Christmas In Our Time

By Margie Anne Clark

“God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As I look forward to the advent of another Christmas season spent with my ever growing  family, I am reminded that life with its challenges is always renewing itself. Even in the face of triumphs and tragedies, I know this to be true.  Okay, so I’m an optimist.  Always have been. But even I know that time marches on. We grow up, our kids grow up, neighbors come and go, close friends move away …

But there are some things I hope will remain constant in life, like love of family, dear friends, cherished memories, and of course, Christmas. In these modern times, it seems that the season of Christmas has managed to transcend religious beliefs to include a universal celebration of the human spirit and good will.

I was raised with basic Christian tenets, but I have always believed in the importance and commonality of all religions which espouse the concept of good will towards all people. A great world leader, Pope John Paul II addressed this issue in his 1994 book, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.” In it, Pope John Paul II cites in his excerpts a church document entitled, “Nostra Aetate,” (In Our Time).

“From the beginning, Christian Revelation has viewed the spiritual history of man as including, in some way all religions, thereby demonstrating the unity of all human kind with regard to the eternal and ultimate destiny of man … There is only one community and it consists of all peoples. They have only one origin, since God inhabited the earth with the whole human race …” (Nostra Aetate I-2).

Pope John Paul II wrote: “Thus instead of marveling at the fact that Providence allows such a great variety ofreligions, we should be amazed at the number common elements found within them.”

In this day and age of post-9/11, the War in Iraq and conflicts around the world , it’s easy for us to forget the common bonds of humanity that bind us.  Pope John Paul II cites another expert from the Nostra Aetate states:

“Even if over the course of centuries Christians and Muslims have had more than a few dissensions and quarrels, this sacred Council now urges all to forget the past and to work toward mutual understanding as well as toward the preservation and promotion of social justice, moral welfare, peace and freedom for the benefit of all mankind (Nostra Aetate 3).”

But the world is a complicated place.

When you look at difficulties and suffering that sometimes arise within families, communities and between friends, one wonders how in the world the many diverse people of the world can ever get along in peace and harmony.

And one wonders if there are those who are not deserving of any respect.

But as it says in Galations, all of us are “children of promise.”

Christ himself addressed this issue when he said to the apostles: “Take courage, I have conquered the world (John 16:33). But he also cautioned:

“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke, 18:8).

Life is a paradox. In Christian faith, we are taught that Christ was born to save mankind from sin. Yet, in sin comes the opportunity for grace. The birth of Christ in a lowly manger was honored in grace and profound respect by wise men and kings who brought gifts to herald in His sojourn on Earth.

Because of this, gift-giving seems to be a big part of the Christmas celebration. It’s a way to take time out and give tokens of thanks to those who have touched our lives. In this sense, gift giving takes on a universal spirit. But in the hustle and bustle of finding just the perfect gift, or being stressed out, it’s important to take time out to simply be a friend.

A kind word, an act of thoughtfulness and courtesy can mean just as much or even more than an expensive gift. Ralph Waldo Emerson eloquently pointed this out in his essays on spiritual laws:

“Let us lie low in the Lord’s power and learn that truth alone makes rich and great. For it is only the finite that has wrought and suffered: the infinite lies stretched in smiling repose.”

Emerson goes on to write: “If you visit your friend, why need you apologize for not having visited him, and waste his time and deface your own act? Visit him now. Let him feel the highest love has come to see him … be a giftof benediction. Shine with real light and not with the borrowed reflection of gifts …”

While gifts are an important part of the holiday season, friendship, love and respect for our fellow human beings are by far the greatest gifts of all.

Margie Anne Clark is a writer based in Los Angeles.  All rights reserved.

CHRISTMAS AROUND THE WORLD Now at the Reagan Library

Back by popular demand the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is pleased to announce that  Christmas Around the World is back after a six-year hiatus.  Itincludes 26 exquisitely decorated trees representing the 26 countries that President Reagan visited while in office, as well as a White House Tree. Decorations encompass the bright and festive colors of the Caribbean, the crystals of the Nordic countries and the traditional decorations of England and Europe. Of particular note is the Vatican tree decorated entirely with white ornaments featuring a life-size white peacock that adorns the tree’s branches. The featured tree is an elegant reproduction of President and Mrs. Reagan’s White House tree complete with “Reagan Red” decorations and dozens of hand-blown glass ornaments.

The Reagan Library has once again partnered with Toys for Tots! Please bring an unwrapped toy, valued at $10 or more, and receive $2 off general or senior admission that day.  Offer good only November 14, 2015 through December 15, 2015.

PURCHASING TICKETS

Your admission fee includes all exhibits and galleries at the Museum, including the main Reagan Museum, the Air Force One Pavilion. To purchase your tickets online, you must select the date and time you would like to visit.

While you are purchasing your tickets, you will also be given the opportunity to:

Pre-purchase a Reagan Museum Souvenir Book exhibit catalog, learn more.

Pre-purchase a Presidential Library Passport – the perfect keepsake of your visit to the Reagan Library.

To guarantee the day and time of your visit, we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance online. Because they are timed-tickets, gallery entry times will be subject to availability.

Tickets are valid for single entry. No early entry permitted and tickets are valid only for the date stated..

For More information, please visit: http://www.reaganfoundation.org/details_f.aspx?p=LM2024ETEX&h1=0&h2=0&lm=libraryandmuseum&args_a=cms&args_b=35&argsb=N&tx=3267&sw=3267

The Legendary Dick Van Dyke will be 90 years young on December 13th! Celebrate in the parks dressed as your favorite Dick Van Dyke character or a chimney sweep.

“A sweep is as lucky as lucky can be…” The Legendary Dick Van Dyke will be 90 years young on December 13th! Celebrate in the parks dressed as your favorite Dick Van Dyke character or a chimney sweep. Come celebrate with us as chimney sweeps take over Disneyland! This is an unofficial fan event, but we are working with Disney as well! Dick Van Dyke will have a couple of special appearances that day; we will be sure to post the schedule as soon as we have it from Disney. This event will be in the original Disneyland park (not California Adventure). For those of you who would like to share a special birthday wish or message for Mr. Van Dyke, we will have details on how you may do so in a few short weeks. See below posts for special fan based activities. We are certain that your participation in this event will make this day extra magical and a great time will be had by all.

The Dazzling Adventures of the Disneyland Resort Come to Pasadena in a Float Entry for 2016 Rose Parade

DISNEYLAND RESORT DIAMOND CELEBRATION TO DAZZLE AT 2016 ROSE PARADE (December 2, 2015) – The magic of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration will come to life in the Rose Parade, broadcast live from Pasadena, Calif., on January 1, 2016. This year’s parade theme is “Find Your Adventure,” and the Disneyland Resort will celebrate 60 dazzling years with a float honoring some of the exciting adventures that await guests at the Happiest Place on Earth. A sparkling recreation of Sleeping Beauty Castle sits at the heart of the float, with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse welcoming guests to the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. Flanking the castle are two adventures that are brought to life at the Disneyland Resort. The first comes from the world of “Frozen,” featuring Elsa’s ice castle accompanied by Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff. Then, the float travels to a galaxy far, far away for a thrilling adventure dedicated to the Star Wars films and exciting new Star Wars experiences at Disneyland park. (Disney Parks)
DISNEYLAND RESORT DIAMOND CELEBRATION TO DAZZLE AT 2016 ROSE PARADE (December 2, 2015) – The magic of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration will come to life in the Rose Parade, broadcast live from Pasadena, Calif., on January 1, 2016. This year’s parade theme is “Find Your Adventure,” and the Disneyland Resort will celebrate 60 dazzling years with a float honoring some of the exciting adventures that await guests at the Happiest Place on Earth. A sparkling recreation of Sleeping Beauty Castle sits at the heart of the float, with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse welcoming guests to the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. Flanking the castle are two adventures that are brought to life at the Disneyland Resort. The first comes from the world of “Frozen,” featuring Elsa’s ice castle accompanied by Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff. Then, the float travels to a galaxy far, far away for a thrilling adventure dedicated to the Star Wars films and exciting new Star Wars experiences at Disneyland park. (Disney Parks)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The magic of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration will come to life as a float in the 127th Rose Parade, broadcast live from Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1, 2016. The parade will step off at 8 a.m. (PST) with the theme “Find Your Adventure,” and the Disneyland Resort float honors some of the most exciting adventures awaiting guests at the Happiest Place on Earth.

At the heart of the float will be a sparkling recreation of Sleeping Beauty Castle, complete with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse welcoming everyone to the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. Flanking the castle are two adventures that are brought to life at the Disneyland Resort. The first comes from the world of “Frozen” and depicts Elsa’s ice castle – straight out of Arendelle – accompanied by Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff. A separate adventure depicted on the float makes the jump to hyperspace and travels to a galaxy far, far away for a thrilling adventure dedicated to the Star Wars films and exciting new Star Wars experiences at Disneyland Park.

Since its premiere in spring 2015, the 60th Anniversary Diamond Celebration has thrilled resort guests with sparking décor and spectacular entertainment, including the after-dark “Paint the Night” parade, “Disneyland Forever” fireworks and “World of Color – Celebrate!’ The celebration will continue to dazzle Disneyland Resort guests through Sept. 5, 2016.

Since the blockbuster success of the Disney animated motion picture “Frozen” in 2013, Disneyland Resort guests have enjoyed multiple opportunities to relive the adventures of Anna and Elsa – in character encounters at Disney California Adventure Park, on floats in “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” and “Paint the Night” in Disneyland, in a live “Frozen” show at Fantasy Faire in Disneyland, and in a “Frozen” sing-along celebration. An all-new “Frozen”-inspired stage musical will open in summer 2016 in the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure.

The recent debut of Season of the Force in Tomorrowland at Disneyland has taken guests into the Star Wars galaxy with new experiences as well as enhancements to popular attractions. Star Wars Launch Bay immerses guests in familiar Star Wars-inspired locations where they may encounter favorite characters, take a peek behind-the-scenes of the Star Wars films, and find special exhibits and collectibles. Hyperspace Mountain and a new Star Tours destination from Star Wars: The Force Awakens take guests on thrilling journeys. Additional highlights include “Star Wars: Path of the Jedi,” a short film connecting iconic scenes from the Star Wars saga, and a reimagined “Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple” show featuring new characters and a new villain. Star Wars fans are anxiously awaiting the Dec. 18 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the new Star Wars-themed land coming to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts. Work on the new land will begin in 2016.

The appearance of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration float in the 2016 Rose Parade marks the continuation of a tradition Disney relationship with the Tournament of Roses that began in 1938.

  • The relationship began when characters from the newly premiered “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (1937) were prominently featured in the parade.
  • Each year since 1960, the Rose Queen and her Royal Court, along with the competing Rose Bowl football teams, have visited Disneyland Resort.
  • In 1966, Walt Disney served as Grand Marshall of the parade. Roy E. Disney, Walt’s nephew and the head of Disney Animation, served as Grand Marshall in 2000. Members of the Disney creative team from Walt Disney Imagineering and Disney Entertainment have served as float judges numerous times.
  • In 2004, Disneyland Resort presented “A Sudden Drop in Pitch.” At the time, it was the tallest float in Rose Parade history (110 feet, with live performers at the top). The float’s title played off that year’s theme of “Music, Music, Music,” and the float was inspired by The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror” attraction, which opened in Disney California Adventure that spring.
  • In 2005, the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland was celebrated with both a dazzling Rose Parade Opening Show and a spectacular castle float called “The Happiest Celebration on Earth.” Mickey Mouse served as Grand Marshall.
  • In 2006, the longest float (150 feet) in Rose Parade history, entitled “The Most Magical Celebration on Earth,” celebrated Disney Parks around the world.
  • In 2013, the characters and fun of Cars Land raced into Pasadena for “Destination: Cars Land,” a float showcasing the landmarks of the newly opened land in Disney California Adventure. The 125-foot long float featured replicas of Lightning McQueen and Sally recreating their fun-spirited road race from the first “Cars” movie. Mater, the tow truck, followed along behind the float.
  • In addition to Rose Parade float entries, Disney has presented many Rose Parade Opening Shows through the years, celebrating such milestones as the 35th Anniversary of Disneyland in 1990, the debut of the Indiana Jones Adventure in Disneyland in 1995, and the motion picture premiere of “Fantasia 2000,” in 2000.