Tag Archives: By Margie Anne Clark

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, and 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. Pope John Paul II addressed this 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 of religions, we should be amazed at the number common elements found within them.”

In this day and age, 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:

“Even if over the course of centuries Christians…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…peace and freedom for the benefit of all mankind (Nostra Aetate 3).”

But the world is a complicated place.

When you look at challenges that sometimes arise within families, friends, communities, states and nations around the world, one wonders, how will we ever get along in peace and harmony.

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

Christ himself addressed this 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 trying to find the perfect gift and 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 a store bought 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. . .Visit him now. Let him feel the highest love has come to see him. . . be a gift of benediction. Shine with real light and not with the borrowed reflection of gifts. . .”

While our traditions and gift-giving 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.

Remembering Johnny Grant, Hollywood’s beloved Honorary Mayor

The last time I saw Johnny: Hollywood’s Honorary Mayor Johnny Grant on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Summer of 2007. Photo by Margie Anne Clark

 

By Margie Anne Clark

Hollywood, Calif. – Born May 9, 1923, Hollywood’s Honorary Mayor Johnny Grant is perhaps best remembered as one of Hollywood’s most enthusiastic supporters for more than 50 years. On Jan. 9, 2012, Hollywood marked the fourth anniversary of Grant’s passing with a wreath on his star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

His legacy of service lives on and the honorary mayor remains one of Hollywood’s most beloved icons. With his signature deep radio voice and affable charm,  Grant arrived in Tinseltown as a young man during Hollywood’s Golden Era of the 1940s.

“I was inspired by Mickey Rooney and the boys when I came out to Hollywood as a G.I.,” Grant told me in 2003 on his 80th birthday. “I knew I was never going to live anywhere else but here,” Grant reminisced.

Always hands on with all of his projects, Grant went on to serve as Chairman of the USO Selection Committee and the Hollywood Historic Trust. He not only created what was to become part of Hollywood’s history, but had been a long-time supporter for preserving Cinema City’s past. To that end, Grant was appointed to a four-year term on the City of Los Angeles’ Cultural Heritage Commission.

The last time I saw Johnny: Margie Anne Clark pictured with Hollywood’s Honorary Mayor Johnny Grant on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Summer of 2007.

When spectacular Hollywood special events were presented, more often than not Johnny Grant could be found at the helm.  He served as chairman and executive producer of the Hollywood Centennial Celebration, orchestrating Hollywood’s year-long 100th birthday extravaganza. He added his special charm and touch to many a Hollywood Christmas Parade, helping to direct festivities and recruiting stars. During the 2004 parade, he brought me on board as a volunteer and I observed Hollywood’s honorary mayor at work driving himself on his speedy golf cart making sure everything would be on cue.

“You carefully pick your projects and give them all you’ve got,” Grant told me. “I think you’ve got to enjoy what you do, and I certainly do.”

His dedication to the USO was legendary. In service to his country, Grant holds the record for having appeared in 56 USO shows – more than anyone in Hollywood history. Grant embraced the USO from the very start when he made his first appearance in 1950 at the encouragement of his good friend Bob Hope, who marked his  his 100th birthday back on May 29, 2003.  Grant toured with Hope on numerous USO tours. Of his iconic colleague Grant said, “Bob always saw the positive side of things.”

During Hope’s 100th birthday celebration Grant reminisced, “That ski nose was more than just a prop and he could sniff out more information on the goings-on at camp upon first arriving. He always hit it right on the nose.”

Of his last USO tour to Guantánamo Bay in 2007, Grant remained a dedicated as ever. He toured the facility flanked by an entourage of beautiful Victoria Secret models – his quick sense of humor ever in place. “It’s a tough job but somebody’s gotta do it,” Grant said.

In the last days of his life, the legendary luminary of the stars reflected, “I was born to live in Hollywood.”  He later was noted as saying; “If I died tomorrow, I know I had one of the best lives anyone could ever imagine…”

Thank you Johnny, for living your life to the fullest. Hollywood salutes you!

 

Margie Anne Clark is a Los Angeles based writer. She can be reached at  margie@losangeleslifeandstyle.com 

 

 

 

 

HARRY’S FRIENDSHIPS TESTAMENT TO HIS APPEAL – HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 OPENS NOV. 18 IN THEATERS EVERYWHERE

By Margie Anne Clark

The first installment of the two-part conclusion to the Harry Potter series finds the bespectacled wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) walking away from his last year at Hogwarts to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes to end Voldemort’s bid for immortality.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I will be releasing in the USA on 19th November, 2010. The $250 Million Dollar film will soon be followed by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II to be released on 15th July, 2011. Photo/Warner Bros.

Continue reading HARRY’S FRIENDSHIPS TESTAMENT TO HIS APPEAL – HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 1 OPENS NOV. 18 IN THEATERS EVERYWHERE