Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Reason...

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
 lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly
host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
 good will toward men.” Luke 2:11-14

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I received a Christmas card from a dear friend with the verses to this hymn.
Thought I would share it with you as you contemplate the Greatest Gift ever given!

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity.

Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus:
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word,
That should set Thy people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.

When the heav’ns arches shall ring,
 and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for thee.”

My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus,
When Thou comest and callest for me.                            by  Emily E.S. Elliott

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eveby Christina Rossetti

Christmas hath a darkness
Brighter than the blazing noon,
Christmas hath a chillness
Warmer than the heat of June,
Christmas hath a beauty
Lovelier than the world can show:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Earth, strike up your music,
Birds that sing and bells that ring;
Heaven hath answring music
For all Angels soon to sing:
Earth, put on your whitest
Bridal robe of spotless snow:
For Christmas bringeth Jesus,
Brought for us so low.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


As our family was singing Christmas carols tonight, I felt a stirring within my
heart thinking about the birth of the Savior!
It made me look into a little background info on one of the hymns we sang....

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) of Philadelphia,
wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1868,
following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was inspired
by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine especially
at night time hence the lyrics of O Little Town of Bethlehem.
His church organist Lewis Redner (1831-1908) wrote the
melody to O Little Town of Bethlehem. Red­ner was
Brooks’ or­gan­ist at Ho­ly Trin­i­ty Epis­co­pal Church in
Phil­a­del­phia, Penn­syl­van­ia. The tune came to him on
 Christ­mas Eve, and was first sung the next day.

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Where children pure and happy pray to the bless├Ęd Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee, Son of the mother mild;
Where charity stands watching and faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks, and Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

I hope that you have a song in your heart this Christmas season!

Can Christmas Be Done Without Debt???

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Truly it is! I love Christmas!
We get to celebrate the birth of the Savior!
But, somehow, the Lord Jesus (Who is the real gift!) gets overshadowed by stacks of presents. :(
Followed by stacks of bills in January...

But, it doesn't have to be that way. (Debt is a choice!)
 I just wanted to pass along a few holiday tips for you-to help you
stay debt free!
A few ideas for doing this:
  • Read the Christmas Story
  • Set up a Nativity Scene (I had one especially for my kids when they were little also)
  • Bake goods for some lonely neighbors (esp. elderly or single parents)
  • Go caroling (either in your neighborhood or a nursing home-choose godly carols)
  • Sing carols around the house
  • Have kids do secret good deeds for family members (draw names)
  • Attend church (esp. the Nativity play and the Contada)
  • Make or buy Christmas cards with a spiritual message to send out
  • Use and light an advent wreath

A few ideas:
  • Have your plan in writing. Find out how much money you have to spend
  • Write down the names of who you need to buy for-allot amounts for each
  • Use a small expandable folder for your holiday money (think dollar store)
(Label each section with the person's name-and put the money for that person in it. Only take this with you when you shop-no credit cards. When the money is gone--you stop!) Oh-and put the receipts back in filed by person in case you have a return

For Kids:
  • Play kits-choose a theme such as: Dress-Up, Doctor, Chef, Grocer, Workman etc... Then, go
"shopping" in your closets, garage, thrift store etc.. and round up accessories to make the kit. Depending on your theme, bandanas, jewelry, shoes, boa, painter's cap, tupperware etc...
Be creative! 
  • Books or books on CD (check or auctions as well as the store)
  • Piggy Bank (put a few dollars in to start them out)
  • Homemade Play Dough and cookie cutters
  • Puzzles
  • Crochet Kit
  • Christmas Tree ornament you make or buy (help them start a collection)

For Teens:
  • Movie Tickets
  • Picture Frame (perhaps filled with a photo you took of the recipient)
  • Cell Phone Minutes
  • Devotional
  • Book
  • Journal and pen
  • Scrapbook supplies
  • Board Game
  • Calendar
For Adults or a Family:
  • Popcorn Bucket filled with movie and candy
  • Coupon for Babysitting or Petsitting
  • Magazine Subscription
  • Basket with pancake mix, syrup (or brownies, muffins etc...)
  • Make a Gift in a Jar (instructions are easily found online)
  • Make a photobook, calendar, or collage with meaningful pics
  • Book (or a basket full of books from a thrift store)
  • Gas Gift Card
  • Photo Album
  • Homemade Cookies or other Baked Goods (best gift ever!)

  • One of the prettiest and inexpensive items I use for decorating is napkins!
I find red, green, or gold and use them on end tables, under decorations, at the dinner table etc...
  • Use your own tree branches (lovely with glitter!) or pine/holly branches
  • Dress up dinner napkins with a ribbon tied in a bow and holly or bells
  • Have the children make place cards with a Bible verse
  • Use Christmas colors in your food -as decorations!
Such as red cherry tomatoes and green broccoli on your veggie plate
  • I buy floral bunches at the Dollar Store and cut them up and tuck the flowers on picture frames, mirrors, etc...
  • USE WHAT YOU HAVE! If you have red balls of yarn-place them in a basket on a table
  • Fill a green mug with candy canes tied with curling ribbon in red and/or green
  • I use lots of pinecones (we have pine trees) they look great in baskets-and you can glitter them too!
  • Candles always warm up the room (Walmart has great inexpensive candles in holiday scents)

Start in January-looking for ways all year to save up cash for Christmas...
  • Start a Christmas fund in a Mason Jar with your spare change
  • Put aside all the money you save with coupons
  • Put $5 or $10 a week in your Expandable Coupon file
  • Use the money you get back for Rebates
  • Pay yourself when you resist an impulse buy
  • Use food from your pantry and freezer -put the money you would have spent on groceries
in your Christmas Fund

A great resource is the book Debt-Proof Your Christmas by Mary Hunt
You can get lots of ideas there.

I hope that you and yours have a lovely, debt-free, Christ-centered Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wise Words on Helping a Friend Facing a Trial

I received this devotion from my sweet friend Vicki Ponce (she sends this daily to my mailbox!). The sage advice in this devotion is a "must share"...

I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? Job 16:2-3
Have you ever had a friend go through a hard time and you didn’t know how to comfort them? We might quote Romans 8:28, thinking that it will make them feel better, knowing that God will make this horrible situation out for his good. We can’t stomach not having words to say to someone who is hurting or confused. We want to try to explain why their situation is happening or give them words of comfort. We might even call them daily to see if their situation is improving. Job’s friends were the same way. The majority of the book of Job consists of his friends explaining to him why his children have died, his livestock are all gone, and he has sores all over his body. We would generally agree with most of the reasons his friends give for his hurting. But, they aren’t the reasons Job has actually encountered these hardships! Their words of comfort were really words of discomfort. Sometimes God will use us to give a Biblical answer to the suffering a person is enduring, but there will still be instances when we have no idea what to say. Instead of spouting off religiously oriented phrases in these situations, we should listen, listen, and listen some more. 
Dear Lord:  Please put the right words in my mouth so that in their discomfort they can find some comfort from YOU.  And Lord, help me to listen first to who is struggling and then listen to you for the response, if there even is one.  AMEN


May God Bless you and Keep you, In His Service, Vicki
Many of you know that I have had recent difficult trials of my own. I can tell you from my experience that Vicki's words are true. I have learned what is not helpful for sure....preaching at a person who is hurting (no matter how good your intentions) is not helpful, nor is telling them how they ought to be dealing with their trial. You not only don't fully know what they are going through-you don't know what they have gone through prior to this either.
But, the ones who listen to you, and who gently remind you that you are on their heart and mind, and they are praying--that is soothing to the soul and a blessing. I want to be that kind of a friend.
Thank you so much Vicki-a lady who has had many, many trials of her own-for this wonderful devotion. I pray God uses this in our lives as we try to bless and minister to our friends who face trials of their own.