Fast Food Nation

Story of Stuff

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff

exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

The Little Soul & The Sun

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Simply the best and most transforming children book ever written.Perfect gift for your kids! I love it very much!

Copied from: iloveyoulove

“The Little Soul and the Sun”
by Neale Donald Walsch
Illustrated by Frank Riccio

Excerpt:

Once upon no time there was a Little Soul who said to God, “I know who I am!”

And God said, “That’s wonderful! Who are you?”

And the Little Soul shouted, “I’m the Light!”

God smiled a big smile, “That’s right!” God exclaimed. “You are the Light.”

The Little Soul was so happy, for it had figured out what all the souls in the Kingdom were there to figure out. “Wow,” said the Little Soul, “this is really cool!”

But soon, knowing who it was was not enough. The Little Soul felt stirrings inside, and now wanted to be who it was. And so the Little Soul went back to God (which is not a bad idea for all souls who want to be Who They Really Are) and said, “Hi, God! Now that I know Who I Am, is it okay for me to be it?”

And God said, “You mean you want to be Who You Already Are?

“Well,” replied the Little Soul, “it’s one thing to know Who I Am, and another thing altogether to actually be it. I want to feel what it’s like to be the Light!”

“But you already are the Light,” God repeated, smiling again.

“Yes, but I want to see what that feels like!” cried the Little Soul.

“Well,” said God with a chuckle, “I suppose I should have known. You always were the adventuresome one.” Then God’s expression changed. “There’s only one thing…”

“What?” asked the Little Soul.

“Well, there is nothing else but the Light. You see, I created nothing but what you are; and so, there is no easy way for you to experience yourself as Who You Are, since there is nothing that you are not.”

“Huh?” said the Little Soul, who was not a little confused.

“Think of it this way,” said God. “You are like a candle in the Sun. Oh, you’re there all right. Along with a million, ka-gillion other candles who make up the Sun. And the sun would not be the Sun without you. Nay, it would be a sun without one of its candles…and that would not be the Sun at all; for it would not shine as brightly. Yet, how to know yourself as the Light when you are amidst the Light–that is the question.”

“Well,” the Little Soul perked up, “you’re God. Think of something!”

Once more God smiled. “I already have,” God said. “Since you cannot see yourself as the Light when you are in the Light, we’ll surround you with darkness.”

“What’s darkness?” the Little Soul asked.

God replied, “It is that which you are not.”

“Will I be afraid of the dark?” cried the Little Soul.

“Only if you choose to be,” God answered. “There is nothing, really, to be afraid of, unless you decide that there is. You see, we are making it all up. We are pretending.”

“Oh,” said the Little Soul, and felt better already.

Then God explained that, in order to experience anything at all, the exact opposite of it will appear.

“It is a great gift,” God said, “because without it, you could not know what anything is like. You could not know Warm without Cold, Up without Down, Fast without Slow. You could not know Left without Right, Here without There, Now without Then.”

“And so,” God concluded, “when you are surrounded with darkness, do not shake your fist and raise your voice and curse the darkness. Rather be a Light unto the darkness, and don’t be mad about it. Then you will know Who You Really Are, and all others will know, too. Let your Light shine so that everyone will know how special you are!”

“You mean it’s okay to let others see how special I am?” asked the Little Soul.

“Of course!” God chuckled. “It’s very okay! But remember, ‘special’ does not mean ‘better.’ Everybody is special, each in their own way! Yet many others have forgotten that. They will see that it is okay for them to be special only when you see that it is okay for you to be special.”

“Wow,” said the Little Soul, dancing and skipping and laughing and jumping with joy. “I can be as special as I want to be!”

“Yes, and you can start right now,” said God, who was dancing and skipping and laughing right along with the Little Soul.

“What part of special do you want to be?”

“What part of special?” the Little Soul repeated. “I don’t understand.”

“Well,” God explained, “being the Light is being special, and being special has a lot of parts to it. It is special to be kind. It is special to be gentle. It is special to be creative. It is special to be patient. Can you think of any other ways it is special to be?”

The Little Soul sat quietly for a moment. “I can think of lots of ways to be special!” the Little Soul then exclaimed. “It is special to be helpful. It is special to be sharing. It is special to be friendly. It is special to be considerate of others!”

“Yes!” God agreed, “and you can be all of those things, or any part of special you wish to be, at any moment. That’s what it means to be the Light.”

“I know what I want to be, I know what I want to be!” the Little Soul announced with great excitement. “I want to be the part of special called ‘forgiving’. Isn’t it special to be forgiving?”

“Oh, yes,” God assured the Little Soul. “That is very special.”

“Okay,” said the Little Soul. “That’s what I want to be. I want to be forgiving. I want to experience myself as that.”

“Good,” said God, “but there’s one thing you should know.”

The Little Soul was becoming a bit impatient now. It always seemed as though there were some complication.

“What is it?” the Little Soul sighed.

“There is no one to forgive.”

“No one?” The Little Soul could hardly believe what had been said.

“No one!” God repeated. “Everything I have made is perfect. There is not a single soul in all creation less perfect than you. Look around you.”

It was then that the Little Soul realized a large crowd had gathered. Souls had come from far and wide ~ from all over the Kingdom ~ for the word had gone forth that the Little Soul was having this extraordinary conversation with God, and everyone wanted to hear what they were saying. Looking at the countless other souls gathered there, the Little Soul had to agree. None appeared less wonderful, less magnificent, or less perfect than the Little Soul itself. Such was the wonder of the souls gathered around, and so bright was their Light, that the Little Soul could scarcely gaze upon them.

“Who, then, to forgive?” asked God.

“Boy, this is going to be no fun at all!” grumbled the Little Soul. “I wanted to experience myself as One Who Forgives. I wanted to know what that part of special felt like.”

And the Little Soul learned what it must feel like to be sad. But just then a Friendly Soul stepped forward from the crowd.

“Not to worry, Little Soul,” the Friendly Soul said, “I will help you.”

“You will?” the Little Soul brightened. “But what can you do?”

“Why, I can give you someone to forgive!”

“You can?”

“Certainly!” chirped the Friendly Soul. “I can come into your next lifetime and do something for you to forgive.”

“But why? Why would you do that?” the Little Soul asked. “You, who are a Being of such utter perfection! You, who vibrate with such a speed that it creates a Light so bright that I can hardly gaze upon you! What could cause you to want to slow down your vibration to such a speed that your bright Light would become dark and dense? What could cause you ~ who are so light that you dance upon the stars and move through the Kingdom with the speed of your thought–to come into my life and make yourself so heavy that you could do this bad thing?”

“Simple,” the Friendly Soul said. “I would do it because I love you.”

The Little Soul seemed surprised at the answer.

“Don’t be so amazed,” said the Friendly Soul, “you have done the same thing for me. Don’t you remember? Oh, we have danced together, you and I, many times. Through the eons and across all the ages have we danced. Across all time and in many places have we played together. You just don’t remember.”

“We have both been All Of It. We have been the Up and the Down of it, the Left and the Right of it. We have been the Here and the There of it, the Now and the Then of it. We have been the male and the female, the good and the bad; we have both been the victim and the villain of it.”

“Thus have we come together, you and I, many times before; each bringing to the other the exact and perfect opportunity to Express and to Experience Who We Really Are. And so,” the Friendly Soul explained further, “I will come into your next lifetime and be the ‘bad one’ this time. I will do something really terrible, and then you can experience yourself as the One Who Forgives.”

“But what will you do?” the Little Soul asked, just a little nervously, “that will be so terrible?”

“Oh,” replied the Friendly Soul with a twinkle, “we’ll think of something.”

Then the Friendly Soul seemed to turn serious, and said in a quiet voice, “You are right about one thing, you know.”

“What is that?” the Little Soul wanted to know.

“I will have to slow down my vibration and become very heavy to do this not-so-nice thing. I will have to pretend to be something very unlike myself. And so, I have but one favor to ask of you in return.”

“Oh, anything, anything!” cried the Little Soul, and began to dance and sing, “I get to be forgiving, I get to be forgiving!”

Then the Little Soul saw that the Friendly Soul was remaining very quiet.

“What is it?” the Little Soul asked. “What can I do for you? You are such an angel to be willing to do this for me!”

“Of course this Friendly Soul is an angel!” God interrupted. “Everyone is! Always remember: I have sent you nothing but angels.”

And so the Little Soul wanted more than ever to grant the Friendly Soul’s request. “What can I do for you?” the Little Soul asked again.

“In the moment that I strike you and smite you,” the Friendly Soul replied, “in the moment that I do the worst to you that you could possible imagine ~ in that very moment…”

“Yes?” the Little Soul interrupted, “yes…?”

“Remember Who I Really Am.”

“Oh, I will!” cried the Little Soul, “I promise! I will always remember you as I see you right here, right now!”

“Good,” said the Friendly Soul, “because, you see, I will have been pretending so hard, I will have forgotten myself. And if you do not remember me as I really am, I may not be able to remember for a very long time. And if I forget Who I Am, you may even forget Who You Are, and we will both be lost. Then we will need another soul to come along and remind us both of Who We Are.”

“No, we won’t!” the Little Soul promised again. “I will remember you! And I will thank you for bringing me this gift ~ the chance to experience myself as Who I Am.”

And so, the agreement was made. And the Little Soul went forth into a new lifetime, excited to be the Light, which was very special, and excited to be that part of special called Forgiveness.

And the Little Soul waited anxiously to be able to experience itself as Forgiveness, and to thank whatever other soul made it possible. And at all the moments in that new lifetime, whenever a new soul appeared on the scene, whether that new soul brought joy or sadness–and especially if it brought sadness–the Little Soul thought of what God had said.

“Always remember,” God had smiled, “I have sent you nothing but angels.”

Conversations with God Index

Inspire the World website

Visit the “Conversations with God” website

Link to the book: The Little Soul & The Sun

Conversations with God Books at Amazon.com

Link to “The New Revelations” at Amazon.com

 

What Kind Of Christmas Tree Do You Have?

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Source: http://www.envirowarrior.com/merry-christmas-tree/

What Kind Of Christmas Tree Do You Have?

December 20th 2006 05:52

With Christmas almost upon us I thought I’d take a look at some of the more environmentally outrageous, wasteful traditions [like cutting down living trees], associated with the consumer driven ‘festive season.’ Perhaps looking at some of the alternatives on offer for those with an equally non-consumerist, eco-conscious, creative bent.

Traditions

Fir Trees began their association with Christianity almost 1,000 years ago, when St Boniface, originally converted the German people to Christianity. Coming across a group of ‘pagans’ worshipping an oak tree one day – in anger – St Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and to his amazement a young fir tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree. St Boniface assumed this as a sign of the Christian faith.

But it was not until the 16th century – with the rise of a wasteful bourgeoisie class of society – that fir trees were first dragged indoors at Christmas time and decorated as a matter of wealth and social standing.

The facts

With approximately 30-35 million living Fir trees cut down in the US alone every year, environmentalists grow more and more concerned at the need to continue possibly outmoded traditions, in the face of annihilation and continued decimation of the planet upon which we breathe and stand. Whilst it is true there are about 21,000 Christmas Tree growers in the U.S today with commercial farms to compensate, it is also true that it takes as many as 15 years to grow a tree of average retail sale height approx. two metres (6 – 7 feet), with the average commercial growing time around seven years. However, it is also true that a population of 12 billion is expected by the turn of the century, far exceeding the earth’s capacity to supply such a demand, for no other use than to die over a period of a week releasing large amounts of stored CO2 into households throughout the world. It is sensible to expect that growing food may be more essential a market by 2100 than dying Christmas trees.
In a world that is slowly beginning to die around us, it makes sense to seek out alternatives to cutting down anything that is living and converting CO2 into oxygen. If you are one of these new age thinkers I salute you and I would like to offer some creative alternatives for your Christmas Trees of the future.

It takes only one (1) acre of growing Christmas trees to produce the daily oxygen for 18 people.

Some Alternatives to Cut Christmas Trees

1. Grow a Fir, Pine or Spruce Tree in the Garden and Decorate it each year.

This is not a new idea and is an excellent activity for the children, which encourages them to be outside in the fresh air. Before you select a tree, make sure it likes your climate. Balsam firs are magnificent, for example, but they’ll do well only in cold climates. Also, know the tree’s mature size. An adorable five-foot tree could wind up reaching 60 feet high and 30 feet wide.

It will grow with your children and become a poignant memory of home. As the tree gets bigger it remains a source of endless fun for the children to climb it each year in order to decorate it.

You can leave the lights on all year round if you going to use them, although there are alternative solar lights available on the market which are nice alternative to conventional electricity – especially in places like Australia.

2. Potted Dwarf Christmas Trees by the Score

A living breathing tree is not only better to look at, it is working for you absorbing CO2 and not likely to be discarded after Christmas, when it can continue to oxygenate your home, balcony or courtyard long after the yule-tide has passed again for another year. Like many others you can choose to plant your living tree at Easter, the season of death and rebirth, as part of a new tradition of remembrance.There are many varieties of dwarf conifers that comes in pots and grow to various heights. Check your nursery for the latest varieties.

3. Cloth and Recycled ‘Junk’ Christmas Trees.

A project for the whole family, making your own Christmas tree can become a great tradition, especially if you get the whole family in on the fun. Andrea of joytotheplanet says:

“… What recycled material will you use this year? When you succeed in building an especially great tree, you can keep it and reuse.

The only rule here is: use your imagination. How about a beautiful clear tree made from used water bottles, or a wooden tree from scrap lumber? Empty egg cartons, old computer parts, any kind of “junk” from your yellow recycling bin, can be made into a cool and
unique “tree.” Talk about the true meaning of Christmas!…”

4. Inflatable, Neon and Wall Hanging Christmas Trees.

Amongst the newest ideas on the planet for cut tree alternatives are inflatable Christmas trees. They are good looking can be decorated, and fold away when you’re finished celebrating.

You could also try a nice Neon Christmas Tree which takes care of both the twinkling lights and need for a Christmas Tree all in one hit.

Alternatively, there is the newest homely trend of awesome Christmas Tree Wall hangings which not only add the necessary touches to your lounge-room for Christmas, but are super easy to store and some are made in plastic canvas and come with little lights!

Why not make your own? …try this LINK for a page of patterns and ideas.


5. Bonsai Christmas Trees

If your space is limited these are a must for you. They last a long time, and again, because they are living trees, using them at Christmas will help the planet immensely.

5. Why Not Go Troppo?

For those in the tropics, why not consider decorating a completely different kind of tree? Perhaps you could use a small artificial or hand made fir tree with a star on the top to continue the traditional symbolism… go troppo, get creative… tis the season to be jolly..

Remember : Axed Trees are Dying Trees!

WARNING : Your cheaper, typical artificial Christmas tree (found by the dozen in discount stores) is generally made from PVC or plastic based materials which are NOT good for the environment when found in landfills, so avoid them, unless you intend to reuse it year after year, as your family establishes itself a ‘Merry Tree Free’ family.

Sources and photos :
http://www.christmastree.org/statistics_industry.cfm
http://www.christmas-tree.com/where.html
http://www.joytotheplanet.com/3/bonus.html

Kado Terindah

Source: MangUcup.org

Sering tersirat di dalam pikiran kita: “Wah kalau saya hidup ketika jaman Tuhan Yesus masih hidup, pasti akan saya berikan seluruh kasih sayang saya kepada Dia, bahkan kalau perlu jiwa dan raga sayapun bersedia saya korbankan untuk-Nya!” Tetapi seperti juga yang tercantum dalam Alkitab ‘Ketahuilah:
waktu kalian melakukan hal itu, sekalipun kepada salah seorang dari saudara-saudara-Ku yang terhina, berarti kalian melakukannya kepada- Ku!’

Artaban adalah orang Majus yang ke empat yang tidak mendapatkan kesempatan untuk bisa bertemu dengan Tuhan Yesus ketika Ia dilahirkan di Bethlehem.
Bahkan sebelumnya Artaban telah menjual seluruh harta kekayaannya agar ia
bisa mempersembahkannya untuk Raja yang akan dilahirkan. Dari hasil uang
tersebut ia membeli tiga buah batu permata yang sangat berharga sekali ialah batu permata saphir biru, ruby merah dan mutiara putih. Ia telah berjanji untuk bertemu di satu tempat khusus dengan ketiga orang Majus lainnya ialah Caspar, Melchior dan Balthasar, karena waktu sudah sangat mendesak sekali, jadi apabila Artaban terlambat maka ia akan ditinggal oleh mereka.

Dalam perjalanan ia melihat orang berbaring ditengah jalan, rupanya orang tersebut
sedang menderita sakit berat dan sangat membutuhkan sekali pertolongannya.
Apabila ia tidak menolong orang tersebut, pasti orang tersebut akan meninggal dunia, sebab mereka berada disatu tempat yang sepi dan jauh dari penduduk.

Tetapi kalau ia menolongnya pasti ia akan terlambat dan akan ditinggal pergi oleh kawan-kawan yang lainnya. Walaupun demikian karena ia mengetahui menolong jiwa orang ada jauh lebih penting dari segala-galanya, maka ia rela ditinggalkan oleh kawan-kawannya. Akibatnya cukup fatal bagi Artaban, ia harus menjual batu permata sapir yang seyogianya untuk Raja tersebut, sebab ia harus membiayai seluruh biaya karavan mulai dari onta-onta, makanan, minuman dan pemandu jalan untuk melampaui padang pasir sekali lagi.
Disamping itu ia juga merasa sedih, sebab sang Raja tidak akan mendapatkan batu saphir nya tersebut.

Walaupun ia berusaha untuk mengejar kawan-kawannya secepat mungkin, ternyata
setibanya di Bethlehem pun ia terlambat lagi, karena Jusuf & Maria berikut Bayi nya sudah tidak ada disana lagi. Pada saat Artabhan tiba di Bethlehem, perajurit-perajuritnya Raja Herodes sedang dengan ganasnya menjalankan perintah Herodes untuk membunuh para bayi. Ditempat ia menginap bayi putera pemilik penginapannya hendak dibunuh pula oleh seorang komandan dari Herodes. Artabhan melihat dan mendengar ratapan tangis dari ibu bayi tersebut dan ia merasa tidak tega dan merasa terpanggil untuk menolongnya.
Oleh sebab itulah ia rela menukar jiwa dari bayi tersebut dengan batu permata ruby yang dibawanya. Hal ini membuat Arthaban bertambah sedih, karena batu permatanya untuk sang Raja semakin berkurang, bahkan hanya tinggal satu batu mutiara saja sisanya. Sebelum ia tiba di Yerusalem, tigapuluh tahun lebih ia mencari sang Raja dimana-mana dan ia merasa tercenggang mendengar bahwa Raja yang dicarinya bertahun-tahun akan disalib di Golghata.

Walaupun demikian ia merasa terhibur sebab ia masih memiliki batu permata terakhir ialah batu mutiara yang bisa ia gunakan untuk menebus hidup-Nya
Raja, agar Ia tidak disalib. Seperti halnya ketika ia menebus hidupnya seorang bayi ketika ia berada di Bethlehem. Dalam perjalanan menuju ke Golgatha ia melihat seorang anak perempuan menangis dan meratap meminta tolong kepadanya: “Tuan tolonglah saya, para perajurit akan menjual diri saya sebagai budak, karena ayah saya mempunyai hutang banyak. Ayah saya tidak mampu melunasi hutang tersebut, oleh sebab itulah sebagai gantinya ia mengambil diri saya untuk dijual. Tolong tuan!” Walaupun betapa sedihnya hati Arthaban, tetapi ia melihat keadaan sangat mendesak sekali, sebelum anak ini dijual dan dijadikan budak untuk seumur hidupnya, lebih
baik ia menukar batu mutiaranya untuk menebus anak tersebut dan menyelamatkannya.

Setelah itu langit menjadi gelap gulita dan terjadi gempa bumi, sehingga ia jatuh terbaring dan gadis tersebut jatuh pula terbaring diatas pundaknya.
Tiba-tiba secara tidak sadar ia mengerakkan bibirnya dan berbicara: ‘Tuhan,
kapan kami pernah melihat Tuhan lapar lalu kami memberi Tuhan makan,
atau haus lalu kami memberi Tuhan minum? Kapan kami pernah melihat Tuhan
sebagai orang asing, lalu kami menyambut Tuhan ke dalam rumah kami? Kapan
Tuhan pernah tidak berpakaian, lalu kami memberi Tuhan pakaian? Kapan kami
pernah melihat Tuhan sakit atau dipenjarakan, lalu kami menolong Tuhan?’

Dan dari jauh terdengar suara sayup-sayup yang sangat lembut menjawab:
“Ketahuilah: waktu kalian melakukan hal itu, sekalipun kepada salah
seorang dari saudara-saudara-Ku yang terhina, berarti kalian melakukannya
kepada-Ku!” Setelah itu meninggalah Arthaban. Ia meninggal dengan
mulut penuh senyuman, karena ia mengetahui bahwa semua jerih payahnya dan
semua hadiah untuk Raja telah diterima oleh Raja dengan baik.

Sinterklas – Santa Claus

Source: MangUcup.org

Sinterklas nama sebenarnya ialah Nicolaas lahir sekitar 280 sesudah Masehi di Patara tidak jauh dari Myra (Demre) di negara Turki. Ayahnya adalah orang Arab yg bernama Ephiphanius sedangkan Ibunya bernama Nonna, jadi tidaklah salah kalau saya tulis bahwa Sinterklas itu orang Arab, berdasarkan tempat kelahiran maupun berdasarkan keturunannya.

Saya menulis Artikel ini sebab pada tgl 6 Desember adalah hari ulang tahunnya dari Sinterklas yg dirayakan diseluruh dunia, terutama di negara2 Eropa, apalagi di Holland tempat dimana saya tinggal pada saat ini.

Berdasarkan hasil survey di negara2 Eropa maupun USA, ternyata Sinterklas adalah orang ketiga paling beken setelah Tuhan Yesus dan Bunda Maria, tetapi hanya sedikit sekali orang mengetahui siapa sebenarnya Sinterklas ini dan bagaimana sejarahnya.

Sinterklas sangat beken bukan hanya di Holland saja, melainkan juga di Italy, Yunani dan Rusia, sehingga banyak anak lelaki disana yg diberi nama Nicolaas dan untuk perempuan menjadi Nicole atau Nicolien. Disamping itu banyak lagi gereja2 di Rusia, maupun Yunani yg diberi nama Nicolaas.

Aneh tapi nyata! Walaupun Sinterklas merupakan reklame dari seorang uskup gereja Katolik, Paus tidak yakin akan kebenarannya, karena kenyataannya lebih banyak dongeng atau khayalan yg dibuat mengenai Sinterklas, bahkan yg digabung dgn kepercayaan orang2 kafir. Sehingga pada th 1970 Vatikan telah menghapus dan mencoret nama Sinterklas dari kalender nama2 orang2 suci, tetapi karena banyaknya protes yg berdatangan, sehingga Vatikan memberikan kelonggaran dan kebebasan untuk memilih apakah Sinterklas termasuk orang suci ataukah bukan teserah kepada diri masing2, tetapi secara resmi Sinterklas bukan termasuk orang yg dianggap suci lagi. Atau secara tidak langsung gelar maupun titel “Saint”nya di copot!

Ibu dari Nicolaas tidak pernah punya anak sebelumnya, tetapi karena ia selalu memohon dan berdoa kepada Tuhan, akhirnya permohonannya dikabulkan. Ia melahirkan seorang anak lelaki yg diberi nama Nicolaas. Menurut legenda pada saat masih bayipun Nicolaas sudah melakukan puasa, seperti yg sering dilakukan oleh hamba Tuhan pada saat tsb, ialah tiap hari Rabu dan Jumat ia tidak mau minum asi (air susu ibu) nya. Walaupun anak tsb usianya belum 1 th.

Ia ditasbihkan menjadi pastor pada usia 18 th di katedral dari pamannya, karena sifat belas kasihnya yg besar untuk membela umat dan fakir miskin, akhirnya ia diangkat menjadi uskup.

Menurut legenda pada saat Nicolaas mengadakan perjalanan ketanah suci dalam perjalanan kapalnya dilanda angin ribut, sehingga salah satu tiang layarnya patah dan menimpa kepala dari seorang kelasi di kapal tsb. Yg mengakibatkan kematian dari kelasi tsb. Dgn doa akhirnya Nicolaas bisa meredakan angin ribut tsb bahkan ia bisa “menghidupkan” kembali kelasi yg telah meninggal tsb. Sejak saat itulah Sinterklas menjadi beken sebagai Saint atau orang suci pelindung dari para pelaut dan semua kapal dagang.

Kepercayaan tsb semakin besar dan semakin kuat sehingga Sinterklas sudah bisa dianggap sebagai wakil Tuhan untuk melindungi mereka oleh para pelaut Yunani maupun Italy pada saat tsb.

Tepatnya pada tgl 9 Mei 1087 para pemilik kapal dari Italy, mengambil semua tulang2 dan semua sisa dari tubuh Sinterklas untuk dipindahkan dari Turki ke Italy ke kota Bari. Dan disana dibuat satu gereja besar yg diberi nama St Nicolaas Katedral. Oleh sebab itu tiap tgl 9. Mei orang Italy merayakan hari St Nicolaas sebagai pelindung para pelaut.

Sebelumnya mayat Sinterklas di pindahkan ke Italy, orang Italy percaya akan cerita mengenai seorang nenek sihir (witch) yg bernama Befana. Ia mendapatkan tugas dari malaikat untuk memberikan hadiah kepada Tuhan Yesus pada saat Tuhan Yesus dilahirkan, seperti juga orang Majus, tetapi karena kelalaiannya ia datang terlambat. Oleh sebab itu Befana mendapat hukuman tiap tahun sebelum kelahiran Yesus, ia harus memberikan hadiah sebanyak mungkin kepada anak2 kecil yg tidak mampu.

Kepercayaan yg lebih bersifat animisme ini dianut oleh banyak orang Italy, maka dari itu para pemuka agama di Italy mengambil keputusan agar kepercayaan dari nenek sihir Befana ini dialihkan saja kepada Sinterklas. Dgn mana bisa memulihkan citra dan nama baik dari orang Katolik sekalian mengalihkan kepercayaan animisme mereka, menjadi lebih percaya kepada Tuhan. Inilah awal dari kepercayaan bahwa Sinterklas selalu memberi hadiah kepada anak2 pada saat hari ulang tahunnya. Bahkan pengalihan ini memberi efek sampingan lainnya se-akan2 ada dua Sinterklas, yg satu sebagai pelindung para pelaut sedangkan yg lain ialah pelindung dari anak2 dan dua2nya berasal dari Myra (Turki).

Para pelaut jaman dahulu kebanyakan orang Spanyol, maka dari itu orang Belanda percaya bahwa Sinterklas datang dari Spanyol dan tentu datangnya dgn kapal laut, sebab dahulu belum ada pesawat terbang. Kebanyakan kelasi dari para kapal dagang jaman dahulu adalah budak2 dari Afrika, maka dari itu jelas pembantu dari Sinterklas pun seorang budak dari Afrika yg diberi nama Zwarte Piet (Piet Hitam).

Sinterklas selalu berusaha apabila ia memberi sesuatu, agar tidak di lihat maupun diketahui oleh si penerima, sesuai dgn ajaran dari Alkitab. Pada suatu hari ia berusaha untuk membantu seseorang dari sebuah atap rumah dgn menjatuhkan sekantung uang melalui cerobong asap. Dan kebeneran uang tsb jatuh ke dlm kaos kaki yg sedang digantungkan oleh anak sipemilik rumah untuk dikeringkan di dekat api pemanas. Hal ini rupanya diketahui oleh sipemilik rumah.

Sejak saat itu timbul kepercayaan bahwa Sinterklas selalu dtg melalui cerobong asap di waktu tengah malam dan memberi hadiah untuk anak2 di kaos kaki atau kantong di dekat ranjang atau dibawah pohon Natal.

Berdasarkan hal tsb diatas Sinterklas itu merupakan satu delima yg membuat umat Katolik dan Paus menjadi risih, karena Sinterklas ini merupakan campuran antara fakta sejarah, kepercayaan dan tahayul. Agar bisa menghilangkan dan cepat melupakan Sinterklas dari daftar nama orang suci, maka Paus Paulus memerintahkan agar sisa mayat dari Sinterklas dipindahkan saja dari Italy ke Amerika. Dgn mana orang Eropa akan bisa lebih cepat melupakan Sinterklas. Tepatnya pada tgl. 5.12.1972 sisa dari mayat Sinterklas sudah dipindahkan ke gereja Sint Nicolaas – Flushing – di New York.

Santa Claus dan Sinterklas itu agak berlainan dari segi pakaian maupun poster tubuh. Santa Claus adalah ciptaan dari Public Relation Manager – Coca Cola walaupun asal-usulnya dari Sinterklas juga. Untuk meningkatkan penjualan dari Coca Cola, mereka menciptakan Santa Claus sebagai reklame figur mereka. Karena orang Amerika tidak mau disebut rasis maka dari itu untuk Santa Claus di USA tidak boleh ada Zwarte Piet pembantunya yg berkulit hitam.

Di Cina juga ada Sinterklas yg lebih lazim dipanggil sebagai Dun Che Lao Ren, yg berarti Kakek Natal.

Maranatha
Mang Ucup
e-Mail: mangucup@wanadoo.nl
Homepage : http://www.mangucup.org

Christmas Truce

A very interesting christmas article from wikipedia

British – German Truce

The truce began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium, for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols, most notably Stille Nacht (Silent Night). The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols.

The two sides continued by shouting Christmas greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the “No Man’s Land” where small gifts were exchanged — whisky, jam, cigars, chocolate, and the like. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce also allowed a breathing spell where recently-fallen soldiers could be brought back behind their lines by burial parties. Proper burials took place as soldiers from both sides mourned the dead together and paid their respects. At one funeral in No Man’s Land, soldiers from both sides gathered and read a passage from the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. He leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

The truce spread to other areas of the lines, and there are many stories of football matches between the opposing forces. The film Joyeux Noël suggests that letters sent home from both British and German soldiers related that the score was 3-2 in favour of the Germans.

In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in some areas, it continued until New Year’s Day.

The truce occurred in spite of opposition at higher levels of the military. Earlier in the autumn, a call by Pope Benedict XV for an official truce between the warring governments had been ignored.

British commanders Sir John French and Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien vowed that no such truce would be allowed again. (However, both had left command before Christmas 1915.) In all of the following years of the war, artillery bombardments were ordered on Christmas Eve to ensure that there were no further lulls in the combat. Troops were also rotated through various sectors of the front to prevent them from becoming overly familiar with the enemy. Despite those measures, there were a few friendly encounters between enemy soldiers, but on a much smaller scale than the previous year.