NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING #GivingTuesday

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In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  – Acts 20:35

All you have to do is watch television…  any channel – choose one, to see the faces and hear the voices of people in need.  Charities are taking to the airwaves like never before, keeping their cause near and dear to our thoughts and hearts.  These days it’s not just human beings, but animals too.  I love animals (and humans most of the time), but how do we know which charities are best to contribute to?

Charitable giving is what this day is all about.  On the heels of Thanksgiving, when we are thankful for our many blessings – and on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when we save a ton of money on things, the idea is to give back today.  That savings you realized, you could choose to bless someone, whether 2-legged or 4-legged, with the money you saved.

We all tend to support the causes that are closest to our hearts – and that’s only natural.  I support causes in my mother’s honor and ones that she would find important.  I can’t tell you what charities to support any more than you can tell me – but if you are in doubt about whether your dollars are being used wisely, I have a suggestion.  Pray about it.  I believe if we ask God what is best, He will guide us.

Also, click on this link:

https://www.charities.org/charities?gclid=Cj0KEQiAperBBRDfuMf72sr56fIBEiQAPFXszTdIkCQTJGxbaV3p1f3WjCcA6Q1oQNDcE96jHDn4D9MaAoLB8P8HAQ

This is a charity search engine that will let you know if an organization is legitimate.  A generous soul does not have to be a blind one – or a dumb one.  It’s sad to think there may be bogus charities out there, but they do exist.  People do desperate things to get money!

Maybe today you would rather take the opportunity to give on a more personal level.  Do you know someone who could use a visit, phone call or card?  Has God brought someone to mind that you need to tend to?  Before you get too busy – stop what you’re doing and make that visit, phone call or send that card!  God will bless you for making the effort.

What sort of gifts could you consider giving?

  • Does somebody need to be warm?  Give the gift of a coat, mittens or a scarf.
  • Does somebody need food in their pantry?  Give the gift of a fruit basket, box of nuts or a gift card for the local grocery store.
  • Does somebody need gas in their car to get to work?  Give the gift of a prepaid card for that.
  • Does somebody need to be heard?  Give the gift of a listening ear with a closed mouth.
  • Does somebody need help paying for medication?  Give the gift of support by going with them to the pharmacy and helping them pay for it.  Some medication is literally life-saving.
  • Does somebody need a hug?  Give the gift of a hug – at least 3 seconds.  I read somewhere that a hug has to be at least 3 seconds long to be effective.
  • Does somebody need God’s Word?  Give the gift of a new Bible – or even a gently used one.  At one time a local antique store in our city sold Bibles for a dollar.  They looked brand new.  That’s where I got award Bibles for Sunday School promotions.  Our local Dollar General has Precious Moments children’s Bibles for less than $10.
  • Does somebody need prayed for?  Well, isn’t that a silly question?  We ALL need prayers.  If we can’t afford anything monetarily, we can sure afford to send up some prayers for those who cross our path and those God lays on our heart to pray for.  And don’t forget to tell the person you’re praying for them.  It always encourages my spirit to know when someone lifts me up in prayer.

#GivingTuesday

Is it silly to pray for those people and animals in advertisements for charities?  No, I don’t think it’s silly.  Even though they don’t have a clue who I am, I know they have a need, and I know that God can meet that need.  So I pray for the 2-legged and the 4-legged ones who need help.  give

I can’t give money to every one of them, but my prayers are certainly with them.  I would add; however, that prayers are not tax-deductible.  Not yet.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)It’s been unseasonably warm for autumn here in Kansas, but I know that one of these days the cool crisp air will move in.  November is the month we start nesting and putting our warm throws over chairs, add spicy scents to our Scentsy warmers and stock up on sugar-free pumpkin spice coffee creamer.

While we are preparing our homes for the onslaught of cold breezes, we need to keep in mind that there are some folks who are just trying to survive – and in some cases they don’t have a home, which is heart breaking.love-in-action

I’ve read a few cool posts on facebook about how we can help the homeless without breaking our own piggy bank.  These are simple suggestions and won’t take much time, but could make all the difference for a stranger who needs help.

  • A BLESSING BAG – I read about this on my newsfeed and thought, “Oh, I need to share this idea with others!”  Fill a large plastic bag with things that will help a person in need.  I think most of this stuff can be found at the Dollar Tree store – and $1 per item is a small price to pay to help others.  Pick up items such as gloves, thermal socks, beef jerky, crackers, candy bars, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, wipes, deodorant.  And don’t forget, many homeless people have dogs.  It’s a good idea to add some treats or a bone for them.  And children – sadly, there are homeless children.  How ’bout a small teddy bear?

It was suggested that you put the blessing bag in the trunk of your car and have it handy when you see a person who needs it.  You could also leave a bag in a gas station restroom or a restroom at McDonald’s.  Trust that God will see to it that the person who takes it is the one who needs it.

Add a note to the bag.  It doesn’t have to be long – just some simple words of encouragement such as “YOU’VE GOT THIS” – “GOD’S STILL GOOD” – “BLESSINGS” – “HOPE” – “HOPE STILL LIVES” – “GOD BLESS YOU”.

Sometimes my local drug store would have good deals that are free or almost free.  Even if I don’t use that brand or product, I’ll get it anyway and give to the local shelter.  – Lucinda Berry Hill

  • Planet Fitness has a food drive every year where canned goods are collected for local shelters.  Even if you’re not a member of the gym, you are welcome to give food.  One thing to keep in mind – and I’m probably preaching to the choir here…  but if you hate sardines, don’t give them to a shelter!  And, if you have old canned goods that you’ve not used – don’t give those either.  It’s the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.  Did you know that most people are one paycheck away from being homeless?  It’s only by the wonderful Grace of God that you have shelter and food.  Don’t give the worst in your pantry – that’s all I’m sayin’.
  • Do you knit or crochet???  Boy do I have a project for you!  Crafty women all over the country are making scarves and wrapping them around trees!  Nope – I’m not kidding!  Do the trees need to be kept warm?  Of course not – but some people may need to be much warmer this winter – especially children.  😦  Oh – and don’t forget to put a little note on your scarf.  Let people know that they are not forgotten.  ❤

screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-43-17-amscreen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-42-24-am

screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-44-22-amWhat a labor of love!  God bless these women for what they do!  I neither knit nor crochet, but I do a lot of shopping at thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets.  I could buy a scarf and adorn a tree trunk.  Is that cheating?  Does it matter?  Nah…  probably not.

  • There is a group of women at a Baptist church here in Wichita that get together in the fellowship center once a month to sew and tie comforters for our Good Neighbor Center.  Those comforters are various sizes and colors (some are quite interesting, actually).  One day I remember using bright purple yarn to tie a quilt made of a solid bright green and a dinosaur print.  I could imagine that one going to a little boy somewhere.

Faith without works is dead.  These are some examples of the “works” we put our faith into.  It’s not that difficult to put feet to your faith after all.  We sometimes make it harder than it really is, don’t we?  🙂

WHAT YOU THINK UPON GROWS DAY

TL 5-31 WHAT YOU THINK UPON GROWS DAYFinally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  – Philippians 4:8

THINK ABOUT JESUS

In case you think that positive thinking is a new thing…  take a look at this Scripture in Philippians, written so long ago by the Apostle Paul!  We’re encouraged to think on the following:

  • THINGS THAT ARE TRUE.  There isn’t much truth to be found in the world today, is there?  If you follow politics at all, you know how often the subject of dishonesty and crookedness comes up.  Sadly, we know more about what truth does NOT look like than what it does look like.  What is true – what do we need to think about and focus our attention on?  Glad you asked.  The same Bible written so long ago is the inspired Word of God Himself.  It is what we trust without question.  We make decisions after consulting it and praying to our God through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the only One we can depend on completely.  A true thought is one that aligns with God’s laws and ways.
  • THINGS THAT ARE HONORABLE.  Honor is not a word we hear much anymore.  Do people in our world today know what it means?  It is a thought worthy of reputation; a thought that deserves respect or esteem. An honorable thought is what is right while transacting business, but it embraces also much more, and means that the Christian is to show respect to all the venerable and proper customs of society, when they did not violate conscience or interfere with the law of God.
  • THINGS THAT ARE JUST.  A just thought is one that “squares” with God, with your neighbor and with yourself.  It agrees with God’s justice and His righteousness.  It’s not judging, for only God is a judge for humanity – rather it is a thought that never gives up and holds out hope for everyone, for we know that’s what Jesus does.  He wants everyone to come to Him for saving grace.  Whosoever surely meaneth me…  and anyone else who will come to Christ for salvation.
  • THINGS THAT ARE PURE.  A pure thought refers to the state of mind and behavior of the body.  We need God’s help to achieve all of these, but in our day and age, to have pure thoughts is not possible without God’s Holy Spirit.  The moral standards these days do not lend themselves to chastity, but that does not mean that God accepts less than His best from us.  God gave you one mind and one body.  He wants HIS best for you.  He does not want you to settle for anything less.  He wants to help you develop pure thoughts and pray for the right relationship in His perfect time.
  • THINGS THAT ARE LOVELY.  A lovely thought is productive and positive in its intention.  It’s born of a good clean way of living and proper code of conduct.  It has to do with a temperament check that God’s Holy Spirit is happy to perform on His children if they ask Him to.  Think of it this way…  if we are children of a patient, loving Heavenly Father, how does it look to others if we are sour, crabby or irritable?  How confusing that must be to them!  It’s not helpful and does not reflect well on Christianity to find fault with everything, is it?  Keep your temper in check – better yet, ask God’s Holy Spirit to “check” it.  He will.
  • THINGS THAT ARE OF GOOD REPORT.  If you got a bad report card, would you show it to all your friends and family?  Of course you wouldn’t!  You’d possibly want to hide it from everyone.  But thoughts that are of good report are ones that you are anxious to share with others because they are ones that are beneficial for your fellow-man.  I’m sure we can all think of charitable institutions that are highly regarded and of excellent reputation.  These began with a thought of good report!  These thoughts are born of a sense of not only charity, but of courtesy, kindness, and respect.

Paul knew he couldn’t possibly hit on every single sort of thought a Christian should have, so he added that if any thought holds virtue or is worthy of praise – think on these things.

Negativity equals negative thinking – and that keeps Christians in neutral.  If we ask God’s Holy Spirit to help us, He will help our thinking be so much more positive – which equals productivity – and that keeps Christians pedaling forward, praising God along the way and being the positive influence on the world that God intended us to be!

The best part of all this is, if we ever feel as though we’re falling short of God’s best thoughts (and we all have fallen short) all we have to do is ask God, through Jesus, to forgive us and put us back on track.  He is so faithful to do that for us because He loves us so much!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (21)

Doing good things enriches the soul.  – Dustin James

There was a young lady standing by the roadside in 10 degree weather.  She was holding a sign that said “Homeless – anything helps.”  Dustin was prompted to go to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts to buy her a cup of coffee.  He said the look on her face was priceless.

Each one of us is God’s special work of art… a painting like no other in all of time.  – Joni Earreckson Tada

The Bible tells us that we may be entertaining angels unaware.  How many times do we cross paths with angels, but miss the opportunity to entertain them because we are too self-absorbed or think we have no time?  We’ve all seen people standing by the side of the road with signs.  We’re scared to stop or to get involved because there really are some evil people in the world who use that as a rouse to attract others for their own evil purposes.

The conversation goes like this…  “I’d help, but if you give them money, they’ll just go buy cigs or booze or something like that.”  That sounds weak to me.

There are smart ways to help others…

If I’m impressed to meet a need, I make sure my husband is close by and I don’t give anyone cash.  I ask what the need is – if it’s a meal, I’ll buy it – if it’s gasoline for their car, I’ll buy it.  That’s how we give – we provide the need at hand to help them along their way.

Sometimes the person isn’t standing there with a sign.  One Thanksgiving we were at a restaurant.  When the waitress came to take our order, I felt a nudging from God’s Holy Spirit.  I didn’t know what her issue was, but God did and that’s all that matters.  We’ll never know if what we did helped, but we trust that God helped her through her issues.

WHERE JESUS IS HEARD

When God’s Holy Spirit impresses on you to act – you act – it’s as simple as that.  I believe that He guides me quite literally through my life and lets me know when I need to help someone – and He also lets me know when I need to walk away from someone.  God’s Spirit keeps me safe and helps me live the kind of life that is pleasing to Him.  I don’t apologize for my lifestyle.  I believe it’s the best life a person can choose to live.

I was so encouraged when I read Dustin’s story today.  I pray that we all stop to see the signs that others are holding up – whether they are literally holding a sign up or not.  May we be more sensitive to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit in 2016.  ❤

 

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDDonate to a local charity.  What a wonderful way to help out during the Christmas season.  Our local Disabled American Veteran thrift store has a shopping cart beside the front door.  It’s convenient to drop off a donation, and I try to give at Christmas time especially because so many folks do their Christmas shopping there.  Having choices is always a good thing – right?

Everyone has a particular charity they give to.  We have several local charities but there are also the more well-known ones such as The JDRF and The American Cancer Society.  There are so many needs, aren’t there?  Needs for research and unfortunately that takes a lot of money.  I can’t give to all of them, but just like everyone else, I do what I can afford to do.

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Sometimes it can seem overwhelming.  It seems like every time you turn the TV on, you see an advertisement for a new charity.  I think we just have to pray and ask God to show us what to do.  Once in a while there are opportunities to volunteer with organizations.  Giving to charitable organizations does not always hit your pocketbook.  Sometimes it takes a little of your precious time.  I can’t speak for everyone, but often I have more time than money.

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Have you ever wondered what would have happened if Mary would have said NO – ???  I can’t imagine a humble servant of God doing that, but what if she would have?  Her obedience, considering her young age, tells me that she was well grounded in her faith.  When it comes to decision-making in our own lives, we’d be wise to learn to ponder things over more than we do.  Who to help and where to give – these are important decisions because not every charity is using your dollars the way you would want them to.  Get to know the charity you want to help before you give.

You may need a little nudge to donate your time to sing…  but it makes others smile.  This is what I’m talkin’ about…

https://youtu.be/wBnf0md-8Iw

Helping others is one of the greatest blessings God gives us.  When you give of yourself, whether it’s time, talent or treasure, you feel as though you are making another person’s life better.  In turn, your life gets better.  Don’t you love how God’s plan works in each of us?  Some need help – others need to help.  All needs are met.  🙂

 

SEPTEMBER IS CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

TL SEPTEMBER IS CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

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TIME TO READ THE BLOG!!!

 

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We do what we can financially to help.  We change our profile photo on facebook to a comic book hero to raise awareness.  We do what we can…  but the most important thing we can do is talk to our Father in Heaven on behalf of these little ones and their parents.

Loving Lord Jesus,

You were the One that said let the little children come unto me, and You placed Your hands on all – and blessed them.. I come to You today to ask that Your healing hand would touch the life of this little child, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Lord their little body is racked with pain and life has become so difficult, as the cancer is encroaching through their tiny frame. Be close to this little one I pray, and hold them close to Yourself. Lord, I ask that they may be healed and spared any from more pain. Be close to this little one each hour of the day, I pray. I lift up the parents, who are baffled by this disease and I ask for Your comfort and strength to uphold them as they seek to care for the little sick child. May they rest in You and be comforted and strengthened in this difficult time – and Lord, give them both the wisdom and skill to nurse their child back to full heath, I pray that they may the find their sufficiency and comfort in You, Whom to know is life eternal.  Thank You Lord Jesus, Amen.

What can my blog do for these sweet children?  I know there are some kids and their parents looking at this right now.  With help from my group, A Second Helping of Wellness…  with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith, we are giving you gifts of beauty, encouragement and hope.  We know that we can’t take the cancer away (how we wish we could), but we can bring a smile to your face or give you a moment of calm.

This post will be up from September 22nd through the end of the month.  Our group hopes you are encouraged and filled with renewed hope after you look through this post.  Grab your umbrella because a shower of HOPE is on its way!

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  – Marcel Proust

HE IS OUR PEACE

https://youtu.be/RDnKGKKQKtw

Remember the story of David and Goliath?  David was just a little boy, but with God’s help he sure did kill the giant, didn’t he?

This photo from my friend Stephanie Guier Lutz put a big grin on my face!

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And remember that you are never alone…

WHERE 2 OR THREE ARE GATHERED

I PRAYED FOR YOU

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LOL – this pup is reading COFFEE WITH JESUS!  Photo courtesy of Barbara Dunn.

And this photo from Lucinda Berry Hill:

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ARE YOU MY MOMMY???

Does anyone else want Ice Cream for Breakfast?

ICE CREAM FOR BREAKFAST

Strawberry, Vanilla or Chocolate???  How about all THREE???  Yum!!!

https://youtu.be/SEN55xcSREc

And wow…  enjoy this from my friend, Valerie McKinney!

http://www.artfido.com/popular-art

How cool is that???

And how about this cute picture taken by Lucinda Berry Hill?

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I’M SO COMFY, MOM!!!

We care about those with cancer!  Right now, Lucinda is helping those battling breast cancer.  Find out how you can help here on her facebook wall:

https://www.facebook.com/coffeewithjesus.lucindaberryhill/posts/901692733242258?notif_t=notify_me_page

Our patients become our heroes.  – Lisa Newman, M.D., director of the University of Michigan Breast Care Center

To all the wonderful folks fighting cancer…  we want you to know we love you and we care.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you. 

WORLD WISH DAY

TL 4-29 WORLD WISH DAY

This event is a celebration in memory of Chris, the child who sparked a global wish-granting movement and the beginning of Make-A-Wish.

chris
Christopher smiling in his official policeman’s uniform.

He was only seven years, 269 days old when he died. But he taught me about being a man. Even though he was only a boy. I can tell you that because of meeting Chris, I am an entirely different man. Ron Cox said the same thing. He said he didn’t fear death anymore, because he knew Chris would be there waiting for him.   – Tommy Austin, Make-A-Wish® co-founder and retired U.S. Customs agent

When a child has a terminal illness it makes adults feel so helpless.  We all want to do anything we can to make it better.  When Chris let it be known he wished he could be an officer, it seemed like something that could happen for him – something the adults could make happen.  To see the smile on his face made the effort worth while to be sure.

It breaks our hearts to know children are so sick and likely won’t get to make their dreams come true as an adult.  What a wonderful idea to help them make a wish come true.  We naturally want to do anything we can to help them.

That is what the Make-A-Wish foundation is all about – making wishes come true for children with terminal illness.  These brave children deserve to have a wish come true because they face so many days filled with pain.

Make-A-Wish granted 14,000 wishes last year alone – on average, one every 38 minutes. But for every wish granted, another child is diagnosed with a potentially qualifying condition. A child who needs a wish.

We all look forward to the day when no more children have life-threatening medical conditions. Until that time, Make-A-Wish remains committed to granting a wish to every eligible child. Because wishes make very sick kids feel better – and sometimes, when they feel better, they get better.

It’s been more than 30 years since my son Chris received his wish, and I am still amazed and inspired how one little boy’s dream to be a police officer has touched the lives of so many thousands of people.  – Linda Pauling, mom of Chris

I’m so thankful there is an organization that can make wishes come true for brave boys and girls.  Some want to have a certain animal, or be on a TV show.  One little girl got to be a cartoon character – do the voice-over on her favorite cartoon show!  Some want to play an instrument or play a certain sport.  Some want to be a character in a play or go to a certain place.  Riding in a hot air balloon might be the wish of a child.

Let’s pray for the little ones who need some wishes to come true.  WORLD MAKE A WISH DAY let’s make some wishes come true for these kids.  🙂

BUBBLE GUM DAY

TL 2-6 BUBBLE GUM DAY

 

2-6 STICKING LIKE BUBBLE GUM

2-6 IT'S BUBBLE GUM DAYToday is BUBBLE GUM DAY!!!  Every kid who donates 50 cents or more gets to chew gum in school.  The proceeds go to any charity the school chooses.  Kids have fun and raise money for a good cause.

Since it began in 2006, the celebration has spread from schools to libraries, businesses and community centers.  It’s a fun way to raise money for your favorite cause.

http://www.bubblegumday.com/Bubble_Gum_Day/Story_of_Bubble_Gum_Day.html

Obviously things have changed since I was in school.  In music class, if we were caught with gum in our mouths – we were set in the corner with the wad of gum on the end of our noses!

At my house, if I chomped on gum my mom would say, “You sound just like an old cow chewing its cud!”  Bubble gum wasn’t exactly encouraged at my house.

What are kids doing today???  They are offering to share their bubble gum with the folks at Wal-Mart, of course!

The bubble gum I remember best is DOUBLE BUBBLE.  My second favorite was BAZOOKA because there were comic strips wrapped up around the gum.  To be honest, unless you count EXTRA sugar-free bubble gum, I’ve not chewed it for years.  It was okay to sound like a cow chewing cud when I was twelve, but now…  um – not so much!

 Chew on this fact: nine out of ten people step on bubblegum left by either me or my associates. The tenth person couldn’t step on it because he’s handicapped. But he most assuredly rolled over it in his wheelchair.
– Jarod Kintz, Whenever You’re Gone, I’m Here For You    

I think it sounds like fun to buy the right to chew bubble gum!  Leave it to a children’s book author to come up with such a cute and fun idea!  This video is from a couple of years ago but it’s so cute!

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Wanna read a story about gum???  This is cute – check it out!  http://robertmunsch.com/poem-story/gum

I love kid’s stories – and what better subject today than bubble gum???  Wink!  😉

THREE KINGS DAY

TL 1-6 THREE KINGS DAY

 

ABG WE THREE KINGS

1-6 TWELFTH DAYHa!  You thought Christmas was over, didn’t you???

Remember the Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”?  Well, there are twelve days of Christmas and contrary to popular belief, they begin on Christmas Day and end on January 6!  Today is THREE KINGS DAY, known as the day of the Three Kings (a.k.a. wise men or magi).  If you watch “Touched By an Angel”, you will know their names – Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.  Their names are in the Bible too – but I retain more information from TV shows.  Anyhow, they saw the bright star of Bethlehem and followed it to the place where Christ lay in a manger and presented Him with gold, frankincense and myrrh.

So how do we celebrate this last day of Christmas?  If there are goodies on your tree, it’s time for the kids to eat them – this is known as the “plündern”  (raiding) of the tree.  These days we don’t use many sweets to decorate, but I know some kids who will be happy to eat the candy canes they find!   Then it’s time to take the Christmas tree down and dispose of it.  People used to burn their trees in a big bonfire, but I don’t suppose that’s going on much anymore, especially in America.  I think nowadays, the trees are left on the curb and they come along and make mulch out of it – and you get the bag of mulch.

When December 25th was finally adopted by the Western Christian Church as the date of the Feast of Christ’s birth in the fourth century, it’s believed that this change in date brought about the traditional “12 Days of Christmas.”  While it’s not at all my favorite song (I refer to it as the Redundant Christmas headache song), it’s still interesting to know the history – it helps me cope better.  So technically, we should not begin singing this Carol until Christmas Day – ah HA!!!  Now we know! 

The Western Christian Church celebrated the Feast of Christ’s birth on December 25th and the Eastern Christian Church still recognized January 6th as the day of celebration of the nativity.  January 6th was also kept as the physical birthday in Bethlehem.  In the Teutonic west, Epiphany became the Festival of the Three Kings, or Twelfth day.

I guess it’s like a RIGHT TWIX /LEFT TWIX THING.  The two factories make the same product but refer to the process in different terminology.  But they make the same thing – Twix!  I must be hungry – I’m using food analogies. 

The point I’m making is that we know the birth of Christ took place, and no matter what day we honor the birth, it’s the fact that we honor it that counts – not when we honor it.

The evening before Twelfth Day, prayers are said and dried herbs that have been blessed are burnt, their aroma filling the house.  Entryways are sprinkled with holy water and the master of the house writes C + M + B (first initials of the wise men) and the year above the front door of the house and the barn door – and write “Protect us again this year from the dangers of fire and water”.  Usually the words “Christ bless this home” are written as well.

In Austria and Bavaria, the custom of the Star Singers is still very much alive.  It is to signify the travel of the Three Kings and begins on New Years Day through January 6th.  Children dress as the kings and hold up a large star.  They go from door to door, caroling and singing a Three Kings’ song.  In return they receive money or some sweet treat.  In the old days the collected donations were given to unemployed craftsmen or veterans.  Today they go to organized charities of the church or the Third World countries.

Some older folks still remember when Three Kings Day was celebrated.  The evening of January 6th used to mean a big gathering with Christmas foods, Christmas carols sung around the piano and grandchildren eating the goodies off the tree before it was taken to be burned.

 

The standard tune now associated with The Twelve Days of Christmas is derived from a 1909 arrangement of a traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin, who first introduced the now familiar prolongation of the verse “five gold rings” (everyone’s favorite part)!

So…  NOW Christmas is over – let’s sing the song together one last time…  on the Twelfth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me…  (take a DEEP BREATH…)

12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING, 11 PIPERS PIPING, 10 LORDS-A-LEAPING, 9 LADIES DANCING, 8 MAIDS-A-MILKING, 7 SWANS-A-SWIMMING, 6 GEESE-A-LAYING

FIVE GOLD RINGS…  (take another DEEP BREATH)

4 CALLING BIRDS, 3 FRENCH HENS, 2 TURTLE DOVES…

AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE!!!  Along with that – maybe a good pair of earplugs.

Just because I cannot sing does not mean I will not sing.  😉

 

ABG WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM

BOXING DAY

TL 12-26 BOXING DAY

12-26 BOXING DAY EVERY DAYBoxing Day last year:

Today in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other former British commonwealth countries, they are celebrating a legal holiday known as BOXING DAY!  It’s also known as St. Stephan’s Day because churches opened their collection boxes to the poor.   The holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

 During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.   – JoAnn C. Jones, Guideposts, January 1996

In the Middle Ages, members of the merchant class would take boxes and fill them with food and fruits to give to servants, tradespeople and the less fortunate.  Servants worked on Christmas Day, so the day after Christmas they would be given a day off to celebrate.

 Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.  – Seneca

Today Boxing Day is celebrated by filling boxes with food and clothing for the needy and doing volunteer work.  Monetary donations to various organized charities are also common.

If Christmas falls on a Friday or Saturday, Boxing Day is celebrated the next Monday.

We are told in the Bible that the poor will always be with us.

  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.  – Mark 14:7

Sometimes people use this verse as an excuse to withhold charitable contributions because they argue that it will do no good – the poor will be with us always.  I think the actual point Christ was making was that He would not always be amongst man on earth in human form.  Yes, the poor will be here, just as the rich people will be here.  Whether we are rich or poor, we have choices to make.  We as individuals will be held accountable for the choices we make.  It all comes down to what we believe is the right thing to do and what we are taught is the right thing to do.

God smiles on His children who share.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  –  2 Corinthians 9:7

We give in secret.  Give quietly and shhh…  don’t tell.

 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  –  Matthew 6:4

THE FAMILY ACROSS THE WAY

While I believe alms refers to the tithes  and offerings given to the church, the same application should be made to charitable giving.  Here in the U.S.A. we don’t celebrate Boxing Day, but we still need to keep in mind that not every family had a Merry Christmas!  We (and I’m pointing to myself too) need to try to find those who are struggling and help them if we possibly can.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make Boxing Day a day of giving to those less fortunate?

I give because it’s the only concrete way I have of saying that I’m glad to be alive and that I can earn my daily bread doing what I love.  Giving… puts our focus back where it belongs – on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities which nurture us.  – Stephen King

People have all sorts of motives for giving (tax breaks, bragging rights, getting on someone’s good side), but remember God knows the heart and the motive.  I have a personal belief that once you are praised by people or receive any payment or compensation, you lose your reward from God.  Humility has to be a key element of real giving – be humble and quiet.  God knows and His reward is sufficient for your life and His blessings will sustain you.  He gives the best rewards, doesn’t He?  To my friends celebrating Boxing Day – have a wonderful day!  🙂

 

I like the idea that God has a box packed with everything I will ever need – don’t you?

It’s not too late to order your copy of Lucinda Berry Hill’s new devotional book!  Everybody needs a new devotional book to begin this new year, right?

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Click on the link below to get your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx