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Christmas Memories

December 30th, 2013 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts | Just for Fun - (0 Comments)

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By the time that we are old enough to live in a retirement community, all of us have much in common. When a group of residents get together over a cup of coffee or after a meal, the conversation usually turns to reminiscing. We hear talk about former jobs, war experiences, family members, etc.

Around Christmas time the topic just might be memories of Christmases past. As I reminisce about some of my most pleasant Christmas memories, perhaps you will recall some of your pleasant memories. Some of my most pleasant Christmas memories center around Christmas eve and Christmas morning when our son and daughter were little “tykes.”

We used just about every trick in the book to keep the little ones from finding out what they were to get for Christmas. On Christmas eve, after bed time I would slip out and get the presents from wherever they were hidden – the trunk of the car, an outside storage building, or a neighbor’s house. Then, the trick is to get back into the house and place the presents without making a sound.

I’ll never forget the gleam in their eyes and the smile on their faces when we would go into the living room before daylight to see what Santa had left. Then, there came the joy of watching the little ones open their presents. It was difficult to see if the little ones or Mom and Dad were more excited. I also remember the living room knee deep in Christmas wrapping paper and empty boxes after all of the presents were opened. There were times when we had the joy of repeating these experiences for our grandchildren.

Another very pleasant Christmas memory is singing in special Christmas programs. I had the good fortune of singing in the same church choir for sixty-two years. For many years a cantata was a special Christmas feature. We did several of John Peterson’s works. It just seemed that our regular hymns and, especially the Christmas songs, were more meaningful as we celebrated the birth of Christ.

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I have always been fascinated by night lights.

The little seven watt bulb in them is even smaller than the light bulb in your refrigerator. Still, it put out enough light that you can see in those middle of the night trips. There is no need to turn on another light (if you can find the switch) that seems to nearly blind you and makes it harder to go back to sleep. Yet, it is bright enough to keep you from falling over the furniture or running into a counter.

Our lives are very much like that. We don’t have to be the brightest person in our community. Just the glow of a smile, a kind word, or a good deed can make someone’s sad or gloomy day a lot brighter.

I have not tried it, but I believe that a seven watt bulb is about the same size as the ones in a string of Christmas tree lights. Do you remember when if one bulb went out, none of the lights on the set would work? Now, if one goes out they stay lit, but there is still a dark spot until it is replaced. So, it is in our lives, organizations, and our government if just one person fails to fill his responsibilities, it is harder to complete the job.

You can light your Christmas tree by using all of the same color, or you can use a variety of colors. I am partial to using different colors, probably because that was what we had when I was growing up. I think it is a good reminder of what Christmas is all about. The light from Jesus’ birth still shines for all of us. Every person — regardless of one’s race, color, or nationality — is a child of God. The life He lived, what He taught, the sacrifice He made for our salvation — is for everyone.

No matter how big or how small it might be, let your light shine so that the whole world can live in the special peace that He offers.

Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.

-Russel Wilkerson

Don’t be like the innkeeper who missed Jesus because he was too busy, (see Luke, ch. 2) – make time for the Lord. Don’t be like King Herod who was too afraid to let Jesus rule his life (see Matthew, ch. 2). Turn your heart over to Jesus. Finally, don’t run your life like the Romans, who missed Christmas because other gods took the place of Christ in their lives.

Allow nothing else to take the place of worshipping Jesus Christ.

On Christmas day we will unwrap our Christmas presents, but eventually the novelty of it all will wear off. The present that was once so precious to you will end up stuffed in the closet, or handed off to someone else. A newer version of the latest gadget will soon arrive; it will have more features, or it will be smaller, or it will be faster, or it will be more colorful, and you will just have to have the latest version.

In time, your Christmas gifts will mostly be forgotten. But God has given us the ultimate gift — and that is the gift of HIS only Begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

So, don’t miss Christmas this year.

Isaac Watts and George Handel, in their beautiful Christmas carol “Joy to the World” began the third phrase of the first verse with these wonderful words — “Let every heart prepare “HIM” room.”

Is your heart prepared to give “HIM” room?

Memories of Christmas

December 20th, 2013 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts | Just for Fun - (0 Comments)

One of my first memories was drawing names when I was in the third grade. The price limit for gifts was ten cents. I don’t remember whose name I drew, but I remember the little boy that drew my name. He gave me a pretty brown “hanky.” I always wondered if he really paid ten cents for that “hanky.” I still have it, and just looking at it, it is quite pretty. Another memory was the big Christmas dinners that we would enjoy, usually with my mother’s aunts. My mother’s mother died when she was five years old. The aunts took my mother and family under their wings and were really our family. We were invited to one of their homes for the holidays. We always had a big meal plus the usual Christmas goodies — nuts, homemade candy, and oranges. My mother made peanut brittle which I enjoyed very much.

Money was scarce. I remember one year when my father bought gifts for each of us children and hid them in the big safe until Christmas morning. My gift was a five year diary with a lock and key. Yes, I still have that diary. It is quite shabby, but I really did enjoy that gift. These are a few of the many memories that I have about Christmas in my early childhood.

– Anna Brenneman

A Timely Gift

December 16th, 2013 | Posted by David Brenneman in All Posts | Just for Fun | Meeting Friends - (0 Comments)

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I was nine years old and it was a week before Christmas. I could hear the heated discussions between Mother and Father about providing a Christmas for me and my sisters. Mother was crying and Father was trying to explain. Father was a carpenter, out of work due to the weather. At school all the children were talking about what they expected for Christmas. When I was asked, I said it was going to be a surprise. I wanted a Shirley Temple doll, but knew it would be a miracle. The teacher was a caring person and showed much compassion to all the children. She kept us busy making cards for our parents, drawing pictures, and writing stories. The last day before Christmas vacation, everyone was so excited. Finally the teacher told everyone to put their heads down on their desk. The room became very quiet. Then she told us to sit up, and there, placed on each desk was a little reindeer, made of translucent plastic, with glittering gold sprinkles. Tied around his neck was a bag of candy. I just sat there staring at this wonderful gift. The teacher had known that some of her students would not have Christmas. The bell rang and I ran home to show Mother. Mother was excited too and told me Father had found a job. Christmas morning came at last and I crept downstairs. Oh my! There was the Shirley Temple doll in all her finery. Years later I came across the little reindeer and there were memories of a loving teacher and a Christmas miracle.

– Betty Luzadder

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Advent is a time when we anticipate
The celebration of Jesus’ birth date.
Thousands of years ago, when He came to earth
Through the young, virgin Mary giving Him birth.
He came as a perfect and holy infant boy
To suffer very painfully to bring the earth joy,
To cleanse all accepting people from their many sins
So each one the gift of spending eternity in heaven wins
In a beautiful, wonderful, perfect place
Where all present can see God’s lovely face,
Worship Him always and share His grace
With everyone in that perfect place.

As we prepare our hearts for this joyous peace
The worry and cares, hustle and bustle, we must release.
Think of the silence, and surrounding natural beauty,
The love shared by Christian friends and family,
The wonderful stories gleaned from the ages past,
The enduring beautiful music and art work that will last.
He’ll come the second time like a thief in the night
So, if at this moment to meet him your heart isn’t right
Don’t put off that decision until it is too late
Talk to Jesus now, give him your heart this very date.
You will gain a peace you have never known before
And some future time you will joyfully enter heaven’s open door.

– Lena Parks Mahone, 2005