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December 22, 2005


Paul and I just watched two heartwarming stories on public television tonight.  One was about a Brazilian man, a lixeiro (a
garbage picker), who salvaged enough chairs, movie posters, ancient
video equipment, and a popcorn machine to start a community cinema,
which he operates from his tiny house in one of Rio’s favelas
He charges nothing for the films, which he airs for the neighborhood
youth, who likely never get to see the inside of a “real” movie

The second story was about a middle-aged couple that adopted four
children from Romania who contracted HIV in the hospitals they were
born in.  The kids, now teenagers, are fully aware of their
heritage and even keep in touch with their natural parents while still
feeling very much like a family with their American parents.

I wanted to share these stories because they reflect the true holiday
spirit.  Christmas is about Jesus, which means it is about caring,
compassion, and action, not commercialism.  Whether or not one
believes that Jesus was the son of God, Jesus’s human life stood for
these things–so if you celebrate Christmas, you should be celebrating

*Addendum:  I am not promoting (or not not promoting) Christianity
in this entry; I happen to be one of the people who doesn’t quite
believe that Jesus was the son of God.  I was simply pointing out
that the Christmas holiday does
happen to be a Christian holiday that celebrates the life of someone
who, whether real or not, represents some very positive virtues that
are worthy of celebration no matter what one’s religious beliefs may be.


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