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DEC 2007 Vol 10 Issue #12

From Craig & Mauri

Jonathan, Christina, Lew, Brad, Robert, Jennifer, Jamie, Jaymen, Angel, Brandon, Lexi, Jeff, Jasmine, Tyler & Sierra, Carrie, Kylee, Sammy, Little Brandon, and Avery

Merry Christmas from our House to yours.
May your Christmas be full of the JOY that Jesus places in our hearts. Many people hope for world peace, for harmony in their communities, for shalom in their homes. We know that the only hope for lasting peace comes from the One who was born in Bethlehem, JESUS.

For Unto Us A Child is Born
Unto Us A Child Is Given
And the Government
Will Be On His Sholders.
And His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father,
and Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

    Memories are precious enchanted moments that enrich our lives.

    Christmas is the perfect time to capture and enhance our wonderful family time together. Do not let this season pass you by as a fleeting moment that gets blurred and dimmed with the passing of time.

    This Christmas our family is sharing ideas that have worked for us. These ideas are designed to enrich and create holiday memories that will be cherished as a priceless treasure
    of precious memories and traditions.

12 DAYS OF ADVENT - or 25 DAYS OF ADVENT ~ Read Our Advent Family Worship

"O Little Town of Bethlehem." For words to song and history of the writing and composing of this famous Christmas song.Click Here.



"This Month We Travel Back to the past over 2000 years ago to the day Jesus was born," said Brad as he cranked up the fire under the big colorful hot air balloon. "Wow," said Jamie, "I have always wanted to see baby Jesus." "We must be going to Bethlehem," said Jonathan, "The City of David, where Jesus was born." "That's right," replied Brad, "and you better hold on because we are cutting the ropes now." And off the four adventurers journeyed over ocean, land and sea as they traveled back to the past.

As the balloon came to Judea, Jennifer spotted a pregnant woman riding a donkey with a man walking beside them. "Look down below," yelled Jennifer. "Do you think it could be Mary and Joseph?" "It could be, we are very close to Bethlehem," said Brad, "remember Mary and Joseph were going to Bethlehem for the census. King Augustus Caesar required all people to go back to the city of their birth to get a count of the people, and for them to pay taxes on the things they owned." Jonathan saw a cluster of palm trees and suggested "Let's land our hot air balloon over by the trees, and follow Mary and Joseph." The balloon came to a soft landing, and they tied it down secure. Off they walked down a dusty trail behind the tired couple who were heading to Bethlehem. We could hear Joseph talking to Mary, "We are almost there", We will find a room at the Inn and then you can rest." This would be the night that we remember on Christmas Day.

The sun was setting as we approached the city. A lady greeted everyone just outside the gates. She was dressed in a long brown robe, and she carried a lantern with a candle burning inside. Lanterns filled with oil burned on each side of the city gates. Just inside the gate families were cooking on fires built beside their tents. Storekeepers were keeping their doors open later hoping for additional sales from the crowds in town for the census. The craft shops were busy weaving baskets, and rugs. A potter was spinning her potters wheel creating a beautiful vase made of clay. Carpenters were busy making furniture, and the towns blacksmith was flashing hot metal. A lady was drawing water from a well and poured it in to her jug. We continued to walk through the streets. A Roman soldier was standing guard at the jail, a Rabbi was singing inside the synagod, and down in the tavern at the end of the street, some men were engaged in the usual arguments about prophecy, lost fortunes, and dreams for the future, their tongues loosened by the red wine in their cups.

We passed the tax collector's table where two Roman soldiers stood guard on each side of the tax collector. A man was taxed for three wives, ten children, 5 cows, 8 sheep, and 3 hens. He complaining about the high tax that he had to pay, but his fear of a trip to the towns jail kept his objections to a minimum, and he paid the full amount. Joseph walked past the tax collector, he would take care of the census and taxes tomorrow. He was concerned about his pregnant wife. He walked to the Inn and knocked on the door. The Inn Keeper answered and shook his head, "There is no room tonight at the Inn." "But please," protested Joseph, "My wife is full of child and she is very tired from the long trip." "Well," replied the Inn Keeper, "There is a stable for my animals in the back, you can rest there if you want." "Thank you," Joseph said sadly. He guided his donkey with Mary to the stable, and helped her down. He said, "I am sorry that you must stay here tonight, but maybe tomorrow we will find a room." During the night Mary gave birth to her baby, she wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, (a feeding box for animals). The baby was named Jesus, which is the name given to Mary by the angel before the baby began to grow inside of her.

That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. An angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and suddenly they became very frightened. The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, because I am bringing you some good news. It will be a joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in David's town. He is Christ the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel. All the angels were praising God, saying: "Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace to the people who please God." Then the angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, "Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened. We will see this thing the Lord told us about." So the shepherds went quickly and found Mary and Joseph. And the shepherds saw the baby lying in a manger. Then they told what the angels had said about this child. Everyone was amazed when they heard what the shepherds said to them. Mary hid these things in her heart; she continued to think about them. Then the shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything that they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. (Luke 2:8-20)

"WOW," said Jamie, "that was wonderful. I will never forget what happened tonight." "We better start heading back to our hot air balloon so we can get home before Christmas morning," said Brad. "Christmas will mean more to me from now on!" exclaimed Jonathan. "Me too!" Jennifer replied, "Christmas is exciting just like when Jesus comes in to our Hearts."
And so the four adventurers learned another lesson by traveling back in time in their colorful hot air balloon.

We want to Thank The Burnet, Texas First Baptist Church for sharing their "Main Street Bethlehem" with us. They set up over a block on Main Street to recreate Bethlehem how it was the night Jesus was born. It was during our visit that we came up with this months story. We feel like we actually visited Baby Jesus on the night he was born!


Click HERE for story

'Twas the Night Before Jesus Came

'Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house
Not a creature was praying, not one in the house,
Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care
In hopes that Jesus would not come there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head.
And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap
Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.
With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray,
I knew in a moment this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face made me cover my head,
It was Jesus! Returning just like He had said.
And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand,
Was written the name of every saved man.
He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;
When He said, "It's not here," my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to His Father above.
With those who were ready He rose without a sound,
While all the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;
I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.
I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight,
Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;
The coming of Jesus is drawing near.
There's only one life and when comes the last call,
We'll find that the Bible was true after all!

Author: Dianne Frances Donenfeld - 1988

Poem "Dear Santa ~ A child's Prayer

To view this story as designed, please download Candy Cane font here

The History of

The Candy Cane

It had to be special to be a gift for the
King of Kings, thought the humble candy
maker from Indiana. Not just any piece of
candy would do. It had to be hard candy
because the church is built on solid rock
and God's promises are a firm foundation.
It would be formed in the shape of the
Good Shepherd's staff. A "J" that would
also stand for the precious name of Jesus.
But it had to say more. White stripes
would symbolize the virgin birth and
sinless nature of Christ. Three small red
stripes would represent the scourging Jesus
suffered on His way to the cross. One large
red stripe would remind those with eyes to
see and ears to hear of the blood Jesus shed
as payment for our sins. It would be a
gift of love that would tell His story - the
greatest story ever told.

Legend of the Poinsettia

101 Praises for you to download and give to your parents to remind them to Praise you when you do good!

This is Ruthie. She is Praising & Thanking God for her many Blessings!!

Kids Cookin' Recipes
Our Favorite Christmas Recipes &
1-2-3- Cookies


    click HERE for more Fun things to make and do.


    In saucepan stir together
    2 cups Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
    1 cup Corn Starch and add
    1 1/4 cups water
    Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is consistency of moist mashed potatoes. Turn out on a plate and cover with damp cloth until cool enough to handle. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut shapes with cookie cuters. Press hole near top of each ornament with toothpick. Allow ornaments to dry on flat service and harden overnight. If the temperature is damp outside it will take longer to harden. Paint, decorate and protect with a shiny glaze. Enjoy these ornaments for years.


    For a Fun Holiday Game 4 Kids' Parties play
    Draw Rudolph's head on a big posterboard, and cut red noses out of construction paper. You can click on Rudolph's head to print a larger picture to trace on your posterboard. Don't forget to watch the movie "Rudolph the Red Nose Raindeer" together.


    More crafts to make for Christmas.Tree Ornaments, gifts and more


Why Do We Celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ?

When was Jesus Born?

Was it on Christmas Day?
The celebrating of the birth of Jesus on 25th December is quite a strange custom and was it is not mentioned anywhere in the Bible that Jesus ever celebrated His birthday, nor did God command us to celebrate the day of Jesus' birth. The date of His birth is not known for sure, however it is clear from the scriptures that it was not in December. Shepherds did not spend the chilly December nights on the hills in that part of the world, they took their sheep inside to shelter overnight and out again in the morning.

The 25th December was a date picked by the Catholic church to appease the pagans who they were trying to convert, but who were not willing to give up their traditional holidays and festivals. Saturnalia was one of the popular Roman pagan festivals of celebration, drunkeness and making merry which ran from the 17th to the 24th of December. Gifts were exchanged on the 23rd and 24th. On the 25th December they would celebrate "The Birth of The Unconquerable Sun."

It was decided that this would be a day for celebrating the birth of Jesus instead. Many of the pagan traditions such as decorating the house with trees and greenery were banned at this time, but they have crept back into our Christmas traditions.

We celebrate Christmas because it is a wonderful celebration, and a great opportunity to witness to others and to retell and celebrate the marvelous story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

How Did Santa Get Into Christmas?

There was a man named Saint Nicholas who was a priest and lived in Asia Minor, (Turkey), during the fourth century A.D., ("A.D." is a Latin abbreviation for the words, "anno Domini" which means, "in the year of our Lord" or "since Christ was born."). According to legend, he furnished dowries for three poor girls whos fathers could not afford to pay them. St. Nicholas would throw sacks of coins into the girls bedrooms during the night. This is how the custom of night time visits from St. Nicholas originated.

Another story says that St. Nicholas wanted to give money to the poor without them knowing who had done it, so he climbed on to the roof of a house and dropped a purse of money down the chimney. A little girl had earlier placed a stocking near the fire to dry and the purse full of money fell into it. From then on children have hung stockings by the fire in the hope that St. Nicholas will fill them, and somehow he always seems to manage it!

And another story of how the legend of Santa Clausbegan says that the modern Santa finds his origin in a young pastor named Nicholas. His parents died when he was still a boy, leaving him a fortune. He loved the Lord and cared deeply for those in need. Not wanting to receive any glory himself, he went secretly, during the night, to the homes of poor families. There he left gifts and money because of his love for Christ. In some countries children receive gifts on St. Nicholas Day (December 6th) instead of on Christmas. Why not share the spirit of St. Nicholas and give gifts to a family that is less fortunate than you. You could even bake some cookies or share a small gift with an older person in your neighborhood, or someone who does not have a family to spend Christmas time with.

Read more stories about Santa by clicking here!

More explainations of traditions

Yuletide and Yule Logs

The tradition of burning a yule log on the fire for twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany comes from the custom of offering a sacrifice on each of the twelve days to the Scandinavian pagan fertility god Jul or Jule.

The Christmas Tree

Bringing an evergreen tree into the house is another pagan tradition relating to the worship of evergreen plants as symbols of fertility, life and reproduction. The pagans decorated their trees with fruit, and placed other foods underneath it as offerings to the tree. The Christmas Tree is to be an evergreen with it's boughs stretched toward heaven, reminding us of the everlasting life that Christ came to bring sinners. The candles or lights on the tree remind us that Jesus is the light of the world. This surely is what Martin Luther envisioned back in 1535 when he cut and decorated the first Christmas tree for his children. Prince Albert carried the Christmas tree custom from Germany to Windsor Castle in 1841. Ten years later, a Cleveland minister was accused of sacrilege and idolatry when he put up the first American tree. But a young child saw it right. "Mother", he whispered, "the pastor's got a tree from heaven!"

The Holly Leaf

The holly leaves and berries from the holly bush are widely used in holiday decorations. The sharp pointy edges of the holly leaf remind us of the crown of thorns that Jesus wore upon his brow. The red berries remind us of the blood that Jesus shed.


The tradition of kissing underneath the mistletoe began with a Scandinavian goddess called Frigga. Frigga's son Balder was shot with an arrow made of mistletoe. While Frigga's friends conjured up powers to save the boy, his mother cried tears that became the white berries on the mistletoe. Frigga's friends succeeded in saving Balder's life. Frigga ordered that the mistletoe should never again be used to harm others. Instead, she made it a symbol of love by kissing everyone who passed under it.

Christmas Cards

A combination of the Penny Post postal service in 1840 and the industrialization of the printing industry led to the popularity of sending Christmas cards. Later, when cards in unsealed envelopes could be posted for half a penny the craze really caught on. Today people still send beautiful christmas cards with inspirational messages and blessings to their friends and neighbors.

Christmas Carols

Not all songs that we sing at Christmas time are carols. Most songs sung in church or by church choirs are actually hymns. Centuries ago, a carol was a group dance accompanied by a joyful song. Gradually it came to mean the song itself. A carol became a happy melody that anyone could sing. Caroling still means singing songs of joy but more than that it means singing the beautiful songs about the most joyous news that men have ever heard.

Boxing Day

The day after Christmas Day is known as Boxing Day. This has it's origins not as some people think in the giving of presents, Christmas Boxes on that day, but from a custom dating back to the Middle Ages, when churches would open their "alms" boxes and share out the donated money among the poor of the parish.

Show your thankfulness to the Lord by sharing your bounty with someone less fortunate! Donate gifts, toys, canned and non-perishable items to your local shelters. When you give something make sure it is something you like and would enjoy if you were receiving it.

Read this touching story called "The Big Wheel" about the gift of receiving

"The Christmas Gift" from a brother

Touching stories about Santa

Our Christmas Dinner - Click to Enjoy!

Your are Invited to a Christmas Celebration
Click Here for your Invitation


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