Roy’s Sunday Letter for December 24, 2023

  • There are 2024 calendars of horses, dogs, cars, castles, and wilderness mountains and valleys. Calendars record our comings and goings. In 2023, many do the same on iPads and phones. Young families move between soccer, school, and civic volunteering. Elders can become isolated from past routines with time seeming heavier and moving more slowly. Clocks on walls, cars, and wrists add to our time conscious society. Yet, many of us still “fight the clock.” So, yes, be responsive to time, but in 2024 have time to be a friend supporting values, work, worship, travel, and family.

** This is a Christmas Eve morning, Sunday Letter. Perhaps you, your family and friends have attended a concert, an earlier worship service, or an evening of food and catch-up with those who flew or drove to be with you, or you with them. The weeks of Christmas ask us to pay attention, be kind and gracious, maybe even add a bigger tip to help someone else’s Christmas. This season is larger than Thanksgiving or 4th of July. Whatever the details, there was a birth, angels came, the world that was tilted was changed. So, on this Christmas Eve morning, perhaps call, email, or text someone. Make a connection, heart to heart, hope to hope. This morning, this day is the right time to do so, be so. Merry Christmas to you and all those in your world.

  • “Finding hope is crucial if we are to succeed in meeting our individual and collective challenges. Hope allows us to envision a better future, and it brings with it positive energy. With hope we can have the courage to care, and the courage to act.” The Dalai Lama

** We have become hesitant in the language shift from Merry Christmas to Happy Holiday. A card from a Santa Fe friend may be the best seasonal wording: “Warmest Winter Greetings.” Your thoughts??

  • Roy’s Best Of The Best For 2023: Books: 1) Between The Listening And The Telling: How Stories Can Save Us by Mark Yaaconelli and 2) A Future We Can Love, How We Can Reverse The Climate Crisis With The Power Of Our Hearts and Minds by The Dalai Lama and Greta Thunberg.
  • Televison: 1) HBO Real Sports with Brant Gumbel signed off after 29 years of scripts and characters. and 2) Netflix: High On The Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America, and 3) CBS Sunday Morning.
  • Web Site: The Moth, The Art and Craft of Storytelling, and CNN’s The Good Stuff.

I will close this Sunday Letter with an author’s heartfelt dedication page: To all the brave souls who have told me their stories, and all the brave souls who have listened to mine. My wish for each you is that this season if filled with light and love and appreciation for each of you.

Roy, sharing my story


  1. Maurine on December 24, 2023 at 7:21 am

    Happy Christmas Eve, I so enjoy reading your stories, they lighten my heart and cause me to pause and dig deeper into life. Merry Christmas to you, Beth and comfortable Jazz. I still cling to the old ways! Love and Blessings.

    • Roy Bowen on December 24, 2023 at 11:56 am

      you are a consistent rader and reponder, so thank you for being and doing so. in this case I think the writer and the reader improve each other.
      tis a journey we do together. Roy

  2. mike davis on December 24, 2023 at 10:45 am

    Happy Christmas Eve Roy and Beth I’m with Maurine.. old way, accurate way… This holiday celebrates the birth of Christ. As the world becomes more secular, this holiday has taken on different and/or diluted meanings for many. I believe folks should greet how they want …….Warmest Winter Greetings, right on.. Happy Holidays, right on.. for me.. …. Merry Christmas to all. Anyone offended by any of these words is wanting to be offended and ain’t much can be done about that.

    thanks so much for all your letters and thoughts.. keep writing Roy!!

  3. Roger on December 24, 2023 at 10:51 am

    Wonderful thoughtful remarks, Roy. Thanks for sharing and being a warm and thoughtful presence in my life! And in the UK they say Happy Christmas, so there!

    • Roy Bowen on December 24, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Beth is first and last reader. 1st draft had a paragraph on new Wendy’s AI drive thru (stll being tested. Wendy’s claim i will save 22 seconds from order to delivery and te teenage staff will ensure a “personalized and exceptional drive thru experience.” I read with a memory of a peer you brought to SFe as similar reference to purchase of high end car. Wendy’s must have read your press release.
      As you know, but never had the chance to see in real time, I created and led the Ex. Director Learning Circle for 8 yrs.
      Now, I will be “pitching” the concept of Story Circles” to 2 community groups in January. Again, a cirlce but smaller (6 to 12). In chairs for elders, on floor for others.
      See the recommended book in Sunday Letter on story telling. I am spinning off Mark’s writings and experiences.
      Just sharing the path………Roy

  4. Linda M on December 24, 2023 at 10:58 am

    “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” — Maya Angelou

    Sending you and Beth an open heart full of Love for you both. And Blessings throughout the moments of this year end and the turning of the New.

    Linda M

    • Roy Bowen on December 24, 2023 at 12:10 pm

      You are my #1 barrier and hurdle jumper. Both writer and reader learn together, whether near or far. We journey onward do we not? Yes!

  5. FRANK H JOHNSON on December 24, 2023 at 11:13 am

    Well stated, and the truth in so many ways. Keep us thinking, remembering, loving, looking forward, and most of all, HOPING!
    Love to you and Beth, and nothing but the best as we finish one year and begin another.

    • Roy Bowen on December 24, 2023 at 12:23 pm

      We learn together as we show up and experience life in common ways. Different paths of the same journey. Plus we 4 enjoy eaah other.Roy

  6. Amanda de la Torre on December 24, 2023 at 11:22 am

    A very Merry Christmas to you and Beth! Your thoughtful posts always bring a smile or provoke a discussion. I try to match the holiday greeting to what I know about my friends and colleagues. There are many traditions and belief systems to be respected, as another year ends. Hopefully our warmth and interest transcend word choice.

    • Roy Bowen on December 24, 2023 at 12:28 pm

      So glad you made the shift over and we are still connected. I write, you read. We learn together. Beth has made several connections with TCU faculty. Connected to art and more with Como Community Center and a remembrance event we are co-host plannings for March 3 at the new Keith House, next to Press Grill. More on all that after Jan. 1…..Best of best to you and family. Roy

  7. Marcia L Swain on December 24, 2023 at 2:12 pm

    Dear Roy and Beth and Jazz and every other beautiful person who has left a loving comment. A sunny afternoon in Santa Fe NM, the last hints of snow melting. Two loaves of my family’s traditional rye bread, one for us, the other for friends, rising once more before baking. Later we’ll listen to the Nine Lessons and Carols service from Kings College Cambridge and love every voice, every note. May each of you find peace this season, and in the coming year may we all around the world seek and find universal peace.

    • Roy Bowen on December 25, 2023 at 4:49 pm

      To forever friend Marcia….
      We watch Christmas recap of 3 seasons of All Creatures Great & Small. Warming the heart and refreshing the spirit.
      Beth leaving her PT role as Vol Coordinator of local group after 2 yrs. New eyes on new volunteer roles. She will never cease. A difference maker.
      i am preparing to “pitch” a new role as facilitator of Story Telling Circles.
      i do love cirles and the power and freedom ot each.
      I wrote a sermon decades ago from Mary’s view.
      The camels have left
      So also the shepherds
      No angels hovering overhead
      Hey, anybody have a diaper???
      We are well, healthy somehow, wandering into 2024…….Roy

  8. David Yeomans on December 24, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    Roy, I know this is wordy and long-winded, but if you’ll allow me to submit it,
    it has as good a message as I know how to give:

    Every Christmas morning for the past 48 years my wife Sheila has
    gotten up at the crack of dawn to start the day playing our
    recording of the opening movement of J. S. Bach’s Christmas
    Oratorio, with full orchestra, choir, trumpets, tympani—a grand
    celebration, a jubilant wake-up call. It was so loud one year that
    we blew out our stereo speakers!

    Music, especially singing, is as much a part of Christmas as the
    wreath on the front door, the Christmas tree, the decorations that
    go along with it, and the many occasions for worship. It is an
    essential element in the glorification of Christ’s birth. We hear a
    wide variety of Christmas music, from Bach’s glorious Christmas
    Oratorio, to the secularized ditties that invade the shopping malls.
    Much of this music conveys the warm-fuzzy, cozy, and sentimental
    feelings while at hearth and home, and the sweet, pastoral, and
    peaceful imagery of the manger scene.

    “Sadly, Christian piety has prettified the Babe of Bethlehem . . . .
    Pious imagination and nostalgic music rob Christmas of its shock
    value.” (Brennen Manning, Shipwrecked at the Stable, Plough
    Publishing House, 2001,).

    Although Christmas Day has a magic to it unlike any other in the
    year, songs like “Have Yourselves a Merry Little Christmas” do
    not reflect its true meaning. There’s nothing “little” about
    Christmas. And there was nothing cozy or peaceful about Christ’s
    birth in a filthy barn under the most threatening of circumstances.

    Yet, we rejoice, and rightly so!

    May we all have a Christmas full of a jubilation! May we shout the
    good news from the rooftops! May we sing ourselves hoarse! May
    we ring all the bells and pull out all the organ stops! May we
    proclaim His coming with a joyful noise! Amen and Amen!!
    So have yourselves a Merry Big Fat Christmas!!

    • Roy Bowen on December 25, 2023 at 5:05 pm

      To the owners of Prince the wonder dog…
      A low church note: We watched All Creatures Great & Small, 3 seasons of Christmas Eve & Day. Enriching and renewing.
      Beth made cookers and wrapped candy we took door to door to neighbors…..kind of our thing whatever city or Neiborhood.
      I am sending e to Robin and Laban to quickly correct any mistake I make Thursday morning at Trinity.
      Hopefully our heart friend is home with family this evening. Sobering to have breakfast on week and open-heart surgery the next.
      Sheila has updated us on your medical tests. So, how you be dear friend???
      More to share both ways……Roy

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