody knows all about it.  Memphis then tries to play Enzo and get that vote.  (Can I take a nap now?)  So who is the more gullible and liable to give Memphis a vote?  Well, we’ll have to put up with more filler to find out.

Jury House

Tonight, Tyler joins the jury.  Dani thinks it will be Tyler and he joins the group.  Dani calls jury the ‘grave yard of hopes and dreams.’  Tyler tells them he’s ready to share.  He has a video which all watch.  They’re surprised at Tyler’s time at the PoV.  Tyler tells them about his final deals.  Dani is analyzing it and I think she is disgusted.  Kevin says that he’s changing his view of who is running the house and it’s Cody.  Da’Vonne sees Enzo playing strategic.  Da’Vonne asked Tyler about the “Black Lives Matter” issue.  She asks was it strategic.  He says it wasn’t strategic.  He was upset about them being up and saw it as being sold out (I guess by the others).  Da’Vonne and Tyler make peace with a hug.  Da’Vonne is happy that Tyler was sincere and that makes her sure of where his heart was.  They’re both happy that it has worked out between them.  He’s hoping for a great friendship.   By the way, their view is beautiful.

The Jury House gets a message which Dani finds in the back yard.  They have a video of their “lives.”  Kevin gets a message from his husband.  David gets a message from his puppy (and dad).  Ian gets a message from Mary Ellen.  Da’Vonne gets to see her daughter who tells her that she misses her.  She immediately breaks down in tears.  Dani offers comfort.  Tyler is next with a video from Angela.  He breaks down and she sends love and encouragement.  Finally, Dani gets to see Dom and her daughter (and dogs).  The little girl is talking and telling Dani they miss her.   Dani cries also.  (Wonder if this means the BB house won’t see theirs???)

Elimination

Well, no Kaysar yet but he’ll be involved in the HoH.  Julie goes to the house and talks to the nominees.   Christmas gives the usual.  Memphis asks to be kept around (and joked so he could restart Cody).  The voting starts with Cody first.  By a vote of two to zero, Memphis is toast (I mean gone from the house).  Memphis last words in the house were:  “Good luck!  You’re going to need it.” 

He joins Julie on stage where she asks him if he was blindsided and he admits he was.  Memphis tells Julie that he came in this time meaning to win.  He feels that they cut him because they didn’t see him as an asset.  Julie asks if he made the right decision for his game.  He thinks he should have made it to final three.  It’s a game, Memphis tells us, but he feels blindsided.  He kept true to the alliances to the end.  Memphis said he wouldn’t take Christmas to the end but Cody for he felt he would beat him.  His good-bye messages from Christmas was that she loved playing with him.  Nicole’s speech is general so no big reveal.  Enzo said it would have helped his game but others wanted him gone.  Cody tells him that he found out about the two Wise Guys group and had been working with Enzo since day one. Memphis tells Julie he had a game plan that he wanted to stick to but in the end it didn’t work out for him.  (By the way, if anyone wants to start an alliance, now may be the time.  They mentioned that the show would have ANOTHER season to bore us to tears!)

HoH Competition

Kaysar is helping in some way with the HoH competition.  This may be interesting so here we go.  This week’s HoH starts in the living room.  All are told to gather and Julie congratulates them.  She tells them that a former All-Star has news.  He’s outside at a chess board.  Kaysar announces a game they played during his season. It’s called “Knight Moves.”  They will be on the chess board.  Winners will play in the next HoH also.  Cody looks scared.  They’re told the competition will begin shortly (hopefully after they go to bed!). Hmm! Maybe this is why they only got a backgammon board. He! He!