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“I testify that He is utterly incomparable in what He is, what He knows, what He has accomplished and what He has experienced. Yet, movingly, He calls us His Friends” ~~Neal A. Maxwell 

*****

It’s been a quiet Christmas Day.  We woke to polos from our children/grandchildren of Christmas morning, and the opening of gifts.  Dean and I exchanged small gifts with each, then opened the gifts from our children.  We’ve felt peace and harmony.  It’s been a day filled with beautiful Christmas music, movies and remembrances of the Savior, and all that He has done for us.  His gifts are immeasurable.  I’d like to share the song “He Is The Gift” with you, and to end with a poem which talks about the precious gift of prayer.  “Christmas Eve” was  written by my grandmother’s youngest sister.  It’s a message from the past, but still is sweet and relevant today.  Until next year ~~ Marilee

*****          

He is the Gift - New Christmas song by Shawna Edwards
video
https

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Christmas Eve

    (c) Evelyn Wilde Heath (my great aunt)

It was such a stately mansion
On the corner of the square,
And the white snow, falling around it,
Shone, like sequins scattered there,
For a Christmas tree was lighted,
Tall, and glorious to the sight,
As it threw its bright reflections
Through the darkness of the night.

Johnnie stopped to leave a paper,
And his heart beat rapidly
As he looked into the window
and beheld the Christmas tree,
All about the night grew darker–
Johnnie dreaded so to leave–
"I forgot," he slowly whispered,
"That tonight is Christmas Eve–

"Surely doesn’t seem like Christmas,
Now my daddy’s gone away,
And my mom so sad and ailing,
growing weaker every day."
Johnnie’s ip began to quiver
And a lump came in his throat,
As he plunged his small hands deeper
In the pockets of his coat.

"Guess at that, I’m pretty lucky–
Got to see this Christmas tree,
wish my mom was getting better,
And I’d bring her by with me."
Then he turned, rushed bravely onward
Till his work was quite complete.
No one noticed the small figure
As he hurried down the street.

Now the darkness wrapped about him,
As he left the lights of town–
Then he reached a little cottage
With it’s walls most tumbling down.
"Mom, I’m home." His young voice greeted–
"Say, tonight is Christmas Eve–
You’d just ought to see that tree, mom–
Bigger than you could believe."

 But his mother didn’t answer.
And he tiptoed to her bed,
Touched her gently, as he questioned,
"Did you hear, mom, what I said?
Are you worse, mom?" Tears came streaming
Down his roughened, little face,
As he bent and held her tightly
In his little arms’ embrace.

"I could sing, and pray for you, mom,
I know just the words to say,
Like the Preacher did that Sunday–
Then you’ll get well right away."
Then his small voice seemed to echo
Through the bare and lonely room–
Sweet, like church bells softly ringing
Through the heartache and the gloom.

"Take your burdens unto Jesus–
Lay them gently at His feet–
He will hear you–He will help you,
For His heart is pure and sweet."
Then he raised his eyes toward heaven
And repeated what he’d said,
While his hand lay very gently
On his mother’s feverish head.

And a stranger stopped, –when passing
He had heard the plaintive song,
And he paused in meditation
Feeling something must be wrong–
Heard the childish supplication–
"Please, dear God, –she’s awful sick–
She’s my mom–please make her better,
You must act just awful quick,

"‘Cause she’s worser than this mornin’--
She can’t even say a word;
If you’ll help her to get better,
Then I’ll know you’ve truly heard."
With a wondrous Christmas spirit,
He knocked gently on the door–
Quietly entered, as he did so,
Saw the sight, the cold bare floor–

Guessed their plight, and wisely told him–
"I’ve been sent to help you, son."
"Say! He’s awful quick in actin’--
Sent you most for I was done.
It’s my mom–she’s awful sick, sir,

But if He has sent you here,
Everything will be alright, now,
Guess there’s nothin’ more to fear."

I will take you home with me, son–
We are lonely as can be,
And we’ll take your mother, too, dear,
She’ll be well right soon, you’ll see.
We’ve no one to share our Christmas,
So we need a little boy–
Guess we both must need each other
To bring Christmas peace and joy."

Johnnie’s eyes grew bright–grew wider,
And his small heart jumped with glee,
As the large car turned, then circling
Stopped right at that Christmas tree.
"Oh!" He cried, "Do you live here, sir–
Do I really stay here, too?
Guess he knew how glad I’d be, sir,
That’s the reason he sent you."

Then they entered, his frail mother
Born in strong arms, like a child.
And she seemed to know the blessing
For she raised her eyes and smiled.
Through His marvelous way of working,
Peace and love and joy he gave
Seemed to fill the room with glory
Of His power to bless and save.

Christmas Eve–so bright and happy–
Johnnie loved to often tell
How the doctor came that evening,
How his mom seemed almost well,
Tell of Christmas Day’s bright dawning–
Santa, too, had seemed to know,
He brought toys and bike for Johnnie,
New, warm clothes they needed so.

"And the strangest thing," said Johnnie,
"Our Heavenly Father must be near,
For those words I’d hardly spoken
To have reached His listening’ ear–
And he sent us help, so sudden,
So I know he really cares,
And I know he’s always listenin’
That he truly answers prayers."
0 comments
The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world's busy life and become more interested in people than in things. ~~ Thomas S. Monson


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RAOK: Let someone else pick what to watch on TV

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Still, Still, Still -Tabernacle at Temple Square Choir
video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rflf6NEQ6I&list=PLVt5sQWN7Py9PlMHKxeP4TXH8gSBIEKt3

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy Star it's vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.

Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
Close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.

Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come


*****

Normally the post on the 24th is the final post of the year, but because of the connection problems I have experienced, there will be one more post – tomorrow.  I love reading and one of my favorite authors growing up was Jules Verne.  I’m sure that he is France’s most loved and most read author.  I read “20,000 Leagues under the Sea” and “Journey to the Center of The Earth” more times than I can count.  I used to lay under the covers with a flashlight at night, reading about Phileas Fogg and how he made a bet to do the impossible – to circumnavigate the world in 80 days.  He traveled by train, by balloon, by stagecoach and by elephant accompanied by his servant, Jean Passepartout.  (I took French in school because I loved that name!)  Bad things happened along the way.  He was mistaken for a bank robber and hunted by “Fix” throughout much of the book.  He discovered a young widow about to be sacrificed in a funeral pyre with her husband’s remains in India.  He rescued her.  He was spied on, Passepartout was kidnapped - he rescued him.  He missed his connections.  What can I say, it’s an exciting book.  He finally made it back to London and discovered that he was one day too late.  He missed the deadline by 1 day.  Tragic.  It’s so sad.   Then he discovers it’s not too late.  He forgot about the international date line!  He got to his club, went through the doors and proclaimed to one and all, “I’m here.”  What does that have to do with Christmas?  Each of us is on a journey back to God.   At times it seems so hard, almost impossible to accomplish.  We don’t know how to manage the trials and obstacles we face.  We find ourselves saying, “Where do I go from here?  Do I have time? We do.  Thanks to Our Savior, he provides us with the time we need.  Thank you for Your love, for Your example, for Your guidance, and happy anniversary of Your birth. ~~ Marilee

*****

Christmas Bells

Few sounds gladden the heart like church bells ringing. In days gone by, villages full of people gathered to the sound of bells. On Christmas Day, church bells rang far and wide resonating with hope and goodwill.

The story is told of a village where the church bells stopped ringing for many years. No one really knew why. But Christmases had come and gone without bells echoing against the mountainside. The townspeople were concerned. They began to think it had something to do with their offerings. So they put more jewels, more treasures, more of everything on the altar. But the bells remained silent.

Then one year a boy named Pedro and his younger brother set out from their humble home, miles from the church, to attend the wonderful Christmas Eve service they had heard so much about. The boys walked through the wind and chill more than half the day and into the night so they could join in the festivities. But just as they entered the city, they saw an old woman lying in a bed of snow. She was cold and weak and barely breathing. Pedro could not pass by without helping. He looked into the distance and knew that he would miss the service, but he asked his little brother to go ahead and take his only silver coin, still warm in his pocket, and place it on the altar. Pedro stayed with the woman and helped her. He did not hear the organ play or the choir sing, but he did hear the bells ring -- for the first time in many, many years. The people said the bells started ringing when Pedro's little brother dropped his silver coin onto the altar. No one in the Church knew why -- but Pedro did. He had given away what he wanted for himself to help someone else.

This year as we hear the Christmas bells chime, remember the wondrous gift that was given so long ago in Bethlehem. As we selflessly give, we too will hear the bells on Christmas Day.
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“To the American People: Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.” ~Calvin Coolidge

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RAOK:  Help someone struggling with heavy bags.

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Good Sabbath, everyone ~~ Marilee

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Christ Is Born (The Carpenters)
slide show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B747HKR4O4Q
Christ Is Born
The Carpenters
It is he
Christ who is born today
Hear him crying
In the manger
King of Heaven
Son of God
Alleluia, Alleluia
There he lies
There with the lambkin
Only swaddle for his garment
With his Holy Mother Mary
Alleluia, Alleluia
Glory, Glory to almighty God
And on earth peace to all men
Hear the joyful angels singing
Alleluia, Alleluia
He is born
Let us adore him
Christ the Lord
King of Kings
Prince of Peace
For all the universe
Alleluia, Alleluia

*~*~*~*

A PRECIOUS GIFT
~Author Unknown

Jesus Christ, the Savior and the Son of God, appeared this Christmas season for a moment among the people of the world. Oh, of course, this was not the coming in which He will appear according to his promise at the end of time in all His heavenly glory, and which will be sudden "as lightning flashing from east to west." No, He visited the modern world briefly as if to catch the real spirit of man in his enlightened age. He came softly and unobserved, and appropriately, He came during the Christmas season. The multicolored lights and trappings, the green
boughs of the Yule tree, the hasty greeting of the season, and the nervous movements of crowds flowing from store to store, all signified the approach of Christmas-tide.

Perhaps the trace of a wry smile lightened His features as He thought of all this feverish activity. Truly, what was man celebrating and to what purpose? Supposedly they reveled in and paid homage to His birth. It mattered not so much that the time of celebration was altered from the actual event. What did matter was the spirit and intent engendered by the occasion. To determine the depth and direction of this spirit and intent was the purpose of His visit.

He moved silently in our midst with a gentle countenance and a smile of infinite compassion. The sun of love burning in His heart; light and power shining from His eyes. Yet, to nearly all, He is unrecognized – but not totally so. An old man, blind from childhood, passing in the throng, touched His garments and perceived His being.

"O, Lord, heal me and I shall see," the old man cried.

And as it were, scales fell from his eyes and the blind man saw.

A child of the street, not too long from His heavenly presence, felt His influence and placed her tiny hand in His. This brief encounter with its silent exchange of knowing confidence and guileless love was reminiscent of similar occasions so long ago.

The blind man and the child shared for a brief moment that which the entire world sought but was too busy to recognize.

He passed on through the maddening throng, absorbing the moods of the occasion. A young couple stood in front of the music store. They were arguing rather heatedly over their financial status. These two, who were tenderly endeared to one another less than an hour ago, were now in real danger of losing that sweet feeling. "Oh, my children," thought the Savior. "As if the true spirit of love was measured by the cost or size of a trinket."

He recalled the story told of another couple -- the cutting of her hair to provide a watch chain -- and the sale of his watch to provide matching combs for her hair. Would that all lovers could feel this same spirit toward each other.

He passed by the unhappy opponents, fleetingly touching each in turn. Her lowered eyes, jeweled with tears, raised to meet those of her mate.


"I do love you. "

"And I, you," he replied.

The young voices of a quartet elevated from the music store. The words: "All I want for Christmas is to keep the things I have."

The Savior, seeking sanctuary from the milling shoppers, made His way into a building and became a spectator, with others, of the traditional first grade portrayal of His birth. Emerson School had enacted the nativity story each year since its founding. This year the presentation had proved like all the rest, a test for teachers to get the correct reactions from six-year-old shepherds and wise men. One problem had been particularly persistent. The little boy with the round face and the very tender heart had been asked to play the part of the innkeeper. Each practice, when the time came for him to deny the saintly Mary and the quiet Joseph a place to sleep, he would develop a quivering lip and finally break into tears. He was just not able to turn them away. Finally, the teacher in charge felt that an understanding had been reached. She had carefully explained to the weeping innkeeper that it wasn't really his fault that the inn was full. It was just completely sold out and there was nothing he could do about it. This explanation seemed to restore the necessary emotional balance and the nativity was presented. The crucial moment arrived when the innkeeper had to do this imperative duty.


"There is no ..,"

A quivering lip.

"... room."

A sob, a pause, and then a half smile.

"But won't you come in for a drink of water?" There was little wonder in the Savior's heart as to why little children made up the bulk of His kingdom.

The department store was large and stocked to overflowing with nearly every conceivable device and need of man. The Christ made his way through the mountains of merchandise that paled the remembrances of the Phoenician bazaars and trading ships of long ago. A knot of people in one corner of the store attracted His attention. A flaxen bearded man with a red suit and black boots sat on a chair at the head of a long line of children and parents. Santa Claus looked tired and Jesus felt a distinct kinship to him, for He understood how tiring a day of requests could be.

Two little girls -- one six and the other about three -- made their way forward and essenced themselves on each knee of the bewhiskered union man. The usual pattern of question and answer followed.

"And what do you want Santa to bring you this Christmas?"

Instead of really listening to the replies, Santa was noticing the poor material and roughly patched clothing of the two. Stringy hair and pinched faces surrounded bright and expectant eyes.

"And have you been good little girls?"

Again, he failed to hear. Their stockings had long ago lost their elasticity and their shoes had disintegrated under the relentless wear given them.

Santa gave each eager pair of hands the plastic bank the store had provided for each child as a memento of the occasion. But he couldn't seem to let the experience end here. He reached into his pocket and drew forth nine coins and proceeded to place them alternately in each bank. The intense childish eyes grew wide with excitement, and Santa saw what joy even his small offering was bringing. Each coin had been received with such ecstacy that he wished each one could have been a hundred in number.

Each child had four coins in her possession and a moment of decision had arrived -- what to do with the ninth?

Santa asked, "And who should I give this last one to?" The older and more precocious spoke with little hesitation.

"Give it to my little sister."

The Savior saw the mist of emotion cloud the eyes of Santa Claus as he placed a kiss on two cheeks.

The Redeemer left as He had come, quietly and unobserved. He had seen and felt some of the good and the bad of the world. But He left with a confidence that right would prevail. The jarring and contending of governments seemed to be offset by the inherent good will emanating from man to man. It is true that the excessive commercial drive and intent of the Christmas season reminded Him somewhat of the money changers in a past time, but the spirit of "giving" was everywhere prevalent and dominated the commercialism found in some quarters. He noticed, too, that often the true meaning of Christmas was submerged under fable and folly. And yet, the underlying strength of the real story permeated all the other and influenced it for good.
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"Love the giver more than the gift."  Brigham Young 

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RAOK:  Leave a favorite book in a public place with a note that’s it’s free for the taking.

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In the quiet of Christmas morning
Moody Blues
animated snowman video
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G91MR2zDJ9c

In the quiet of Christmas morning
In the peace of Christmas dawn
The child that is the future
Will see the earth reborn

When we take our Christmas journey
In the steps that went before
With hands across the water
In peace forever more

In the quiet of Christmas morning
In the peace of Christmas dawn
The child that is the future
Will see the earth reborn

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Spaghetti Casserole
1 package (16 ounces) spaghetti
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 jar (26 ounces) spaghetti sauce
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Remove from the heat.
Drain pasta. Combine soup and sour cream. In two 8-in. square baking dishes, layer half of the meat sauce, pasta, soup mixture and cheese. Repeat layers.
Cover and bake 55-65 minutes or until cheese is melted. Freeze option: Cover and freeze unbaked casseroles up to 3 months. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake casseroles, increasing time as necessary to heat through and for a thermometer inserted in center to read 165°.

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I went to the Care Center to see a friend, and as I walked down the window-lined hallway to the Rehab wing, I saw an elderly woman in a wheelchair sitting by one of the windows.  She appeared to not notice me, just sat their clutching the corner of an afghan which was mostly on the floor.  I stopped, and picked it up.  Then I covered her lap and tucked it in around her. I patted her on the shoulder and said, “Merry Christmas.”   My friend was sleeping, so I didn’t stay.  As I walked back down the hall, the same lady was still sitting there, unmoving, alone. As I passed her, I heard her mumble something and I turned to her.  She said, “Thank you.  Thank you for seeing me.  Thank you for caring that I was cold.”  She acted as if I had done something remarkable.  I stayed and visited with her for about 20 minutes, then left to one more “thank you.”  I thought of how it made me feel to be told thank you for such a little thing, and I asked myself when the last time was that I was truly grateful to God for all of the little blessings in my life.  “Thank you, Heavenly Father, that the skies were blue today, thank thee that my brother called me, thank thee that I didn’t burn the chocolate I was melting, thank thee that I had more crackers in the closet.  Little things indeed, but they matter.  I need to remember to thank Him for the most important things of all as well.  Thank thee for thy Son.  Thank thee for His love.  Thank thee for His guidance.  Thank thee for His Atoning Sacrifice.  Thank thee for my life, the air I breathe and the people I love. ~~  Marilee

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The Legend of the Christmas Tree

Most children have seen a Christmas tree, and many know that the pretty and pleasant custom of hanging gifts on its boughs comes from Germany; but perhaps few have heard or read the story that is told to little German children, respecting the origin of this custom. The story is called "The Little Stranger," and runs thus:

In a small cottage on the borders of a forest lived a poor laborer, who gained a scanty living by cutting wood. He had a wife and two children who helped him in his work. The boy's name was Valentine, and the girl was called Mary. They were obedient, good children, and a great comfort to their parents. One winter evening, this happy little family were sitting quietly round the hearth, the snow and the wind raging outside, while they ate their supper of dry bread, when a gentle tap was heard on the window, and a childish voice cried from without: "Oh, let me in, pray! I am a poor little child, with nothing to eat, and no home to go to, and I shall die of cold and hunger unless you let me in."

Valentine and Mary jumped up from the table and ran to open the door, saying: "Come in, poor little child! We have not much to give you, but whatever we have we will share with you."

The stranger-child came in and warmed his frozen hands and feet at the fire, and the children gave him the best they had to eat, saying: "You must be tired, too, poor child! Lie down on our bed; we can sleep on the bench for one night."

Then said the little stranger-child: "Thank God for all your kindness to me!"

So they took their little guest into their sleeping-room, laid him on the bed, covered him over, and said to each other: "How thankful we ought to be! We have warm rooms and a cozy bed, while this poor child has only heaven for his roof and the cold earth for his sleeping-place."

When their father and mother went to bed, Mary and Valentine lay quite contentedly on the bench near the fire, saying, before they fell asleep: "The stranger-child will be so happy to-night in his warm bed!"

These kind children had not slept many hours before Mary awoke and softly whispered to her brother: "Valentine, dear, wake, and listen to the sweet music under the window."

Then Valentine rubbed his eyes and listened. It was sweet music indeed, and sounded like beautiful voices singing to the tones of a harp:

"O holy Child, we greet thee! bringing
Sweet strains of harp to aid our singing.

"Thou, holy Child, in peace art sleeping,
While we our watch without are keeping.

"Blest be the house wherein thou liest.
Happiest on earth, to heaven the highest."

The children listened, while a solemn joy filled their hearts; then they stepped softly to the window to see who might be without.

In the east was a streak of rosy dawn, and in its light they saw a group of children standing before the house, clothed in silver garments, holding golden harps in their hands. Amazed at this sight, the children were still gazing out of the window, when a light tap caused them to turn round. There stood the stranger-child before them clad in a golden dress, with a gleaming radiance round his curling hair. "I am the little Christ-child," he said, "who wanders through the world bringing peace and happiness to good children. You took me in and cared for me when you thought me a poor child, and now you shall have my blessing for what you have done."

A fir tree grew near the house; and from this he broke a twig, which he planted in the ground, saying: "This twig shall become a tree, and shall bring forth fruit year by year for you."

No sooner had he done this than he vanished, and with him the little choir of angels. But the fir-branch grew and became a Christmas tree, and on its branches hung golden apples and silver nuts every Christmas-tide.

Such is the story told to German children concerning their beautiful Christmas trees, though we know that the real little Christ-child can never be wandering, cold and homeless, again in our world, inasmuch as he is safe in heaven by his Father's side; yet we may gather from this story the same truth which the Bible plainly tells us—that any one who helps a Christian child in distress, it will be counted unto him as if he had indeed done it unto Christ himself. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
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What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace. ~Agnes M. Pahro

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RAOK: Offer to return a shopping cart to the store for someone loading groceries in their car

*~**~***~**~*

Who Would Imagine a King
Whitney Houston
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obnoj51kHUQ
audio only

Mommies and daddies always believe
That their little angels are special indeed
And you could grow up to be anything
But who would imagine a king
A shepherd or teacher is what you could be
Or maybe a fisherman out on the sea
Or maybe a carpenter building things
But who would imagine a king
It was so clear when the wise men arrived
And the angels were singing your name
That the world would be different 'cause you were alive
That's what heaven stood still to proclaim
One day an angel said quietly
That soon he would bring something special to me
And of all those wonderful gifts he could bring
Who would imagine, who could imagine
Who would imagine a king
Mmm
Mommy


*~**~***~**~*

Christmas Reindeer Jar
https://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/tips/g2132/mason-jar-christmas-crafts/?slide=14

*~**~***~**~*Crock Pot Wassail from Cheryl
1 gallon Apple cider
4 c. orange juice
4 hibiscus tea bags
10 cinnamon sticks
1 t. whole cloves
1 T juniper berries
1 ½ piece of fresh ginger, cut into slices
1 apple, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
Place all ingredients in crock pot on high heat and cook for 3-4 hours, until color has darkened and fruit is soft.  Remove the tea bag and serve hot.


*~**~***~**~*

When our son, Keith, was just a little boy, he loved to pray.  We never knew exactly what he would pray about when we called on him because he was somewhat unpredictable.  One evening, he said the blessing on the food.  During the prayer,  he thanked God for “mommy and daddy, Shannon, Rachel, Nathan, me and Gina.”  He thanked Heavenly Father for his primary teachers and his friends, his dog, his bed and so on and so on.  Giggles started escaping from his siblings.  I gave the older kids the “look” (even though our eyes were supposed to be closed and our heads bowed, I still visually chastised them ) to keep them quiet.  We all know what those looks are like, don’t we?  Keith finally reached the end of the prayer.  He once again thanked God for everything, but most of all for sugar!  The table itself  erupted in laughter after that and he got mad because no one was taking him seriously.  Keith is grown now, happily married and a father of 2 precocious little boys.  His life is full of sugar, full of the sweet things which he thanked God for that day.  I’ve thought often about that prayer and about how grateful I am for the sweet things in my life–my husbands eyes, and those same beautiful eyes which look out at me from our children’s faces.  Our grandchildren, sunshine, rainbows, flowers, music, laughter - so many sweet things.  I asked my son once to tell me what Christmas was about and he shouted “Santa Claus!”  Anything else?  “Reindeer!”  Anything else?  “Presents!”  Do you remember when we talked about Jesus, and how it is his birthday? “Yes”  The next day I asked him to tell me what Christmas was about and he said, “Santa Claus!”  Anything else?  “Ice Cream!”  What?  "Birthday parties!"  Whose birthday?  “Ummmm ummm Jesus!”  Yes, right.  Good job!  Sometime later (it might have been a few days, I don't remember exactly) I asked him again what Christmas was about and he said “Jesus!” for the very first time.  He was so sweet.  We need to make sure that our children understand who Jesus is and recognize all of the incredible sweetness which fills our lives because of him ~~Marilee


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I extracted this from a lesson found at https://www.sunday-school-center.com/support-files/lg2-lesson-1-what-is-christmas-to-you.pdf
Sunday School Center  Christmas Series – Lesson #1   www.SundaySchoolCenter.com
©2010 Sharon Kay Chatwell

Today I want to tell you the reason we have Christmas.
The reason we have Christmas is to celebrate Jesus’ birth!
Jesus is the Son of God. 
A long time ago Jesus was born here, and that is why we celebrate Christmas.  It is Jesus’ birthday!!
Mary was Jesus’ mother.
Mary was the name of the woman who had baby Jesus.
She was Jesus’ mommy.
One day an angel came to see Mary.
The angel told her that she was going to have a baby.
The baby was going to be God’s Son.
The angel told her that she was to name the baby, Jesus.
God is Jesus’ Father. • God the Father called Jesus His “One and Only Son.” • God is Jesus’ daddy. • God loved us very much to send His Son here. • We celebrate this by having Christmas each year!


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Jesus Once Was a Little Child,
— Jesus once was a little child,
A little child like me;
And he was pure and meek and mild,
As a little child should be.
So, little children,
Let’s you and I
Try to be like him,
Try, try, try.

He played as little children play
The pleasant games of youth;
But he never got vexed if the game went wrong,
And he always spoke the truth.
So, little children,
Let’s you and I
Try to be like him,
Try, try, try.

Words: James R. Murray, 1841–1905
Music: Joseph Ballantyne, 1868–1944
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Christmas! The very word brings joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and cards to be bought and given — when Christmas Day comes there is still the same warm feeling we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds our hearts and our homes. ~Joan Winmill Brown

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RAOK:  Instead of posting negativity online, spread some encouragement

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BarlowGirl - Hallelujah (Light Has Come) Official Music Video HD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtZRl7HJ4DI
Beautiful video

Hallelujah (Light Has Come)
BarlowGirl
Hm my Baby
Heaven sent you to me
All the worlds been praying
Who will Save?
But who am I
That here tonight
I hold the one
Who'll Bring us life
Hallelujah,
We've been found
A child is born
To save us now
Hallelujah light has come
A Savior who will set us free
A Promise for those who believe
Do you hear the Angels
Sing for you my baby
Men and kings have come to
Bow to you
But here in my arms
So close to me
The son of God
Now all can see
Hallelujah We've been found
A child is born to save us now
Jesus Hallelujah light has come
A savior set us free
So praise to God on high
He has heard our cry

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Christmas Pinwheel cookies
Make your favorite sugar cookie recipe.  Divide dough in half. Add red or green food coloring to one half of the dough, leave the other half plain.  Mold each color into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill at least an hour.  On parchment paper, roll each half into a 6 by 12 rectangle.  Stack one on top of the other.  Roll up into a log, like you would for cinnamon rolls, then roll the log in sprinkles until well coated.  Wrap in plastic and chill.  Heat oven to 350 degrees, line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Slice the cookie dough into to rounds 1/4 to ½ inch thick.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer cookies to rack to cool.


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Christmas
Every time a hand reaches out
To help another... that is Christmas.
Every time someone puts anger aside
And strives for understanding
That is Christmas.
Every time people forget their differences
And realize their love for each other
That is Christmas.
May this Christmas bring us
Closer to the spirit of human understanding
Closer to the blessing of peace!

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Keep The Christmas Spirit 

So remember while December, 
Brings the only Christmas Day.
In the year let there be Christmas 
In the things you do and say.
Wouldn't life be worth living 
Wouldn't dreams be coming true.
If we kept the Christmas spirit 
All the whole year through.


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We had no one at the library this afternoon, and to pass the time, I typed ‘Christmas news articles’ into a search engine to see if there were any story ideas in the news.  One of the articles out of Ohio caught my eye.  I thought “this could be a great story,” so I wrote it.  Whether it’s great or not depends on you I guess.  The basic events are true.  I fictionalized peoples names and statements.

Exercise in Love

“162.00 dollars ... 163.00 dollars ...164.00 dollars .... We made $164!  That makes $194.00 total, said Meghan joyfully There’s enough money here for something nice for each of the kids.”

“Lit,” said Jamal.

“I’ll lock it in my desk tonight, then you can take it to the bank after school on Monday.”

Monday morning, shrieks of “Oh, no!  My desk!  My desk!” rang through the halls.  Miss Melissa Magonigle’s students hurried into her classroom.  As they rounded the corner, they saw her desk drawer, broken to pieces, laying on the floor.  The money was gone.

Her desk was just one of many that were robbed over the weekend, but it was the hardest to accept.  Her class had planned and successfully completed a fund raising project to help a local family in need.  It was too late to start again.  What would they do?  All but $30.00 of the money they raised was gone.  It was over.  Miss Magonigle was sad and disheartened.  Her students were angry.  Throughout the day, her students told and retold the story in every class.  

“Melissa, I heard about the money.  I’m so sorry.  This isn’t much, but maybe it will help”, a fellow teacher said as they walked through the parking lot.  She handed her a twenty.

The next morning, a teacher approached her holding out a ten dollar bill.  “I hope they find out who did this and that you get the money back.”

“Here, Melissa, take this, I hate to think of kids going without at Christmas”.  

“I couldn’t believe when the kids told me about this in class yesterday.  Let me help.”

“Rotten luck, so sorry to hear it.  Here’s a five.”

All day long teachers handed her money.  Students who were not in any of her classes handed money to her in the hallway.  Parents came into the office and asked if they could give money to Miss Magonigle to help the needy family.  Within 24 hours, the fund had over $800.00 in it.  What could have been a disaster, turned into an exercise in love.  

This Christmas, I hope we will remember to give with a heart full of love.  2 Corinthians 9:7 - Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
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When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things — not the great occasions — give off the greatest glow of happiness. ~Bob Hope

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RAOK:  Purchase some extra dog or cat food and drop it off at an animal shelter

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Il Divo - When a child is born
slide show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJFYtwiT92Y

[Sebastien:]
A ray of hope flickers in the sky
A tiny star lights up way up high

[Urs:]
All across the land dawns a brand new morn',
This comes to pass when a child is born.

[Carlos:]
A silent wish sails the seven seas
The winds of change whisper in the trees

[David:]
And the walls of doubt crumble tossed and torn,
This comes to pass when a child is born.

It's all a dream, an illusion now.
It must come true some time soon somehow
All across the land dawns a brand new morn',
This comes to pass when a child is born.
When a child is born.

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German Pancakes
extracted from https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/german-pancakes-2/
* The website has excellent instructions
6 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
dash salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 Tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
As oven preheats, put the butter in an un-greased 9x13-in. baking dish and place in oven, just until melted. 
Place the eggs, milk, flour, salt and vanilla in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Pour batter into baking dish, over melted butter.
Bake, for 22-27 minutes or until edges are golden brown and puffy.
To serve, sprinkle generously with powdered sugar and syrup.
Try serving these with easy homemade cinnamon syrup

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Imagine my surprise when I got online about an hour ago and discovered yesterdays’ blog didn’t post!  I just got home from the library, and found the bare bones.  I will publish that, then move on to todays.  Merry Christmas everyone, don ‘t let the little things (like blogs not posting) drive y ou crazy! __ Marilee 

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The Faded Blue Blanket
~~ Fred Bauer

The most frightened shepherd that night was little Ladius, just ten. He cowered behind his three older brothers when the blinding star lit the hillside. When the angel appeared, he hid behind a huge rock.

Yet, after Ladius heard the glad news, fear left him, and he limped back to his brothers, who were planning to set out for Bethlehem.

"Who will tend the sheep?" asked Samuel, the oldest at sixteen. Ladius, leaning against his shepherd's crook to support a crippled foot, volunteered, "I'd only slow you down. Let me stay with the sheep." He wet his lip as he talked. The brothers weakly protested at first, then made plans to go.

"We must each take a gift," said Samuel. One brother chose his flint to start a fire for the Christ child. Another picked meadow lilies to make a garland for the king. Samuel decided on his most precious possession -- his gold ring.

"Here -- take my blanket to him," said Ladius. It was badly worn, a faded blue with patches.

"No, Ladius," said Samuel, tenderly. "The blanket is too tattered to give even a beggar -- let alone a king. Besides, you will need it tonight."

The brothers departed, leaving Ladius alone by the fire. He laid his head upon the blanket and buried his face in his hands. Tears forced their way between his fingers, but soon the hush of night soothed the boy's heartbeat. The world in silent stillness lay ...

"Are you coming, Ladius?" called a voice. Standing nearby was the same angel who had brought the news. "You wanted to see the child, didn't you?"

"Yes," nodded Ladius, "but I must stay here."

"My name is Gabriel," said the angel. "Your sheep will be watched. Take my hand, and bring your blanket. The child may need it."

Suddenly, Ladius was outside a stable. Kneeling by a manger were his brothers. Ladius started to call out, but the angel lifted a finger to his lips.

"Give me the blanket," Gabriel whispered. The angel took it and quietly covered the baby. But the blanket was no longer faded. Now it glistened like dew in the brilliance of a new day. Returning, Gabriel squeezed Ladius's hand, "Your gift was best because you gave all that you had ..."

"Wake up, Ladius, wake up!" The boy rubbed his eyes and tried to shield them from the glaring sun. Hovering over him was Samuel.

"Did you find him?" asked Ladius.

"Yes," replied Samuel, "but first tell me why you were sleeping without your blanket."

Ladius looked about with wonder. The faded blue blanket was nowhere to be found -- then, or thereafter.