Happy Mother’s Day


This is a few days late but since last fall there have been so many things happening that our blogs have suffered. One of the things going on has been our moving as a prelude to retirement. In the process a good many things resurface that have been, not lost, just out of reach. Among these are some pictures of Margaret Edythe Young’s daughter that we publish here.


Margaret Edythe Young was a mother and her daughter would become one as well. After that there would be a two generation poverty of daughter’s in the family but finally her great grandson would become the father of a daughter who would be her first great great grandchild.

laureene2When we found these pictures we shared them with friends – they are after all pictures of my mother – and the unsolicited and unprompted reaction was that they were pictures of Margaret Edythe Young’s great great grand daughter. There is a fabric and a continuity to life and families – the pictures were taken at Margaret Edythe Young’s father’s house – that is a comfort, maybe more of one as we age.


To my grandmother and my mother – who are not so much gone as gone before – and to my grand daughter who loves her dollies as much as those who came before her ever did I say, “Happy mother’s day”.


The World’s Commerce Has A New Highway – Part II

The United States enjoy a somewhat unique position in that they are geographically situated between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and where the 19th century was directed almost entirely towards interactions across the Atlantic the 20th century would see the Pacific rise to almost equal prominence thanks in large part to the Panama Canal and the western search for both resources and markets in the east. That the Canal and the World War both opened in 1914 was, in large part, coincidental and their effect on one another was more peripheral than direct but by 1918 the Canal would become one of the many factors that would see the “new” world replace the “old” as the locus of commerce and power globally.


On June 28, 1914 the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were assassinated as the result of a Serbian, Muslim and Russian conspiracy which led directly to the declaration of war by the Austria-Hungarian empire on Serbia on the 28th of July and on Russia on August 6th. Germany, allied with Austria-Hungary, but largely for geopolitical reasons of its own invaded France on August 2 and Belgium on August 3. Great Britain, nominally allied with Russia, but also largely for geopolitical reasons of her own – especially German colonial encroachments in Africa and the far east, declared war on Germany on August 4. With a weather eye for political consequences Woodrow Wilson kept the United States neutral until he could recover from the 63 seat loss in the House in the mid-term elections of 1914 and secure another term for himself in 1916 – campaigning on the slogan, He kept us out of the war! – and did not maneuver us into the war until one month after his second inauguration.


One of the first indications of how the war might impact shipping was an announcement in the Galveston Daily News of August 16, 1914 that American interests were considering the purchase of Hamburg American Line vessels – including the ss Vaterland [the largest steamer in the world] – many of which had been tied up at Hoboken since the hostilities between Great Britain and Germany had started. Of more immediate importance to Galveston was the news that 180 German passengers had arrived on the Mallory Line steamer Huron since the German flagged Brandenburg had not been allowed to make the trip. Interestingly the Huron was scheduled to sail from Galveston to New York on August 19th with accommodations for 301 first-class passengers, large airy staterooms, broad open promenades, social halls and smoking rooms – First Class, $45.00; third class, $22.50. The paper also carried and announcement from the Fowler and McVitie agency that, Immediately the Panama Canal is opened a frequent service will be maintained in connection with the regular fifteen day service from New York.


To recognize the true importance of the Panama Canal consider the voyage from Galveston to China [Shanghai]. Going via the new canal the trip took 42 days versus either 58 days via Suez, 63 days via Good Hope or 72 days via Cape Horn. The Galveston Daily News of August 16, 1914 carried an advertisement for the new South Atlantic, Gulf and Orient Line with service from Galveston to Japan and China as cargo offers and on August 17th, under the Movements Ocean Vessels reports, the ss Eburna is reported as leaving Port Eads, Louisiana for Yokohama, Japan via the Panama Canal – the first such report we have found.


Site of the Naval Station Tutuila [Samoa], showing Fagatogo beach and the coaling dock, looking east, 1900

Site of the Naval Station Tutuila [Samoa], showing Fagatogo beach and the coaling dock, looking east, 1900

Appropriately, or maybe ironically, eburna is a genus of sea snails in the family Olividae because steaming at 10 knots by the most direct route this trip would have taken 38 days. Unfortunately the steamships of this age did not carry sufficient coal which produced only about two-thirds the energy that oil-fired boilers would while occupying thirty percent more space so the likely route for the ss Eburna was South Pass to Canal Zone to Los Angeles to Honolulu to Yokohama which would have added four days and 1,000 miles steaming to the trip. For John W. Young the so-called slow boat to China would have been even slower with a routing through Samoa and Manila that would have covered nearly 13,000 nautical miles and would have taken 54 days!


Naval Station Sangley Point [Manila] coaling station.

Naval Station Sangley Point [Manila] coaling station.

When you review a map of territorial acquisitions by the United States it comes readily evident that Alaska, interestingly enough Midway which was acquired in 1867, and Hawaii were all centered around the northern Pacific whaling fleet and trade between San Francisco and the orient, primarily Japan. Once China was opened to western trade the southern islands of Guam, Samoa, Tutulia and the Philippines became necessary fueling and repair stations first for naval vessels and then for the commerce that followed the flag and the fleet. Where goods had come from the far east in car loads they now came into Galveston by shiploads and added to the tonnage from the war effort the Port would work seven days a week until the 1920’s enjoying an unprecedented prosperity..



An Outpost of Progress – The Narrative – A trip to Santiago de León de Caracas


PROLOGUE: I take possession of this land in the name of God and the King, were the words of Don Diego de Losada in founding the city of Caracas on July 25, 1567. In 1577 Caracas became the capital of the Spanish Empire’s Venezuela Province under Governor Juan de Pimentel (1576–1583). During the 17th century, the coast of Venezuela was frequently raided by Dutch, English, French and freebooter pirates so with the coastal mountains as a barrier, Caracas was relatively immune to such attacks – one of the reasons it became the principal city of the region. The other being the cultivation of cocoa under the Compañía Guipuzcoana de Caracas which stimulated the development of the city and cemented its position as the capital of the Captaincy General of Venezuela.


An attempt at revolution was put down in 1797. But on 5 July 1811, a Declaration of Independence was signed in Caracas. As the birthplace of “El Libertador“, Simón Bolívar, it was the focus of the independence from Spain movement.  Even though an earthquake destroyed Caracas in 1812 – which was portrayed by authorities as a divine punishment for the rebellion against the Spanish Crown – the war continued until 1821, when Bolívar gained a decisive victory at the Battle of Carabobo.

simon bolivar

Between one-quarter and one-third of Venezuela’s population was lost during  two decades of warfare – including perhaps one-half of the European population – which by 1830 was estimated at about 800,000. Much of Venezuela’s 19th century history was characterized by political turmoil and dictatorial rule which culminated in the Federal War (1859–1863), a civil war in which hundreds of thousands died, in a country with a population of not much more than a million people. In the latter half of the century Antonio Guzmán Blanco, another caudillo, served a total of thirteen years between 1870 and 1887, with three other presidents interspersed.


The discovery of massive oil deposits in Lake Maracaibo during World War I would  prompt an economic boom that by 1935 would have Venezuela’s per capita gross domestic product Latin America’s highest. In power from 1908 Juan Vicente Gómez benefited handsomely from this, as corruption thrived, but at the same time, the new source of income helped him centralize the Venezuelan state and develop its authority and he remained the most powerful man in Venezuela until his death in 1935. The gomecista dictatorship system largely continued under Eleazar López Contreras and through the Second World War as the combination of big oil and the American government insisted on the maintenance of stability. It was during this period of relative stability that Bill Leach was in Venezuela and visited Caracas.


Well, here it is the 10th of December and I am going by auto to Coro, a matter of about 50 kilometers from Cumarebo, where I’ll Take the Pan American Plane for La Guira. Took the plane, one of the newest and largest Douglas in the service from Barranquilla, Colombia to LaGuira, and after flying gracefully over the mountains, coastline and sea, finally landed at La Guiara which is the airport for Caracas.  One cannot land in or near Caracas since it is securely nestled in the Andes Mountains.  It is difficult to land at La Guira at times for during certain seasons winds create a downdraft that is considered dangerous for landing, for the mountains dip steeply into the sea here.


Hired a native taxi to drive me to Caracas and I must admit that the trip was an exceptionally beautiful scenery drive, for one climbs 2600 meters, or 1616 feet from sea level at La Guira to Caracas which is about 40 kilometers or about 30 miles away – but it should be borne in mind that in a straight line it is no more than 10 miles away at the most even at that it may be less. Anyways the trip was a great one and I enjoyed every bit of the way.

street scene
The city of Caracas that I have seen is typical of the Spanish city that I have seen in pictures. The gardens, parks, more important buildings, and the more interesting sights are kept well and seem to be spotlessly clean.  I was especially impressed by the district around the Swiss Club for that district certainly was beautiful.  The grounds around the country club were a wonderful sight to see also.

miraflores palace

The streets around the business districts were not kept as clean as could be expected from the shine boys keep throwing their empty shoe polish cans out into the streets. There is forever a blowing of the automobile horns by all the chauffeurs and it seems that the one making the loudest noise has the right of way at the intersections.  It seemed to me that these intersections were as noisy as a boiler factory.


The city itself is fast approaching the average American city when it comes to keeping in step with Americans in regards to ownership in the new styled cars; the most noticeable types being the Oldsmobile, La Salle, and the Buick.  The people have a flair for going in for odd sounding horns, for at times I thought I was in fog or out at sea with all the fog horns blowing around me.

plaza bolivar

Plaza Bolivar is located in the heart of the town and a steady parade of all types and classes of people amble along at ease with the world and with no evidence of a care in the world.  I used to spend a few of the evenings idling in the plaza just to see the curious crowds go by.  It is different to watch a Venezuelan crowd in comparison to the average American crowd.
There are two modern hotels in the city.  I tried to engage a room at the popular Domke but the place was full so I had to migrate to the Majestic which is the only first class hotel.  It certainly is a classy hotel for the city.  It is the stopping place for the incoming elite – why shouldn’t it be when they charge B’s 25 for a day! The meals are served by waiters in swallow-tails and that tends to make the place distinguished in every respect. I can vouch for the service being infallible.


On Friday the 10th I promenaded around the town and took in the general sights of interest, and also did a little shopping for myself,  made a number of long trips to try to get some souvenirs but was unfortunate. Seems funny to me that a city of the size of Caracas would not have a place where one could buy souvenirs.  In the evening I went to the Teatro Principal and saw “Stella Dallas” and was much impressed with the picture.


On Saturday the 11th I did get a little more shopping and finally went over to the Pan American offices to get straightened up in regard to my passage and reservation for Caripito on the coming Monday morning. Did not do a darn thing on Sunday outside of going to church; I just idled leisurely around the hotel the whole day long.  At night I went to the Plaza Bolivar and listened to the Sunday concert; there certainly was a large crowd to listen to the music.


Monday morning and here I am departing for La Guira and in the general direction of Cachipo.  Took the 1:15 p.m. P.A. amphibian and headed for what is classified as home.  Has to go quite a bit south of Carpito on the return trip for the heavy mountainous clouds did not permit much horizontal visibility.  Finally arrived at the airport and while there I met O’Connor with whom I had worked in Temblador; he was heading for San Francisco for his long vacation.  Finally took the company car to Caripito and was fortunate to be able to receive my old room.


Nothing eventful has passed during the Christmas and the New Year’s holidays.  The usual field parties arrived in camp and the members were ready to do their holiday absorbing.  I for one was one of the few remaining sober ones.


An Outpost of Progress – The Narrative – From mining engineer to field geologist

oil sands

When Bill Leach graduated from the New Mexico School of Mines he did so as a mining engineer but he had taken courses in geology and petroleum engineering and in those days a degree in almost any type of engineering meant that you had the requisite tools to work in almost any industry, after all for many years every West Point graduate matriculated with a degree in civil engineering. In a place like Venezuela Standard oil wanted to use and develop the talent they had and so Bill went from a mining engineer working primarily as a draftsman to a mining engineer working as a field geologist. This is part of the story of the transition.

oil well

April 3rd, my birthday, I passed the day riding around with J. L. Kraemer, the district Geologist with whom much of my work will be connected. Days have passed slowly in which I rode around with Kraemer, just riding around to the various wildcat wells.  On April 5th I had my first official work outlined for me and it happened to be what is called a sand formation tester, an instrument made by the Johnson outfit.  It was all Greek to me but I noted all that I could and made the best of it.  My first appearance on the job and the test went haywire.  In the following jobs I have been pretty well occupied and some of the hours were plenty long; one in particular lasted 36 hours without any sleep – I sure was a tired hombre.

claim jump

When you are drilling an oil well you are poking a hole in the ground and hoping that you will come up with oil. The early wells were drilled where oil had already oozed to the surface and pictures of early producing fields show wells close to one another in an exercise of “proximity discovery” – very close to what the average miner would have called claim jumping! As the experience factor grew about where oil might be found and the exploration tools improved oil exploration became a more scientific endeavor and as the demand for the product increased production engineering became more important. The deeper you drill the more expensive it is and the more important it is to know exactly what you are drilling through and into.

tester hose

In 1926 near El Dorado, Arkansas, Edgar and Mordica Johnston performed the first commercial drill stem test (DST). Frequent tests were necessary in the  because of the irregular nature and thinness of formations, but the only means of testing was to set casing, cement, and bail. The Johnston brothers wanted to develop a more practical and less expensive way to test. They conceived the idea of a test tool that could be run on the end of the drill stem. To try out their idea, they made a tester out of discarded belting and a test tool out of a poppet valve and a heavy spring from a railroad box car.

looking at mud

Field runs were successful, and by 1927 the Johnston Formation Testing Company had more jobs than it could handle. More people were hired and trained for locations in the major oil-producing areas of Texas and California. In 1929, the Johnston Formation Testing Corporation was granted a patent  for the well formation testing device. In 1933, Luther Johnston bought a pressure recorder from the Standard Oil Company and ran it on drill stem tests in Louisiana. The pressure recorder was a success and became a regular procedure in well testing. In very simple terms you could now get a read out of the pressures at each level you were drilling through and you could pull a sample from any fluids you encountered to see if it was oil and the quality of the oil. Needless to say pulling the sample up and transferring it from the tester to a sampler bottle that could be taken into a lab for testing was no clean job.

examine mud
April 7th, the Rockefeller party stopped in on us and I had the opportunity to meet Winthrop and Nelson Rockefeller, Major Armstrong, the legal advisor of the Standard of N.J., and Mr. Linam the “big man” of the company here in Venezuela. As it happened we were taking a special test on one of the wildcat wells, namely the Yabo #1.  The test went along to the satisfaction of the whole visiting party, but I surely was a sorry-looking sight at the conclusion of the job.

The party left later in the afternoon but returned at a later date; on the 11th.  This second trip was a much better trip or should I say visit for I had a more through and enjoyable talking visit with the party.  It surely did surprise me at the attitude of these visitors for they were not the snooty type that I thought that they would turn out to be.  Winthrop had actually worked as a roustabout in the Conroe Field in Texas, and I understand that he did not ask any favors from any of the group that he had to work with.


In 1930, Nelson Rockefeller had graduated with a BA in economics from Dartmouth College and took jobs with the old family firm including Chase Bank in 1931;  Rockefeller Center,  and Creole Petroleum, the Venezuelan subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey, 1935–1940. The Creole Petroleum Corporation was  formed in 1920 to produce fields on Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela and was acquired by Standard Oil in 1928. Until 1951 Creole Petroleum was the world’s number one oil producer. A man who was born to be president he never made and only reached the vice-presidents office through appointment.


His younger brother Winthrop attended Yale University (1931–34) but was ejected as a result of misbehavior before earning his degree and was probably along for the trip while the family tried to figure out something to do with him. In early 1941 he would enlist in the Army as a private. As a soldier of the 77th Infantry Division, he fought in World War II, advancing from Private to Colonel and he earned a Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Clusters and a Purple Heart for his actions aboard the troop ship USS Henrico, after a kamikaze attack during the invasion of Okinawa. His image appears in the Infantry Officer Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, Georgia.

pipe thread
Here it is the 25th of April and much water has passed under the proverbial bridge.  Have been actively busy and keeping out of mischief  – who could be otherwise after working as much as 14, 16, and 24 hours a day. It started to rain about 4:00 A.M. and it came down in a good heavy and steady downpour and at present it is still coming down although not as hard and not in as much volume as in the earlier part of the day.  This is the first real rain that has come down on us since I have been here; it is a relief for this section really needs the rain since the area is as badly sanded as the southwestern part of the states, and this makes the riding pretty and hard and rough at times.

mud machine

May 27th. Early this morning this area was subject to a few slight earth tremors but they did not do any damage.  It is evident that this area will not suffer to any extent when subject to quakes.  However many of the men left their rooms in pretty much of a hurry.

The drilling program in this field is certainly keeping me plenty busy for it is always a matter of going from one well to another.  It would not be so bad except that the roads are rough and the distance between wells is long and tortuous.  One feels pretty well-worn out after a day’s bouncing over these savannahs.


POSTSCRIPT: When Bill Leach served in the Navy during WWII it did not matter that he had worked for Brown Brothers Shipbuilding in Houston helping to turn out destroyer escorts. The Nay sent him where they wanted him and that turned out to be the island of Samar in the Philippines. He got there on a ship very much like the USS Henrico which was the ship Winthrop Rockefeller would be on when it was attacked by a kamikaze pilot. The navy record of the attack follows and we have included some pictures to show where these men served.


The veteran ship [USS Henrico]  was assigned to the Kerama Retto attack group under Rear Admiral Kiland, and began the landing 26 March. The important islands, needed as a base for the invasion of nearby Okinawa, were secured 30 March. Henrico retired at night during the operation, and Japanese air attacks were nearly constant. While retiring 2 April, the ship was attacked by a fast suicide bomber diving out of a cloud formation. Although Henrico quickly brought guns to bear, the plane crashed into the starboard side of the bridge, her bombs exploding below. The ship lost power but her well-trained fire parties soon brought the flames under control. Forty-nine officers and men were killed in this attack, including Henrico’s captain, her embarked division commander, and the two troop commanders. Her executive officer took command, however, and brought the ship to Kerama Retto. She sailed under her own power for San Francisco 14 April and arrived 13 May, having contributed much to the decisive compaign in the Pacific.


Christmas Cards from a century ago.

In Margaret Edythe Young’s collection of cards there are a large number that deal with Christmas – so many in fact that we had to divide them into three posts. The first set is the “greeting” cards which still, mercifully, wish the recipient a Merry or Joyous Christmas – none of the happy holidays treacle which puts everything from the winter solstice to contemporary celebrations by savages on an equal footing.

There is an interpretation of the Twelve Days of Christmas that holds that it was a French Carol converted to cathechetical uses by the English where from 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics were not permitted to practice their faith openly.  It has two levels of meaning the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of The Church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember. This interpretation does not enjoy universal support with those who would claim wisdom clucking and nodding their heads and doubting. In a season of glad tiding we are grateful to report that not everyone is wise and some still believe in the Babe and rejoice in anything that helps that belief. So, without apology, and in celebration we offer the following explanation for your Christmas reflections.

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen [doth gather] her brood under [her] wings, and ye would not!”(Luke 13:34)

Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

Three French Hens

The Three Theological Virtues:  “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.”(1 Corinthians 13:13)

Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.


Frohliche Weilnachten - from Vienne but mailed from Berlin

Five Gold Rings – The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 

1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

Six Geese A-laying
And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:31).A snowy scene mailed from Houston

Seven Swans A-swimming – the gifts of the Holy Ghost
For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11

Eight Maids A-milking – The eight Beatitudes:

Blessed [are] the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed [are] they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed [are] the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed [are] the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed [are] the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.(Matthew 5:3-11)

Nine Ladies Dancing – The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.(Galatians 5:22-23)

Ten Lords A-leaping – The ten commandments:

2 I [am] the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:

5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;

6 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:

10 But the seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates:

11 For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

13 Thou shalt not kill.

14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

15 Thou shalt not steal.

16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that [is] thy neighbour’s.(Exodus 20:1-17)

Eleven Pipers Piping – The eleven Faithful Apostles:

1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James.  (Luke 6:14-16).  The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

 Twelve Drummers Drumming – the tenets of the Christian Creed

1. I believe in one God the Father, the Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen.

2. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one being [substance] with the Father. Through him all things were made.

3. For us and for our salvation He came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit He became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made truly human.

4. For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered death and was buried.

5. On the third day He rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;

6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

7. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and His kingdom will have no end..

8. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]. With the Father and the Son  is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets.

9. I believe in one, Holy, Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

10. I acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.

11. I look for the resurrection of the dead,

12. and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Twelve Days of Christmas end with the Feast of the Epiphany. The term epiphany means “to show” or “to make known” or even “to reveal.” In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing “reveal” Jesus to the world as Lord and King. 

A long time ago someone set forth the simple proposition that it did not matter if you were a Christian or not but if you lived by the precepts laid down in Sacred Scripture you would enjoy a good life. Of course the problem with this simplification is that if you live by the precepts laid down in Sacred Scripture you can not help but be a Christian. It is something of the same thing with this song – you can admit its message, use it and benefit from it or you can dismiss it as just another piece of holiday music and put it in the same category as “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” but that leaves you with an awfully empty Christmas – not the kind that the people who sent these cards celebrated.