Merry Christmas 2005!
My two sons - Saturday, Christmas Eve 2005
These guys are half brothers - having the same mama
Sir Winston of Churchill V - 2-1/2 years old ... 4 pounds, 5 ounces
Baron von Dieter - 12 weeks old ... 2 pounds, 6 ounces
A bit of history on the most favorite flower in America at Christmas time - the Poinsettia
With its beautiful, red, star-shape poinsettia is a favorite flower in the United States. In Central America it is called the "Flame Leaf" or "Flower of the Holy Night". Now very popular in the US, the American settlers were not quite familiar with this one only a couple of centuries back. A native of Mexico, it was brought here over a hundred years ago by Dr. Joel Poinsett, the first US ambassador to Mexico. Most of the poinsettias used these days come from California.
The legend of the poinsettia comes from Mexico. It tells of a girl named Maria and her little brother Pablo. They were very poor but always looked forward to the Christmas festival. Each year a large manger scene was set up in the village church, and the days before Christmas were filled with parades and parties. The two children loved Christmas but were always saddened because they had no money to buy presents. They especially wished that they could give something to the church for the Baby Jesus. But they had nothing.
One Christmas Eve, Maria and Pablo set out for church to attend the service. On their way they picked some weeds growing along the roadside and decided to take them as their gift to the Baby Jesus in the manger scene. Of course they were teased by other children when they arrived with their gift, but they said nothing for they knew they had given what they could. Maria and Pablo began placing the green plants around the manger and miraculously, the green top leaves turned into bright red petals, and soon the manger was surrounded by beautiful star-like flowers and so we see them today.
The Story of the Birth of Christ Jesus as found in the Holy Bible, in the book of Luke
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's hometown, for the census. As a descendant of David he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the hostel.
There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises: "Glory to God in the heavenly heights; Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him."
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they'd been told! ~ Luke 2:1-20
It was a simple scene that first Christmas – a rough room, a young couple, and nothing but a feeding trough to put the child in. It was probably quite cold and with family far away there was little help. Not exactly the Hallmark moment we like to show in Christmas pageants. And yet this rustic scene marked the greatest event in the history of mankind.
God's Son became human and came to earth to save us. God had promised to send a Messiah, one who would save His people. He could have easily burst on the scene as a full grown man, a seven foot warrior with fiery eyes and arms of steel. This was what many people were looking for, but it wasn't how God did it. He arrived in the arms of a young girl. He was, as another of our authors put it "a very small package, wrapped in rags, given from the heart of God. The perfect gift."
God gave His only Son to die in our place so that we, in all our brokenness, could know forgiveness. He came so that we could know what love feels like, real love – love that never leaves, love that never disappoints, love that is never betrayed. He sent His Son into a corrupted world to bring us hope.
How are you doing this Christmas?
Are you having a hard time finding hope in the world? Are you having a hard time finding peace? It doesn't have to be that way. You can have peace and find hope and know forgiveness through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here's a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Bring peace to my world this Christmas. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.
"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" is my favorite Christmas song
Rudolph's story was originally written in verse by Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in 1939 and published as a book to be given to children in the store at Christmas time.
As Donner's son, Rudolph is depicted as an ordinary reindeer with a large, red nose, often grinning and always leading the team pulling Santa's sleigh, which usually comprises the eight reindeer mentioned in A Visit from St. Nicholas (also known as "The Night Before Christmas") in pairs. (Rudolph is not depicted with a partner, thus reinforcing his status.)
Johnny Marks, May's brother-in-law, decided to adapt May's story into a song, which through the years has been recorded by many artists (most notably by Gene Autry ), and has since filtered into the popular consciousness.
The song contains these lyrics:
You know Dasher and Dancer
And Prancer and Vixen,
Comet and Cupid
And Donner and Blitzen,
But do you recall
The most famous reindeer of all?
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!