The Christmas Story

December 24, 2021

Luke 2 – New King James Version

Christ Born of Mary
2 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Glory in the Highest
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Circumcision of Jesus
21 And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Matthew 2 – New King James Version

Wise Men from the East
2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”

9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.

The Flight into Egypt
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”

14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, 15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”

Massacre of the Innocents
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children,
Refusing to be comforted,
Because they are no more.”

The Home in Nazareth
19 Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” 21 Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2021

We Thank Thee by Ralph Waldo Emerson

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;
For song of bird, and hum of bee;
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky;
For pleasant shade of branches high;
For fragrant air and cooling breeze;
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

November 25, 2021, is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.  It is a day we are supposed to reflect on the past year and be thankful.  However, I am afraid for many it is a day full of grumbling and complaining.  Why complain and grumble, which sours our day and the day of those around us, when we can stop and think of things we are thankful for.

When you wake up, be thankful for a new day.  When you eat, be thankful for the farmer, the baker, the truck driver, and the store employees that enabled us to get the food before you.  When you go to you job, be thankful that you are healthy and that you have the ability to do the job you have.  When you go to school, be thankful for those willing to teach you and prepare you for life after school.  When you see brothers, sisters, and other family members, be thankful that you are not alone and that you have people who love and care for you.  When you enter or leave your dwelling place, be thankful you have a place to stay dry and warm out of the rain and cold.

When you gather around your Thanksgiving feast, be thankful for what you have, for who you have, for where you have it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Psalm 95 (NKJV)

1 O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.

3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.

4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.

5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.

6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.

7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,

8 Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:

9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

10 Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways:

11 Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Shortages for Christmas?

October 24, 2021

For months now if we weren’t hearing about the pandemic on the news, it was shortages.  Shortages of toilet paper.  Shortages of food like turkeys.  Now it is shortages of toys for Christmas.  We are told to start our Christmas shopping now so our kids will have the latest, greatest toys and gadgets.  It just won’t be Christmas unless we have a turkey on the table and everything the kids may want under the tree.

Is this what Christmas is really all about?  Is it really about kids getting the latest, greatest toys and gadgets, many going into debt just to get them?  Or can it be that Christmas is just a little bit more?

Christmas is a world-wide birthday party, the celebration of the birth of Jesus.  If our Christmas celebration relies on what we eat or what we get in presents, our focus is in the wrong place.

If we are not able to have a turkey on the table for Christmas, we should still be able to rejoice and have a blessed Christmas with any other food that we like, even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  I cannot remember the last time I and my family had turkey for Christmas.  We decided to have a Christmas lasagna instead.  If you cannot get a turkey or do not want a turkey this Christmas, prepare a different meal that the whole family enjoys.  Macaroni and cheese or even hot dogs can become a great holiday meal with the right heart-attitude.

Children do not really need expensive gifts to have a wonderful Christmas celebration.  If the gift your child wants is not available, try giving a gift that will stimulate your child’s imagination and creativity.  This year I have been getting back into building plastic model cars and airplanes.  It is a hobby that I wish I had kept up with over the years.  It is a fun hobby that both boys and girls can get into.  You can also choose to get other crafting gifts, too, like woodburning, bead crafts (my daughter enjoys making jewelry with beads), paint or color by number pictures, etc.

Will there be any shortages this Christmas?  Maybe, but how the shortages affect you and your family is entirely up to you.  Will the ingredients of your favorite traditional Christmas food be around this Christmas?  I do not know, but I know that the lack of that food should not ruin your Christmas.  Can’t find the latest, greatest toy or gadget to place under the tree for your children?  Choose a gift that will stimulate your children’s imagination and creativity.  Most of all…

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas in Spain

September 24, 2021

On Christmas day people in Spain have some fun traditions to participate in.

Some families enjoy a sort of matchmaking game called the Urn of Fate.  Names of friends and neighbors are placed in a bowl.  Family members then draw names out of the bowl to see who they should become special friends with over the coming year. 

In Cadiz swings are set up so children can compete to see who can go the highest in the air.  Tradition says this game helps the sun on its return journey to the north. 

In Catalonia families set up a hollow log, Tio de Nadal, in their home.  This log has stick legs, a face painted on it, and wears a sock hat looking like a barretina, a traditional Catalan peasant hat.  Every night beginning on December 8, the children feed candy, nuts, dried fruit, and small toys and trinkets to the log through a hole in the log.  On Christmas day the children beat the log while singing traditional songs and carols until the log “poops” its goodies for all to share.

Look for more of Spain’s Christmas customs coming soon at http://www.customsofchristmas.com.

Feliz Navidad!

Children’s Christmas Books Read Aloud

August 25, 2021

Here’s some children’s Christmas books that I found for you. There are many more. I searched YouTube for “Christmas books read aloud.” Perhaps you can play some of these books for children in your house this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Christmas in July

July 24, 2021

Do you celebrate Christmas in July? It seems many people do. We do not because one of our children’s birthday is July 25. We did throw a birthday party for him with a Christmas in July theme though.

Here is a group of four videos for Christmas in July. The first is a morning show group talking about celebrating Christmas in July. The second is a charity that you may want to support for Christmas in July (or for Christmas in December). The last two are videos of Christmas crafts you can make this year.

Merry Christmas in July!

Christmas In Poetry

June 24, 2021

Close the door of hate
and open the door of love
all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift
and good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings,
teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning
make us happy to be thy children,
and the Christmas evening
bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven,
for Jesus’ sake.  Amen!

Robert Louis Stevenson

I Am the Christmas Spirit

E. C. Baird

I am the Christmas spirit!

I enter the home of poverty, causing palefaced children to open their eyes wide, in pleased wonder.  I cause the miser’s clutched hand to relax, and thus paint a bright spot on his soul.

I cause the aged to renew their youth, and to laugh in the old, glad way.

I keep romance alive in the heart of childhood, and brighten sleep with dreams of woven magic.

I cause eager feet to climb dark stairways with filled baskets, leaving behind hearts amazed at the goodness of the world.

I cause the prodigal to pause a moment on his wild, wasteful way, and send to anxious love some little token that releases glad tears – tears which wash away the hard lines of sorrow.

I enter dark prison cells, reminding scarred manhood of what might have been and pointing forward to good days yet to be.

I come softly into the still, white home of pain, and lips that are too weak to speak just tremble in silent, eloquent gratitude.

In a thousand ways, I cause the weary world to look up into the face of God, and for a little moment forget the things that are small and wretched.

I am the Christmas spirit!

Greetings from Santa

Author Unknown

He comes in the night!
He comes in the night!
He softly, silently comes,
While the little brown heads on the pillows so white
Are dreaming of bugles and drums.
Who tells him, I know not,
But he finds the home
Of each good little boy and girl.

His sleigh, it is long and deep and wide;
It will carry a host of things,
While dozens of drums hang over the side,
With the sticks sticking under the strings.
And yet, not a sound of a drum is heard,
Not a bugle blast is blown,
As he mounts to the chimney top like a bird
And drops to the hearth like a stone.

The little red stockings, he silently fills
Till the stockings will hold no more;
The bright little sleds for the great snow hills
Are quickly set down on the floor.
The Santa Claus mounts to the roof like a bird
And glides to his seat in the sleigh;
Not a sound of a bugle or drum is heard
As he noiselessly gallops away.

He rides to the East, and he rides to the West,
Of his goodies, he touches not one;
He eats the crumbs of the Christmas feast
When the dear little folks are done.
Old Santa Claus does all that he can;
This beautiful mission is his;
Then children, be good to the little old man,
When you find who the little man is.

Memorial Day in the United States

May 24, 2021

The last Monday of May is known as Memorial Day in the United States.  It is a day where we remember those who have fought and died for our country in battle. 

I also remember our veterans who fought and returned home and those who are currently serving in our armed forces.  They sacrifice so much that I take for granted.  They do not get to return home for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Independence Day (4th of July), or Memorial Day.  Their children grow and experience so much that their soldier parent(s) do not get to participate in or watch them experience.

Thank you, veterans, for serving, sacrificing, fighting for our freedom.  Thank you, current soldiers, for standing between us and those who would take our freedom from us.  Thank you to all who gave all defending our freedom and the freedom of those they fought with.  May we remember what they did and determine to protect the freedom they died to protect.

Happy Memorial Day!

Red, White, and Blue Dump Cake

Ingredients

1 (21 ounce) can strawberry pie filling
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix (such as Betty Crocker® Super Moist Vanilla)
½ cup butter, melted

 
Directions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).

Dump the strawberry pie filling into a 9×12-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with blueberries. Pour cake mix on top of blueberries. Drizzle melted butter on top.

Bake in the preheated oven until the top is a light golden brown, about 45 minutes. Serve warm.

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/273900/red-white-and-blue-dump-cake/

Patriotic Red, White, and Blue Layer Cake

https://www.pinkwhen.com/red-white-blue-layer-cake-recipe/

Firecracker Red, White, and Blue Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 box Betty Crocker™ Super Moist™ white cake mix
  • Water, vegetable oil and whole eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Betty Crocker™ red gel food color
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Betty Crocker™ blue gel food color
  • 1/2 cup Betty Crocker™ Rich & Creamy vanilla frosting (from 16-oz container)
  • 2 teaspoons Betty Crocker™ red, white and blue candy sprinkles, if desired

Directions

1     Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 12-cup fluted tube cake pan with baking spray with flour.

2     In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and whole eggs with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. In small bowl, place 1 cup of the batter; stir in 1 teaspoon of the red food color until blended. In another small bowl, place 1 cup of the batter; stir in 1 teaspoon of the blue food color until blended.

3     Pour red cake batter into bottom of pan. Carefully pour remaining white batter over red batter in pan. Carefully pour blue batter over white batter. (Blue batter does not need to cover white batter completely; it looks better if it just forms a ring in the center of the white batter.)

4     Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove cake from oven. Let stand 10 minutes, remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour.

5     Place cake on cooling rack over waxed paper or cooking parchment paper. In small microwavable bowl, place 1/4 cup of the frosting. Microwave uncovered on High 10 to 15 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle over cake. With spoon, drizzle warmed frosting back and forth over cake in striping pattern. Divide remaining frosting between 2 small microwavable bowls. To 1 bowl, stir in 1/4 teaspoon red food color until well blended. Microwave uncovered on High 5 to 10 seconds or until thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle over cake. Repeat with remaining bowl of frosting and 1/4 teaspoon blue food color. Sprinkle candy sprinkles on top. Let stand about 30 minutes or until frosting is set. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/firecracker-red-white-and-blue-cake/bbbeeab8-2f8c-4aab-a837-a1a7fd7a7901

Happy Mother’s Day Christmas Style…a little early

April 24, 2021

The second Sunday of May in the United States is Mother’s Day, a day we celebrate our mothers. Since I won’t be posting another blog before then I thought I would say, “Happy Mother’s Day!” a little early.

Here are three songs for two women of Christmas, Mrs. Santa Claus and Mrs. Snowman plus a recipe you can do for Christmas parties or with your children for you own Christmas celebration.

Enjoy.

Mrs. Santa Claus – Nat King Cole

Mr and Mrs Snowman – Hank Thompson

Mrs. Santa Claus – Angela Lansbury

Marshmallow Snowman

3 jumbo marshmallows
White frosting of choice
2 pretzel sticks
3 red hots
1 star sprinkle
Toothpicks
Black food coloring

Place a small dab of frosting between the marshmallows and stack one atop the other. Poke a pretzel stick into opposite sides of the middle marshmallow to make snowman’s arms.

Use small dabs of frosting to secure red hots down center of snowman for buttons and a star sprinkle for the nose.

Dip toothpick into black food coloring. Poke toothpick into top marshmallow to make the eyes and mouth

Christmas in Spain

March 24, 2021

To whet your appetite (and to get my creative juices flowing) for my upcoming webpage on Christmas in Spain, I’m giving you some videos about Christmas in Spain. The first video is presented by an Australian in Madrid. The next video shows one of the three kings at a Three Kings Parade. The third video gives us a sample of the dancing that can be enjoyed throughout Spain during the Christmas season. The last video lets us enjoy displays of Christmas lights and decorations in Spain.

Enjoy, and Feliz Navidad.

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