Christmas! Never was there such a word!
The mystery of the Incarnation gave us this word.
Poets have dreamed, writers have written, artists have had their raptures, great have been the flights and marvelous the triumphs of the intellectual strivings of the race, but no fantasy of poetry, no classic of writer, no rapture of artist, has ever been comparable to the thoughts that the word, Christmas, inspires.
No word can so gather and fix the thought of multitudes and generations as the word Christmas. No word is so personal to us. It is just charged with sacred mystery. It has thrown generations on their knees and caused them with bated breath, spell‑bound, to gaze upon an infant lying in a cradle of straw.
December 15 “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” Mahatma Gandhi
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
To all my friends around the globe especially
To my website pals: Thelma, Marianas, Judy, Carmela, Leloy
To my siblings and spouses in Manila, Ontario, Las Vegas, Virginia, and Fairfield
To my cousins in Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, California, Maryland, Cebu, and Manila
Hope to see you someday, somewhere! May 2018 be a good year for all of us!
The true joy of Christmas is the love of Christ shared with family & friends
May you find his peace, love and joy in 2018.
TO: Mela, Tessie, Lourdes for being great co-admins
Website members who keep the home page flawing by being loyal viewers
Arlan, Martin, Brenda, Mae , Marianas and Lucille
Website members who share articles/images that inspire us to update the home page.
Judy, Vilma, Vicky, John and Rene
and to my 2 grandkids Jade and Liam and their Mom and Dad
To my siblings Brenda, Edith, Mike and Nimfa, Joy
SIH classmates, ARC Nurses group, Charlotte Prayer Group and friends of Library Ministry.
And to everyone in the website.
by Chris Cade
There was once a time when all human beings were Gods, but they so abused their divinity that Brahma, the chief God, decided to take it away from them and hide it.
But where? Brahma called a council of the Gods to help him decide.
"Let's bury it deep in the earth," said the Gods.
But Brahma answered, "No, that will not do because humans will dig into the earth and find it."
Then the Gods said, "Let's sink it in the deepest ocean."
But Brahma said, "No, not there, for they will learn to dive into the ocean and will find it."
Then the Gods said, "Let's take it to the top of the highest mountain and hide it there."
But once again Brahma replied, "No, that will not do either, because they will eventually climb every mountain."
Then the Gods gave up and said, "We do not know where to hide it, because it seems that there is no place in existence that humans will not eventually reach."
Brahma thought for a long time and then said, "Here is what we will do. We will hide their divinity deep in the center of their own being, for humans will never think to look for it there."
All the Gods agreed that this was the perfect hiding place, and the deed was done. And since that time humans have been going up and down the earth, digging, diving, climbing, and exploring – searching for something already within themselves.
Your Partner In True Inner Wealth,
Liberate Your Life
Your home will be infused with supportive energy if you take the time to create a stress-free home.
Sometimes our lives are so busy that we treat our homes as if they were impersonal places that we merely pass through. But we can make certain that our homes truly feel like our sanctuaries by taking the time to tend to them like gardens, which need care in order to offer us the beauty of their blooms. When we take the time to treat our homes like beloved treasures, we can shift their energy from being merely places to being wellsprings for the replenishment of our energy.
Consider that homes are the outer reflections of those who live within. If we feel that the current appearance clashes with how we'd like to see ourselves, it can keep us from fully allowing our light to shine. Updating our homes to reflect our inner landscape need not involve massive redecorating or a large outlay of money. Small things can make a big difference, like simply moving items so that we constantly gaze upon the things we love the most, liberating the treasures we've hidden in our closets, using our best dishes and making small repairs. Organizing and cleaning is a no-cost way to remove chaos from our homes and introduce more calm. Lovingly rejuvenating our personal space can become a creative project that increases the flow of good throughout all aspects of our lives and increases our feeling of connection. We can give old things new life by donating them to charity, opening space for newness to enter. Removing stress from our homes can be as simple as putting our bills into pretty boxes and choosing a specific time to deal with them, or removing clutter so that we and our energy can move freely throughout our space.
Simplifying our space lets our imagination and energy roam free. We can choose to prioritize our homes, making them the true heart of our family's activities. Then we are free to focus on what really matters--time to ourselves, to share with loved ones, and to replenish our energy so that we have more to share with each other and with the world.
The Story of the Candy cane
A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he invented the Christmas Candy Cane.
He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.
The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.
The candy maker stained the candy with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the Cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.
Unfortunately, the candy has become known as a candy cane -- as merely a decoration at Christmas time. But the meaning is still there for those who "have eyes to see and ears to hear." May we again use the Christmas Candy Cane to witness to the wonder and love of Jesus.
A Charming Christmas Town in Michigan
7 Reasons to Love Christmas in Frankenmuth, Michigan
It's the next best thing to spending the holidays in Germany
by Maria Carter
Known as Michigan's Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth was settled by a group of Germans from the province of Franconia, Bavaria, in 1845. Its name is a combination of the German words Franken and mut, meaning "courage of the Franconians." The town's heritage and European influence is highly visible during the holidays, when its farmers' market transforms into a traditional Christkindlmarkt and its Lutheran churches hold services in German. Some might say it's the next best thing to spending Christmas in Deutschland. Keep reading for more reasons Frankenmuth is magical this time of year.
1 The Christkindlmarkt
During the first weekend of December, Christmas vendors selling fresh chestnuts, handmade garlands, and apple cider converge at the Frankenmuth Farmers' Market for their version of a European-style Christkindlmart.
2 The Restaurant where Mr. and Mrs. Claus Dine
On the first and second Saturdays of December, Santa and the Mrs.
are inviting families to join them for breakfast or lunch at the 160- year-
old Zehnder’s restaurant:
3. The Holiday Tour of Homes
The Holiday Tour of Homes
As a show of the town's gemuetlichkeit (or hospitality), the Frankenmuth's
Women's Club hosts a Holiday Home Tour featuring six distinguished houses
the first Saturday of each December.
4. The Magic Show Featuring Santa
Christmas Carol, this is not. Magic with Santa is best suited for those who
prefer an untraditional take on Christmas. Held at historic Fischer Hall,
show features magician Keith Stickley and Jon-O, the "World's Tallest Elf"
performing feats of illusion and sleights of hand, with a guest appearance
from Father Christmas.
5. Bronners: The World's Largest Christmas Store
Bronner's Christmas Wonderland spans 96,000 square feet of retail space
that's larger than a football field!) and stony given time. bronners.cocks
thousands of items, including over 150 styles of nutcrackers. There are
more than 300 decorated Christmas trees in the store.
6 The Whimsical Light Displays
There's a reason TIME named Frankenmuth one of the top nine most
Christmas-y towns in America. Light installations go up for the town's H
oliday Celebration and Candlewalk, the day after Thanksgiving, and
many stay up until well into January.
7.The Handbell Concert and German Church Service
St. Lorenz Lutheran Church will present its annual Christmas concert on Saturday, Dec. 10, featuring vocal, instrumental, and handbell choirs. The church is also known for offering worship services "almost entirely" in German. stlorenz.org
No matter where I visit, I’m humbled and gratified to hear countless stories of conversion and spiritual growth because of Word on Fire.
This video highlights the testimonies of three people with drastically different backgrounds, but all of whom were irrevocably transformed when they encountered Christ through Word on Fire.
Please watch and share. And, if you feel so moved, consider financially supporting our work at donate.wordonfire.org.
Bishop Robert Barron
Ode To Joy To The World (With Choir & Bell Ringers) The Piano Guys
Peace On Earth
Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Luke 2:14 NKJV
Peace on earth begins with peace in the hearts of people. Outward peace is the product of inward peace. Once a soul has experienced peace with God there is a serenity that seeps into human relationships and calms the rough waters of conflict. “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2).
It is a grace based belief system that allows citizens and countries to get together and accept one another’s differences. Without conversations of grace, there is no context for peace. Indeed, nations that believe “might is right”, with whom forgiveness is a foreign language, will remain restless with no peace in sight. However men, women, children and governments who embrace reconciliation will experience an incomprehensible peace.
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). Jesus came to earth first and foremost as a peace envoy on behalf of Almighty God. Do you have peace in your heart this Christmas season? Or is there restlessness in your soul that needs the comfort of Christ’s peace? The peace of God is your best prescription for insomnia. Peace brings deep abiding sleep.
Does this mean that we can experience 100% peace on earth? No, because the truth is divisive and not everyone believes the truth. So while Jesus is the “Prince of Peace”, listen to His challenging words, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three” (Luke 12:51-52).
So what is the role of Christians in promoting peace on earth and good will toward men? Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Followers of the Lord know grace best governs relationships, families, cities and countries. It is God’s grace that allows you to influence the process of peace.
So, stand for the truth in a spirit of grace and humility this Christmas season, and trust God for His peace to reign in your heart and in the hearts of those around you. Take the high road of heaven and proclaim in celebration of Christ’s birth, “Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.” Christmas is God’s gift of peace in the person of His son Jesus.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You for the peace on earth You offer through Your son and our Savior Jesus Christ, in His name I pray, amen.
Application: Am I submitted to God, and am I allowing His peace to reign in my heart and mind? How can I, in humility and love, bring peace to a hard family issue this holiday season?
A priest friend of mine asked a group of second graders, "Advent is a time of getting ready.... Who is coming?" They all answered, "Santa Claus!"
We smile at this, but this is what much of our culture thinks of at Christmas. A jolly guy, over at Macy's, in a red suit, squeezes himself down a chimney and brings toys. And because he gives gifts, we all exchange gifts. And there are reindeer pulling a big sled, and one of them has a shiny red nose that doubles as a searchlight in the event of a storm.
And some people put a plastic baby in a little manger scene, and line up shepherds and the wise men and the angels. We shop, send Christmas cards, decorate our homes and get ready for family time because family time together is what Christmas is all about.
The secular trends and popular customs are harmless in moderation, but a steady diet of Disney Christmas dulls the memory of why we Christians celebrate the feast at all.
But here is what we Christians might remember this season: That in Bethlehem, God was born. That the Child came to save us from our sins. That His name is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace. That this child was born to die. That His name, Jesus, means Savior.
That although born in an obscure village and to humble circumstances, and although He would write no books, and live publicly for only a brief three years, no person has left such an indelible mark on human history as this man. That this Bethlehem Child makes the difference between a life of quiet desperation, and a life of meaning and purpose.
By His own will, Christ was dependent on Mary, His mother. During her Advent He was absolutely helpless. He could go nowhere but where she chose to take Him. He could not speak. Mary's breathing was His breath, His heart beat in the beating of her own heart.
Today, Christ is dependent upon us. This dependence of Christ lays a great trust upon us. During this time of Advent we must carry Him in our hearts to wherever He wants to go. And there are many places to which He may never go, unless we take Him.
That says it all.... Advent is the time when we, like Mary, carry Christ who will not be there unless we take Him. Advent is the time when we must pause and remember that Jesus - not Santa or Rudolph - is the main event.
To recall that Christmas is not a holiday, or a politically correct term, but a holy day when we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world! If this world, this nation, if you and I as a faith community are going to roll back the darkness, Advent is the time to begin. A new year, a new beginning, a time when darkness begins to slip. Then, hopefully, in your life and mine, and in the lives of those we touch, the Son, Jesus, will begin to rise.
And for those of us who carry dark memories and heavy burdens, whose hearts are hurting, whose faith is weak, whose doubts are strong, whose anger is justified, remember what the scripture tells us about Jesus...., "They shall name Him Emmanuel, which means, God is with us."
Fr. Bob Warren
In this season of giving, its important to remember just why we are giving gifts to one another. With the rush of the season often times getting the best of us, it is easy to get stressed out over the exchange of gifts, and we need reminders to not be so cheap! Don't let the stress of Christmas let you lose sight of what it means to give and to receive! For more on this topic, please check out my piece in the latest issue of the National Catholic Register- Advent Preparation: A Cheerful Giver is a Cheerful Receiver.
And, as a special treat, why not give the gift of something that can go all year long?Please be sure to watch the video below of Cooking for One: Holiday Cookies. But, they are perfect any time of year, not just at the holidays. So, you can use this recipe to make up a batch, filled with love, for your family and friends, and keep the gift-giving going all year!
Through the holidays,
remember to take time to slow down and
enjoy making memories with loved ones and friends. Count your blessings, let go of old grudges,
and embrace new beginnings.
Cherish those who mean the most to you,
take time to relax and feel the spirit of the holidays.
Be mindful of those who are less fortunate,
remember there is still good in this world,
and be thankful for all that you have in life
no matter what.
We are all blessed in different ways.
Wishing you all,
the gladness of Christmas,
which is Hope,
the Spirit of Christmas, which is Peace,
and the Essence of Christmas, which is Love.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
US Air Force Band - Holiday Flash Mob - You'll Feel Proud
Bishop Baron on I GENS
Advent Reflections – by Fr. Bob Warren, S.A.
There is a lot of secular sentimentality at Christmas, which makes it difficult for the Christ to make an impact. The swarms of Santas, the innocuous cards that say “Seasons Greetings,” and the insipid songs. Buying things, we are told, is so important that we should borrow money now.
But there’s an underbrush of spiritual sentimentality as well, and I think it’s a far more serious hindrance than the secular kind. Spiritual sentimentality is the superficial acceptance of the religious trappings of Christmas, without really coming to grips with what Jesus came to teach and to do. It’s the acceptance of a substitute for the real thing. Spiritual sentimentality is enamored with the baby Jesus, but largely disregards the risen Christ. Jesus grew up, he did not make the crib His condo for life.
Spiritual sentimentality sings about “peace on earth, good will to men,” but shrugs off the issues of economic justice and human rights. Into this material-mad society Jesus comes, not to give us more things, but to deal positively with our personality, our character. He wants to perform a miracle in our souls. He wants to give us real peace
Jesus wants to give our lives meaning and genuine significance. He wants to cut through the mountains of hardware and software that we have identified ourselves with, and to speak to our inner being. He wants to deal with us as people, not as customers.
Let us get ready for Christmas by cutting down the mountains of commercialism which may block the way for Christ. And if we really want to get ready for Christmas, let us hack away at the underbrush of sentimentality, especially the religious kind, and open the way for the strong, bold, living and transforming Christ. Let us not just pay our respects to a sweet tradition once a year, but instead serve the Lord as a living reality every day of our lives.
God's Heart of Mercy
Many people see God as a hard, angry God who can’t wait to punish people who have done wrong. Yet, the New Testament tells us clearly that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). The apostle Paul even prayed for the Christians in Ephesus to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:18–19, NIV).
Today’s verse also tells us that God is longsuffering toward us. He is not impatient, critical or harsh with us. No, He is patient and kind with us—always. You see, at the very heart of God is mercy. God delights in being merciful to you (Micah 7:18), because you are the object of His love.
In fact, God so loved you that He sent His only beloved Son to pay the punishment of your sins in His own body. Why? So that with sin now a settled issue, you can receive the bounty of His mercy and His goodness every day.
So how do you see God today? I challenge you to see a patient, kind and loving Father. He isn’t out to get you. He is FOR you (Romans 8:31). He wants to bless you because of His Son’s payment at Calvary. He loves to do good to you and see you, His precious child, succeed in life. Thank Him for His great mercy toward you and expect to be surrounded by His goodness and grace today!
In Love and Engaged
the climate of my happiness
and the pinnacle of my pain
the fire in my heart with
an eternal flame.
10th grade, the Red Cloud Indian School
The Piano Guys
I Saw Three Ships
‘Twas a few nights before Christmas and all through the street,
Not a creature was stirring except this piano geek;
The lights were all hung on the houses with care,
In hopes that Jon wouldn’t play piano there;
The people were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of cello music danced in their heads;
And Paul in his t-shirt and Al in his boots
Had just settled down for an all night video shoot.
When out in the street arose such a clatter,
People sprang from their beds to see what was the matter
Out the windows they watched, their phones they unlocked
Was this a dream or should they call the cops?
Jon sprang from his bench, running fast as he could,
As the neighborhood dogs barked (just as they should);
But we heard him exclaim, ere he ran out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!
FUN FACTS ABOUT THIS VIDEO:
This was really filmed in the middle of the night, as you may have guessed.
500,000 Christmas lights “starred” in this display (that’s a half-million, people!!)
4,900 digital channels were utilized to ensure that the entire spectrum of the piano’s keyboard was featured brilliantly.
46,000 watts of juice were pumped to electrify this pizazz!
A camera attached to a drone served as the primary angle to capture the captivating Christmas Spirit of these festive homes.
The piano was actually being played.
The police actually did show up. For real. (We’d like to thank them for their kindness and mercy.
No pianists were harmed or jailed in the making of this video
About the arrangement:
“I Saw 3 Ships is one of my very favorite pieces to play on the piano. It is just pure fun. Arranged, over 20 years ago, it still stands as the arrangement that was hardest for me to finish. It was a 6 month process to get the arrangement to finally feel right. My young family sure felt the pain of it! (We were living in a tiny house with a little upright piano in the struggling early days of my music career). This arrangement carries a soft spot in my heart as it brings back happy memories of those early years.” – Jon Schmidt
Light Show courtesy of and thanks to:
Production/Controls: Jason Ellsworth and Kyle Ottman http://AlpenglowAnimated.com
Electrical and Lighting: Drew Buck http://NightVisioninc.com
Additional Programming: Tom BetGeorge http://MagicalLightShows.com
YOU GUYS ARE INCREDIBLE! Thanks for lighting up our lives!
And AN EXTRA SPECIAL THANK YOU to the Richardson and Smart families for lending their incredible homes for this light show and lending so much joy to thousands who park and watch them each year. (Also many thanks to their neighbors for putting up with Jon’s racket!
To see the show: 1731 Hidden Valley Club Dr, Sandy, Utah
Not a member? Join Here. Find and click on your name.