Archive | December 2013

Merry Christmas

After the Christmas Eve church service last night, Hubby and I enjoyed the beautiful Christmas lights around our community. They seemed to twinkle a bit brighter with so much snow still on the ground. For those of you locals, you will surely recognize most of the scenes. Enjoy this little bit of beauty from my corner of the state, and as you celebrate Christmas, remember there would not be Christmas if there was not CHRIST.

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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:11-124
Merry Christmas!!
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Christmas Shopping Spree

Last evening was one of my favorite events with my 6th grade Bible club girls. Christmas Shopping Spree!  Who wouldn’t enjoy taking a carload of girls shopping?  This annual event is one I look forward to each December.  No matter how diverse their interests, or how cliquish they may be, this is one activity that really helps them gel.

Are you thinking, “Really?! How can that be?”

I do not lie; I am not imagining things. They really do come together as a group!  You see, not one item is purchased for themselves. We are Christmas shopping for a girl about their age, who otherwise may not have any presents to unwrap.

The girls were encouraged to bring a few dollars, then on the way to the store they added up the total amount.  From there, they brainstormed and shopped.  These girls decided to get several small items rather than just one gift. My job was made easy.  I had no squabbling; everyone was included, and they made those dollars stretch.

After making their purchases, we returned to the church for gift wrapping. A couple girls brought homemade items to add so we had a couple boxes filled with goodies.  As they wrapped and signed a Christmas letter, their conversations continued with hopes this girl would have a good Christmas. Shopping for another girl about their age was easy for them. The girls bought items they themselves would enjoy.  What especially warmed my heart was hearing the most precious prayer prayed by one of my 6th grade girls. A prayer for another girl that we only know as a number to keep it confidential. We don’t know the family situation, but a beautiful blessing was prayed for her and her family.

Each year I watch how this Christmas gift shopping and giving pulls these young ladies together.  It is an experience that takes their eyes off themselves, and they embrace the joy in giving to someone in need. It is a small way to show Christ’s love, and follow the command that we should love one another.

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 1 John 3:16-18

Read and Stay Warm

Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!! It’s been rather frigid lately, and I really am not a fan of cold weather unless I can stay in by the fire. Unfortunately, my children were not blessed with a snow queen for a mom. No, I am the type who enjoys snow and winter weather from inside the house, not the one who is as giddy as the kids ready to bundle in snowsuits and boots. However, I was usually waiting with hot chocolate and a book when they came in to warm up. It seemed that about every other year in December or January we were ready to read (re-read) the same book. Can you guess what it was?

I do not recall reading the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books as a child, but when my oldest son was in Kindergarten I began reading them aloud. This became a family tradition, each year that there was a kindergartener in the house I read the series one book after another. I would usually read some during the day as well as a chapter or so before bedtime. It was not unusual for the older kids to check out the book from the school library so they didn’t miss the adventures that were read during the day.

The timing seemed perfect that we were often reading The Long Winter, when the north winds blew arctic air across our plains. I would often sit right in front of the woodstove as I read. Some how reading about the blizzards, ice on the water bucket, nearly running out of food, and knowing how poorly the houses were built, made me cold. Oh, the sweet memories. 

My kids are grown and gone; Little House books sit idly on the shelf, and my sweet pooch gives me a pleading look as if to say, “Pleeeeeeeeeeeease come romp in the snow with me?”

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Have you ever wondered what the weather was like while Joseph and Mary Great-with-Child were traveling to Bethlehem? What about the stable, was it warm and cozy with sweet barn smells, or was it drafty, dusty and musty waking up sinuses producing multiple sneezes? If it was cold, did they have a warm fire to sit, sleep, and give birth next to? Some questions of the very first Christmas, may not be known, but there is plenty of detail we can read. Whether you have children at home, or think you have the Christmas story learned inside and out from yearly repetition, take time to read it again. Read it with awe and wonder as if it is the first time. Read it slowly absorbing the message of love throughout the events surrounding the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The next few days are supposed to remain cold through much of our country, so pull up a chair, snuggle in a blanket, or sit next to the fire with a Bible and read this wonderful story. Probably the most familiar account is found in Luke 2, but you can also read it in Matthew 1.