A Nativity for One

A little tree twinkles on the coffee table. The instrumental music of Elvis Presley’s song, “Blue Christmas” softly plays while you rub your stocking feet together. Staring into the flickering light of the fireplace, you glimpse the Three Wise Men moving on the mantel. It was an inherited nativity scene, now meant for one person only to enjoy this Christmas.

It’s a ‘single’ holiday. Perhaps the children are grown and gone, you’re a widow or widower, or just alone with no one to snuggle with under the covers and to wish a “Merry Christmas” to on this day. But, did you know singleness is a gift from God? In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul speaks candidly of this aloneness as being a higher calling–a time to dedicate our lives to serving the Lord. Single people can devote themselves entirely to His work without marriage troubles or the anxieties of children interrupting the flow of your Christian duties. So, make the most of being unattached while it lasts!

I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:32-34 ESV)

Depression knocks quickly on the door during the holidays when you are alone, but turn this negativity into positive energy. This world is full of others who want a visitor at Christmastime. Visit a homeless shelter, senior homes, other single members of your church, a food bank, or help deliver gifts to the needy. A smile of gratefulness will brighten your season.

Not into the above suggested community activities? Try turning on an inspirational Christmas movie, or one which will cause you to laugh (“Elf” perhaps??); deliver cookies to your neighbors, or read the Christmas story in the Bible; call someone you haven’t connected with in a while for a light conversation. Did God bless you with creative talents? Get crafty and build something or create new tree ornaments; accept a dinner invitation. You have the gift this year to do what your little heart desires, and you never know who God will place in your way along the path of fun.

You’re not alone this season. The Holy Spirit is trying to anoint you so feel your blessings and rejoice! The ultimate gift is to live better with compassion and faithfulness. Don’t let the Star of Bethlehem shine on a nativity for one – let it glow God’s love for others too!

God bless you and have the merriest of Christmases!


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Christmas Gifts

Christmas – another year of rushing to find the perfect gift. You know, the latest state-of-the-art, hottest item on the market? What a time to share your love by giving gifts to others! It might be cold outside, but come inside and feel the warmth of Christmas. The tree ornaments, decorations, and the smell of baking cookies stimulate excitement for the holiday. It’s a season full of hot chocolate and marshmallows.

Once upon a long time ago, my favorite toy was all I ever needed from Santa – a remote-control XK Jaguar convertible which ran on Eveready batteries. Fascination ruled the eyes of this little lad because it had a steering wheel right on top of the battery box. Boy, it was sure better than a plain old car for it was dove gray with a red leather interior. Wow, my very own Jaguar! So what if it was sixteen inches long; it was the best gift ever.

At the flip of a switch, the headlights shone, and I steered my very first Jag around the living room. Oh, I was in seventh heaven driving it down the right side of the dark hallway. But, suddenly, my older brother opened his bedroom door. He walked out and stepped on my brand new Jaguar! In a second, the tie rods broke, and he demolished the plastic wire-spoked rims. So much for my favorite toy that Christmas!

It’s funny how material things mean everything to a young child. But, as we mature their significance fades, especially when God enters your soul. He refills our dreams with blessings galore even if they get crushed. What greater joy than to have God illuminate your heart at Christmas, for His gifts will last a lifetime! He will give you peace, forgiveness, and a chance at a relationship with Him. Jesus paid the cost of God’s present so let us be thankful for our gift of eternal life!

From my family to yours, I pray God blesses you this season! May His light always shine love in your life! Merry Christmas!

Be sure to join us on Christmas Day for the final episode of “Everything Christmas Blogs”!


Colors of Christmas

It’s interesting all holidays, especially Christmas, are based so frequently upon superstitions, wondrous representations and mystical beliefs. I have to wonder if some bored individual sat in a chair, tapped their fingers like the Grinch, and came up with a brilliant idea to announce as a new custom. The basic colors of the season, red, and green, is one such bizarre association to this holiday.

Can you recall your elementary school years when teachers announced they were decorating the classroom or hallway for Christmas? They handed out huge packs of construction paper and paste, and the class made one long paper ring garland. Every color choice was available, and it was up to you to decide what looked the prettiest and best.

I vividly recollect a year when one of my fellow students made his rings in every different colored paper. One little classmate told the teacher, “His garland isn’t Christmassy! He has yellow, white, and blue rings in his chain!” The teacher’s response was, “Who said Christmas is only red and green? You have multi-colored lights on your Christmas tree, right?” Point well taken! So, how did we end up with these two shades representing the holiday? After all, primitive facts reveal all colors were used for this festive celebration.For sure, someone’s creative mind went into overdrive!

In the 14th century, churches built partitions, called rood screens, to separate the congregation from the priests and the altar. They also represented the end of the old year and the start of a new one. These elaborate wood displays of biblical figures were often painted red and green with just touches of other hues. In those days, these complementary tones were the easiest paint colors to purchase; it was difficult to find different hues.

Rood screen image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons; All Saints Church
Rood screen image courtesy of petergoodearl.co.uk; Risborough Church

But, you can also find red and green Christmas colors in medieval times. Ancient Celts used holly to decorate their entire home for the Winter Solstice. Their superstitions believed it kept their homes and families safe. The holly, of course, is green with red berries.

During the Middle Ages in Europe, ‘The Paradise Tree’ was a popular play held on Christmas Eve. It depicted Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. They used a pine tree and attached red apples as stage props. Was this the basis of the green Christmas tree and red of the forbidden fruit, which later, the Victorians displayed during the holidays? Perhaps, so. There isn’t evidence to support the theory, but it sure sounds logical.

Moving forward in time to 1930, Coca-Cola decided to hire a gentleman, named Haddon Sundblom, to create a character representing the Christmas season. Artists never cease to amaze me! Their imagination prolifically abounds as they design in their own mind. This man generated the contemporary appearance of Santa Claus – the red suit on a fatman, a white beard, and a red floppy hat trimmed in white fur. Yes, this was his own image because the Father Christmas of olden days wore green, blue and red robes and was depicted as very skinny. Maybe he reflected on the red robes worn by Bishops at Christmas and then later used in the image of St. Nicholas in Europe. Who knows?

First original Santa character drawn for Coca-Cola by Haddon Sundblom
Father Christmas

Today, Christianity significantly endorses red and green as the colors of Christmas. Green represents our everlasting God and eternal life. Red, as in the shade of berries, portrays the blood of Jesus shed to cleanse our sins. However, silver, gold, and the purity of white are a close runner-up too. In any case, all these colors have one thing in common – they are the basic shades of God’s creations in nature. Let us thank Him now for the beauty of the season!

Be sure to join us again Sunday, December 23rd for another “Everything Christmas Blog!”


The Hidden Meaning

 

The Hidden Meaning cover

A popular religion is deep seeded in the hidden meaning of the holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Did I say a secret meaning? Yes, that is correct! From 1558 to 1829, the Roman Catholics in England could not practice their faith in public because it was a crime. As fate has it, an unknown person, prior to 1780, wrote the popular carol as a catechism song for young children to sing at Christmas. It was encoded to avoid any outsiders from detecting it was written by a Catholic member. As I did some detective work on the ‘hidden meaning,’ I found a few articles which disputed this fact. But Catholic commentaries stand by their story.

Let’s enjoy “The Twelve Days of Christmas” sung by Mitch Miller!

Before I begin breaking down the Catholic’s hidden meaning of this Christmas song, let me pose a question. Just when are the twelve days of Christmas? Is it before Christmas, during Christmas, or after Christmas? What day does it begin? I’ve heard this song since I was a young child but I never thought to ask until now. We will come back to the answer.

Let’s breakdown the song’s hidden meaning….

The Hidden Meaning Pic 1

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me”
Who is the true love? It is Jesus Christ! Love for mankind started on His birth.

“A partridge in a pear tree”
The partridge is willing to sacrifice it’s life to protect its own, therefore this represents Jesus.

“On the second day of Christmas my true gave to me – two turtle doves”
The two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

“On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me – three French hens”
A representation of faith, hope, and love

“On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – four calling birds”
The four calling birds are the gospels of the New Testament known as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

“On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – five golden rings”
The five rings are the first five books of the Bible called the Book of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
These passages are important for they describe man’s fall into sin and God’s great love in sending His son to save us.

“On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – six geese-a-laying”
This represents the six days of God’s creation of the earth.

“On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me – seven swans a-swimming”
The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit to build up the church – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
Romans 12:6–8, 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Peter 4:11

“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – eight maids a-milking”
This is the eight beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10 which describes Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Hidden Meaning Pic 3.jpg

 

“On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – nine ladies dancing”
The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23
Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

“On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – ten lords a-leaping”
A representation of the Ten Commandments

“On the eleventh day of Christmas my true gave to me – eleven pipers piping”
This is the eleven faithful Apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas bar James.

The Hidden Meaning Pic 2

The eleven faithful Apostles

 

“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – twelve drummers drumming”
The twelve points of belief in the Apostle’s Creed:
Belief in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth
Jesus Christ, God’s only Son
Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary
Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried
He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit (Father, Son, and God the Holy Spirit)
I believe in the holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body
life everlasting

 

Before I conclude this blog, let me reveal the actual timeframe of the twelve days of Christmas. This joyous season is considered sundown on December 24th (Christmas Eve) to sunset on January 5th (the eve of Epiphany). There are many renditions of this glorious song, but for me, the original carol will forever deepen the meaning of Christmas. Let us celebrate Jesus’s birth!

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Please join us again for the next Everything Christmas Blog on Tuesday, December 18th!


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The Ambiance of the Season

The Ambiance of the Season cover

Ah… the ambiance of a warm, crackling fireplace at Christmas! Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, hoping St. Nicholas will soon be there. But, if you live in a Scandinavian or a European country, do not hang those stockings too low for they will go up in flames! You see, one of the oldest traditions of Christmas is the burning of a Yule log, and it’s not just any old piece of wood.

Enjoy “The Christmas Song” by Mary J. Blige!

In the 12th century, Norway kicked off the pagan custom of burning a Yule log on the day of Solstice. Norsemen believed the giant ball of fire, known as the sun, rolled away from the earth. Technically though, it was only the shortest and darkest day of the year, but their superstitions ran rampant. So they cut down an entire tree and dragged it into their homes. Yes, the whole tree! Families shoved the largest end of the tree into the fire while the other end of the tree laid in the middle of the room. As the Christmas season progressed, they continued to push it slowly into the flames while singing, dancing, and feasting on holiday goodies. It was a celebration of the sun’s rebirth, so it was important those flames never ceased before the twelfth day of Christmas; it was bad luck.

Victorian Yule Log Christmas card c 1870

Through the centuries, this tradition of prosperity spread as far west as Ireland, as far south as Greece, and as far north as Siberia. Each country individualized the Yule log custom. In France, folks stored any remaining pieces of the cherry tree log at the end of the twelve days, inside their home to protect against lightning strikes. The UK appears to be cleaner about their holiday mess. They dry out an oak tree and strip the bark off before it comes inside to burn. Some Europeans scatter the ashes of the flames inside their home to ward off evil spirits, and others spread them around their plants to encourage blooming. In Holland, the Yule log is stored under a bed in the home as a safety against bad luck.

The Ambiance of the Season pic 2.jpg

Yule Winter Solstice Celebration

Moving away to a modern civilization known as North America, is there a doubt we commercialized the Yule log? Walk into Hobby Lobby or any craft store, and you will spend a lot of money on Yule log centerpieces or the supplies to make one. But like the French, I think it’s much yummier to whip up a rich, chocolate Yule log, Bûche de Noël, dripping in chocolate icing and filled with cream. I would much rather sit in front of the fireplace, celebrating the ambiance of the season, eating this sponge cake. How about you?

The Ambiance of the Season pic 3

 

Let us remember, as Christians, the yule we celebrate today is the reality that God became man in order to bring the man to God. Happy Holidays!

Please join us again on Sunday for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


It’s still not too late to purchase this perfect gift!

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The Most Holy Dynasty: A Prelude to Christ

Welcome back to the final part of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. If you missed the first two parts of this special story, you may want to read them first by clicking on the following links:

www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/a-real-father-christmas

www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/the-humble-mother-of-a-christmas-savior

As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus and His family. Today, we will discover, as written in the Bible, the enthralling nativity story and birth of Jesus. Though some information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts to substantiate the most holy dynasty. It is truly a moving story!

I’ll never forget hearing these words from a “Christian” radio announcer who interviewed me, “So what if  Jesus was born by a virgin? Why is that important?” What a question for a true Christian to ask for God prophesied His son’s birth! Matthew 1:22-23 is definite proof Jesus is the Messiah and born of the Virgin Mary!

This was just one of many prophecies God gave us in the Old Testament. He wanted believers to know, beyond any doubt, who the real Messiah was when His son’s miraculous birth occurred on that wondrous night. In the biblical days of Joseph and Mary, everyone knew of God’s predictions. The wandering eyes of many who lived in Bethlehem and Nazareth waited for the great announcement. But, who would be the newborn King’s mother and father? Unbeknownst, it was a very young woman, a virgin, and she resided amongst them! 

You must understand how God performs miracles. He uses individuals and situations least suspected by others. Here, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, not yet wed, so she became the least dubious choice. Pregnant women in those times were married, not single, for they would have been stoned to death. It could place no worse of a stigma on Jews than to be born out of wedlock, so a virgin was necessary to carry out God’s goal. Shrouding Mary’s conception of the Messiah in mystery was of the utmost importance. Joseph had difficulty understanding her circumstance until a visiting angel described God’s plan. Divine intervention was the only way people would see this birth as God’s miracle and proof of His existence. Joseph’s testimony would help convince others along with one other woman…

Mary Visits Relatives

After Mary’s immaculate conception, she visited her cousin to share her pregnancy news. As God’s plans are always well thought out, He performed another miracle, but for a special reason. Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, were expecting their first baby, a boy, in three months. This elderly couple could not conceive so God blessed them with an infant who would one day become His ordained messenger. The angel, Gabriel, told Zechariah their son, John the Baptist, would soon introduce Jesus, as the Messiah.

Once again, God would use Elizabeth and Zechariah to prove He was the Almighty Savior of life on earth.

What Will Joseph Do Now?

After Joseph learned of Mary’s impending birth, he was very tormented and shocked. But, God sent an angel (unnamed in the Bible) to him to clarify the self-fulfilling prophecy. 

To protect Mary’s safety and obey God’s command, Joseph lovingly married her. He moved her into his home in Nazareth to prepare for her childbirth. But, several months later, Augustus Caesar organized a compulsory census and general taxation in Judea. For those who didn’t want to lose their property and possessions, it was imperative every citizen (which included Nazareth and Bethlehem) appear in person to register. There was much chatter a Savior was soon be delivered, and speculation arose. Some believed Caesar contrived the census so he might determine who was pregnant. He also instructed the Three Wise Men to search for the child who claimed to be the Messiah.


Augustus Caesar Census

Joseph worried about the health and welfare of Mary should they embark on the long trip (approximately eighty miles) to Bethlehem. But, since they were both descendants of King David, it was mandatory they make the trudge, cautiously south. I’m sure they faced many perils because of Mary’s limitations of being nine months pregnant. It does not indicate in the bible what mode of transportation they used, but Joseph was not a poor man. Therefore, a donkey may have been used to give her a some comfort.

The Journey to Bethlehem

They may have only voyaged ten miles a day, realistically, over the mountains and Judean desert. They probably also traveled with trade caravans as protection from bandits. The freezing weather was an obstacle too. Snow and rain would have drenched their long wool robes and socks. I cannot imagine such a horrific trip! But, God protected their every move for this was His ultimate plan.

As Joseph and Mary entered Bethlehem, it surprised them how many people were in the area. Maybe they were in Bethlehem for the census as well or because of the season of the year. So, Joseph walked from inn to inn trying to finding a warm, protected space for Mary. He finally convinced someone to allow them to stay on their property but, it was an area where animals slept and ate from troughs. Making the best of a bad situation, Joseph made Mary a bed of straw, and she rested in the old, run-down structure. You see, God felt it was important for Jesus to be born in the most humbling of circumstances. It would be less conspicuous to authorities because they wouldn’t suspect a Messiah to be born in a stable. This was a private time and not one to share with strangers.

It does not describe Mary’s birthing of Jesus in scriptures but allow me to reveal some interesting facts about childbirth in biblical days. Men were not allowed in a room when a woman was having a baby. Undernormal circumstances, village women stayed for the entire birth, and they announced the arrival of a newborn after the mother was comfortable. If no one were present for a delivery, it raised many suspicions. So, my curiosity peaks as to perhaps there were other people with Mary during the birth of Jesus. It’s hard to say, but it’s a fascinating thought.

The Importance of a Virgin Birth

So, let’s return to the significance of our Lord being born to a virgin. God created Adam and Eve sinless. They were to be the beginning of His perfect world. However, upon eating the forbidden fruit, sin stayed forever in the veins of mankind. As the centuries passed, God’s attempt to prove to the world He was the ruler of humanity failed many times. His greatest miracle and the only way to convince others of His existence, was to anoint a virgin woman to bear His Son. She would be fully dedicated to God. Jesus was born to replace Satan’s ruling on earth. For Him to be born without original sin and stay sinless, He could not inherit sin through man’s seed of sexual contact. It needed to be an immaculate conception.

Jesus is truly divine. He is the third part of the Holy Trinity who humbled Himself to become a poor man, born in the worst of conditions, to erase sin from this world. Yet today, mankind continues to devalue His words and even His existence. Is it any wonder God will not let humankind enter His gates of heaven except through His Son, Jesus Christ?

As Christians, this season is the time to celebrate God’s entrance into the world as a man. He is our forgiving and Almighty Savior. He wants us to have an everlasting life with Him by merely accepting Jesus into your life. We have but one chance to make this decision. Will it be yours or will you remain where evil lurks?

What can Joseph and Mary’s story teach us today? FAITH and OBEDIENCE! Amide fear and perils we each face in life, it is critical we carry our faith in Jesus Christ. He will guide us down a path designed perfectly for you. Sometimes it may not make sense, but allow Him to open doors. His ways always go beyond man’s comprehension, challenging both us and society, but you will not regret being obedient to His word.

May your Christmas be filled with the spirit and miracles of our Lord!

Thank you friends and followers for allowing us to share this special family’s story with you this week. The regular “Everything Christmas Blogs” will continue on Tuesday, December 11th. Hope to see you then!

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It’s A Christmas Sing-A-Long!

It's A Christmas Sing-A-Long cover

My friends, today, we are warming up the vocal chords and putting on our thinking caps. This is a challenge, of sorts, to discover how well you know Christmas music! Please listen carefully to the three songs below:

Can you label which of these tunes are a Christmas carol, a hymn or a Christmas song? Let’s try to distinguish the differences among these three styles of music and then we’ll check your answers.

 

HYMNS
Hymns, known as “chordal music” by professional musicians, are interchangeable melodies; they use different lyrics on specific tunes. But, they stand out from other music because they are religious in nature. Most of these formal poems are taken from the Book of Psalms and sung by congregations. Their words give praise, adoration or prayer addressed to God. The main focus is placed on positive and uplifting lyrics, not the music. The first Christmas hymn may be traced to 4th century Rome. It was called, “Jesus Refulsit Omnium” (“Jesus, Light of All the Nations”), written by St. Hilary of Poitier. Listen to this song below:

 

CHRISTMAS CAROLS
Carols, a French word meaning “circle dance,” is always accompanied by instruments. Their lyrics can be religious or non-religious, so some carols may also be considered a Christmas song or a hymn. (Are you second-guessing your choice above??) As a standard, Christmas carols are songs of religious topics, such as Jesus or the nativity scene, but without the sacred context. Lyrics tend to harmonize around Christmas themes or the winter season and are normally sung before the holiday. Carols will always celebrate the joy of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. As a result, wassailers (or Christmas carolers) select them to bring happiness to your home’s doorstep.

The oldest Christmas carol dates to Rome in the 4th century. Listen to this song named, “The Holly and the Ivy”:

For a little trivia, can you guess the most popular Christmas carol ever written? Its age goes all the way back to 1816, and it has a remarkable 733 copyrighted recordings since 1978. If you believe you know the answer, click below to see if you are correct:

 

CHRISTMAS SONGS
The most popular music of the holidays, today, is known as Christmas songs. They are not overtly religious, but instead, they express verses of personal experiences at Christmastime or related things of the holiday. The music is very upbeat and secular in nature.

Once again, let’s play the trivia game! What is the best-selling Christmas/holiday song in the United States, and also the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies worldwide? If you think you know the answer, click below:

 

Let us review the correct answers for the Christmas music heard at the beginning of this blog:

1) The Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas carol because it sings of the nativity scene with some religious undertones. It definitely celebrates the joy of Christmas and the coming birth of Jesus.

2) Oh, Come All Ye Faithful is a hymn as it gives praise and adoration to the Lord. It has uplifting and joyful verses.

3) It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas is a favorite Christmas song. It relates to all things Christmas with little alluding to religious events.

Now, since we are experts in differentiating a Christmas carol, song, and hymn, let’s turn up the volume on the radio and praise the Lord’s name to your favorite tunes. Regardless of the category the songs belong to, it is time to celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Happy singing!

Please be sure to join us again on Sunday, December 2nd for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


Give the gift that keeps on giving!

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The Season of Jesus

 

The Season of Jesus cover

I give you the sun that breaches through the frosted foliage.
I give you the peace of the morning light as cumulus lay resting high above and harmony wakens.
I give you the fortitude to rise, and you can thank my Father your alive, one and all.
And I give you the aptitude to know right from wrong.
I give you ME as you’re reminded every Sunday as I died for you. But I, too, celebrate the day my father called me to live and reign inside of you!
Whatever your interpretation of me, I appreciate being honored. If “giving“ is your primary reason, then I have succeeded. As I have done for you, I pray you will continue to reciprocate. Celebrate my birthday–it is a Christmas tradition! I’ll celebrate your heartfelt love as you remember Me, with your loved ones and friends, joining hands in commemoration.
~~~My love, Jesus

Enjoy the Christmas sound of “Immanuel” sung by Michael Card

Yes, “Jesus is the reason for the season”! Whether your faith finds you boggled up in religious wonders or abstaining from the hum-drum of outdated customs, Christ remains in Christmas. It’s said that we see Jesus in people we know and more this time of year than any other. I wish Christmas played a part in every heart, of every season!

The Season of Jesus Pic 1

 

Christmas – a time for peace and joy. Lay down your swords! Love your fellowman! As children of God, His light shines equally.

The Season of Jesus Pic 2

 

Christ came to save the meek, not the flamboyant. Be not discontented nor overwhelmed in money problems and material things for they, alone, will not bring you true happiness.

The Season of Jesus Pic 3

 

Because of sin, God sent his only son, Jesus, down to earth to sacrifice his very life in our place as an offering unto the Father. The is the only way you can be saved – through Jesus.

What will be your most precious gift this Christmas? Acknowledge your sin (rebellion) that keeps you on the wrong side of the bridge, confess it and turn from it. Then allow Jesus to lead you safely over the bridge to a promising relationship with God.

Yes, this is the season for us to acknowledge Jesus! Let us rejoice in His love and mercy!

The Season of Jesus Pic 4

Everything Christmas Blog will continue on

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Give the gift that keeps on giving!

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Paying Homage at Christmas

Paying Homage at Christmas cover

I’m not racist or blasphemous, as I’d like to believe we are all men of God. That being said, there’s a piece of history I’ve stumbled upon I want to share with you. As the war broke out over Germany, America felt compelled to help by joining forces with the UK. This is common knowledge but what I’d like to share is a little-known history, not readily available. I won’t rewrite the books on WWII, but I want to give credit where credit is due.

As Hitler ensued his killing mission during the Holocaust, Germany showed little mercy for the Jewish people. A good many Jewish community inhabitants went underground to escape his horror. A lot of them were prominent and educated. Most were musically inclined and so thankful for the Christians who fought for them. So, they composed commemorative songs. They were not just any tunes, but Christmas songs, the melodies we grew up with and know, today, by heart.

Paying Homage at Christmas Pic 1.jpg

I will uncover the truth. Jewish conductors wrote and composed the best-known Christmas carols! Let’s show them gratitude and give thanks for they hoped to write lyrics Americans would remember every holiday season. The Jewish composers found these carols uplifting and joyful, in contrast to Hanukkah hymns written in minor keys and more solemn. Christmas songs became a national celebration for all faiths.

Image of Johnny Marks

Image of Livingston and Evans

Image of Irving Berlin

Nearly 50% of our favorite lyrics, today, are the proceeds of a rejoicing Jewish people. Here’s a list of just a few of the Christmas carols and their Jewish composers:

“Winter Wonderland”
1934, composed by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith. Made famous by Bing Cosby

“White Christmas”
1942, composed by Irving Berlin (who also wrote “God Bless America” in 1938)

“Let it Snow”
1945, composed by Jule Styne (Julias Stien) and Sammy Cahnn (Sammy Cohen)

“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
1943, composed by Walter Kent and Jerry Vale. Made famous by Bing Cosby
Little known fact: American songwriter, Buck Ram copyrighted a song with this same title in 1942, though it’s lyrics were completely different than the Christmas song.

“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)”
1945, composed Mel Torme and Robert “Bob” Wells
Fun Fact: This song was written in July in the middle of a desert

“The Little Drummer Boy”
1941, composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone

“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”
1939, composed by Johnny Marks

“Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree”
1958, composed by Johnny Marks

“We Need a Little Christmas”
1966, composed by Jerry Herman

“Silver Bells”
1950, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans

“A Holly Jolly Christmas”
1964, composed by Johnny Marks

These songs are just a small sample of how the Jews graciously contributed to the Christian’s Christmas holiday. Today, we need to give a special thanks and remember their heritage comes from a more somber background. The Jewish songwriters greatly deserves our love for the Christmas holiday. My prayers this year is to share this homage. We are all men of God, regardless of our religion.

Christ has risen if only in our hearts!

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Please be sure to join us again on Tuesday, November 27th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


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No More Montgomery Wards

No More Montgomery Wards cover

It was a cold Friday morning, and my mother promised to take me to see Santa the day after Thanksgiving. The winds howled, and flurries flew, but we bundled up and headed out, anyway. Twenty-five more days till Santa arrived on Christmas morning. I was so excited!

The parking lot was full of cars. We had little choice than to drudge our way through the frozen elements. My small arms pushed so hard to open the enormous glass doors for my mom while she closed her umbrella. Suddenly, it was like walking into a fairyland of twinkling lights. Everywhere I looked animated animals and snow-covered gingerbread houses lined the mall’s entrance. I used to wonder who had to climb way to the top of the Christmas trees to decorate them for they were as high as the sky.

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In the middle of all the garland and tinsel, a sweet baby Jesus laid crying and waving this arms. Mary and Joseph stood over His cradle attending to His needs. Joseph’s hand was on Mary’s back, comforting her, as she reached for a blanket to keep her newborn warm. Those animated characters were so real to this young boy! What an incredible memory!

No More Montgomery Wards Pic 1

 

My head was full of enthusiasm as we walked the corridor passing Santa’s sleigh and reindeer. They were chained up and ready to take off at any second making my head full of wonderment. And then, inside the entrance of Montgomery Wards, was the moment I’d been waiting for all year long. Bigger than life, and right in front of my eyes, was Santa Claus! A line of impatient children was dying, like me, to climb up on his lap and tell him all about their life story.

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Those yesteryears of bearing the frozen elements and fighting the crowds to get a good look at our Savior and a sneak peek at Santa are all but a myth. The large department stores, like Montgomery Wards, and malls of my youth are now replaced by high-end strip centers. I reflect with sorrow in my heart; my grandchildren will never have the privilege to remember the Friday after Thanksgiving as I did as a child!

The first snow was inside a mall, and baby Jesus reminded us of the reason. Santa waited to reward us for being good little girls and boys. Oh, those were the incredible days – going to the mall with Mom while Dad took things out of the attic, preparing for the season. Lost in thought, can we ever forgive the system which brought us miracles like 34th Street downtown? Why did they ever shut down those glorious days?

Now we sit in a leather-back, with pumpkin pies in our lap, and watch the parades on television as they light up the city. I’d give my eyeteeth to take my grandson, along with his father, to see Santa and walk those same corridors. We would laugh and celebrate a tradition through the eyes of a child.

I pray the day will come when we can stop and appreciate the love instilled us through generations of parents who cared not to change our holiday season. Let the effervescence of Christmas traditions roll on. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for never letting me forget.

www.danabicksauthor.com

Be sure to join us again on Tuesday, November 20th for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


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