Nathan Thompson

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1.
The Three Crosses

We sat chatting in the back of the cab on our way home from our mens-night-out at the theater. Next to me sat Chuck, a friend from the office. The others, Matt and Stephen took a different cab home in the opposite direction. Chuck and I had spoken numerous times at work, during lunch break, about a variety of topics. We were night and day difference of opinion on politics, but I always enjoyed his 'take on the world'. Chuck voted Liberal. I always voted Conservative. Before I worked at this job, I used to have my own business, and I had worked for myself every since my first paper route at age 11. I ended up starting a business in my garage, which I built into a very successful store located at the corner of two prominent streets in my home town. Then, a decade ago, the 'big boys' bought me out, and I moved to Colorado and started all over again, building a different business. It wasn't easy starting over from scratch in a foreign city and not knowing anyone. But my wife and I built that business into one we could be proud of. The depressed economy finally took it's toll two years ago. Between sky-high fuel, materials, and heath-care costs, and the fact that none of our customers had any money anymore, we finally closed our doors. I discussed my story with Chuck and told him I hold the current administration responsible for ruining the economy and 'killing the golden goose' of mom and pop businesses in America. Chuck disagreed. He thought we should have managed our finances better, and if we had, we could have survived the downturn. But Chuck never ran a business before, so he really doesn't know what entrepreneurs face these days. All I know is, my costs doubled and my revenues dropped in half. I wasn't the only one that closed: most of our small business clients folded the same year, and all their employees are still unemployed and on government assistance.
After that, we rented an apartment in Denver, and I found work as an analyst. The place I work, interestingly enough, only seems to hire people my age. They crave our experience learned by 'the school of hard knocks'. Chuck is a whiz at computers and numbers. He has no business experience, but he is good at what he does. About a year ago, the subject of religion came up between us. We're not allowed to discuss Christianity at work (although if we wanted to discuss the benefits of Islam or of paganism, that would be quite acceptable) . There had been a clash of protesters in Dearborn, Michigan in which a group of Christians had been assaulted by a crowd of unruly Muslim youth, and injuries had resulted from stones being hurled. Chuck seemed to think the Christian group deserved the 'stoning' for parading around with crosses during the 'Arab Fest' weekend. I disagreed, and reminded Chuck that at one time, the freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, gave different religions the right to inhabit 'the public square' freely without threat. Of course, Chuck knows that I am a Christian, because I have told him so, and I have told him why I hold the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in such high esteem. One time he called me a bigot, because I refused to endorse the gay marriage law enacted by Executive Order of the President (against the will of most of the Congress, and against most state statutes) . Another time, he berated me for not taking a party to court to try to get my money that was owed. I told him that my primary mission on this Earth is to model the mercy of Christ to others.
I've been married to the same spouse my whole life. Chuck has been divorced four times, and has kids he hasn't talked to in years, and he has a host of bad habits from smoking to drinking to gambling and sleeping around. However, Chuck sees himself as superior to me. I've never condemned him for his lifestyle choices, but I often wonder why he doesn't recognize the way the Lord has blessed my life and ever say to himself 'maybe there is a blessing from God that comes from obeying his commandments'.
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2.
I Saw The Lord Smile That Day

I saw the Lord smile that day, on the poor and the oppressed,
I saw with my own eyes the way one family was richly blessed.

First the foundation, strong and bold, reminded me of His love untold.
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3.
What Would Santa Give Me Now?

Dear Nathan Sr.

Hello again, we haven't corresponded in a while. I see you are doing your best to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in your heart, but I also sense a deep sadness that has settled upon you like a heavy stone. You must learn to put down the burden you carry, if only for a while. There is a great battle raging inside of you and it is tearing you apart from the inside. Still, you manage to keep a stiff upper lip most of the time, but I see the tear in your eye, and I feel the pain in your spirit. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you.
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