Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas to remember




Twinkling lights
A chill is in the air
And carols everywhere
Close your eyes, it's almost here
Candles and cards
And favorite movie scenes
The smell of evergreen
As special as it's always been
And I have a dream or two
And maybe they will come true

Setting our hopes on a big snow tonight
We'll wake up to a world of white
It's gonna be a Christmas to remember
Light up the fire, play some Nat King Cole
Always sentimental and don't you know that
It's gonna be a Christmas to remember

I know it's true
Time doesn't stand still
Many things can change
But we know some things never will
The memories we share
The songs we always sing
The mystery of life
The hopefulness this season brings
And I have a dream or two
And maybe they will come true

Setting our hopes on a big snow tonight
We'll wake up to a world of white
It's gonna be a Christmas to remember
Light up the fire, play some Nat King Cole
Always sentimental and don't you know that
It's gonna be a Christmas to remember

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Are you curious?

Anne could not decide on what type of Christmas tree she wanted but her daughter Alice knew exactly which tree would be best. Alice wanted a real tree to be planted in the front yard after Christmas. It was getting close to the time to begin their search for that perfect tree and Alice was excited.

There was so much to do around this giving season and many presents to be made and wrapped. Alice went to the closet and reached for her coat, hat and gloves. Her mother was already waiting for her on the porch, as she was putting a wreath on the door that had displayed angels with wands. Alice had helped make the wreath with a great deal of hard work and patience. She wished everyone who entered this door might feel a bit curious upon seeing the angels with the wands. Perhaps, Alice thought, one of the visitors might be granted their seasons wish. It is quite true, Alice had a very vivid imagination, but she also had great love for others even at her young age of five years old.

The door closed behind Alice and she and her mother walked from the sidewalk to the garage. The car was warm from being enclosed and the first flakes of snow had not fallen on it yet. Alice and her mother fastened their seat belts, backed up the car, and entered the main street. Their search would now begin.

There were several tree stands of beautifully displayed fresh bright green trees, but Alice knew they would have to drive almost to the state border to find one for their special needs. She and mother looked at several rows of trees which seemed healthy and strong. Then Alice stopped, for she had selected the very one meant just for them. As she walked closer what did she see, but two trees–almost like a mother and daughter. Alice thought it was just like the two of us–big and little.

Mother listened while the man who owned the Christmas trees explain to them exactly how to preserve both trees and then plant them later. Then they drove back home with their cherished trees just peeking out of the trunk.

This would be the best Christmas ever thought Alice with two trees and one exactly her size. She would make all the ornaments herself out of special paper and trinkets she had saved in her bottom dresser drawer. Alice even made special tree cookies with the help of her mother. Each cookie looked like a little elf.

The time came for the guests to arrive and Alice and mother greeted them at the front door dressed like paper doll figures. Alice looked like a fairy princess, just like out of one of her books, and mother looked like a beautiful queen. They made their costumes out of crepe paper, so they had to be very careful in the way they moved and walked through the house. Their outfits were a big success, as the guests had made their costumes as well.

The evening went by so quickly and the laughter and smiles on the faces of all soon were gone and the house was quite still. It was a wonderful party thought Alice as she tucked into bed that night.

When morning arrived Alice walked out the front door to see the new fallen snow. To her surprise all the angels with their wands were missing from the wreath and in their place were little pink hearts with messages that read; Love, Friendship, Caring, Understanding, Kindness, and Happiness.

You see, six guests were not looking when those angels went home with them that night. They must have jumped onto their coats as they left for their homes. Both Alice and her mother smiled and gave each other a big hug. They did not speak, but are you curious?

Merry Christmas guests and look for those angels. Their wands are filled with surprises.

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Closing Hymn

Just before the holiday season kicked in, a certain preacher decided to elaborate his sermon about the ill effects of alcohol, in lieu of past alcohol related Christmas incidents.  He was preparing his congregation for alcohol-free festive parties, family gatherings, and caroling.  During that particular Sunday, he asked his congregation:

“Wouldn’t this world would be a better place if everyone poured their beer into the river?”

“Amen!” went the congregation

“And poured their wine into the river?”

“Amen”

And poured their scotch whiskey into the river?”

“Amen and Amen!”

Then the preacher sat down. The choir leader stood up and announced, “For our today's closing hymn, turn to page 365 and join me in singing ‘Shall We Gather by the River.’”

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Christmas Memo

To – All Employees
From – Management
Subject – Office conduct during the Christmas season

Effective immediately, employees should keep in mind the following guidelines in compliance with FROLIC (the Federal Revelry Office and Leisure Industry Council):

1. Running aluminum foil through the paper shredder to make tinsel is discouraged.

2. Playing Jingle Bells on the push-button phone is forbidden (it runs up an incredible long distance bill)

3. Work requests from management are not to be filed under “Bah humbug.”

4. Company vehicles are not to be used to go over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house.

5. All fruitcake is to be eaten BEFORE July 25.

6. Eggnog will NOT be dispensed in vending machines.

7. In lieu of a Christmas bonus, a tree has been planted in Israel in your name. (Your day to water is Thursday)

In spite of all this, the staff is encouraged to have a Happy Holiday.

.

Elf Yourself

Christmas gifts


Some people open their gifts even before Christmas day arrives. Some have their Christmas party before Christmas day - especially those at work. People who are at home typically wait for Christmas day before opening their Christmas presents. Regardless, we all have the excitement of knowing what is inside that wrapped box - until we open it. How about you? Do you still wait for Christmas day before opening your gifts or do you just open it before Christmas, as and when they arrive? If you want to know what's inside that wrapped box, ahead of time, here is how to find out:

Things you will need:
Yourself
Your Hands
A present
Scissors or your fingers
Tape
A knife
A quiet room/privacy!
A lookout
A person who can wrap gifts

Steps:
1. Make sure you choose to do this when no one is around. Such as when they are at work, at school, sleeping, or gone away.

2. Go to where the presents are and choose a present you want to see. Make sure it is yours because you don't want to mess up another persons present by accident.

3. Observe how the gift is wrapped. This will help when you put it back together.

4. If you don't want to mess up the gift wrapping, take a peek where there is a hole. Most wraps are translucent, so you have a hint of what you got for Christmas. Also, if you already have a prediction of what you might be getting, feel around the package for any textures that might give it away. Take care not to feel around too hard or you might rip the wrapping paper.

5. Get a knife or scissors and cut through the tape on the edge of the gift wrap. Only do this on one side. Or simply use your fingers to carefully remove the tape. Replace the tape after you have seen the present.

6. Slide out the gift. If you are lucky, you can see the present from one side. If not, carefully (Don't rip the gift wrap!) slide it out, or if you are having trouble DO NOT unwrap it. Only because it may be obvious that you opened it!

7. Clean up the dirty work. After you have seen the gift, put it back exactly how it was. Wrap the gift and tape it back up. Try not to leave any signs of tampering.

8. When you're done, put it under the tree and make sure it looks like no one has even touched it!

Tips:
If you get caught, make up an excuse, like "I forgot which present was yours, so I had to look around for it." Act Innocent.

Do this when you are alone.

When it's time to unwrap them, Act surprised and thankful (Even though you already saw it!)

You can do this with as many presents you like! Just don't get caught.

Also do not tell anyone such as a brother, sister or friend because they may rat you out!

Warning:
Don't let anyone see you unwrap.

Don't leave any signs of tampering or unwrapping.

If caught, you could get in big trouble.

Doing this may make Christmas a bit boring, because you wouldn't have any surprises.

If your parents use newspaper to wrap your gifts, if they notice one day it was wrapped with the comics and the next it was wrapped with the front page of the paper they may be on to you. Carefully rewrap it with another day's comics, it's less noticeable.!

You may feel guilty if your parents find out that you ruined your surprises!

Most importantly, even if you don't get caught by your parents, you could be in big trouble with Santa Claus.  To get out of trouble, read the tips (above), be prepared with your excuse, and keep your fingers crossed (you may have to hire a lawyer if you receive a summons from North Pole).

My personal advice: 
Resist the urge to open Christmas presents until Christmas day, and stay out of trouble from Santa Claus.

.

Santa Claus does not forget

Bertie was a very good boy. He was kind, obedient, truthful, and unselfish. He had, however, one great fault,—he always forgot.

No matter how important the errand, his answer always was, “I forgot.” When he was sent with a note to the dress-maker his mother would find the note in his pocket at night. If he was sent to the store in a great hurry, to get something for tea, he would return late, without the article, but with his usual answer.

His father and mother talked the matter over, and decided that something must be done to make the little boy remember.

Christmas was near, and Bertie was busy making out a list of things which Santa Claus was to bring him.

“Santa Claus may forget some of those things,” said his mother.
“He cannot,” replied Bertie; “for I shall write sled, and skates, and drum, and violin, and all the things on this paper. Then when Santa Claus goes to my stocking he will find the list. He can see it and put the things in as fast as he reads.”

Christmas morning came, and Bertie was up at dawn to see what was in his stocking. His mother kept away from him as long as she could, for she knew what Santa Claus had done.

Finally she heard him coming with slow steps to her room. Slowly he opened the door and came towards her. He held in his hand a list very much longer than the one he had made out. He put it in his mother’s hand, while tears of disappointment fell from his eyes.

“See what Santa Claus left for me; but I think he might have given me one thing besides.”

His mother opened the roll. It was a list of all the errands Bertie had been asked to do for six months. At the end of all was written, in staring capitals, “I FORGOT.”

Bertie wept for an hour. Then his mother told him they were all going to grandpa’s. For the first time he would see a Christmas-tree. Perhaps something might be growing there for him.

It was very strange to Bertie, but on grandpa’s tree he found everything he had written on his list. Was he cured of his bad habit? Not all at once; but when his mother saw that he was particularly heedless she would say, “Remember, Santa Claus does not forget.”



Credits: M Haley

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Time




There is something special
About this time of year
The Christmas feeling's everywhere

I just got home
To join you
I've been away too long
But now I'm back to share my love
Friends are reunited
One big family
Filled with love to last
Throughout the year

CHORUS:

Christmas time
Time to share our love
Come and join
The tidings to the world
Christmas time
The best time of the year
Yes it's Christmas time

You and me together
A sleigh ride in the park
Loving is straight from the heart
(Straight from my heart)

Snowflakes falling gently
A smell of chestnuts in the air
And Christmas lights they gleam across the sky

CHORUS

Do you remember
Everything felt so right
When I held you close to me

Do you remember
Those cold Christmas nights
Where we saw the world in harmony

Christmas time
Time to share our love
Come and join
The tidings to the world
Christmas time
Always the best time

CHORUS

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Merry Christmas, my friend

"I will never forget you," the old man said. A tear rolled down his leathery cheek. "I'm getting old. I can't take care of you anymore."

With his head tilted to one side, Monsieur DuPree watched his master. "Woof woof! Woof woof!" He wagged his tail back and forth, wondering, What's he up to now?

"I can't take care of myself anymore, let alone take care of you." The old man cleared his throat. He pulled a hankie from his pocket and blew his nose with a mighty blast.

"Soon, I'll move to an old age home and, I'm sorry to say, you can't come along. They don't allow dogs there, you know."

Bent over from age, the old man limped over to Monsieur DuPree and stroked his head.

"Don't worry, my friend. We'll find a home. We'll find a nice new home for you." And, as an afterthought he added, "Why, with your good looks, we'll have no trouble at all. Anyone would be proud to own such a fine dog."

Monsieur DuPree wagged his tail really hard and strutted up and down the kitchen floor. "Woof, woof, woof, woof." For a moment, the familiar musky scent of the old man mingling with the odor of greasy food gave the dog the feeling of well being. But then, a sense of dread took hold again. His tail hung between his legs and he stood very still.

"Come here." With great difficulty, the old man knelt down on the floor and lovingly pulled Monsieur Dupree close to him. He tied a ribbon around his neck with a huge red bow, and then he attached a note to it. Monsieur DuPree wondered what it said.

"It says," the old man read aloud, "Merry Christmas! My name is Monsieur DuPree. For breakfast, I like bacon and eggs -- even corn flakes will do. For dinner, I prefer mashed potatoes and some meat. That's all. I eat just two meals a day. In return, I will be your most loyal friend."

"Woof woof! Woof woof!" Monsieur DuPree was confused and his eyes begged, What's going on?

The old man blew his nose into his hankie once more. Then, hanging onto a chair, he pulled himself up from the floor. Buttoning his overcoat, he reached for the dog's leash and softly said, "Come here my friend." He opened the door against a gust of cold air and stepped outside, pulling the dog behind. Dusk was beginning to fall. Monsieur DuPree pulled back. He didn't want to go.

"Don't make this any harder for me. I promise you, you'll be much better off with someone else." The street was deserted. It began to snow. Leaning into the wintry air, the old man and his dog pushed on. The pavement, trees, and houses were soon covered with a blanket of snow.

After a very long time, they came upon an old Victorian house surrounded by tall trees, which were swaying and humming in the wind. The old man stopped. Monsieur DuPree stopped, too. Shivering in the cold, they appraised the house. Glimmering lights adorned every window, and the muffled sound of a Christmas song was carried on the wind.

"This will be a nice home for you," the old man said, choking on his words. He bent down and unleashed his dog, then opened the gate slowly, so that it wouldn't creak. "Go on now. Go up the steps and scratch on the door."

Monsieur DuPree looked from the house to his master and back again to the house. He did not understand. "Woof woof! Woof woof!"

"Go on." The old man gave the dog a shove. "I have no use for you anymore," he said in a gruff voice. "Get going now!"

Monsieur DuPree was hurt. He thought his master didn't love him anymore. He didn't understand that, indeed, the old man loved him very much, yet he could no longer care for him. Slowly he straggled toward the house and up the steps. He scratched with one paw at the front door. "Woof woof! Woof woof!"

Looking back, he saw his master step behind a tree just as someone from inside turned the front doorknob. A little boy appeared, framed in the door by the light coming from behind. When he saw Monsieur DuPree, he threw both arms into the air and shouted with delight, "Oh boy! Oh boy! Mom and Dad, come and see what Santa brought!"

Through teary eyes, the old man watched from behind the tree. He saw the mother read the note, and tenderly pull the dog inside.

Smiling, the old man wiped his eyes with the sleeve of his cold, damp coat as he disappeared into the night whispering, "Merry Christmas, my friend."



Credits: Christa Holder Ocker

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas FAQ


Q: If Santa doesn't have to age, then why has he become old?
A: He only appears to be old. He's an undercover kid.

Q: How can a sleigh possibly fly through the air?
A: If you were being pulled by eight flying reindeer, wouldn't you fly too?

Q: Why do reindeer have red noses?
A: They are not equipped with ABS and thus tend to bump into things on slippery surfaces. This is why Santa is often seen with a red nose (the sleigh doesn't have an airbag, either).

Q: Why do we wish people a "Merry Christmas" instead of a "Happy Christmas"?
A: The two are about the same, but with "Merry Christmas" an extra twinkle is seen in the eyes.

Q: Why is a Christmas tree that has been chopped down called a "live Christmas tree?"
A: It's dead but doesn't know it, and yet it's having the time of its life.

Q: Why do we wrap our Christmas gifts with paper?
A: Because we like to see surprise and joy (real or kindly faked) in the recipients.

Q: How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
A: Nowadays, only four angels can dance there. Formerly there was no limit, but OSHA passed the Angel Safety Law recently, which also requires that the pin must be inspected twice each year for structural defects.

Q: How many gifts can Santa Claus's bag hold?
A: One less than infinity. Why one less? Because there's a limit to everything.

Q: How could a star that is high in the sky lead the Wise Men to a tiny manger on the ground?
A: Wisely, toward the end of their journey they asked directions from someone on the road. Had they not been so wise, they might have missed the manger by several hundred miles. (That person on the road has never been identified.)

Q: Is there really a Mrs. Santa Claus?
A: The best way to know for sure is to ask Santa Claus next time you see him.

Q: Why do we hear so many bells at Christmas time?
A: Because so many people ring them.

Q: Why do so many people ring bells at Christmas time?
A: For the poor, for the joy, and because a bell can say what words can't say.

Q: What can't words say?
A: The moment you wake up on Christmas morning, listen carefully. You may hear then what words can't say.

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Where Are You Christmas




Where are you Christmas?
Why can't I find you?
Why have you gone away?
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me?
Why can't I hear music play?

My world is changing
I'm rearranging
Does that mean Christmas changes too?

Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go

Christmas is here
Everywhere, oh
Christmas is here
If you care, oh

If there is love in your heart and your mind
You will feel like Christmas all the time

I feel you Christmas
I know I've found you
You never fade away
The joy of Christmas
Stays here in silence
Fills each and every heart with love

Where are you Christmas
Fills your heart with love

.

Christmas Love

On a cold Christmas Eve in 1952, when Korea was going through civil war, one young woman struggled along a village street, obviously soon to deliver a child. She pleaded with passersby,

"Help me! Please. My baby."

No one paid any attention to her.

A middle-aged couple walked by. The wife pushed away the young mother and sneered,

"Where's the father? Where's your American man now?"

The couple laughed and went on.

The young woman almost doubled up from a contraction as she watched them go.

"Please . . ." she begged.

She had heard of a missionary living nearby who might help her. Hurriedly, she began walking to that village. If only he would help her baby. Shivering and in pain, she struggled over the frozen countryside. But the night was so cold. Snow began to fall. Realizing that the time was near to deliver her baby, she took shelter under a bridge. There, alone, her baby was born on Christmas Eve.

Worried about her newborn son, she took off her own clothes, wrapped them around the baby and held him close in the warm circle of her arms.

The next day, the missionary braved the new snow to deliver Christmas packages. As he walked along, he heard the cry of a baby. He followed the sound to a bridge. Under it, he found a young mother frozen to death, still clutching her crying new born son. The missionary tenderly lifted the baby out of her arms.

When the baby was 10 years old, his now adoptive father told him the story of his mother's death on Christmas Eve.

The young boy cried, realizing the sacrifice his mother had made for him.

The next morning, the missionary rose early to find the boy's bed empty. Seeing a fresh set of small footprints in the snow outside, he bundled up warmly in a winter coat and followed the trail. It led back to the bridge where the young mother had died.

As the missionary approached the bridge, he stopped, stunned. Kneeling in the snow was his son, naked and shivering uncontrollably. His clothes lay beside him in a small pile. Moving closer, he heard the boy say through chattering teeth:

"Mother, were you this cold for me?"



Credits: B Bright

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let It Snow, Let It Snow




Oh the weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we've no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn't show signs of stopping
And I've bought some corn for popping
The lights are turned way down low
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

When we finally kiss goodnight
How I'll hate going out in the storm!
But if you'll really hold me tight
All the way home I'll be warm

The fire is slowly dying
And, my dear, we're still goodbying
But as long as you love me so
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

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Birthday Party

As you well know, we are getting closer to my birthday.  Every year there is a celebration in my honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that my birthday is getting closer and closer. It is really very nice to know, that at least once a year, some people think of me.

As you know, the celebration of my birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration.

Family and friends get together and have lots of fun, but they don't know the meaning of this celebration. I remember that last year there was a great feast in my honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts.

But, do you want to know something? I wasn't invited.

I was the guest of honor and they didn't remember to send me an invitation.

The party was for me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in my face .. and I wanted to be with them and share their  table.

In truth, that didn't surprise me because in the last few years all close their doors to me. Since I wasn't invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner.

They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. They were having a grand time.

To top it all, this big fat man all dressed in red wearing a long white beard entered the room yelling Ho-Ho-Ho!  He seemed drunk. He sat on the sofa and all the children ran to him, saying:  "Santa Claus, Santa Claus" as if the party was in his honor!

At midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended my arms waiting for someone to hug me and do you know no-one hugged me.

Suddenly they all began to share gifts.  They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for me.  What would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one?

I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse.  People only remember the gifts, the parties, to eat and drink, and nobody remembers me.

I would like this Christmas that you allow me to enter into your life.

I would like that you recognize the fact that almost two thousand years ago, I came to this world to give my life for you, on the cross, to save you.

Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. As many didn't invite me to their party, I will have my own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I'm still making the final arrangements..

Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend and I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in my great guest book.

Only those on the guest list will be invited to the party.

Those who don't answer the invite, will be left outside. Be prepared because when all is ready you will be part  of my great party.

See you soon.
I Love you!
Jesus
.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mary's Inditement

"Mary," my mother calls from the path in front of our home on the outskirts of Nazareth, "we'll be back in a while. Make sure you finish the mending." Her voice trails off as she and my little sisters head for market. It's finally quiet. Of course, father and the boys left for the fields hours ago. And now I'm alone, gloriously alone. Alone with my thoughts and dreams - and the family mending.

I sit near the window so the morning sun will light my stitching. I sew and think.... Of turning fourteen last month. Of kind Joseph, the village carpenter, to whom I am pledged. Of how life will be like a year from now when we're married. They'll call me the carpenter's wife, and finally I'll be thought of as a woman rather than just a girl. We'll have children of our own, and....

I hear a step on the threshold and look up. Standing in the doorway is a man, tall -- extremely tall -- and bright, with a gold sash girding his shining robe. I've never seen him in Nazareth. Who is he? What does he want? He's looking directly at me.

"Shalom, daughter, upon whom the favor of the Lord is resting," he begins. "The Lord is with you!"

What kind of greeting is this? Who am I that he should speak to me so? Should I cry for help? Should I climb out the window and run? But I sit paralyzed with my mending still in my lap, needle and thread fallen to the floor. "What brings you to our humble house, good sir?" The words roll out without me even realizing that I am speaking.

The man stoops to enter the door, and then, as if to put me at ease, he lowers himself on one knee so his imposing height will seem less intimidating.

"Do not be afraid, Mary," he says gently, "You have found favor with God."

I have been holding my breath, I realize, but now relax enough to let it out and take another. His next words, however, terrify me.

"You will be with child and give birth to a son, and are to give him the name Jesus."

Me "with child"? Bear a son? I'm just a girl in my father's house. But he goes on, and it is all I can do to keep up the words which sound like a formal decree from a king or someone he represents.

"... You will give him the name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will have no end.!

The man has finished his message for a moment. I brush the hair away from my face. "How will this be," I stammer, "since I am a virgin?"

He must be an angel! The royal manner and presence, the shining garments. I clutch the mending still tighter in my fists.

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you," he answers, "and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God."

He's not talking about my marriage in a year, and a little "Joseph" nine months later. No, he's talking about some kind of miraculous pregnancy, a pregnancy from God Himself. A holy Child who is God's Son, body and spirit.

Why me, a peasant's daughter in a hill-country village? Why is God is calling a mother for His holy Son? Why?

The angel doesn't answer my whys, but his tone changes from royal herald to gentle explainer.

"Did you know that your cousin Elizabeth in Judea is pregnant?"

Old Elizabeth, the priest's wife? She must be sixty if she's a day! How amazing! How wonderful!

"Yes," he goes on, "though everyone thought she would never have a baby, she's already six months pregnant!" The angel is smiling, and now I am smiling, too. Elizabeth, six months pregnant! What a divine joke on everyone! How happy she must be! I look at the angel once more, but the smile is gone. There is friendliness and warmth, but no smile.

"Mary," he assures me, "nothing is impossible with God." Then he is silent, waiting.

So I'm to be the mother of the promised Messiah? How can it be, and yet this is God's angel. It must be true!

But what about Joseph, dear Joseph who loves me. He could never understand this. He would never believe this. And my mother and father -- the village for that matter -- how could anyone understand? I don't understand it either, but I find I believe it. Deep within I know that this angel bears me a message directly from God Himself.

I glance up again. He is still waiting. No convincing, no arguing, no badgering. Just waiting for an answer to take back to his Lord.

"Mary, mother of God's Son." It sounds so strange. I am weeping now, overcome with love for God who is trusting me to carry out this awesome mission for Him.

At the same time thoughts rush in to compete for my attention, thoughts of my future, of Joseph, of my parents, and friends. I can't expect anyone to stand by me through this. Can I bear it? I look at my lap. I have twisted my brother's shirt into a tight roll. I unroll it, and try to pat out the wrinkles.

Yes! I am willing if God will help me. I look up at the angel and speak quietly but clearly: "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said."

The angel's face beams, and he rises to his full height. My, he is tall! The sun from the window catches his golden sash for just a moment, and moving sparkles cascade upon the walls and ceiling and floor.

Now I hear the sounds of children laughing and glance out the window to see my sisters skipping up the path, my mother a few steps behind them. I motion for the angel to leave quickly, but he is no longer here. The door bursts open, and my giggling sisters scamper into the room, tumbling the market produce from their aprons onto the table.

"You seem flushed, girl," mother says. "Are you all right?"

"Yes, mother, I'm fine." She looks at the pile of mending, hardly begun, gives me a glare, and then sets about putting away her purchases.

"Mother," I say. "Do you remember cousin Elizabeth who lives down in Judea?"

"Oh yes, old Bessie. My, but it's been a long time since we've seen her and Zechariah!"

"Mother, I'd like to visit her for a little while, if you think that would be okay with father."

"Now whatever put that thought in your head?"

"Mother...."

"We'll see, Mary, we'll see. I'll talk to your father. Now help me cut up these vegetables. Your father and brothers will be back in less than an hour, hungry for their dinner."

"Yes, mother. I'll help right away. I ... I am your servant."

She stares at me for just a moment, till the barest smile forms at the corners of her mouth, and then hands me the kitchen knife. "Okay, Mary, it's all yours," she says with a touch on the shoulder, and she's out the door calling for my sisters, "Sarah! Margaret! Come help with dinner!"

.

Joseph's letter

Dear Mom,

We're still in Bethlehem-Mary and I and little Jesus.

There were lots of things I couldn't talk to you about last summer. You wouldn't have believed me then, but maybe I can tell you now. I hope you can understand.

You know, Mom, I've always loved Mary. You and dad used to tease me about her when she was still a girl. She and her brothers used to play on our street. Our families got together for supper. But the hardest day of my life came scarcely a year ago when I was twenty and she only fifteen. You remember that day, don't you?

The trouble started after we were betrothed and signed the marriage agreement at our engagement. That same spring Mary had left abruptly to visit her old cousin Elizabeth in Judea. She was gone three whole months. After she got back, people started wondering out loud if she were pregnant.

It was cloudy the day when I finally confronted her with the gossip. "Mary," I asked at last, "are you going to have a baby?"

Her clear brown eyes met mine. She nodded.

I didn't know what to say. "Who?" I finally stammered.

Mom, Mary and I had never acted improperly--even after we were betrothed.

Mary looked down. "Joseph," she said. "There's no way I can explain. You couldn't understand. But I want you to know I've never cared for anyone but you." She got up, gently took my hands in hers, kissed each of them as if it were the last time she would ever do that again, and then turned towards home. She must have been dying inside. I know I was.

The rest of the day I stumbled through my chores. It's a wonder I didn't hurt myself in the woodshop. At first I was angry and pounded out my frustrations on the doorframe I was making. My thoughts whirled so fast I could hardly keep my mind on my work. At last I decided just to end the marriage contract with a quiet divorce. I loved her too much to make a public scene.

I couldn't talk to you. Or anyone, for that matter. I went to bed early and tried to sleep. Her words came to me over and over. "I've never cared for anyone but you.... I've never cared for anyone but you...." How I wished I could believe her!

I don't know when I finally fell asleep. Mom, I had a dream from God. An angel of the Lord came to me. His words pulsated through my mind so intensely I can remember them as if it were yesterday.

"Joseph, son of David," he thundered, "do not fear to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit."

I couldn't believe my ears, Mom. This was the answer! The angel continued, "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

The angel gripped my shoulders with his huge hands. For a long moment his gaze pierced deep within me. Just as he turned to go, I think I saw a smile on his shining face.

I sat bolt upright in bed. No sleep after that! I tossed about for a while, going over the words in my mind. Then I got up and dressed quietly so I wouldn't wake you.

I must have walked for miles beneath the moonless sky. Stars pricked the blackness like a thousand tiny pinpoints. A warm breeze blew on my face.

I sang to the Lord, Mom. Yes, me, singing, if you can imagine that. I couldn't contain my joy. I told Him that I would take Mary and care for her. I told Him I would watch over her--and the child--no matter what anyone said.

I got back just as the sun kissed the hilltops. I don't know if you still recall morning, Mom. I can see it in my mind's eye as if it were yesterday. You were feeding the chickens, surprised to see me out. Remember?

"Sit down," I said to you. "I've got to tell you something." I took your arm and helped you find a seat on the big rock out back. "Mom," I said, "I'm going to bring Mary home as my wife. Can you help make a place for her things?"

You were silent a long time. "You do know what they're saying, don't you, son?" you said at last, your eyes glistening.

"Yes, Mom, I know."

Your voice started to rise. "If your father were still alive, he'd have some words, I'll tell you. Going about like that before you are married. Disgracing the family and all. You... you and Mary ought to be ashamed of yourselves!"

You'd never have believed me if I'd tried to explain, so I didn't. Unless the angel had spoken to you, you'd have laughed me to scorn.

"Mom, this is the right thing to do," I said.

And then I started talking to you as if I were the head of the house. "When she comes I don't want one word to her about it," I sputtered. "She's your daughter-in-law, you'll respect her. She'll need your help if she's to bear the neighbors' wagging tongues!"

I'm sorry, Mom. You didn't deserve that. You started to get up in a huff.

"Mom," I murmured, "I need you." You took my hand and got to your feet, but the fire was gone from your eyes.

"You can count on me, Joseph," you told me with a long hug. And you meant it. I never heard another word. No bride could hope for a better mother-in-law than you those next few months.

Mom, after I left you I went up the road to Mary's house and knocked. Her mother glared at me as she opened the door. Loudly, harshly she called into the house, "It's Joseph!" almost spitting out my name as she said it.

My little Mary came out cringing, as if she expected me give her the back of my hand, I suppose. Her eyes were red and puffy. I can just imagine what her parents had said.

We walked a few steps from the house. She looked so young and afraid. "Pack your things, Mary," I told her gently. "I'm taking you home to be my wife."

"Joseph!" She hugged me as tight as she could. Mom, I didn't realize she was so strong.

I told her what I'd been planning. "We'll go to Rabbi Ben- Ezer's house this week and have him perform the ceremony."

I know it was awfully sudden, Mom, but I figured the sooner we got married the better it would be for her, and me, and the baby.

"Mary, even if our friends don't come, at least you and I can pledge our love before God." I paused. "I think my Mom will be there. And maybe your friend Rebecca would come if her dad will let her. How about your parents?"

I could feel Mary's tiny frame shuddering as she sobbed quietly.

"Mary," I said. I could feel myself speaking more boldly. "No matter what anyone says about you, I'm proud you're going to be my wife. I'm going to take good care of you. I've promised God that."

She looked up.

I lowered my voice. "I had a dream last night, Mary. I saw an angel. I know."

The anguish which had gripped her face vanished. She was radiant as we turned away from the house and began to walk up the hill together.

Just then her mother ran out into the yard. "Wait," she called. She must have been listening from behind the door. Tears were streaming down her cheeks.

"I'll get your father," she called, almost giddy with emotion. "We," she cried as she gathered up her skirts. "We," she shouted as she began to run to find her husband. "We ... are going to have a wedding!"

That's how it was, Mom. Thanks for being there for us. I'll write again soon.

Love,
Joseph

.

Jesus and Santa

Santa lives at the North Pole
Jesus is everywhere.

Santa rides in a sleigh
Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.

Santa comes but once a year
Jesus is an ever present help.

Santa fills your stockings with goodies
Jesus supplies all your needs.

Santa comes down your chimney uninvited
Jesus stands at your door and knocks, and then enters your heart when invited.

You have to wait in line to see Santa
Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.

Santa lets you sit on his lap
Jesus lets you rest in His arms.

Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is, "Hi little boy or girl, what's your name?"
Jesus knew our name before we were born.  Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.

Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly
Jesus has a heart full of love

All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
Jesus offers health, help and hope.

Santa says, "You better not cry"
Jesus says, "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you."

Santa's little helpers make toys
Jesus makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions.

Santa may make you chuckle but
Jesus gives you joy that is your strength.

While Santa puts gifts under your tree
Jesus became our gift and died on a tree - the cross.

.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Is There A Santa Claus?

Dear College:
I read with disbelief your paper "IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS" in light of the seemingly unreputable scientific evidence presented, I passed the article to our School of Science for confirmation of your calculations. I was relieved when I recieved the following reply which confirms my belief in the existence of Santa.

THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS
An earlier circulation made some erroneous assumptions leading to a totally fatuous argument concerning the possibility of the existence of Santa Claus. The authors of the document place all their trust in classical mechanics and show a woeful ignorance of any Santum effects deriving from the wave-nature of Santa.

WAVE THEORY
Any impartial observer will note that as soon as consideration is given to the theory, two very significant features become immediately evident. We are confident with some certainty of the high kinetic energy of the particle (i.e. santum) and hence have little confidence in the spatial position of the santum. Yes, santum is a wave and not localized to one volume of space. Anyone familiar with wave theory will have encountered tunneling effects e.g. electron tunnelling. The phenomenon in the santum effect is more correctly termed "the chimney effect" . Hence the santum particle may appear to penetrate walls, enter and escape from locked rooms etc. You may well ask what evidence there is to support the theory and of course at this moment scientists are agreed that it is tenuous and circumstantial. The bulk of evidence comes through attempted observations of Santa which invariably give readings in the red region of the visible spectra due to red shift. As you wilI be aware nearly all sightings of Santa have been reported as having red associations.

PROOF OF THE PUDDING
It has been clear for some time that work needs to be done substantiating the theory. A major research project is underway currently. A team at the University of Greenwich have landed a plum contract to enable them to investigate the phenomenon over the festive season. Based at the Thames barrier, a diffraction grating is being erected to show the wave nature of Santum. The grating will consist of a giant array of Christmas puddings. Continuous monitoring over the festive season should provide the evidence we seek.

THE FUTURE
Answering one question will open the door to further questions: How can tonnes of non-santa material be inter-converted and travel as a wave? Will this lead to a practical form of space travel? [One note of caution to those stimulated to any theoretical calculations involving this phenomenon .... the SI unit you should use is the kSa (kilosanta) not the Sa as you might have expected. You may also find it convenient to use the non-Si unit of red shift the Rudolf]



Credits: Grahame Buller, 1995.