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of the year, Christmas is a great time iday cheer. Filled with Love and Hol purpose here, Families rethinking their rd through the year. Seeing the hand of the Lo test gift, Being together is the grea gives us a lift. Spending time with family membering the old, Starting traditions and re y ten fold! That is what brings us Jo time to prioritize. es you happy? Take the What mak n you set the rest aside. See what will happen whe ch your loved ones dear, time when you can, to tea Take rn this time of year. About the special babe bo ld. e to bless the whole wor Christ came for a purpos th will be told. Propets all testified, the tru The ar, please remember ith the fun and the reinde So in w ber. ily that we need in Decem It’s Christ and our fam ~Shelbi Owen
“There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord our God with all our heart—and our neighbors as ourselves.” ~Elder Thomas S. Monson
Christ Centered Christmas Traditions
What simple Christmas traditions and activities have time ﬁlled with secret plans and present making. My husband and I keep our decorations, food, and helped you and your family focus on Christ during present buying simple (just one present each), so we the holiday season? can enjoy helping our children make their presents. Even the baby can give her handprint on a piece of In our home there is a box. It is not a terribly large paper. box, and it certainly isn’t an expensive box. However, it is nicely presented and is the most priceless Keeping our Christmas preparations simple and givbox we own. Why? Because of our family’s simple ing small presents help us remember our Savior at Christmas and bring His Spirit into our home. tradition centered around that humble box. On Christmas Eve, just before tucking everyone into Cheryl Merrick, Utah bed, we gather around our box with pen and paper. We have spent the past several family home evenings Not everyone is able to enjoy ideal circumstances during the holidays, surrounded by loving family preparing for this moment. After a prayer, we each write down our intended gift to the Savior. Respect- members. One Christmas, when my husband and I fully, we fold up our papers and place them into the felt in need of comfort ourselves, we tried to think box. No one reads them, and no one tells of their gift. of others we could help. We gathered our lonely It is a personal and sacred promise. When everyone friends, all of whom happen to share our love of is through, we close up the box and put it in a special music. We spent Christmas afternoon together, visiting others who might need comfort and companionplace under the tree. ship on that day. We went to a local charity for famiThis simple box with its contents becomes our ﬁrst gift of the season, and it goes to the One who gave us lies with critically ill children awaiting treatment at nearby hospitals. We went to several nursing homes everything! that were ﬁlled with elderly people waiting for chilYvette T. Joyner, England dren and grandchildren who never came to visit. We One of the most important things our family has done were a jolly group, singing carols and shaking bells at Christmas is to change the emphasis from gift get- and taking pictures to leave behind as mementos. ting to gift giving. We know that we remember Christ We shared special moments of joy together, lifting most when we act like Him—when we give and love each other’s burdens and feeling true healing in our and serve. As adults we enjoy Christmas because we souls. are giving to others. We haven’t wanted our children Krista Oakes, Texas to miss out on this experience. Instead of asking, “What do you want for Christmas?” we asked, “What I love advent calendars and watching the anticipaare you going to give for Christmas?” tion of my children as we count down the days until We explained that Santa could be anyone who wanted to give a gift to others but didn’t want them Christmas. I wanted the focus of our countdown to be more spiritual, though. I came up with the idea to know who gave the gift. We had fun as a family when our own little “Santa,” complete with a red hat of wrapping inexpensive treats, one for each of the 12 days before Christmas. I labeled each one with a and cotton ball beard, would drop off a goodie at a scripture reference describing a gift Heavenly Father friend’s home and then run! The weeks before Christmas go quickly. It is a busy has given us.
Every night for family scripture time, we have a child select one of these wrapped presents. We read the scripture references on the package and bear our testimonies of that gift in our lives. The 12 gifts I chose the ﬁrst year were the Creation, agency, prayer, opposition, charity, scriptures and revelation, prophets, the Holy Ghost, eternal life and exaltation, the Resurrection, families, and Christ’s Atonement. After family prayer, our children open the present and share the treat inside. The excitement of counting down the days until Christmas is still there, but it is tempered by reverence and appreciation for the great gifts we have already received from a loving Heavenly Father. Each year we select different gifts to focus on, but always we end on Christmas Eve with the gift of our Savior’s life and Atonement. Aleta Clegg, Utah As part of our Christmas traditions, we go to a live nativity pageant that members of the Church present every year at a local heritage park. Then we go home and read the Christmas story from the scriptures. During Christmas dinner, we all take turns around the table saying things that we are grateful for and what Christmas means to each of us individually. In the past we have also prepared gifts for neighbors to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas. Mandy Collins, Alberta, Canada
e-mailed our adult children and told them about the letter. I explained that instead of sending gifts to family members that year, I wanted to help these people. I encouraged our children to do the same. They all did, and we had such great feedback from our friends that our family has continued this tradition. Each year since, a different child has chosen our family Christmas project. We have donated cash to doctors who travel to other countries to donate their services, we “adopted” a single mother and her children and purchased their Christmas gifts, and we have donated to charities. My children have young families, and they are not wealthy. Three of my children are not members of the Church, but all have chosen to participate each year. It has been a unifying experience for our family, even though we are scattered in several states, and we always look forward to the next year’s project. Name Withheld, Utah
The year our eldest son was to leave on his mission, he expressed a desire to spend Christmas in Nauvoo instead of exchanging gifts. Christmas Day in Nauvoo was quiet and almost deserted. While there, we noticed how different it was to be away from the materialism and worldliness of Every year my mother’s entire extended family gets Christmas as the world celebrates it. In the words together for a big Christmas Eve gathering. When I was of Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the about eight years old, my mother and aunt began to feel Twelve Apostles, it was a Christmas “without toys that our Christmas Eve celebration focused too much or trees or tinsel.” 1 on gifts and not enough on the Savior. It’s not easy to This was the beginning of a tradition we have kept change long-standing family traditions, but Mother and for many years: leaving the commercialism of the Aunt Pam were able to make our family gathering more season behind and celebrating this holy day in a Christ centered. place as far removed from the world as possible, First, she and her siblings began drawing names instead worshipping quietly as a family, thoughtfully setof giving gifts to everyone. The cousins did the same. ting goals that would bring us closer to Him whose We began another tradition when we started acting out birth we celebrate. the Christmas story, complete with simple costumes. No matter where we are on Christmas Eve, we also With so many child actors, our Christmas play is always include a most beloved tradition that we call our plenty of fun. “Joseph and Mary dinner.” We prepare and partake Although the excessive gift giving has greatly diof a few simple foods that Joseph and Mary might minished, there is still the fun and excitement of our have had with them on their journey to Bethlehem: Christmas Eve, and we all are reminded that Christmas broiled ﬁsh, ﬂat bread, olives, ﬁgs, cheese, grape is really about Christ. juice. We spend this quiet evening reﬂecting upon Lorraine Jones, Oregon the humble circumstances into which the Savior was born and in which He spent His life. About ﬁve years ago in November, we received a letter Bob Weiler family, Georgia from some friends describing people living in poverty in their area. They asked for any help we could give. I
Luke 2: 9-15
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the ﬁeld, keeping watch over their ﬂock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is aborn this day in the city of David a bSaviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a asign unto you; Ye shall ﬁnd the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
Christmas Day in the Morning
He woke suddenly and completely. It was four o’clock, the hour at which his father had always called him to get up and help with the milking. Strange how the habits of his youth clung to him still! Fifty years ago, and his father had been dead for thirty years, and yet he waked at four o’clock in the morning. He had trained himself to turn over and go to sleep, but this morning it was Christmas, he did not try to sleep. Why did he feel so awake tonight? He slipped back in time, as he did so easily nowadays. He was ﬁfteen years old and still on his father’s farm. He loved his father. He had not known it until one day a few days before Christmas, when he had overheard what his father was saying to his mother. “Mary, I hate to call Rob in the mornings. He’s growing so fast and he needs his sleep. If you could see how he sleeps when I go in to wake him up! I wish I could manage alone.” “Besides, he isn’t a child anymore. It’s time he tok his turn.” “Yes,” his father said slowly. “But I sure do hate to wake him.” When he heard these words, something in him spoke: his father loved him! He had never thought of that before, taking for granted the tie of their blood. Neither his father nor his mother talked about loving their children--they had no time for such things. There was always so much to do on the farm. Now that he knew his father loved him, there would be no loitering in the mornings and having to be called again. He got up after that, stumbling blindly in his sleep, and pulled on his clothes, his eyes shut, but he got up.
And then on the night before Christmas, that year when he was ﬁfteen, he lay for a few minutes thinking about the next day. They were poor, and most of the excitement was in the turkey they had raised themselves and mince pies his mother made. His sisters sewed presents and his mother and father “Well, you can’t, Adam.” His mother’s voice was brisk. always bought him something he needed, not only a warm
jacket, maybe, but something more, such as a book. And he saved and bought them each something, too. He wished, that Christmas when he was ﬁfteen, he had a better present for his father. As usual he had gone to the ten-cent store and bought a tie. It had semed nice enough until he lay thinking the night before Christmas. He looked out of his attic window, the stars were bright. “Dad,” he had once asked when he was a little boy, “What is a stable?” “It’s just a barn,” his father had replied, “like ours.”
to go before. Milking for once was not a chore. It was something else, a gift to his father who loved him. He ﬁnished, the two milk cans were full, and he covered them and closed the milk-house door carefully, making sure of the latch. Back in his room he had only a minute to pull off his clothes in the darkness and jump into bed, for he heard his father up. He put the covers over his head to silence his quick breathing. The door opened. “Rob!” His father called. “We have to get up, son, even if it is Christmas.” “Aw-right,” he said sleepily.
Then Jesus had been born in a barn, and to a barn the shepherds had come... The thought struck him like a silver dagger. Why should he not give his father a special gift too, out there in the barn? He could get up early, earlier than four o’clock, and he could creep into the barn and get all the milking done. He’d do it alone, milk and clean up, and then when his father went in to start the milking he’d see it all done. And he would know who had done it. He laughed to himself as he gazed at the stars. It was what he would do, and he musn’t sleep too sound. He must have waked twenty times, scratching a match to look each time to look at his old watch -- midnight, and half past one, and then two o’clock. At a quarter to three he got up and put on his clothes. He crept downstairs, careful of the creaky boards, and let himself out. The cows looked at him, sleepy and surprised. It was early for them, too. He had never milked all alone before, but it seemed almost easy. He kept thinking about his father’s surprise. His father would come in and get him, saying that he would get things started while Rob was getting dressed. He’d go to the barn, open the door, and then he’d go get the two big empty milk cans. But they wouldn’t be waiting or empty, they’d be standing in the milk-house, ﬁlled. “What the--,” he could hear his father exclaiming. He smiled and milked steadily, two strong streams rushing into the pail, frothing and fragrant. The task went more easily than he had ever known it
The door closed and he lay still, laughing to himself. In just a few minutes his father would know. His dancing heart was ready to jump from his body. The minutes were endless -- ten, ﬁfteen, he did not know how many -- and he heard his father’s footsteps again. The door opened and he lay still. “Rob!” “Yes, Dad--” His father was laughing, a queer sobbing sort of laugh. “Thought you’d fool me, did you?” His father was standing by his bed, feeling for him, pulling away the cover. “It’s for Christmas, Dad!” He found his father and clutched him in a great hug. He felt his father’s arms go around him. It was dark and they could not see each other’s faces. “Son, I thank you. Nobody ever did a nicer thing--” “Oh, Dad, I want you to know -- I do want to be god!” The words broke from him of their own will. He did not know what to say. His heart was bursting with love. He got up and pulled on his clothes again and they went down to the Christmas tree. Oh what a Christmas, and how his heart had nearly burst again with shyness and pride as his father told his mother and made the younger children listen about how he, Rob, had got up all by himself.
“The best Christmas gift I ever had, and I’ll remember it, son every year on Christmas morning, so long as I live.” They had both remembered it, and now that his father was dead, he remembered it alone: that blessed Christmas dawn when, alone with the cows in the barn, he had made his ﬁrst gift of true love. This Christmas he wanted to write a card to his wife and tell her how much he loved her, it had been a long time since he had really told her, although he loved her in a very special way, much more than he ever had when they were young. He had been fortunate that she
had loved him. Ah, that was the true joy of life, the ability to love. Love was still alive in him, it still was. It occured to him suddenly that it was alive because long ago it had been born in him when he knew his father loved him. That was it: Love alone could awaken lovve. And he ccould give the gift again and again.This morning, this blessed Christmas morning, he would give it to his beloved wife. He could write it down in a letter for her to read and keep forever. He went to his desk and began his love letter to his wife: My dearest love... Such a happy, happy Christmas! -Pearl S. Buck
I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing in
I saw three ships come sailing in On Christmas day, on Christmas day, I saw three ships come sailing in On Christmas day in the morning. And what was in those ships all three, On Christmas day, on Christmas day, And what was in those ships all three, On Christmas day in the morning Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady, On Christmas day, on Christmas day, Our Saviour, Christ, and His Lady, On Christmas day in the morning. And all the bells on earth shall ring On Christmas day, on Christmas day, And all the bells on earth shall ring On Christmas day in the morning. And all the angels in Heaven shall sing On Christmas day, on Christmas day, And all the angels in Heaven shall sing On Christmas day in the morning. And let us all rejoice and sing On Christmas day, on Christmas day, And let us all rejoice and sing On Christmas day in the morning. On Christmas day in the morning.
Gingerbread House (Or use Gram Crackers USE AS KIDS
CRAFT) 2 ¾ cup sifted ﬂour ½ tsp salt 1 tsp ginger 1 tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp cloves 3 tsp baking powder 1 egg 2/3 cup molasses 1/3 cup brown sugar ½ cup salad oil Make pattern out of light cardboard: Roof: 4”x 6” (x2) Side: 3 ½” x 5” (x2) Back: side + 2” tall triangle on top (x1) Front: back + door cut out (x1)
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and chill 1 hour or more. Line a 15 ½ x 10 ½ cookie sheet with foil. Oil the foil lightly. Evenly press and smooth out dough onto foil, spreading dough into all corners (can use rolling pin). Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes. Place pattern on hot gingerbread and cut immediately. Let cool about 5 minutes then lift out of pan and cool on cake rack. The gingerbread should be hard when cool. Roof sections will break off if the dough is not thoroughly baked (if necessary, pieces can be laid back on bookie sheet and bake 5-10 minutes more.) Assemble with “ Snow Icing.”
Christmas Scripture Paper Chain
Cut out and paste together 25 links for a paper chain. The links are numbered 1-25 and on each link is a different theme and scripture reference (see below). Hang the chain with 25th link at the top and remove one link each day during December leading up to Christmas, using the scripture for family devotions and the theme as a focus for prayer. It’s a handy way to count off the days until Christmas and learn more about the real meaning of the holiday. Christmas is... 1. A TIME OF SHARING - Read John 3:1-21 2. A TIME OF MEMORIES - Read Luke 1:68-79 3. A TIME FOR GREETINGS - Read Luke 1:39-55 4. A TIME FOR CHARITY - Read Matthew 25:31-40 5. A TIME FOR VISITING - Read Romans 15:1-7 6. A TIME OF HOPE - Read John 14:1-6 7. A TIME OF FAITH - Read Isaiah 55:6-11 8. A TIME OF PROMISE - Read Galatians 3:23-4:7 9. A TIME FOR CANDLES - Read John 11-14 10. A TIME FOR MUSIC - Read Psalm 150 11. A TIME FOR BEING IN TOUCH - Read John 15:1-11 12. A TIME OF RUSHING - Read Luke 10:38-42 13. A TIME FOR SINGING - Read Colossians 3:12-17 14. A TIME FOR FAMILY - Read Luke 1:5-80 15. A TIME FOR DECORATIONS - Read Psalm 118:19-29 16. A TIME FOR BAKING - Read John 6:32-40 17. A TIME FOR LOVE - Read 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 18. A TIME OF SOLITUDE - Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 19. A TIME FOR REMEMBERING - Read Isaiah 25:6-9 20. A TIME OF PEACE - Read Matthew 11:25-30 21. A HOLIDAY - Read Hebrews 4:9-16 22. A TIME TO GIVE THANKS - Read 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 23. A TIME OF BLESSING - Read Ephesians 3:14-21 24. A TIME FOR GIFTS - Read Ephesians 2:4-10 25. GOD WITH US - Read Luke 2:1-20
Snow Icing (for gingerbread house) 3 egg whites ½ tsp cream of tartar 1 lb powdered sugar Damp kitchen towel Beat ingredients thoroughly in mixing bowl with mixer until icing stands in stiff peaks (about 5 minutes). Then keep bowl covered at all times with damp cloth as icing dries very quickly and becomes hard. Assemble gingerbread house and decorate with icing and candies using knife or decorating tubes.
Luke 2:4-7 & 11-12
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her ﬁrstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall ﬁnd the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
The Nativity Set
Three-year-old Elizabeth watched as her mother arranged the ceramic nativity set on the low table in front of the sofa. Her mother had made the set many years earlier. Each year she told the children that she had painted each ﬁgure. Then she reminded everyone to be very careful because the ﬁgures could be easily broken. Elizabeth loved to look at the ﬁgures, especially that of the baby Jesus. One day, she picked it up and held it reverently. Mother walked into the living room at that moment. “Elizabeth, those pieces are breakable,” she gently reminded her. Elizabeth carefully replaced the ﬁgure. “I know, Mommy.” Each day, Elizabeth was drawn to the nativity set. She frowned when she noticed that the camel couldn’t see the Christ child. She moved the camel closer to the manger. Then she saw that the Wise Men, shepherds, and other animals couldn’t see Jesus either. She set the manger in the center of the table with all the others surrounding it. She smiled. That looked much better. When Mother saw what Elizabeth had done, she explained again how special the nativity set was and then replaced the ﬁgures in their original places. The next day, Elizabeth stared at the nativity set. Once again, she set the baby Jesus in the center with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, Wise Men, and animals looking on. When Mother walked into the room and saw the nativity set, she wasn’t happy. “Elizabeth, I told you—” “Don’t you see, Mommy?” Elizabeth asked. “Everyone wants to see the baby Jesus.” Tears rolled down Mother’s cheeks. “I see, Elizabeth. I ﬁnally understand.” She kissed the top of Elizabeth’s head. “We’ll leave it just as it is.” In the years that followed, the nativity set was always grouped as Elizabeth had arranged it. Jesus was in the center, where everyone could see Him. -Jane McBride Choate
Materials for Manger: -fourteen wooden craft sticks, 4 1/2” (11.5 cm) long -two long, thin rubber bands -shredded yellow paper or real straw; and glue. 1. For the ﬁrst side of the manger, lay two wooden sticks 2 1/2” (6.5 cm) apart (see illustration B). 2. Spread glue on the top half of each stick 3. Lay ﬁve other wooden sticks crosswise on the glue, with their sides touching. 4. Repeat steps 1 - 3 to form the other side of the manger. Let the glue dry completely. 5. Pick up both sides of the manger and hold them, smooth sides together. 6. Line up the legs of the manger so they are next to each other but not on top of each other (see illustration B). 7. Loop a rubber band around each pair of legs and slide it up as far as it will go. 8. Open the manger and stand it up. Fill it with the shredded paper or real straw.
Materials for baby Jesus: -pink eraser, about 2” long -one medium-size safety pin -one strip of lightweight -a black pen or marker -light-colored fabric, 8” x 4” -8” long ribbon or string 1. Lay the fabric strip lengthwise and place the eraser 2” from the left edge of the fabric (see illustration A). 2. Fold the top edge of fabric down so that it hangs over the eraser about 3/8”. Fold the bottom edge of fabric up over the eraser, too. 3. Fold the left edge of fabric down against the eraser, and then pull the fabric across the eraser (see illustration A). Hold this fabric in place with your ﬁnger while beginning the next step. 4. Wrap the right strip of fabric once around the eraser, twisting a little as you go and leaving one pink section of eraser showing. The pink section will be Baby Jesus’ face. 5. Use a safety pin to secure the end of the fabric strip under Baby Jesus’ chin. 6. With the black pen, draw eyes, a nose, and a mouth for Baby Jesus. 7. Thread the string or ribbon through the safety pin and tie the ends together.
Away in a Manger
Away in a manger, No crib for His bed The little Lord Jesus Laid down His sweet head The stars in the bright sky Looked down where He lay The little Lord Jesus Asleep on the hay The cattle are lowing The poor Baby wakes But little Lord Jesus No crying He makes I love Thee, Lord Jesus Look down from the sky And stay by my side, ‘Til morning is nigh. Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay Close by me forever And love me I pray Bless all the dear children In Thy tender care And take us to heaven To live with Thee there
Chill 1 pkg marshmallows 2 c all purpose cream (heavy cream; 1 pint) 1 c sugar ¾ c light karo syrup pinch salt Put all ingredients (minus marshmallows) in heavy saucepan on very low heat (medium or 4 or 5 on an electric range). Stir well. When it starts to bubble, turn down a bit (3-4). Cook to 234 degrees on candy thermometer, stirring frequently (ﬂat, wooden spatula works best to scrape bottom of pan). As it darkens and thickens, need to stay with it and stir
constantly, as it sticks quickly. A good rolling boil is reached in about 15-30 minutes, sometimes take another half to an hour to reach 234 depending on the weather. Should do this on a clear, sunny day, low humidity. Dip regular size marshmallows into mix with fork. Slid off fork onto cookie sheet. Cool well. Wrap in waxed paper. ( after cool dip in chocolate for an extra treat!)
St. Matthew 16:13-19
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 He saith unto them, But whom say aye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for ﬂesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Santa’s Secret Wish
On Christmas Eve, a young boy with light in his eyes, Looked deep into Santa’s, to Santa’s surprise, And said as he nestled on Santa’s broad knee, “I want your secret, tell it to me.” He leaned up & whispered in Santa’s good ear, “How do you do it, year after year?” “I want to know how, as you travel about, Giving gifts here & there, you never run out. How is it, dear Santa, that in your pack of toys, You have plenty for all of the world’s girls & boys? Stays so full, never empties as you make your way From rooftop to rooftop, to homes large & small, From nation to nation, reaching them all? And Santa smiled kindly & said to the boy, “Don’t ask me hard questions. Don’t you want a toy?” But the child shook his head, and Santa could see That he needed the answer. “Now listen to me,” He told the small boy with the light in his eyes, “My secret will make you sadder & wise. “The truth is that my sack is magic. Inside It holds millions of toys for my Christmas Eve ride. But although I do visit each girl & each boy I don’t always leave them a gaily wrapped toy. Some homes are hungry, some homes are sad. Some homes are desperate, some homes are bad. Some homes are broken, & children there grieve. Those homes I visit, but what should I leave? “My sleigh is ﬁlled with the happiest stuff, But for homes where despair lives, toys aren’t enough. So I tiptoe in, kiss each girl & boy, And pray with them that they’ll be given the joy Of the spirit of Christmas, the spirit that lives In the heart of the dear child who gets not, but gives. If only God hears me & answers my prayer, When I visit next year, what I will ﬁnd there Are homes ﬁlled with peace, and with giving, and love And boys and girls gifted with light from above. It’s a very had task, my smart little brother, To give toys to some, and to give prayers to others. But the prayers are the best gifts, the best gifts indeed, For God has a way of meeting each need. “That’s part of the answer. The rest, my dear youth, Is that my sack is magic, And that is the truth. In my sack I carry on Christmas Eve day
Santa Clause is Coming to Town
Oh, you’d better watch out, You’d better not cry, Better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town. He’s making a list, And checking it twice, Gonna ﬁnd out who’s naughty and nice, Santa Claus is coming to town. He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake, He knows if you’ve been good or bad, So be good for goodness sake! Oh, you’d better watch out, You’d better not cry, Better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town. The kids in girl and boy land, Will have a jubilee, They’ll build a Christmas toyland town, All around the Christmas tree! With little toy ﬂutes, And little toy drums, Rooty-toot-toots, And rummy-tum-tums; Santa Claus is coming to town. Oh, you’d better watch out, You’d better not cry, Better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town.
Special Santa Coloring Page
Print out a coloring page of Santa Clause’s face. Color it. Glue cotton balls on as his hair.
Anut CeCe’s Sugar Cookies
4 Cup ﬂour 1 tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt 1 ¼ Cup sugar 2 eggs (beaten) ½ Cup milk 1 Cup butter 1 tsp vanilla 1 tsp soda Combine ﬂour, salt, and baking powder. Cut in butter like a pie crust. Mix sugar. Add beaten eggs, soda, vanilla, milk. Add to ﬂour mixture, mix well. Chill 1 hr. Roll out on ﬂoured surface with ﬂoured rolling pin and cut in to CHRISTMAS Shapes. Bake @ 350* for 8-10 minutes on greased cookie sheet until lightly brown. Do not over bake. Sugar Cookie Frosting 4 cups powdered sugar 6 Tbs soft margarine 1/3 cup milk 1 tsp vanilla Mix with beater. Add food coloring for color if you would like.
The Three Trees
Once upon a mountain top, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up. The ﬁrst little tree looked up at the stars and said: “I want to hold treasure. I want to be covered with gold and ﬁlled with precious stones. I’ll be the most beautiful treasure chest in the world!” The second little tree looked out at the small stream trickling by on its way to the ocean. “I want to be traveling mighty waters and carrying powerful kings. I’ll be the strongest ship in the world!” The third little tree looked down into the valley below where busy men and women worked in a busy town. “I don’t want to leave the mountain top at all. I want to grow so tall that when people stop to look at me, they’ll raise their eyes to heaven and think of God. I will be the tallest tree in the world.” Years passed. The rain came, the sun shone, and the little trees grew tall. One day three woodcutters climbed the mountain. The ﬁrst woodcutter looked at the ﬁrst tree and said, “This tree is beautiful. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the ﬁrst tree fell. “Now I shall hold a wonderful treasure!” the ﬁrst tree said. The second woodcutter looked at the second tree and said, “This tree is strong. It is perfect for me.” With a swoop of his shining axe, the second tree fell. “Now I shall sail mighty waters!” thought the second tree. “I shall be a strong ship for mighty kings!” The third tree felt her heart sink when the last woodcutter looked her way. She stood straight and tall and pointed bravely to heaven. But the woodcutter never even looked up. “Any kind of tree will do for me.” He muttered. With a swoop of his shining axe, the third tree fell. The ﬁrst tree rejoiced when the woodcutter brought her to a carpenter’s shop. But the carpenter fashioned the tree into a feedbox for animals. The once beautiful tree was not covered with gold, with treasure. She was coated with saw dust and ﬁlled with hay for hungry farm animals. The second tree smiled when the woodcutter took her to a shipyard, but no mighty sailing ship was made that day. Instead the once strong tree was hammered and sawed into a simple ﬁshing boat. She was too small and too weak to sail to an ocean, or even a river; instead she was taken to a little lake. The third tree was confused when the woodcutter cut her into strong beams and left her in a lumberyard. “What happened?” The once tall tree wondered. “All I ever wanted was to stay on the mountain top and point to God...” Many many days and nights passed. The three trees nearly forgot their dreams. But one night, golden starlight poured over the ﬁrst tree as a young woman placed her newborn baby in the feedbox. “I wish I could make a cradle for him.” her husband whispered. The mother squeezed his hand and smiled as the starlight shone on the smooth and the sturdy wood. “This manger is beautiful.” she said. And suddenly the ﬁrst tree knew he was holding the greatest treasure in the world. One evening a tired traveler and his friends crowded into the old ﬁshing boat. The traveler fell asleep as the second tree quietly sailed out into the lake. Soon a thundering and thrashing storm arose. The little tree shuddered. She knew she did not have the strength to carry so many passengers safely through with the wind and the rain.
The tired man awakened. He stood up, stretched out his hand, and said, “Peace.” The storm stopped as quickly as it had begun. And suddenly the second tree knew he was carrying the king of heaven and earth. One Friday morning, the third tree was startled when her beams were yanked from the forgotten woodpile. She ﬂinched as she was carried through an angry jeering crowd. She shuddered when soldiers nailed a man’s hands to her.
She felt ugly and harsh and cruel. But on Sunday morning, when the sun rose and the earth trembled with joy beneath her, the third tree knew that God’s love had changed everything. It had made the third tree strong. And every time people thought of the third tree, they would think of God. That was better than being the tallest tree in the world.
Oh Christmas Tree
Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, with faithful leaves unchanging Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, with faithful leaves unchanging Not only green, in summers heat, but also winters snow and sleet Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, with faithful leaves unchanging Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, of all the trees most lovely Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, of all the trees most lovely Each year you bring to me delight, gleaming in the Christmas night Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, of all the trees most lovely Rice Christmas Tree Treats 3 Tbs margarine or butter 1 pkg (10oz, about 40) regular or 4 cups miniature marshmallows 6 cups Rice Krispies cereal Optional: Chocolate (White or Milk) 1. Melt margarine in large saucepan over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted.(add green for tree coloring) Remove from heat. 2. Add Krispies cereal. Stir until well coated. 3. Using butter spatula or wax paper, press mixture evenly into 9x13 pan coated with cooking spray. Cut into Holiday Shapes (trees) with cookie cutters when cool. 4. if dipping in chocolate do that now and let cool on waxed paper. If adding sprinkles, sprinkle imediately after dipping or they won’t stick. Best served same day. Store in airtight container or baggies. Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, youre leaves will teach me also Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, youre leaves will teach me also That hope and love and faithfulness are precious things I can possess Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, youre leaves will teach me also Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches In summer sun or winter snow, a coat of green you always show Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how lovely are your branches
SUPPLIES: -Bag-O-Buttons (These work best, as they are varied in size and shape which allows for more texture and layering!) -About 200 straight pins (From the sewing department...the pretty jewel toned round heads) -Around 50 corsage pins (The variety you get from these pearlescent pear-shaped heads looks very pretty in contrast with the others!) -9” styrafoam cone (Feel free to go larger or smaller, or even to try a completely different shape!) INSTRUCTIONS: 1. Begin with the largest buttons. Pin them to the cone shape in a randomly spaced fashion all over the surface. Pins should be inserted at a perpendicular angle to the cone surface. 2. Next, start adding the medium sized buttons to the shape. Logistically, it will work best if you have the added button be touching an already pinned button in some way. You will end up with less gaps to ﬁll this way. 3. Now move to the smallest buttons, and use them to ﬁll in any spaces or gaps that have developed. Feel free to double stack buttons, too, for variety and dimension. If you overlap any buttons, be sure to make the overlay happen nearer the bottom of the cone, in a “shingles” type fashion to keep the tree-like appearance. 4. To ﬁnish the top, insert corsage pins vertically into the backs of buttons with a “shank” behind them (rather than 2-4 holes through center). These are the buttons that have a solid top with a hidden, sideways hole. Ring these buttons around the top of the tree, pushing the corsage pins straight down into the cone top (perpendicular to the ground) in a “circling the wagons” fashion. If you still have any gaps, keep ﬁlling with small buttons until the desired result is achieved.
16 Behold, I say unto you that because I said unto you that I had spent my days in your service, I do not desire to boast, for I have only been in the service of God. 17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn awisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the bservice of your cfellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. 18 Behold, ye have called me your king; and if I, whom ye call your king, do labor to aserve you, then ought not ye to labor to serve one another? 19 And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of God, do merit any thanks from you, O how you ought to athank your heavenly bKing! 20 I say unto you, my brethren, that if you should render all the athanks and bpraise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and cpreserved you, and has caused that ye should drejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another— 21 I say unto you that if ye should aserve him who has created you from the beginning, and is bpreserving you from day to day, by lending you cbreath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own dwill, and even supporting you from one moment to another—I say, if ye should serve him with all your ewhole souls yet ye would be funproﬁtable servants. 22 And behold, all that he arequires of you is to bkeep his commandments; and he has cpromised you that if ye would keep his commandments ye should prosper in the land; and he never doth dvary from that which he hath said; therefore, if ye do ekeep his fcommandments he doth bless you and prosper you. 23 And now, in the ﬁrst place, he hath created you, and granted unto you your lives, for which ye are indebted unto him. 24 And secondly, he doth arequire that ye should do as he hath commanded you; for which if ye do, he doth immediately bbless you; and therefore he hath paid you. And ye are still indebted unto him, and are, and will be, forever and ever; therefore, of what have ye to boast?
The Most Unusual, Quite Remarkable, One-of-a-Kind Christmas Stocking
By Geraldine T. Fielding Rachel Peeked around the wheel of the covered wagon and whispered, “Psst, Mary Ann!” When her friend did not respond, she spoke louder: “Mary Ann, come here!” Mary Ann was sitting on an old quilt tending her baby brother. She looked up. “I can’t come there,” she said. “My mama told me not to move off this quilt until she was through cooking the biscuits.” Rachel made her way to the quilt, which was spread on the ground under a shady tree. They were traveling west with their families in a wagon train. They had left Missouri with everything they owned loaded into the wagons. Rachel was ready to cry as she sat down on the quilt. “I’ve looked and looked,” Rachel groaned. “It’s gone!” “What’s gone?” Mary Ann asked. “I’ve lost my knitting!” Rachel said. Rachel was a very good knitter. She kept a ball of yarn in her pocket and knitted as she walked behind the wagon. “I had a stocking almost half done. Mary Ann, what will I do?” “Now calm down,” Mary Ann said in her best motherly voice. “Stop and think. Where did you have it last? Did you look in your little wooden trunk? Sometimes you put it in there?” “I looked everywhere,” Rachel said. “My last ball of yarn and my metal knitting needles are gone. My papa traded a whole pound of nails for those knitting needles in St. Louis. He’ll never forgive me for losing
them.” “I’m sure he will understand,” Mary Ann said. “But I’ll help you look in your wagon tonight after supper.” The girls searched the family’s wagon together, but they didn’t ﬁnd Rachel’s knitting. “How can I tell Mama and Papa?” Rachel asked. “Tell us what?” a voice asked. The girls whirled around. There was Rachel’s father, standing next to the wagon checking the level of the water barrel. “Oh, Papa,” Rachel sobbed. “I am so careless, and I have done such an awful thing. I’ve lost my metal knitting needles, my yarn, and a half-ﬁnished sock.” Rachel’s father put his arms around her. “That is sad, but it’s not the end of the world.” The following Saturday when the wagon train stopped for the night, it was announced that they would camp there until Tuesday to give the horses and oxen a chance to rest, and to let the men make repairs to the wagons and harnesses. Rachel tried to keep busy. She helped her mother cook. She washed clothes in the nearby stream. She helped Mary Ann with her little brother. Rachel sighed. “If I had my knitting, I could have had that stocking almost ﬁnished,” she told her friend. “Never mind,” Mary Ann said. “When we get to the Salt Lake Valley, you can get some new needles and yarn.” “I hope so,” Rachel said sadly. “Rachel, please come here,” her father called. “I have a surprise for you.” He was standing near the campﬁre with his hands behind his back. He brought out one hand. “I whittled a new pair of knitting needles for you,” he said. “They are not as sturdy as the metal ones, but I think they will do. They are made of alder wood, and they are quite straight and smooth.” Rachel squealed with delight. “Oh, Papa, they are beautiful!” Then he brought out his other hand from behind his back. He was holding a ball of red yarn. “Yarn! Where in the world did you get it?” Rachel asked. “Sister Davis donated it. She said it was just taking up space in her sewing basket.” Her father smiled. “And here is a bit of green yarn that Sister Harper found, and a small ball of yellow from Sister Rogers.” He hugged his daughter. “Everyone felt so bad about you losing your knitting that they all found what scraps of yarn they could so that you could continue knitting the rest of the trip.” “This is wonderful,” Rachel said. “I must tell everyone how much I appreciate it.” Rachel started off, but she turned around quickly and went back to her father. “Thank you so much for the knitting needles, Papa. I will take very good care of them.” Rachel ran off to show all the ladies of the wagon train the wonderful gift she had received. As they walked along with they wagons, Rachel knitted and knitted. At night, Rachel held her needles and yarn safely in her pocket. “I’m not taking any chances with this knitting,” she told Mary Ann. “It is too special.” The day ﬁnally came when they looked down into the Salt Lake Valley. They were relieved to have arrived before winter. The nights were getting colder and they knew that snow would not be long in coming. “Did you ﬁnish the sock?” Brother Carter asked Rachel as he led his horses down the steep mountain trail. “I did,” Rachel said. She pulled out her knitting to show him her ﬁnished work. “Well, now, that is a most unusual stocking,” he said. “I know.” Rachel laughed. “Papa called it ‘quite remarkable.’” The knitted stocking had wide and narrow stripes in many different colors. Rachel looked at it thoughtfully. “It’s one of a kind,” she said. “There will never be another one like this. I am going to hang it on the mantle at Christmastime when we get a house built. It will be my most unusual, quite remarkable, one-ofa-kind Christmas stocking!” Rachel enjoyed hanging up her special Christmas stocking for many years. It was a colorful and happy reminder of her trip across the plains, and the generosity and kindness of her fellow travelers.
Holiday Card Wreath
Decorate a wall or an interior door by hanging a holiday-card wreath. Using wood glue, afﬁx miniature wooden clothespins to a large (about 14-inch-diameter) embroidery hoop. Alternate clothespins to point outward and inward, spaced 1 1/2 inches apart. Suspend from a ribbon, and clip your cards in place as you receive them.
Oh Holy Night
Oh holy night! The stars are brightly shining It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn! Fall on your knees Oh hear the angel voices Oh night divine Oh night when Christ was born Oh night divine Oh night divine Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming Here come the wise men from Orient land The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger In all our trials born to be our friend. Truly He taught us to love one another His law is love and His gospel is peace Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His name all oppression shall cease Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name.
Holy White Macrel
1 bag microwavable popcorn (white works well for a nice color, but regular butter works ﬁne) 1 bag white chocolate ¼ cup macadamia nuts chopped into small piece1. Pop popcorn in microwave. 2. CAREFULLY remove ALL Old Maids/Un-popped Crenels by sifting the popcorn between two bowls and shaking it. 3. Melt Chocolate in microwave for about 1-1 ½ minutes in microwave. Chocolate chips will still hold their shape but look slightly shiny. Stir until smooth. If needs more time, cook in 30 second intervals and stir between until chunks are able to be smoothed out with a spoon or knife. 4. Cover popcorn with melted chocolate and throw in the nuts. Stir it around (using your hands if you need to. 5.Spread it out evenly on a cookie sheet that is covered with wax paper or saran wrap. Put in refrigerator to harden. When hard, remove and break it up into bite size chunks. Variation: To spice it up you can put anything to it during stirring stage, before putting on cookie sheet: Cinnomon & Sugar, Food coloring, sprinkles, red hots, red M&M’s etc depending on season and desired look)
Selected scripture: 13:44 44 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a ﬁeld; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that ﬁeld.
The Christmas Orange
“Once there was a little girl who came to live in an orphanage in Denmark” (Now my grandmother was from Denmark, so this story might even be true.) “As Christmas time grew near, all of the other children began telling the little girl about the beautiful Christmas tree that would appear in the huge downstairs hall on Christmas morning. After their usual, very plain breakfast, each child would be given their one and only Christmas gift; small, single orange.” “Now the headmaster of the orphanage was very stern and he thought Christmas to be a bother. So on Christmas Eve, when he caught the little girl creeping down the stairs to catch a peek at the much-heard-of Christmas tree, he sharply declared that the little girl would not receive her Christmas orange because she had been so curious as to disobey the rules. The little girl ran back to her room broken-hearted and crying at her terrible fate.” “The next morning as the other children were going down to breakfast, the little girl stayed in her bed. She couldn’t stand the thought of seeing the others receive their gift when there would be none for her.” “Later, as the children came back upstairs, the little girl was surprised to be handed a napkin. As she carefully opened it, there to her disbelief was an orange all peeled and sectioned.” “How could this be?” she asked. “It was then that she found how each child had taken one section from their orange and given it to her so that she, too, would have a Christmas orange.” What an example of the true meaning of Christmas those orphan children displayed that Christmas morning. How I wish the world, as a whole would display that same kind of Christ-like concern for others, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year.
Orange Cloves Christmas Ball
Large orange Whole Cloves Ribbon for hanging Toothpick Start by using the toothpick to make holes in your orange. This hole will be used to put the whole clove into. Keep adding the cloves until your whole orange is covered. Use some ribbon to tie a large bow around the orange for hanging. You can also arrange cloves in interesting patterns around the orange rather than covering the entire thing.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas We wish you a merry Christmas We wish you a merry Christmas And a happy New Year. Glad tidings we bring To you and your kin; Glad tidings for Christmas And a happy New Year! We want some ﬁggy pudding We want some ﬁggy pudding We want some ﬁggy pudding Please bring it right here! Glad tidings we bring To you and your kin; Glad tidings for Christmas And a happy New Year! We won’t go until we get some We won’t go until we get some We won’t go until we get some So bring it out here! Glad tidings we bring To you and your kin; Glad tidings for Christmas And a happy New Year! We wish you a Merry Christmas We wish you a Merry Christmas We wish you a Merry Christmas And a happy New Year. Glad tidings we bring To you and your kin; Glad tidings for Christmas And a happy New Year!
1 gal. apple cider 1 qt. orange juice (pure) 1 c. lemon juice 1 qt. pineapple juice 24 whole cloves 4 sticks cinnamon 1 c. sugar Mix all ingredients and simmer (very low heat) for 1 to 2 hours. Serve warm. Yield: 1 1/2 gallons. Leftover wassail may be stored in refrigerator and warmed in microwave for later use.
Is Anyone Missing Baby Jesus??
Author Unknown About a week before Christmas, the family bought a new nativity set. When they unpacked it, they found two ﬁgures of the Baby Jesus. “Someone must have packed this wrong,” the mother said, counting out the ﬁgures. “We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have two.” “You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes, saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126.” “Put on your warm coats. It is freezing out there.” The manager of the store copied down mother’s message and the next time they were in the store they saw the cardboard sign that read, “If you are missing Baby Jesus, call 7126.” All week long they waited for someone to call. Surely, they thought, someone was missing that important ﬁgurine. Each time the phone rang, mother would say, “I’ll bet that’s about Jesus.”, but it never was. Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country, and the ﬁgurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested to just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it. “Put Baby Jesus back in the box! What a terrible thing to do!” Said the children. “Surely someone will call,” mother said. “We’ll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone calls.” When no call had come by 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father just run down to the store to see if there were any sets left. “You can see them right through the window, over on the counter,” she said. “If they are all gone, I’ll know someone is bound to call tonight.” “Run down to the store?” father thundered. “It’s 15 below zero out there!” “Oh, Daddy, we’ll go with you,” Tommy and Mary began to put on their coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he muttered. Tommy and Mary ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Mary got to the store ﬁrst and pressed her nose up to the store window. “They’re all gone, Daddy,” she shouted. “Every set must be sold.” “Hooray” Tommy said. “The mystery will now be solved tonight!” Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When they got back into the house, they noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus ﬁgurine. “Someone must have called and she went out to deliver the ﬁgurine,” my father reasoned, pulling off his boots. “You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother’s present.” Then the phone rang. Father yelled “answer the phone and tell ‘em we found a home for Jesus.” But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk. “Now what has she gotten us into?” my father groaned as we bundled up again. “205 Chestnut. Why that’s across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can’t we all just get on with Christmas? It’s probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this!” When they got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street, it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room and, the moment we set foot on the porch steps, my mother opened the door and shouted, “They’re here, Oh thank God, you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones
on the couch. I’ll take the milk and cookies.” “Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?” my father asked. “We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way.” “Never mind all that now,” my mother interrupted. “There is no heat in this house and this young mother is so upset she doesn’t know what to do. Her husband walked out on her and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don’t you complain. I told her you could ﬁx that oil furnace in a jiffy.” My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the ﬁve little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children’s mother explained to my father that her husband had run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down. “I been doing washing and ironing for people and cleaning the ﬁve and dime,” she said. “I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept going’ through my mind... 7162... 7162.” “Said on the box that if a person was missin’ Jesus, they should call you. That’s how I knew you were good Christian people, willing to help folks. I ﬁgured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight and I called your missus. I’m not missing Jesus ,mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missing heat. I have no money to ﬁx that furnace.” “Okay, Okay” said father. “You’ve come to the right place. Now let’s see. You’ve got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn’t be too hard to ﬁx. Probably just a clogged ﬂue. I’ll look it over, see what it needs.” Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the ﬁgure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared with wide eyed wonder at the plate of cookies my mother sat before them. Father ﬁnally got the oil burner working but said “you need more oil.” “I’ll make a few calls tonight and get some oil.” “Yes sir, you came to the right place,” said the woman.. On the way home, father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. “Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed? Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say, Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you’ve got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck?” “You do?” By this time the rest of the family were pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after their bedtime when they were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, Father let them ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing ﬁgure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn’t a packing mistake at all. Jesus saves, that’s what He does.
Materials: jumbo marshmallows toothpicks craft scissors black paper (card stock) 1/4” plaid ribbon small twigs/Pretzels Marshmellows raisins Stack desired number of marshmellows by using toothpicks. Decorate with food for an easy edible snack. Or use pens and fabric , set out to dry for inexpensive ornaments or decorations. Trace a quarter and a dime on black cardstock and cut a 3/4 inch wide stripe of black cardstock to make the top hat, use felt for a longer lasting ornament.
Clay Pot Snowman
Craft Recipe for Snow! Make your own snow paste by mixing sand with white paint. Mix until the mixture is thick. Apply it with a small craft spatula and let it dry overnight. Crafting is a wonderful activity to get into the spirit of the Christmas season. You can get really involved with your children and make wonderful decorations and presents. This snowman is a fun craft for children. It is easy and inexpensive to make and can be combined with other clay pot crafts shown on this website to make a set of decorations. (Links below). To prevent accidents, parents should help the children with the hot glue gun.
Frosty the Snowman
Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul, With a corncob pipe and a button nose, And two eyes made out of coal. Frosty the snowman is a fairy tale, they say, He was made of snow but the children know how he came to life one day. There must have been some magic in that Old silk hat they found. For when they placed it on his head, He began to dance around. O, Frosty the snowman Was alive as he could be, And the children say he could laugh and play just the same as you and me. Thumpetty thump thump, Thumpety thump thump, Look at Frosty go. Thumpetty thump thump, Thumpety thump thump, Over the hills of snow. Frosty the snowman knew The sun was hot that day, So he said, “Let’s run and we’ll have some fun now before I melt away.” Down to the village, With a broomstick in his hand, Running here and there all Around the square saying, Catch me if you can. He led them down the streets of town Right to the trafﬁc cop. And he only paused a moment when He heard him holler “Stop!” For Frosty the snowman Had to hurry on his way, But he waved goodbye saying, “Don’t you cry, I’ll be back again some day.” Thumpetty thump thump, Thumpety thump thump, Look at Frosty go. Thumpetty thump thump, Thumpety thump thump, Over the hills of snow.
THE GIFT OF THE MAGI
by O. Henry One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas. There was clearly nothing to do but ﬂop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reﬂection that life is made up of sobs, snifﬂes, and smiles, with snifﬂes predominating. While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the ﬁrst stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished ﬂat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad. In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal ﬁnger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.” The “Dillingham” had been ﬂung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his ﬂat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good. Della ﬁnished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something ﬁne and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim. There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 ﬂat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reﬂection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art. Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length. Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s gold watch that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the ﬂat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della’s beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet. On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she ﬂuttered out the door and down the stairs to the street. Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds.” One ﬂight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.” “Will you buy my hair?” asked Della. “I buy hair,” said Madame. “Take yer hat off and let’s have a sight at the looks of it.” Down rippled the brown cascade. “Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand. “Give it to me quick,” said Della. Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present. She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain. When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task. Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reﬂection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically. “If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at me, he’ll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eightyseven cents?” At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops. Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the ﬁrst ﬂight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still pretty.” The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves. Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were ﬁxed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terriﬁed her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her ﬁxedly with that peculiar expression on his face. Della wriggled off the table and went for him. “Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It’ll grow out again--you won’t
mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.” “You’ve cut off your hair?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor. “Cut it off and sold it,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my hair, ain’t I?” Jim looked about the room curiously. “You say your hair is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy. “You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?” Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on. Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table. “Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at ﬁrst.” White ﬁngers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the ﬂat. For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone. But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My hair grows so fast, Jim!” And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!” Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to ﬂash with a reﬂection of her bright and ardent spirit. “Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to ﬁnd it. You’ll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it.” Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled. “Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ‘em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on.” The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a ﬂat who most unwisely sacriﬁced for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.
The shimmering magic of snowfall is always transﬁxing, whether it’s outside your window or inside this classic toy. Homemade globes let you create a wintry scene straight out of your own imagination. Almost any jar works for this project: Baby-food, pimiento, and olive jars are good choices. Look for plastic or ceramic ﬁgurines (metal ones are prone to rust) at ﬂea markets and hobby or model-railroad shops. Synthetic evergreen tips are available at many ﬂoral-supply stores. If the jar lids are not in seasonal colors already, paint them with oil-based enamel paint. Sand the inside of the lid until the surface is rough. With clear-drying epoxy, adhere the ﬁgurine to the inside of the lid, and let the epoxy dry. Fill the jar almost to the top with distilled water; add a pinch of glitter and a dash of glycerin (available at drugstores) to keep the glitter from falling too quickly. Don’t add too much, or the glitter will stick to the bottom of the jar when it’s ﬂipped. Screw on the lid tightly, being careful not to dislodge the ﬁgurine. Turn the jar over and back again -- and let it snow.
Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland
sleighbells ring, are you list’nin? in the lane snow is glist’nin a beautiful sight we’re happy tonight walkin’ in a winter wonderland! gone away is the bluebird here to stay is the new bird he sings a love song as we go along walkin’ in a winter wonderland! in the meadow we can build a snowman then pretend that he is parson brown he’ll say, “are you married?” we’ll say, “no, man! but you can do the job when you’re in town!” later on we’ll conspire as we dream by the ﬁre to face unafraid the plans that we made walkin’ in a winter wonderland! in the meadow we can build a snowman and pretend that he’s a circus clown we’ll have lots of fun with mr. snowman until the other kiddies knock him down! when it snows, ain’t it thrillin’ though your nose gets a chillin’? we’ll frolic and play the eskimo way walkin’ in a winter wonderland! walkin’ in a winter wonderland!
*5 pkgs small Jell-o (red and green colors, such as raspberry, strawberry, cherry, lime, etc) 15 Tbs yogurt 5 Cup boiling water 1 2/3 cup cold water 1 Mix 1st box with 1 cup boiling water. 2 Split mixed jell-o in half. 3 In one ½ add 1/3 cup water; in other ½ add 3 Tbs plain yogurt. 4 Layer ﬁrst ½ in pan (9x13 or square for thicker layers) while other half is set aside.5 Let cool in frig for 20 minutes. Then pour on second layer, allow to cool and begin again with next box. (It helps to put a spoon under the incoming liquid so it disperses the stream, thus helping it to not melt a hole in the set layers. Also, allow new liquid to cool slightly before pouring on ﬁnished layers.) 6. Cut into Christmas shapes if you want or top off with some whip cream and serve.
Teach the Children
Just last Monday night I had a strange visitor. This is how it happened. I had just ﬁnished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house. I opened the door of the front room, and to my surprise, a special visitor stepped out from behind the Christmas tree. He placed his ﬁngers over his lips so I would not cry out. “What are you doing?” I started to ask, but the words choked up in my throat as I saw that he had tears in his eyes. He then answered me with the simple statement of “Teach the children.” I was puzzled. What did he mean? He anticipated my question and with one quick movement, brought a miniature toy bag from behind the tree. As I stood there in my night shirt bewildered, the visitor said again, “Teach the children.” My perplexed expression still showed in the near darkness. “Teach them the old meaning of Christmas-the meaning that Christmas now-days has forgotten.” I started to say, “How can I?” when the visitor reached into the toy bag and pulled out a brilliant shiny star. “Teach the children the star was the heavenly sign of promise long ago. God promised a Savior for the world and a sign of the fulﬁllment of his promise. The countless shining stars at night-one for each man-now show the burning hope of all mankind.” The visitor gently laid the star upon the ﬁreplace mantle and drew forth from the bag a glittering red Christmas ornament. “Teach the children red is the ﬁrst color of Christmas. It was ﬁrst used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed for all people by the Savior. Christ gave his life and shed his blood that every man might have God’s gift to alleternal life. Red is deep, intense, vivid-it is the greatest color of all. It is the symbol of the gift of God.” As the visitor was twisting and pulling another object out of his bag, I heard the kitchen clock begin to strike twelve. I wanted to say something but he went right on. “Teach the children,” he said, as the twisting and pulling suddenly dislodged a small Christmas tree from the depths of the toy bag. He placed it before the mantel and gently hung the red ornament. Here was the second color of Christmas. “The pure color of the stately ﬁr tree remains green all year round,” he said. “This depicts the everlasting hope of mankind. Green is the youthful, hopeful, abundant color of nature. All the needles point heavenward-symbolic of man’s returning thoughts toward heaven. The great, green tree has been man’s best friend. It has sheltered him, warmed him, made beauty for him, formed his furniture.” The visitor’s eyes were beginning to twinkle now as he stood there. Suddenly I heard a soft tinkling sound. As it grew louder, it seemed like the sound of long ago. “Teach the children, that as the lost sheep are found by the sound of the bell, so should it ring for man to return to the fold-it means guidance and return. It further signiﬁes that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord. Who is there among you if his son ask for bread would give him a stone?” As the soft sharp sound of the bell faded into the night, the visitor drew forth a candle. He placed it on the mantle and the soft glow from its tiny ﬂame cast an eerie glow about the darkened room. Odd shapes in the room slowly danced and weaved upon the walls. “Teach the children,” whispered the visitor, “that the candle shows man’s thanks for the star of long ago; it’s small light is the mirror of the star light. At ﬁrst candles were placed on the Christmas tree-they were like many glowing stars shining against the dark green. Safety now has removed the candles from the tree and the colored lights have taken over in that remembrance.” The visitor now had turned the small Christmas tree lights on and picked up a gift from under the tree. He pointed to the large bow ribbon and said, “A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of the brotherhood of man. We should remember that the bow is tied as man should be tied-all of us together, with the bonds of good will toward each other. Good will forever is the message of the bow.” Now my mind began to wonder what else the visitor might have in his bag. Instead of reaching in his bag, he slung it over his shoulder and began to reach up
on the Christmas tree. I though he was hungry as he reached for a candy cane purposely placed high on the tree. He unfastened it and reached out toward me with it. “Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherd’s crook. The crook on the staff helps bring back the strayed sheep of the fold. The candy cane is the symbol that we are our brother’s keepers.” The visitor then paused. He seemed to realize that he should be on his way. As he looked about the room a feeling of satisfaction shined on his face. He read wonderment in my eyes and I am sure he sensed my admiration for this night. He was his old self as he approached the front door. The twinkle in his eyes gave the visitor away. I knew he wasn’t through yet. He reached into his bag and brought forth a large holly wreath. He placed it at the door and said, “Please teach
the children the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love; it never ceases, stops, or ends. It is one continuous round of affection. The wreath does double duty. It is made of many things and in many colors. It should remind us of many things of Christmas. Please teach the children.” I pondered and wondered and thrilled with delight as I sat and viewed all those symbols that night. I dozed as I sat in the soft candle light, and my thoughts were of the visitor and all he made right. To give and to help, to love and to serve, are the best things of life, all men can deserve. Jesus the Christ Child as small as an elf, is the very best symbol of Christmas itself. He’s the sign of the gift of love and of life, the ending of evil, the ceasing of strife.
Straighten the hanger and then cut it in half using wire cutters (only 1 half will be used). Bend one of the pieces of hanger into a circle shape. Twist one end around the other to secure, leaving about 3-inches of one of the ends free. Bend that end over to form a small circle or hook for hanging. Use a pair of pliers if necessary. If needed you can also use some duct tape to help secure the ends together. Once you have the wreath base made, you can add the candy! You can use any kind of wrapped candy you like, anything from traditional peppermint rounds to suckers. About 35 of them will ﬁll your hanger nicely, but this number can vary quite a bit from person to person because of how close they are tied together. Cut the curling ribbon into 8-inch pieces. Take 1 piece of candy and tie it to the center of a piece of ribbon. Then, use the ribbon to tie the candy tightly onto the wreath. You can either cut off the extra ribbon or leave it. The ends can be curled to add a nice touch to your wreath. Continue this process until you have the wreath as full of candy as you like.
Materials Needed: • Wire Hanger • About 35 Wrapped Candies • Curling Ribbon
Joy to the World
Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing. Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While ﬁelds and ﬂoods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy. No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings ﬂow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found. He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his aright hand, Come, ye bblessed of my Father, cinherit the dkingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an ahungred, and ye bgave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a cstranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye avisited me: I was in bprison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee asick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have adone it unto one of the bleast of these my cbrethren, ye have done it unto me.
I remember it was the same year my father lost his job. He had lacked work for a time long enough to leave me with memories of using candles because they had cut off our electricity. Even my only sweater bore holes, and my socks resembles Swiss cheese. We had never really been poor, but the hurdles of the past year had left us quite bad off. The neighbors offered to help but dad was to proud, and refused the charity. I couldn’t understand the whole situation , and it seemed to me that my smaller brother, Jerry, who had mowed the lawns all summer, owned 60% of the families wealth. The money say in the big piggy bank on top of his dresser drawer. Every once in awhile id sneak in and grab a little, whenever I had a worthy cause, I mean, he couldn’t exactly be saving for college. Not in his condition he wasn’t. You see, Jerry, who was twelve, a year younger than I, was different from the other people he entered the world a mongoloid (with downs syndrome). He looked different in a funny kind of way and had the mentality of a six year old. He also had a speech problem and his voice was real low and gruff and he’d pronounced a lot of syllables wrong. The difference had separated us, like weeks separate ﬂowers. Yet we used to be so close when we were younger, we laughed together, we cried together, we even stumbled together. I had learned to understand Jerry and couldn’t detect any difference because we had stuck so closely together, under our mother’s wing. But as the years came along with other friends and children, they brought to me the realization, that he was different. It was becoming more noticeable reality now whispered louder and louder that Jerry was different. His difference was an illness, a disease that took him from me, that changed him continuously until he was no longer my brother. An inhuman thing that cause me enough embarrassment to make me hate him and often I became cruel to him. I remember the time I had gone to play some ball, and as usual he’d shadowed right behind me. They wouldn’t let me play because in order to keep the two teams equal, they would only let 2 join in at a time. Nobody wanted Jerry, so that kept me from playing too. It happened many times before and each time more resentment mounted. Each time I hated him more. There wasn’t a moment that went by without him getting in my way. This time the mountain of hate exploded and I turned on him. “Look you weird looking *creep why you gotta follow me around? Leave me alone and go home.” Then I slapped him again and again because I wished he was dead. I couldn’t go anywhere with-
out being embarrassed. Everyone always referred to me as the one with the M.R. brother. I didn’t want to be embarrassed anymore. I wished he was dead. He ﬁnally ran home crying. I didn’t even care. I was too worried about the chewing out I would get when I get home. When I got home I discovered he hadn’t told on me, Instead he came up to me and apologized for making me mad. I also remember one time that summer we’d gone to the beach. Naturally I had to look out for Jerry, and all the kids started looking and making fun of us when they noticed Jerry was different. I couldn’t take it, I knew if I would ignore him long enough he would get lost. Only, he got lost for a long time. They’d began to think he drowned, pitifully enough, I couldn’t careless. Hours later, an old man brought him back on the top of his shoulders and said he’d found him about 2 miles down the beach behind an old out house. Ya know, It seemed Jerry did an awful lot of crying Well, as time passed. Leaves fell, and snow came. Everyone looked towards Christmas. I was looking towards Christmas. I was looking at a dream. There was a beautiful watch in the jewelers window. A watch with a gold band, it really wasn’t to expensive. But too expensive for us. I knew it was impossible, but I liked to imagine that Christmas morning would ﬁnd me wearing it. Every time I would pass the shop I’d stare at it. I woke up Christmas morning rushing to open the one gift that was for me by the ﬁreplace. It was a great looking sweater. I really needed one too. “Thanks a lot dad” I shouted but noticed how tired he looked so I asked him, “did you stay up all night with Jerry again?”. “Yes” he replied, “He’s getting worse.” About a week before Jerry and I had gone tubing. Jerry ended up, kicking and yelling as he fell in a snow bank. But again memories of past embarrassing situations brought out my cruelty, and I watched him dieing until I was satisﬁed. When I ﬁnally dug him out, Instead of realizing what I had done, the poor dumb kid, between his gasps for air and his tears, tried to thank me for saving his life. Anyway, he’d caught pneumonia and my parents and spent the last two nights up with him. “Let’s go join your Mother and Jerry.” Dads said.
Jerry’s room smelt of medicine and Jerry really looked horrible, but his eyes were all lit up. I didn’t know why and he was kind of smiling, but Mom was crying. She sniffed softly and said, “Jerry’s got homemade, butcher paper, water colored type Christmas cards he’d made. He tried to jump out of bed but soon found he was so weak he couldn’t move. With Dads help he ﬁnally wobbled over to his closet and pulled it out: Another card, just a ﬂat sheet about a square foot big, and written in red water color, “ To My Big Brother; Whom I Love The Most.” While I was reading it, I noticed the broken pieces of his piggy bank in the corner. Then he slowly reached under his pillow and pulled out a small out a small box. He wiped his nose with his PJ sleeve, then he sat there with his arm stretched out, his eyes lit up with all the love he could muster up in that low gruff voice, he said, “Warwie kwishrmash Shimmy!” I opened the box and there it was, gleaming - the watch, the beautiful watch with the gold band, the one I thought I’d never see again! I couldn’t even stop looking at it! Then he gave me a bear hug and asked, “Shimmy, where my pweshant?” I looked up at him, then over to the broken pieces of his bank in the corner, the watch, then back at his questioning eyes, and I didn’t even have courage to tell him I’d forgotten about him. I just grabbed him and started bawling like a baby. He never lived to say “Happy New Year!” He died two days later. It’s Christmas Eve again, snowing again too. I’ve just gotten off the phone (parents called to say Merry Christmas). I laid back down on my bed (I’m in College now), I laid down with my arms folded behind me and started to look at the only object on the wall: an old homemade, water colored, Christmas Card. I check the time on my watch - the one with the gold band. Just a few seconds before midnight. I gazed up at the wall again and read the worlds aloud, To my Big Brother, Who I Love The Most.” Then I realized… for the ﬁrst time Jerry was not different from me, he was my brother, and I could actually hear him say it again, “Warwy Kwishmash, Shimmy.” Only this time I answered as loud as I could, “Merry Christmas Jerry, Merry Christmas.
Paper Plate Angels
1. Trace a paper angel shape onto a plate with a ﬂuted edge, and cut out with a utility knife. The two cuts for the wings are different, one made from inside out, the other from outside in. Embellish the edge of the plate with one or two decorative hole punches. 2. With the angel facing you, shape her skirt into a circle; slide the outside cut over the inside one to make wings. Curl some paper around a narrow rod, such as a skewer, and make a name card. Secure it in her hands with a dab from a glue stick.
Angels we Have Heard on High
Angels we have heard on high, Singing sweetly through the night, And the mountains in reply Echoing their brave delight. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why these songs of happy cheer? What great brightness did you see? What glad tiding did you hear? Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee Christ, the Lord, the new-born King. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo. See him in a manger laid Whom the angels praise above; Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, While we raise our hearts in love. Gloria in excelsis Deo. Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Mosiah 18: 27-29
27 And again Alma commanded that the people of the church should impart of their substance, aevery one according to that which he had; if he have more abundantly he should impart more abundantly; and of him that had but little, but little should be required; and to him that had not should be given. 28 And thus they should impart of their asubstance of their own free will and good desires towards God, and to those priests that stood in need, yea, and to every needy, naked soul. 29 And this he said unto them, having been commanded of God; and they did awalk uprightly before God, imparting to one another both temporally and spiritually according to their needs and their wants.
Wally’s Christmas Pageant
It was the typical Christmas pageant. Miss Lumbard was trying to assign all the children to their appropriate roles. Wallace Purling wanted to be a shepherd and have a ﬂute, but Miss Lumbard found a more important role for Wally. He was about nine, and rather big for his age, but also rather slow. Miss Lumbard thought his size would make the lines of the Inn Keeper more forceful, and besides there were not too many words for Wally to remember. So it was as that fateful night began. The usual crowd of parents and loved ones gathered for the towns annual program. None of them more taken up by the story than Wallace Purling. Wally stood in the wings fascinated and caught up in the story that from time to time Miss Lumbard had to remind him not to wander on stage. Then the time came. Mary and Joseph appeared slowly moving toward the inn. Joseph knocked on the door and Wally the Innkeeper was there waiting. “What do you want?” He said swinging the door open. “We seek lodging.” “Seek it elsewhere.” Wally said looking straight ahead and speaking brusquely. “Sir, we have asked everywhere in vain and we have traveled so far.” “There is no room in the inn for you.” Wally looked properly stern. “Please Mr. Innkeeper this is my wife she is heavy with child and need a place to rest. Now for the ﬁrst time Wally relaxed. He looked at Mary. With that there was a long pause. The audience was a bit tense and embarrassed. And the prompter said from the side, “No be gone!” Wally repeated, “No be gone.!” Joseph placed his arm around Mary and walked sadly away. The tired little mother of Jesus laid her head on his shoulder. The innkeeper did not return to his inn. Wally stood there watching the forlorn couple. His mouth stood open, his brow was creased, his eyes began to ﬁll with tears. Suddenly this Christmas pageant became different from all the others. “Don’t go Joseph,” Wally called out. “Bring Mary back”. Wally’s face grew into a beaming smile, “You can have my room.”
Angel Milk Carton Container
Materials: -an empty 2 litre (1/2 gallon) milk carton -glue or tape -scissors -2 sheets of white construction paper or typing paper, -1 sheet of yellow construction paper -cotton balls, cotton pillow stufﬁng or white feathers -black marker or pencil crayon -gold or silver glitter (optional) -wiggly eyes (optional) 1. Cut out the angel wings 2. Put glue all over the wings 3. Pull apart cotton balls or cotton pillow stufﬁng, so it’s nice and ﬂuffy. 4. Glue the cotton (or white feathers) all over the wings. 5. (optional) Sprinkle some gold or silver glitter over the cottony wings and press it in with your hands. 6. Cut the top off a milk carton and discard the top. You can cut off as much of the top as you like, depending on how tall you want it. 7. Cover your milk carton with the white paper (it takes about 2 pieces). 8. Cut a piece of yellow paper about 3 inches tall and as wide as the milk carton (about 5 inches). 9. Cut slits (a fringe) in this piece and glue it to the front (these are the bangs) 10. Cut two pieces of yellow paper as tall and as wide as the milk carton. 11. Roll the paper around a pencil to curl 12. Cut slits in the roll to make curly hair 13. Glue the hair to the sides of the head 14. Glue the wings to the back of the carton (you may want to reinforce with one long strip of cardboard along the back, but it isn’t necessary) 15. Use a black marker or pencil to draw a face on the front (open “singing” mouth, freckles and closed eyes as in our photo is cute, but you can do it however you want!) 16. You can also substitute wiggly eyes for hand-drawn eyes. 17. Cut out a strip of cardboard or construction paper about 10 inches long and glue to the sides of the container to use as a handle.
1-1/2 tsp plus 1/4 c butter (softened and divided) 2 C Sugar 1/2 c sour cream 12 (1 oz each) squares white baking chocolate, chopped 1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow ﬂuff) 1/2 c crushed peppermint candy 1/2 tsp peppermint extract Line a 9 inch square pan with foil. Grease the foil with 1-1/2 tsp butter (it doesn’t really take all of the butter to grease. the rest can be added to the fudge with the 1/4 cup butter); set aside. In heavy saucepan, combine sugar, sour cream, and 1/4 c butter. cook and stir over med heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a rapid boil; cook and stir until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F, about 5 min. recipe Remove from heat; stir in white chocolate and marshmallo ﬂuff until melted. Fold in peppermint extract and candy. Pour into prepared pan. Chill until ﬁrm. Lift out fudge with foil. Cut into 1 inch squares. Store in refrigerator. Makes 2 pounds.
Heark the Herald Angels Sing
Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born King; Peace on earth, and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled!” Joyful, all ye nations, rise. Join the triumph of the skies. With angelic hosts proclaim, “Christ is born in Bethlehem!” Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born King.” Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace, Hail, the Son of Righteousness Light and life to all He brings, Ris’n with healing in His wings. Mild He lays His throne on high, Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth. Hark the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born king. Mild he lays his glory by, Born that men no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth. Risen with healing in his wings, Light and life to all he brings, Hail! The Sun of Righteousness! Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! Hark! The herald angels sing, “Glory to the newborn king.
And behold, he said unto them: Behold, I give unto you a sign; for ﬁve years more cometh, and behold, then cometh the Son of God to redeem all those who shall believe on his name. And behold, this will I give unto you for a sign at the time of his coming; for behold, there shall be great lights in heaven, insomuch that in the night before he cometh there shall be no darkness, insomuch that it shall appear unto man as if it was day. Therefore, there shall be one day and a night and a day, as if it were one day and there were no night; and this shall be unto you for a sign; for ye shall know of the rising of the sun and also of its setting; therefore they shall know of a surety that there shall be two days and a night; nevertheless the night shall not be darkened; and it shall be the night before he is born. And behold, there shall a new star arise, such an one as ye never have beheld; and this also shall be a sign unto you. And behold this is not all, there shall be many signs and wonders in heaven. And it shall come to pass that ye shall all be amazed, and wonder, insomuch that ye shall fall to the earth. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall believe on the Son of God, the same shall have everlasting life. And behold, thus hath the Lord commanded me, by his angel, that I should come and tell this thing unto you; yea, he hath commanded that I should prophesy these things unto you; yea, he hath said unto me: Cry unto this people, repent and prepare the way of the Lord.
The Last Present
(The Friend 2007)
Thud! Kristi plopped down on the ice. For a moment, she sat looking at the skates she’d found in the attic. They were wrinkled, black, and three inches longer than her feet. Someday she would be a ﬁgure skater and sail across the rink in a glittering blue skirt. But right now all she had were old skates, a coat that was too small, and a patch of ice in the horse pasture. “Hey, ballerina! Where did you get those ugly skates?” Kristi looked up and saw her 17year-old brother, Jake, sitting on the fence. She wondered how long he’d been watching her. “Go away!” she yelled. “You should’ve seen your face, like you were a famous skater or something. Then—crash!” Jake laughed. Kristi scrambled to her feet, slipping on the ice. “Just you wait. Someday I’ll be famous.” Jake backed away from the fence, still grinning. “OK, OK. I believe you. But you’ll need better skates.” That evening, Kristi told her mother that she wanted ice skates for Christmas. Mother leaned over and hugged her. “We’ll have a wonderful Christmas this year just because it’s Christmas.” She looked serious. “But try not to get your hopes up about skates. What money we have has to buy things we need.” Still, Kristi hoped. Three days before Christmas, she noticed a box under the tree without a name tag. It was shaped like a big shoe box. She knew it had to be skates! Kneeling under the tree, she picked it up and shook it. Just then, Jake walked in. He smelled like hamburgers because he worked at a fast-food place after school. Quickly, Kristi set the box down. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Nothing,” she said, trying to look innocent. He had a funny look on his face. “You probably think …” he started to say. “Think what?” Kristi asked. “Nothing,” he said. On Christmas morning, Kristi sat by the tree while her father passed around the gifts. She got a new coat, socks, and a mystery book. Kristi waited, watching the box with no name tag. Finally, her mother leaned over, picked it up, and handed it to Kristi’s father. “Merry Christmas, Dear.” She kissed him on the cheek. “You’ve needed these for a long time.” It was a pair of work boots. Kristi bent her head over her new book, seeing just a blur of words. She wasn’t going to cry and ruin everyone’s Christmas. The next day, Kristi went sledding with her friends. She wore her new coat and had so much fun she almost forgot that she had wanted skates. Later that afternoon she sat curled up in a chair reading her book when Jake came in the door. He was still wearing his work uniform and he smelled like french fries. “I’m going to the store,” he said. “Do you want to go with me?” Surprised, Kristi closed her book. “OK.” Soon they were driving downtown in his old car. It stalled at a stoplight and people behind them honked while Jake
restarted it. The car sputtered down the road to a sports equipment store. “You have to come in and try them on,” Jake said. “Try what on?” “Skates,” he said. “I thought I’d get you some, since—” “Skates?” Kristi cried. “Skates? Really?” “Yeah,” he said, scratching his ear. They went inside and the salesman pulled out a box. Nestled in blue tissue paper were the skates, their silver blades shining. Kristi sniffed their newness and tried them on, balancing carefully on the blades. When they got home, it was almost dark. But there was a full moon. “There’s enough moonlight to go skating if you want,” Jake said. He picked up the old black skates. “Maybe I’ll skate too.” Together they walked out to the pasture. With trembling ﬁngers, Kristi laced up her skates and stepped onto the ice. They were ﬁrm around her ankles. She glided across the ice and did a smooth turn, amazed at how much easier it was. Jake put on the old skates and joined her. They skated a long time, sometimes falling down and laughing. Over by the fence, the horses watched. “The horses probably think we’re crazy,” Jake said. Kristi looked at the horses, then stopped to watch her tall brother as he wobbled across the ice. It was then she noticed his pants were too short, and his coat sleeves were frayed at the cuffs. Kristi watched as Jake took long, awkward strides around the ice. “He could have gotten himself some clothes,” she thought, “or maybe ﬁxed his car.” But he bought her skates. A warm feeling started in her chest and grew until she felt so warm she could almost take off her coat. Suddenly, Kristi wanted to do something kind for someone else. She wanted to be as kind to everyone as Jake was to her. Kristi looked toward the fence where the horses were quiet and watching. “Do you want to know what the horses really think?” she asked Jake. “They think you’re the best brother ever.”
You need pretzels, hershey kisses, and M&M’s (red and green are best). You lay the pretzels on a cookie sheet single layer. Then put a hershey kiss on each one. Put in the oven at about 250 degrees. Let the kisses get soft. Then take them out and push one M&M onto each hershey kiss.
Craft Stick Reindeer
This little guy is so quickly made and makes a fun Christmas craft project for school aged children. They can make him and use him as a Christmas tree decoration, a gift tag or as a plant poke. If they want to use him as a gift tag, all they would need to do extra is draw a little sign, write the name of the recipient on it and glue it to the front of the reindeer. Maybe cut a couple of round circles and glue those to the front of the sign to look like he is holding it.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose. And if you ever saw him, you would even say it glows. All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games. Then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say: “Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?” Then all the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee, Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you’ll go down in history!
Colin’s Christmas Candle
Colin walked slowly home from school, scufﬁng his feet. He looked across the hills at the little Irish ﬁshing village. It did not seem like Christmas Eve. Perhaps this was because it still had not snowed.But Colin knew there was another reason why it did not seem like Christmas--a reason he did not dare whisper even in his heart. He looked toward the lead-colored sea. There was not a single ship on the horizon. And seven days ago his father’s ﬁshing schooner had been due home.“I’ll bring you a sheep dog pup from the Shetland Isles,” Colin’s father told him the morning he left. “Ye’ll have it a week before Christmas, I am certain.” But now it was Christmas Eve. Colin looked toward the lighthouse, high on the hill. Seven days ago, a storm had short-circuited the lighthouse wires. The great beacon’s light had been snuffed out. For seven days, there had been no light to guide his father’s ship. “Mr. Duffy,” gasped Colin, “how did you used to light the beacon?” “Why, with electric batteries. But they are blown, my boy. Dead as can be! And we won’t be able to replace them till after the new year.” “No, I mean, how did you light the lighthouse before there were such things as batteries?” “Well, they used an oil lamp. It’s down in the cellar. But we’ve no oil to burn, lad.” “Would kerosene light the lamp?” asked Colin, holding his breath.
“Well, I suppose,” Mr. Duffy mused. “But don’t go gettin’ silly ideas in your head, lad. You wouldn’t ﬁnd even a pitiful quart of spare kerosene in this village. Everyone is so Colin pushed open the door of his cottage. “We’ll need more poor for money this year…” peat for the ﬁre, Colin,” said his mother as he entered. “It has burned itself out. And it’s near time to light the Christ- Colin was gone before Mr. Duffy could ﬁnish his senmas candle.” tence. Down the hill he ran, back to the cottage. Quickly “I’m not carin’ much about lightin’ a candle, Mother,” he he gathered four pails from the kitchen. Then he darted out said. the door. Colin could see candles glowing in nearly every cottage in the valley below him. A candle on Christmas Eve “Aye, I know, for I’m not carin’ much either,” replied his meant that a stranger would be welcome and given whatmother. “But everybody in Ireland lights a candle on Christ- ever he asked. He didn’t stop running until he came to the mas Eve. Even when there’s sadness in the house, you must ﬁrst house. light the candle. It shows that your house and heart are open to strangers. Come now, I’ve two candles, one for each of “Could you spare me just a half cup of kerosene from your us. If you gather some peat, we’ll be ready for supper soon.” lamp?” he asked. Colin went to every house where a candle Colin nodded and went outside. shone in the window. In one hour he had ﬁlled two pails. Slowly and painfully he carried them up to the lighthouse He led their donkey up the hill so that he could gather the door. He knocked. peat. “Who cares about a silly candle,” he said as he glanced toward the lighthouse, “when there’s not so much as a beam “What’s this?” Mr. Duffy asked. “Laddie, this won’t keep of light to guide a ﬁshin’ boat home?” The donkey shook the lamp burnin’ for more than an hour or so.” his head and brayed sadly, as if he understood. But while he was staring at the lighthouse, Colin had an idea. It hit him “I’ll get more!” Colin shouted as he started down the hill. like a gust of warm spring wind. He started running up the “It’s early still.” long hill. When he came to the lighthouse, he pounded on the door. After three more long hours, Colin had gathered ﬁve more pails of kerosene. He was on his way with the sixth pail, Mr. Duffy, the keeper, opened the door. “What’s got into when the tower suddenly ﬂickered with light. A great beam you, young fellow? You startled me--and on Christmas Eve, spread out over the valley. It stretched toward the dark heart too!” of the sea like a ﬁnger pointing home. Mr. Duffy had lighted
the lamp! It was very late when Colin reached home. His mother jumped from her seat near the ﬁre. “Colin, where have you been? You’ve had no supper, nor lighted your candle!” “Oh, Mother! I’ve lighted a candle, and a big one! It’s a secret, so I can’t tell you--yet. But it was a huge candle indeed!” Colin slept soundly that night, dreaming of candles. Suddenly, a great shouting aroused him from his sleep. “The boat! The boat has come in!” A hundred voices were spinning in his head. “The light-’twas the light they said--the light from the beacon. They
were only ten miles away after all. The boat was just a-driftin’ in the fog, lost.” Dawn was breaking. Colin dashed to the window. People were milling around outside. His mother was running toward the harbor. It was true! There ﬂoated his father’s schooner, standing out black as coal against the gray of the sea. Colin darted across the yard and raced for the harbor. He felt a moist wind on his face. It was beginning to snow. Oh, it was Christmas morning all right, falling right from heaven and into his heart! -Barbara Raftery
The Supplies: Sheets of beeswax (approximately 16 x 8 inches) Wick Hair Dryer 1. If the beeswax you’re working with is rolled, gently unroll it. If it’s stiff, or cracks while unrolling, soften it by warming it with the hair dryer set on low. 2. Lay a piece of wick along one of the short edges of the beeswax sheet and roll it up. And voila - you have yourself a straight, thick candle!
1 bag large pretzel rods 1 bag chocolate chips (dark or semi sweet) 1 bag white chocolate chips Various colored sprinkles Wax Paper
Melt regular chocolate chips in microwaveable oval shaped bowl (or anything that is wide and shallow) for 1 minute. Stir. DO NOT OVER COOK! (They are done when chips still hold shape and look slightly shinny. If not completely able to stir smooth, continue to microwave and stir in 30 second intervals until able to stir smooth. Hold rods by one end and twirl in chocolate until covered all the way around, leaving the end you are holding free from chocolate. It if is hard to get covered, you can break the rods in half and make smaller ones, just make sure you cover the broken ends with the chocolate. Lay out on wax paper. Melt white chocolate chips according to same procedure. Dip spoon in white chocolate and shake vigorously back and forth over the covered pretzels to make stripes. (You can repeat melting and whipping on dark chocolate too, if you used semi sweet chocolate to cover or visa versa) Sprinkle with colored sprinkles if wanted (red and green for Christmas; blue and pink for baby shower; orange, purple and green for Halloween, etc). Refrigerate until hard. Wrap in cellophane to give as gifts or eat it up right away.
St. Matthew 7:7-11
7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall ﬁnd; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh ﬁndeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a ﬁsh, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, abeing evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
A Christmas to Remember
My wife and I had been married less than two years; we were caring for a newborn; and, like typical struggling student families, we were stretching our ﬁnances trying to make ends meet. Graduation was still a few years away, and we were trying to make the best of the Christmas season. I had several part-time jobs, and my wife, Lisa, was working as a secretary. We didn’t have a lot of extras, but we were happy. A few months before Christmas, I was still getting to know the families I was recently assigned to home teach. One family in particular stood out because of the adversity they had recently faced. Two of their children had died in an accident from which the father was still recuperating, and the mother suffered from a crippling illness that had left her physically impaired. Despite these challenges, this family had a great spirit about them, and they set an example by the way they followed the commandments. During my home teaching visit in December, I saw that they did not have a Christmas tree. My heart sank for their children. Knowing of their physical, spiritual, and ﬁnancial struggles, my wife and I decided to do something for them. We had saved enough money to buy a Christmas tree, so we decided to go out on Christmas Eve, buy the biggest tree we could afford, gift wrap it, and anonymously leave it at this family’s home. Fortunately, no one was home as we dropped off the tree. As we drove home afterward, we anticipated the joy they would feel upon returning home and ﬁnding the tree waiting for them. This small sacriﬁce added a spirit of peace and joy to our holiday that I had not felt before. When we arrived at our apartment, we had our own surprise waiting for us on the doorstep: a beautifully decorated Christmas tree! My wife wept as she beheld this anonymous gift of love given to us in our ﬁnancial need. We later found out that this gift was given to us by the same family to whom we had given our tree. Even in their dark hour, this family had sought to bless others. Our hearts were ﬁlled with the true spirit of Christmas that year. It was a Christmas we will never forget. -Jerry O. Thompson
Up on the Housetop
Up on the housetop reindeer pause Out jumps good old Santa Clause Down thru the chimney with lots of toys All for the little ones Christmas joys. Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go! Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go! Up on the housetop Click, click, click Down thru the chimney with Good Saint Nick First comes the stocking Of little Nell Oh, dear Santa Fill it well Give her a dolly That laughs and cries One that will open And shut her eyes Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go! Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go! Up on the housetop Click, click, click Down thru the chimney with Good Saint Nick Next comes the stocking Of little Will Oh, just see what A glorious ﬁll Here is a hammer And lots of tacks Also a ball And a whip that cracks Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go! Ho, ho, ho! Who wouldn’t go! Up on the housetop Click, click, click Down thru the chimney with Good Saint Nick
• Styrofoam cone • Felt: green and goldenrod • Found craft jewels in assorted colors • 3 stems of red glittery chenille • 1 stem red skinny chenille How to make it: • 1 stem white skinny chenille • Scissors 1 Lay Styrofoam • 1 gold sequin cone on top of felt. • Hot glue gun Roll up to cover, trim excess, leaving ½” overlap at the bottom of the cone. Glue felt all around the cone. Cut slits in the felt overlap at the bottom, every couple of inches. Glue overlapping ﬂaps to the bottom of the cone. 2 Add garland by gluing red glittery chenille stems around the cone 3 Glue round craft jewels to the tree as ornaments. 4 Twist together red and white skinny chenille stems. Cut in to 1” lengths. Bend top of each length to form a candy cane, glue candy canes to the garland on the tree. 5 Cut out a star from the goldenrod felt and glue to the top of the tree. Glue gold sequin to the center of the star.
Felt Christmas Tree
What you’ll need:
Grams’ Chocolate Plunge
2 cups light corn syrup 1 ½ whipping cream (not whipped) 3 (12oz pkgs) semisweet chocolate chips Combine corn syrup and whipping cream in heavy sauce pan or double boiler; bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Good with apples, fruit, shortbread, or as a hot fudge ice cream topping.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Meaning Behind The Song
The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days between Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, the birth of Jesus, and the Epiphany, Jan. 6th, the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi (Wise Men) and the revelation of Christ as the light of the world. The Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” may sound silly and contrived to many of us. But it actually had its origins in religious symbolism - and with a serious purpose. It dates from a time of religious persecution. The song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” was written as a kind of secret catechism that could sing in public without fear of arrest - a learning or memory aid to Christians in fact. The song can be taken at two levels of interpretation - the surface meaning, or the hidden meaning known only to the Christians involved. Each element is a code word for a religious truth. 1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus. 2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments. 3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love. 4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels. 5. The ﬁve gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the ﬁrst ﬁve books of the Old Testament. 6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation. 7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. 8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes. 9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. 10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments. 11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles. 12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed. If you think Jesus being symbolized as a partridge in a pear tree sounds blasphemous, remember: “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so.” (Luke 13:34 and Matthew 23:34) The “true love” in the song refers to God Himself. The “me” receiving the gifts is every Christian.
* Ribbon scissors * Hot glue gun & hot glue * Craft paint (optional) & paint brush * Wood stick * Styrofoam ball (sizes vary) * Styrofoam * Base (pot, base, etc.) * Straight pins * Moss * Lots of coordinating ribbon!! To get your topiary started, make sure you know your color scheme, what room you are making your topiary for, and also decide on the size of topiary you want to make. Go to your local craft store and purchase: Craft paint (if necessary), a wood stick, a styrofoam ball, styrofoam, a base, straight pins, and moss. (If you do not have a ribbon store close by, you might want to also buy lots of coordinating ribbons.) If you need or want to paint your base and/or stick, paint them your chosen color(s). After the paint is dry, put your stick through your styrofoam ball. Cut your ribbon. The sizes of loops will vary, depending on how large or small your topiary will be. Now, make a circular loop with your ribbon, and put a straight pin through both ends. (If you want some ends that hang out, make sure you leave one end hanging out a little... as shown in the picture.) Keep doing this with all of your ribbon. Make sure to spread out the patterns, textures and colors. Evenly cover the styrofoam ball until you can not see any styrofoam. Now, ﬁll your base with styrofoam. NOTE: I realized it helps to use a cutting board and a sharp knife to ﬁll in the empty areas for more stability. To complete the look, hot glue down your moss around the base. Try to cover the styrofoam all you can.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
On the ﬁrst day of Christmas, my true love sent to me A partridge in a pear tree. On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the ﬁfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree. On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Twelve drummers drumming, Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, And a partridge in a pear tree!
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your aunbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have bfaith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this cmountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be dimpossible unto you.
The Legend of the Poinsettia
A charming story is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas Eve Services. As Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with her cousin Pedro, her heart was ﬁlled with sadness rather than joy. “I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes,” said Pedro consolingly. Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel.
As she approached the alter, she remembered Pedro’s kind words: “Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.” She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene. Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle right before their eyes. From that day on, the bright red ﬂowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season. Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!
Poinsettia Napkin Rings
How to make it: Adjust the length of rectangle according to the type of napkins you use: 1. Cut a rectangle of red felt 1 3/4 x 7” long. 2. Cut the ends of the rectangle as shown in the picture. 3. Apply gold glitter paint along the side of each of the circular ends. Let dry. 4. Cut two rectangles out of red felt 2 3/4 x 3” to make the blooms of the ﬂower. 5. Cut the two rectangles curving the edges of the ﬂower as shown in the picture. 6. Apply gold glitter paint along the sides as shown in the picture. Let dry. 7. Cut one rectangle out of green felt 3 1/2 x 3 1/4” to make the leaves of the ﬂower. 8. Cut the rectangle curving the edges of the leaves as shown in the picture. 9. Apply gold glitter paint along the sides as shown in the picture. Let dry. 10. Turn the long rectangular felt over and apply gold glitter paint along the side of each of the circular ends. (Optional) Let dry. 11. Place one red bloom on top of the leaves, so that you can see a leaf in-between each part of the bloom. 12. Place another red bloom on top of the ﬁrst red bloom. Rotate so that you see the ﬁrst red bloom parts between the one on the top. (see photo) 13. Measure the width of the long rectangular felt (napkin ring) at the “neck” (immediately after the round area) of the napkin ring. 14. Pick up all 3 pieces and fold in half. 15. With your scissors, cut a slit through all the layers that would measure 1/2 the width of the “neck” of the napkin ring. 16. Open up the 3 pieces. 17. Insert one end of the napkin ring through all 3 pieces (beginning with the leaves). 18. Insert the other end of the napkin ring through all 3 pieces. 19. Insert your napkin into the napkin ring. 20. Place on your table and enjoy using your napkin rings!
What you’ll need: • Red felt • Green felt • Glitter paint • Scissors • Ruler
Siemers’ Sunday Pancakes
Good as a Christmas morning meal, quick and easy In blender put: 6 eggs 1 cup milk 1 cup ﬂour (wheat or white) Dash of salt In mean time: Take 9 x 13 dish and melt 6 Tbs butter at 425.* Pull it out and put on stove. Pour blender mix over melted butter. Bake at 425* 25 min until brown. Cut into squares and serve with syrup or powdered sugar. Great on Sunday/Or Christmas morning. Variation: In a skillet, sliced apples, margarine,
adding cinnamon and sugar. Cook until apples are translucent. Put in blender and add to batter before baking.
The Little Drummer Boy
Once there was a boy who was the son of a shepherd. His family didn’t have much money, and so they were not able to afford to buy the toys. The boy spent his time helping his father tend to the sheep in the pastures, and there was not much time for playing. One day the boy went with his father to the market in town. As they were passing by stands where people sold their goods, the boy spotted a beautiful drum, with silver rings around it and a gleaming white top. He stared at it a long time because he wanted it very badly, but he didn’t say anything because he knew that his family could not buy toys for him. His father paused, watching his son staring at the drum, and knew what he was thinking. That night after the son had come in from the pastures helping with the sheep, he ate his supper and went up to get ready for bed. There on his bed sat the beautiful drum he had wanted so badly. His parents even let him bang on it a little bit before going to bed that night. Starting the next day, and everyday thereafter, the little boy carried the drum with him and practiced on it as he went out to the pastures to help with the sheep. Both the sheep and shepherds grew accustomed to the drumming, and as the months and years passed, the boy became quite good at it. The shepherds looked forward to hearing his different cadences rolling down the hillside every morning.The boy carried his drum everywhere he went, and even slept with it beside him at night time. One day a very poor family came looking for a place to stay. The young woman was pregnant and ready to have her baby any day. They needed shelter, but were not able to ﬁnd any in the village below. So the boy’s family allowed them to stay in their stable. The young woman and her husband were very nice to the young boy, and they were so poor that he felt he wanted to give them something special in return for their kindness, but he had nothing to give them. One cold night, the boy awoke to a bluish light shining in his window. He got up and looked outside, where he saw the stars shining more brightly than he had ever seen before. They were shining so brightly that you could see billions of them in the sky, and they seemed to be closer than usual. The pastures below were lit up with the starlight so that you could see the sheep clearly even far away. It gave the boy a magical feeling, and he had to run outside to see better. The shepherds watching the sheep were also gathered together looking up at the unusually bright starlight. As the boy was looking upward outside his house, he heard crying coming from the stable and saw the light of a lantern shining from within. He went to look inside, where he saw the mother and father holding a newborn baby close, trying to feed him his ﬁrst meal. The boy suddenly knew what he wanted to give them. He ran upstairs, got his drum, brought it down to the stable, and stepped inside. He said, “This drum is all I have that is mine, but I want to give it to your baby so that when he grows up, he can learn to play like I have.” The woman smiled at him, and said, “I’ve heard you play your drum, and I enjoy it so much that I want you to keep your drum and share the gift you have for playing instead.” The boy was very happy to hear that. He picked up his drum and began playing softly, so as not to frighten the baby.
Christmas Drum Container
1. Prepare the drum: Take a small snack-food container (small pringles cans work great!) with a snap-on plastic lid. Paint it white to conceal the print, then, when dry, ﬁnish with red acrylic paint. 2. Make the holes: Mark four points equally spaced around the drum about 1cm from the top. Mark four more points about 0.5cm from the bottom, in between the other points. Pierce all eight with a brad awl. 3. Insert paper fasteners: Insert brass paper fasteners into each hole leaving about 3mm projecting and splay their legs to ﬁx them in place. 4. Add the strings: Take a piece of gold cord and wrap it from one paper fastener to the next in a zigzag pattern. Tie off the ends and cut off any surplus. 5. Decorate the lid: Cut a star from a piece of metallic paper and stick it to the centre of the lid using a glue stick. 6. Finishing touches: Line the drum with shredded tissue paper to conceal and protect the contents.
The Little Drummer Boy
Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum A new born King to see, pa rum pum pum pum Our ﬁnest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum To lay before the King, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum, When we come. Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum That’s ﬁt to give the King, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum, On my drum? Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum Me and my drum.
12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that bmen should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
2 cup scald milk 2 eggs, beaten ¼ cup yellow cornmeal ¼ cup sugar 1 tsp salt 2 Tbs cold milk ¼ tsp ginger ¾ Tbs cinnamon ¼ cup molasses
3. Cook on medium over direct heat stirring constantly until thick. (10 min) 1. Scald milk in a double boiler *a thin layer of 4. Cover and cook over simmering water 15 “skin” on top, and wrinkles when blown on. minutes. 2. Blend remaining ingredients in bowl. Add 5. Remove cover and cook 15 minutes longer. scald milk gradually, stir until smooth. Return to 6. Serve with whipped cream. Tastes similar double boiler. to pumpkin pie.
30 Give to every man that basketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
Oh Come All Ye Fathful
Oh, come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant, Oh, come ye, oh, come ye, to Bethlehem. Come and behold Him, born the King of angels; Oh, come, let us adore Him, oh, come, let us adore Him, Oh come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation; Oh, sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above! Glory to God, all glory in the highest; Oh, come, let us adore Him, oh, come, let us adore Him, Oh come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv’n; Word of the Father, now in ﬂesh appearing; Oh, come, let us adore Him, oh, come, let us adore Him, Oh come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus
By Francis Pharcellus Church, Editor of the New York Sun, in response to a letter by Virginia O’Hanlan “We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratiﬁcation that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
Dear Editor, I am eight years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in the Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus? Virginia O’Hanlon
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood ﬁlls the world would be extinguished. ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.”
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you
What Can I Give Him?
by Christina Rossetti
“What can I give Him, Poor as I am? If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb, If I were a wise man I would do my part. Yet what can I give Him? Give my heart.”
Lovey Slushie- Sweet n’ Sour
1 package (3 oz) strawberry jell-o 1 cup boiling water 1 can (6 oz) frozen lemonade concentrate 3 cups cool whip 1 can (16 oz) peaches 1 can (8.5 oz) pears *can substitute with other fruit if desired Drain and chop fruit, set aside. Dissolve Jell-o in the boiling water. Add concentrate to Jell-o and stir until melted. Chill until slightly thickened. Blend in cool whip and fold in drained fruit. Pour into 9x5 bread pan. Freeze until ﬁrm.
Heart Basket Ornament
These woven hearts are a bit tricky to learn. But, with practice and patience you’ll see they aren’t so hard after all. Once you get the hang of it, you can experiment with felt, craft foam, fabric etc. This project will be easier for kids 10 and up. Materials Two pieces of paper, each a different color (craft foam, fabric or felt will also work) pencil & scissors Directions 1. Cut two paper rectangles from colored construction paper and round off the ends. The exact dimensions of the rectangles don’t matter as long as the two pieces are the the same size. You may want to start with larger pieces while learning. 2. Fold the strips in half and cut 2-3 slits through the folds. Do not cut all the way to the edge. Weaving You’ll be weaving “through and around”, as opposed to the “over and under” in traditional weaving. Begin by weaving strip 1 through slit A, around strip B, through slit C. Push this row to the back, where the slits end. Continue the weaving with strip B. Weave it through slit 1, around strip 2, through slit 3. Until this row is ﬁnished. Continue until all the rows are done. To make the handle on your basket cut a strip of matching paper and staple the ends to the front and back of your basket.
14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
The Meaning of the Candy Cane
Look at the Candy Cane What do you see? Stripes that are red Like the blood shed for me Turn it around And a staff you will see Jesus my shepherd Was born for Me!
The Legend of the Candy Cane
A Candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would help us remember who Christmas is really about. So he made a Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ. He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the virgin birth and sinless nature of Jesus. Hard candy to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church, and ﬁrmness of the promises of God. The candymaker made the candy in the form of a “J” to represent the name of Jesus. It also represented the staff of the “Good Shepherd”. The candymaker then included red stripes. He used three small stripes and a large red stripe to represent the suffering Christ endured at the end of his life. The candy became known as a Candy Cane - a decoration seen at Christmas time. The meaning has faded, but still gives joy to children young and old, whom Jesus loves and treasures.
White is for my Savior Who’s sinless and pure! “J” is for Jesus My Lord, that’s for sure!
Candy Cane Reindeer Ornament
• Low temp hot glue gun • Ribbons or yarn for hanging • 1 wrapped candy cane • 1 tiny pom-pom for the nose • 2 little wiggle eyes (or paper eyes drawn and cut out) • Brown pipe cleaners for the antlers How to make it: 1. Look at the illustration make antlers out of pipe cleaners, wrap them around the candy cane on the curve and glue them. 2. Add two wiggle eyes and a pom-pom nose.
The Gifts of Christmas
Thomas S. Monson, “The Gifts of Christmas,” Ensign, Dec 2003, 2–5
From 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon we read, “Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulﬁl all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets.” 1 With the birth of the babe in Bethlehem, there emerged a great endowment, a power stronger than weapons, a wealth more lasting than the coins of Caesar. This child was to be the King of kings and Lord of lords, the promised Messiah—even Jesus Christ, the Son of God. His Beckoning Invitation Born in a stable, cradled in a manger, He came forth from heaven to live on earth as mortal man and to establish the kingdom of God. During His earthly ministry, He taught men the higher law. His glorious gospel reshaped the thinking of the world. He blessed the sick. He caused the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. He even raised the dead to life. What was the reaction to His message of mercy, His words of wisdom, His lessons of life? There were a precious few who appreciated Him. They bathed His feet. They learned His word. They followed His example. Down through the generations of time, the message from Jesus has been the same. To Peter by the shores of beautiful Galilee, He said, “Follow me.” 2 To Philip of old came the call, “Follow me.” 3 To the Levite who sat at receipt of customs came the instruction, “Follow me.” 4 And to you and to me, if we but listen, shall come that same beckoning invitation, “Follow me.” As we follow in His steps today, we too will have an opportunity to bless the lives of others. Jesus invites us to give of ourselves: “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind.” 5 Our opportunities to give of ourselves are indeed limitless, but they are also perishable. There are hearts to gladden. There are kind words to say. There are gifts to be given. There are deeds to be done. There are souls to be saved. “Go, gladden the lonely, the dreary; Go, comfort the weeping, the weary; Go, scatter kind deeds on your way; Oh, make the world brighter today!” 6 A wise Christian once urged, “May we not spend Christmas, but keep it.” 7 When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ spirit. My Christmas Treasury of Books At this time of the year my family knows that I will read again my Christmas treasury of books and ponder the wondrous words of the authors. First will be the Gospel of Luke—even the Christmas story. This will be followed by A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and, ﬁnally, The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke. I always must wipe my eyes when reading these inspired writings. They touch my inner soul, as they will yours. Wrote Dickens, “I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round— … as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.” 8 In his classic A Christmas Carol, Dickens’s now converted character, Ebenezer Scrooge, declares at last: “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.” 9
Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—He who was burdened with “sorrows, and acquainted with grief” 10—speaks to every troubled heart and bestows the gift of peace: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” 11 True Giving He sends forth His word through the many thousands of missionaries serving far and wide proclaiming His gospel of good tidings and salutation of peace. Vexing questions, such as “Where did I come from? What is the purpose of my being? Where do I go after death?” are answered by His special servants. Frustration ﬂees, doubt disappears, and uncertainty wanes when truth is taught in boldness, yet in a spirit of humility by those who have been called to serve the Prince of Peace—even the Lord Jesus Christ. His gift is bestowed individually: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” 12 May I share several more examples of true giving learned by me from the experiences of the three most recent Presidents of the Church, with whom I have had the privilege to serve as a counselor. First, from President Ezra Taft Benson (1899–1994): He described an assignment he had received from the President of the Church following World War II. President Benson was to leave his wife and family and go to the devastated members of the Church in Germany and other nations. Through the God-inspired welfare program, he literally fed the hungry, comforted the weeping, and lifted closer to heaven all with whom he met. Years later, at a dedication service at Zwickau, Germany, an elderly member, with moist eyes, said to me, “Please tell President Benson that we love him. He saved our lives: mine, my wife’s, my children’s, and many, many others’. He was as an angel sent by God to literally restore to us hope and conﬁdence in the future. Tell him we love him.” Second, from President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95): On one occasion President Hunter dealt with a particularly tragic and difﬁcult situation. At length he said, “I have always liked to lift people, rather than put them down, to show them the way of the Lord, that they might follow Him.” Subsequently, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of compassion, the gift of encouragement were freely given to the distressed couple by this saintly leader. Third, from President Gordon B. Hinckley: President Hinckley is a much-traveled prophet and President. His presence, his example, his testimony have been shared throughout the world. About ﬁve years ago he returned from a visit to the southeast area of the United States, where he spoke to tens of thousands. The morning after his return home, President Hinckley said he felt a bit weary. In the next breath, he commented, “I’ve learned of the terrible suffering endured by the people of Central America because of the rampaging ﬂoods which engulfed homes, ﬁelds, and many persons. I feel a need to visit the stricken area, and so I, along with Elder L. Tom Perry and Bishop H. David Burton, will leave by plane in two days in order to do so.” We reviewed with the President information concerning the supplies already sent and received at distribution points, plus those which were en route by air and by ship. President Hinckley returned from his three-day trip rejoicing in a welfare program which works. He met with the members. He met with the missionaries. He complimented throngs who were at work cleaning up the debris which once was homes. President Hinckley gave them encouragement and assurances of additional assistance, but more than this, he gave to them himself. We express thanks to our Heavenly Father for such a prophet. In my lifelong association with President Hinckley, I know that he is a wise and prudent steward regarding the sacred funds of the Church. He abhors waste and extravagance. However, never have I seen President Hinckley turn away the needy, the hungry, the downtrodden, or the oppressed. Helping is our divine duty. The food, the shelter, the assistance rendered are freely given so that suffering may be alleviated, hearts cheered, and lives saved. There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord our God with all our heart—and our neighbors as ourselves. It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much, he who gives time gives more, but he who gives of himself gives all. Let this be a description of our Christmas gifts.
Candy Crunch White Bark
Ingredients: 1 pound vanilla-ﬂavor candy coating 3/4 cup crushed fruit-ﬂavor candy canes
Line a baking sheet with foil; set aside. Heat candy coating ( or White Chocolate) in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until candy is melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 cup of the crushed candy canes. Pour mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread mixture to about 3/8-inch thickness. Sprinkle with the remaining crushed candies. Chill candy about 30 minutes or until ﬁrm. (Or, let candy stand at room temperature for several hours until ﬁrm.) Use foil to lift ﬁrm candy from the baking sheet; carefully break candy into pieces. Store tightly covered up to 2 weeks. Makes 1 pound (16 servings).
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
t came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth, To touch their harps of gold; “Peace on the earth, good will to men, From Heaven’s all gracious King.” The world in solemn stillness lay, To hear the angels sing. Still through the cloven skies they come With peaceful wings unfurled, And still their heavenly music ﬂoats O’er all the weary world; Above its sad and lowly plains, They bend on hovering wing, And ever over its Babel sounds The blessèd angels sing. Yet with the woes of sin and strife The world has suffered long; Beneath the angel strain have rolled Two thousand years of wrong; And man, at war with man, hears not The love-song which they bring; O hush the noise, ye men of strife And hear the angels sing. And ye, beneath life’s crushing load, Whose forms are bending low, Who toil along the climbing way With painful steps and slow, Look now! for glad and golden hours Come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, And hear the angels sing! For lo! the days are hastening on, By prophet-bards foretold, When with the ever circling years Comes round the age of gold; When peace shall over all the earth Its ancient splendors ﬂing, And the whole world send back the song Which now the angels sing.
3 Nephi 1:13-15
13 Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulﬁl all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. 14 Behold, I come unto my own, to fulﬁl all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my ﬂesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given. 15 And it came to pass that the words which came unto Nephi were fulﬁlled, according as they had been spoken; for behold, at the going down of the sun there was no darkness; and the people began to be astonished because there was no darkness when the night came.
Cocoa Crinkle Sandwiches
1 3/4 cup all-purpose ﬂour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup(1 stick) butter 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided 2 eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla 1 can(16 ounces) chocolate or favorite ﬂavor frosting 1/2 cup crushed candy canes*(optional) Combine ﬂour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Melt butter in large saucepan over medum heat; cool slightly. Add 1 1/4 cups sugar; whisk until smooth. Whisk in eggs, 1 at a time, until blended. Stir in vanilla until smooth. Stir in ﬂour mixture just until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate 2 hours. (This is something you could do before hand and have ready for FHE)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheets. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place remaining 1/2 cup sugar in shallow bowl; roll balls in sugar. Place 1 1/2 *to crush candy canes, place in sealed heavy-duty plactic bag. Break into piecess w/heavy object; cush inches apart on cookie sheets. pieces with rolling pin. Do not crush into dust. Bake 12 minutes or utnil cookies feel set to the touch. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets 5 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. (Or you could do all this by yourself and bring the kids in for the fun part.) Stir frosting until soft and smooth. Place crushed candy cames on piece of waxed paper. Spead about 2 teaspoons frosting over ﬂat side of one cookie. Place second cookie, ﬂat side down, over frosting, pressing down to allow frosting to squeeze out slightly between cookies. Repeat with remaining cookies. Press exposed frosting into crushed candy canes. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store in airtight container. Makes about 21 sandwiches, (about 42 unﬁlled cookies)
Let it Snow
The Weight of a Snowﬂake
“Tell me the weight of a snowﬂake,” a mouse asked a wild dove. “Nothing more than nothing,” the dove answered. “In that case I must tell you a marvelous story,” the mouse said. “I sat on the branch of a ﬁr, close to its trunk, when it began to snow, not heavily, not a raging blizzard, no just like in a dream without any violence. Since I had time, I counted the snowﬂakes setting on the twigs and needles of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,741,952 when the next snowﬂake dropped onto the branch - “nothing more than nothing” as you say - the branch broke off.” Having said that the mouse went away. The dove thought about the meaning of the story for a while and ﬁnally said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice lacking for peace to come about in this world.”
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 brought some corn for popping; The lights are turned way down low, Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. When we ﬁnally say good night, How I’ll hate going out in the storm; But if you really hold me tight, All the way home I’ll be warm. The ﬁre is slowly dying, And, my dear, we’re still good-bye-ing, But as long as you love me so. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
Beaded Snowﬂake Ornament
• 10 corsage pins with pearl ends • Crystal-like beads in desired shapes and sizes • 1 small cork • Iridescent white glitter paint pen (usually used for fabric) • Monoﬁlament thread Instructions: 1. Add beads to 4 pins. Place beads on 1 corsage pin in desired order, leaving the last 1/4 inch without beads. Make 3 more beaded pins using the same arrangement. 2. Make another set of 4 beaded pins, using a different arrangement. Make an additional set of 2 beaded pins. (You should have a total of 10 beaded pins.) 3. Add 4 matching pins to cork. Cut the cork, if necessary, so it is about 1/4 inch long. With the round side of the cork laying on the work surface, poke one beaded pin into the cork (close to work surface) like a spoke of a wheel. Place a matching beaded pin opposite the ﬁrst. Place the remaining two opposite each other, between the ﬁrst set. 4. Add remaining pins. Using the remaining set of 4 matching pins, poke each into the cork, slightly closer to the top of the cork and alternating with the ﬁrst set of four. Place the remaining 2 beaded pins into each round end of the cork. 5. Cover the cork using glitter paint pen. Allow to dry. Apply a second coat, if necessary, and let dry. 6. To hang, cut a desired length of monoﬁlament and tie to one spoke of the snowﬂake.
John 13: 34-35
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have alove one to another.
Davey and the First Christmas
By Beth Vardon Let’s pretend there was a boy, and Davey was his name, Whose family lived in Bethlehem when Christmas time ﬁrst came. Davey had a special pet—a donkey small and gray, And what the two of them did best was getting in the way! Davey named the donkey Tim. He never rode him though. Either Tim was built too high or Davey was too low! Davey’s father had an inn where people came to stay; And lots and lots and LOTS of them were coming there one day. His father was as busy as six or seven bees! So Davey said, “I want to help, can’t I do something please? Tim would like to help you, too. Find a job for us to do!” “Listen, Son,” his father said, “Last week you broke three jugs.” You scared my two best customers with your pet lightening bugs! You tracked in mud on my clean ﬂoor, you tripped and dropped the bread. And though I loved the ﬁsh you caught—why leave them on my bed?” “I’ve put up with your helpfulness as long as I am able, So do me a big favor now, get out—and clean the stable!” Davey sadly went and stood beside the stable door. It hardly seemed that anyone could clean that dirt ﬂoor. He and Tim felt so bad they started to cry— But then (thought Davey), “Yes, we can! Well, anyhow—let’s try.” First, let’s chase those chickens out. That’s what we’ve got to do. So Tim began to ﬂap his ears while Davey shouted, “Shooooo!” The chickens clucked and ﬂew and ducked, they ﬂuttered wild and scary. Until their feathers ﬁlled the air like snow in January.
Yes, Davey chased those chickens out, He and Tim together. But now he had to get a sack and pick up every feather! You should have seen how hard they worked! They stacked up all the wheat, They straightened up the harnesses till they were nice and neat. They fought with spiders bravely till they chased out every bug. And since we must admit the truth—they broke another jug! The very biggest job of all was stacking up the hay. Davey climbed up to the loft and put it all away. “Look, Tim. You see how high it is? I’ll make just one more trip.” Then clear up by the stable roof his feet began to slip! Down came the hay and Davey, too. The stable looked so queer— All you could see was piles of hay—one sandal, and one ear! Slowly they came out on top, and Davey didn’t whine, Though hay stuck out all over him just like a porcupine! He put the hay all back again and stacked it up with care— But left one armload down below to ﬁll the manger there. So Davey’s work was done at last, and when it all looked neat He picked some ﬂowers to trim the barn, and some for Tim to eat. “I hope it’s clean enough,” he thought. “At least I did by best.” And feeling very, very tired, he curled up for a rest… Who woke up Davey from his sleep? Just guess then if you can. Mary was the woman’s name, Joseph was the man. Mary said, “Oh, Joseph, look! This is a lovely place!” Then seeing Davey there, she said, with such a shining face, “Your father’s inn had no more rooms, tonight we’re staying here. So tell me now, are you the boy who cleaned the stable, dear? And did your donkey help you work? We want to thank him, too.” Though Davey was still half asleep, his heart was glad clear through. So that is how a little boy, two thousand years ago, Stayed on to hear the angels sing, and see the Star aglow. As soon as Baby Jesus came to use the manger bed, Then Davey’s sack of feathers made a pillow for His head. No one told Davey anymore that he was in the way. His work had helped get ready for the world’s ﬁrst Christmas Day!
Jingle Bell Bracelets
-Pipe cleaner, wrist or ankle size -Bells -Beads 1. To create a basic bracelet, just thread beads and bells on a wrist- or ankle-size pipe cleaner (we used the bumpy type here), then form it into a circle; make a clasp by looping together the ends of the pipe cleaner. 2. For a fancier look, form a single pipe cleaner into a circle, thread on 4 or 5 bells, then coil additional pipe cleaners around the ﬁrst, between each bell. 3. For our deluxe version, start with a bumpy pipe cleaner, threading 1 bell onto each “bump”; form a single pipe cleaner into a circle, then twist the bumpy pipe cleaner around it so that each bell faces outward.
Dashing through the snow In a one horse open sleigh O’er the ﬁelds we go Laughing all the way Bells on bob tails ring Making spirits bright What fun it is to laugh and sing A sleighing song tonight Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way Oh, what fun it is to ride In a one horse open sleigh Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way Oh, what fun it is to ride In a one horse open sleigh A day or two ago I thought I’d take a ride And soon Miss Fanny Bright Was seated by my side The horse was lean and lank Misfortune seemed his lot We got into a drifted bank And then we got upsot Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way Oh, what fun it is to ride In a one horse open sleigh Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way Oh, what fun it is to ride In a one horse open sleigh yeah Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way Oh, what fun it is to ride In a one horse open sleigh Jingle bells, jingle bells Jingle all the way Oh, what fun it is to ride In a one horse open sleigh
Time Capsule Ornaments:
Get hollow clear glass ball ornaments you buy at the store. Remove the “plug” and ﬁll with glitter, sparkles, confetti, whatever you like. Include personal messages from each child (what is going on in their lives, what did you do for Christmas this year, what are their interests, etc). Paint or decorate the outside as well if you would like. Return the Plug. Write the date on a small piece of paper and whole punch it. String it onto a ribbon, then string the ribbon through the loop in the top of the plug to hang from the tree. Set a date (like 10 years) to then open the ornament and read it’s contents. Create one every year so once the ﬁrst one is opened in 10 years, you can then open one every year there after to see how your children have changed and grown over that period of time.
Dirty Snowballs! Bread
(Monkey Bread) (12 ounce) package refrigerated biscuit dough 1 cup granulated sugar 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/2 cup margarine 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) 1/2 cup raisins (optional) 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9- or 10-inch tube pan. 2 Mix sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Cut biscuits into quarters. Shake or roll 6 to 8 biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the prepared pan. Continue until all biscuits are coated and placed in pan. If using nuts and raisins, arrange them in and among the biscuit pieces as you go along. 3 In a small saucepan, melt the margarine with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the biscuits. 4 Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a plate. Do not cut! The bread just pulls apart.
14 What doth it proﬁt, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and ﬁlled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it proﬁt? 17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justiﬁed by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
A CHRISTMAS DAD WOULD HAVE WANTED By Stanley A. Petersen
When I was eleven years of age, just before Christmas, my father passed away. I was very, very close to my father. He was a very special man to me. I worshiped him. He could do no wrong in my eyes. I used to live for the summers to come. He traveled on the highway. He was a salesman for a plumbing supply company and would travel all over northern California. I used to just live for the summers so that I could just spend the time traveling with my dad. We were close friends, as well as father and son. When he died, part of me died. I just couldn’t imagine Christmas would even come without dad. It was a very difﬁcult thing because of the ﬁve children. I was the youngest of ﬁve. Ever since I could remember my dad carried a pocket watch in his vest pocket. It was one he had had since he was a young man, unmarried. So for many, many months we saved, schemed, planned and anticipated this glorious Christmas for we had bought my father a wristwatch that would never be seen, because he was gone. We had it engraved on the back, “To our loving father, Joe.” I dreaded Christmas. I didn’t want it to come. I didn’t want to remember the watch. I didn’t want to remember that my dad was not here to see it. Christmas Eve came--ﬁve o’clock in the evening. It was a somber evening. There was a sad atmosphere in our home. At ﬁve o’clock a miracle happened. There was a knock at the front door. I went to the door. There was a little boy about my age, about eleven. He had in his hand several waxed paper bags. In the waxed paper bags he had fudge--little packages of fudge. He said, “I’m selling Christmas candy, would you buy some?” I went to my mother and said, “There is a little boy outside, who is very, very poor who is selling candy. Can we buy some? It’s 25 cents a bag.” She told me we should buy some and gave me a dollar bill and told me to tell him to keep the change. I brought the candy in the house--half a dozen pieces of sugary fudge of very poor quality. We opened it and my mother looked in. After a few moments she said, “Stan, go get him and bring him back.” So I went outside and down the street. He had been down two or three more houses and hadn’t sold any more candy. I told him to come back, that my mother wanted to see him. He was frightened. He probably thought we had seen the quality of the candy and wanted our money back. Finally I convinced him to come back, that my mother wanted to talk to him and that she didn’t want to hurt him. Finally, reassuringly, I got him back to our home.
My mother asked him a little bit about his family-where they were and where they lived. The little boy was very vague about some of the details and said they had just moved from Oklahoma to Sacramento. We lived in Sacramento, California. He said they had moved here and they didn’t have an apartment yet, but were looking for a place. In the course of the conversation, my mother ﬁnally won his conﬁdence and asked him where his mother and father were. He said, “My mother is with my brothers and sisters--they’re selling candy also.” She got him to promise that he would bring his mother back to our house. Well, about an hour later he came back with his mother and his family--all but the father and the oldest daughter. In the course of a rather lengthy conversation, my mother pulled out of this woman the real story. They had moved from Oklahoma, her husband thought he had a job in Sacramento at the air base just 12 miles out of Sacramento. When they got here they found out they did not have a job. On the way out, the father had contracted a very bad cold and now was extremely ill. They had run out of money. They had no place to stay and they were living out under a bridge on the American River. They had a very old car that they had come from Oklahoma in and they were living in the car with the ﬁve children, the mother and the father, with the father being extremely ill. It’s cold in Sacramento. It’s not like Los Angeles. It’s a damp area and damp coldness and so I am sure they were really very uncomfortable and miserable under that little bridge. They were living on some rotten potatoes that they had gotten out of a garbage can somewhere at a grocery store. That’s all they had. They took the last little bit of money they had to buy a little sugar and a little cocoa. Over an open ﬁre they had made this little batch of fudge and were trying to sell it to get some money so they could have some food. My mother talked to the mother and ﬁnally convinced her that we wanted to help them. She got the mother to promise that the ﬁrst thing the next morning they would come back and that we would provide Christmas. She called all the chil-
dren together. And what was almost planned, I think it was planned, those children almost matched the ages and sizes of each of us--even the sex--boy, girl relation. We began to hurry around to prepare Christmas for this family, taking coats we had and wrapping them, taking Christmas presents we had bought for one another and putting their names on instead. We rushed to the store and bought several boxes of food. All evening, late into the night we were busily engaged in getting ready Christmas morning for this family. Early Christmas morning they came. The glorious time had arrived to provide for this ragged little family that had absolutely nothing. The father came, as ill as he was, he came. He had nowhere else to go and it was the only warmth they had. We spent Christmas day enjoying that day with them, feeding them, watching them unwrap their presents. As the day wore on and evening came, my mother, after we had loaded their car with boxes full of groceries, toys, blankets and all the things they needed, my mother put $100 in that mother’s hand. We got $800 insurance money when my father died and we had about $300 left. The $100 was enough money to pay rent on an apartment or someplace where they could stay and to get a doctor. That was a lot of money for us and a lot of money for them. As that family left the mother had tears streaming down her cheeks, the father was so emotional he could not speak, and the children were absolutely elated. We, after they left, savored the warmth and the beauty of that good Christmas day, December 25, 1941. We then began to reﬂect what the miracle was and what a marvelous experience it had been for us to have had that grateful thing come into our lives that Christmas. For we had been so busy and so involved in losing our lives in the service of somebody else that we had found happiness, fulﬁllment and a peace as much as we had ever known
2 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 1/2 cup butter 3 cups quick oats 1/2 cup peanut butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Place oats, peanut butter and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine sugar, milk, cocoa and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; boil 1 minute (no longer!). Remove from heat. Pour over oat mixture; stir well. Drop by large spoonfuls onto wax paper and let cool.
Comments: The secret lies not only in the proportion of ingredients, but also in the cooking time: Boil the mixture 1 minute - no less, or the cookies won’t set; no more than 1 minute, or they’ll crumble apart. Makes about 2 dozen.
Happy Daddy Book
Buy a blank (no lines) sketch book or journal. Create a “Happy Daddy Book” or “Happy Family Book.” Each year you can add to the same book. On the ﬁrst page write: “Christmas 2007: Happiness is…” followed by the Left Page of the next page writing one thing that made your family happy that year (such as a new job for daddy). On the right page facing it, illustrate (or put in a photograph) of that event. On the next page do the same thing but with another big, memorable, or happy event from that year (such as “… a clean driving record for Jenny” or “… straight ‘A’s for Tommy). Allow each child to illustrate the picture that is about them. Next year pick up on the next empty page in the book and again title it “Christmas 2008: Happiness is…” followed by “… subsequent events of that year” and so on until the entire book is ﬁlled up. Then start a new book (volume 2) and continue the tradition through the years. You will be excited to see how their pictures change, the events change, and how much you have forgotten over the years that is fun to look back on. You will have fun thinking of creative ways to even let the littlest kids be involved (paint an infant hand and stamp it to make into a turkey for Sara’s ﬁrst thanksgiving, scribbles for Johnny discovers the pens and writes on all the walls)
Parent’s Nite before Christmas - Christmas Eve Check List
Let Mom Enjoy Christmas Morning, Too. Plan a simple breakfast of pastries, fresh fruit and juices, served on festive disposable plates and in decorative cups. No cooking; no dishes. Poised for Pictures. Check your supply of batteries and ﬁlm. Charge the camcorder battery; make sure you have plenty of videotape. Speaking of videos, take a few minutes now to set your VCR to record several favorite holiday shows airing between now and the 24th. You can enjoy them Christmas night and throughout the rest of the holiday break, when things have wound down a bit.
Gather Your Packages. If you’re heading to more than one party, separate gifts for each place
into colorful oversized shopping bags for easy toting. Take along an extra wrapped gift, like a Christmas book or CD, for a quick save in case someone you’ve forgotten remembers you. Ready to Roll. Planning to travel? Fill up the gas tank; check oil and window washer ﬂuid levels. Put an emergency kit in the trunk: blankets, ﬂashlights, a spare tire, etc. Pack some snacks, too. If you do have any car problems, you want to have something to stay warm and feed the kids. To help time pass on the way to Grandma’s, surprise children with a fun-pack to explore, stuffed with coloring books, hand-held games or dolls.
Tire the kids out plan something fun to do like build a snowman, if there isn’t snow raking leave into white garbage bags and stacking them into an imaginary frost will bring nearly as much joy and many more laughs. If your kids are older, volunteer at a nearby homeless shelter or deliver sacklunches yourselfs to those without this season. Go on a EveK- Traditional jog or hunt for elves. Plan a scavenger hunt that will occupy your kids around the neighborhood and give you a minute to gather your senses before you begin tip-toeing around “sleeping” rooms. Putting kids to bed tired rather than wired is always better.
Give Santa a Break. Want to avoid wrangling with bike parts at 2 a.m.? Tell santa to put the boxes under the tree, then assemble gifts as a family, “We’re a lot more appreciative of the gifts, since we help put them together,” says Mary.
Sweet Dreams. You’ve been waiting weeks to see your child’s reaction to that perfect gift.
Get a good night’s sleep, or you’ll snooze through the “oohs”.
Finish your baking as early as possible on Christmas Eve; wrap the last package
before nightfall. Ease kids into bed at their regular time, reading the original Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20) or sharing happy holiday memories from your own childhood.
THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
by Clement Clarke Moore ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; The children were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads; Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap, He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, A bundle of toys he had ﬂung on his back, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. Away to the window I ﬂew like a ﬂash, His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, He had a broad face and a little round belly, With a little old driver, so lively and quick, That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly. I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen! Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! And ﬁlled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!” And laying his ﬁnger aside of his nose, As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane ﬂy, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky, He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, So up to the house-top the coursers they ﬂew, And away they all ﬂew like the down of a thistle. With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too. And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. As I drew in my hand, and was turning around, But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”
Acts 10: 33-38
33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) 37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: 40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; 41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. 43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Today take the time to do soemthing for someone else that they can’t do for themselves. It may be great to journal this for yourself to remember or share your feelings with other family through a letter, e-mail or blog.
Don’t forget to encourage, teach or invlove your children in this opportunity...
Mary, did you know That your baby boy will one day walk on water? Did you know That your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? Did you know That your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that youve delivered Will soon deliver you Mary, did you know That your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? Did you know That your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? Did you know That your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little boy Mary, did you know Youve kissed the face of god That your baby boy is lord of all creation? Mary, did you know? Did you know The blind will see That your baby boy will one day rules the nations? The deaf will hear Did you know And the dead will live again That your baby boy is heavens perfect lamb? The lame will leap This sleeping child youre holding The dumb will speak Is the great I am The praises of the lamb
did you know?
Opening the Scriptures and reading from them will be much more impactful for the Christmas Story. Acting the part out in human form or moving the ﬁgurings in at the appropriate times will help little ones understand and stay focused.
The Christmas Story
as accounted in Luke 2 and Matthew 2
Luke 1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was ﬁrst made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her ﬁrstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the ﬁeld, keeping watch over their ﬂock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall ﬁnd the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the days of her apuriﬁcation according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; Matthew 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Larry Gilbert tells of a little church yard in France where a beautiful statue of Jesus with outstretched arms once stood. During World War II, a beautiful statue of Jesus was badly damaged by the bombing in France. When the ﬁghting had passed the village, the villagers gathered up the pieces of the broken statue, which had been located in front of their church, and began to repair it. As they patiently set about their task, even the scars seemed to add to its beauty in their eyes. Every part of the statue was repaired but one - the hands were never found. Some of the people said, “What good is our Jesus without hands?”. “A Christ without hands is no Christ at all!” someone else said sadly. So someone suggested that they try to get a new statue. Then another person in the group came up with the idea that prevailed. He suggested that a brass plaque be attached to the statue’s base that would read: “I have no hands but yours.”
“I have no hands but yours.”
THE LIVING CHRIST
THE T ESTIMONY OF THE APOSTLES
s we commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ two millennia ago, we offer our testimony of the reality of His matchless life and the infinite virtue of His great atoning sacrifice. None other has had so profound an influence upon all who have lived and will yet live upon the earth. He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, He was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). Though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He “went about doing good” (Acts 10:38), yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughters of God in the life to come. He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth. We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world. He rose from the grave to “become the firstfruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Risen Lord, He visited among those He had loved in life. He also ministered among His “other sheep” (John 10:16) in ancient America. In the modern world, He and His Father appeared to the boy Joseph Smith, ushering in the long-promised “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).
THE FIRST PRESIDENCY
THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
Of the Living Christ, the Prophet Joseph wrote: “His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying: “I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father” (D&C 110:3–4). Of Him the Prophet also declared: “And now, after the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all, which we give of him: That he lives! “For we saw him, even on the right hand of God; and we heard the voice bearing record that he is the Only Begotten of the Father— “That by him, and through him, and of him, the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God” (D&C 76:22–24). We declare in words of solemnity that His priesthood and His Church have been restored upon the earth— “built upon the foundation of . . . apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Ephesians 2:20). We testify that He will someday return to earth. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). He will rule as King of Kings and reign as Lord of Lords, and every knee shall bend and every tongue shall speak in worship before Him. Each of us will stand to be judged of Him according to our works and the desires of our hearts. We bear testimony, as His duly ordained Apostles— that Jesus is the Living Christ, the immortal Son of God. He is the great King Immanuel, who stands today on the right hand of His Father. He is the light, the life, and the hope of the world. His way is the path that leads to happiness in this life and eternal life in the world to come. God be thanked for the matchless gift of His divine Son.
THE QUORUM OF THE TWELVE
January 1, 2000
© 1999 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. English approval: 12/99
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