Monday, December 25, 2017

It's About the Cross

It's not just about the manger where the baby lay,

It's not just about the angels who sang for him that day,

It's not just about the shepherds, or the bright and shining star;

It's not all about the wise men who travelled from afar.

It's about the cross, it's about my sin, it's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again.

It's about the stone that was rolled away, so that you and I could have real life someday;

It's about the cross.

It's not all about the good things in this live I've done,

It's not all about the treasures or the trophies that I've won,

It's not all about the righteousness that I find within;

It's about His precious blood that saves me from within.

It's about the cross, it's about my sin, it's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again.

It's about the stone that was rolled away, so that you and I could have real life someday.

It's about the cross.

The beginning of the story is wonderful and great, but it's the ending that can save you, and that's why we celebrate.

It's about the cross, it's about my sin, it's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again.

It's about God's love nailed to a tree, it's about every drop of blood that flowed from Him when it should've been me.

It's about the stone that was rolled away, so that you and I could have some life someday.

So that you and I could have real life someday. 

It's about the cross.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

A Contemporary Christmas

It's Christmas Eve, people.  Like, wow.
To be honest, I'm still stuck in November–y'know, pre-Thanksgiving? XD
Anyway, these aren't traditional songs.  But they're beautiful and... yeah.

Chris Tomlin - Glory in the Highest

Newsong - The Christmas Shoes

Point of Grace - Carol of the Bells/What Child is This?

Barlowgirl - Hallelujah (Light has Come)

Brandon Heath - Just a Girl

Michael Card - Joseph's Song

4Him - A Strange Way to Save the World


Saturday, December 23, 2017

A Country Christmas

For having grown up with brothers obsessed with country songs, I kinda learned to hate it.
But I have to admit, there's some really good ones out there.
So here.  *shoves them at you* Enjoy.

The Oak Ridge Boys - Jesus is Born Today

Lonestar - Little Drummer Boy

Kenny Chesney - Thank God for Kids

Josh Turner - The First Noel

Alan Jackson - Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

George Strait (because we can't have a country music post without the King of Country, right? XD) - There's a New Kid in Town

Scotty McCreery - Mary, Did you Know?


Friday, December 22, 2017

Books For the Kids at Heart

Who else loves picture books?
Don't look at me that way; you're never too old to love kids' picture books.
Come to think of it, I can list more Christmas kids' books than I can Christmas books for my age.
Before you think I've gone completely off my rocker, let me say this: if you think you're too old or mature to be reading picture books, then... well, you might as well not read this post.  Because it'd be a waste of your time.

In no particular order...

The Candle in the Forest by Joe Wheeler

Eight treasured tales will charm young readers and journaling pages will turn this book into a keepsake.  Gather the family and pass on the tradition of sharing stories of faith, hope, and love.

Containing several different stories, these are perfect for reading by yourself or reading aloud to siblings. ;)

The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs

The Pine Tree Parable tells the heartwarming tale of a Farmer and his family who nurture tiny seedlings into fragrant Christmas trees.  When the trees are tall enough to offer their neighbors, the Farmer's wife plans to keep the most beautiful pine tree for her family, until one snowy December night when a child teaches her the true meaning of Christmas.

Ohh, yes.  A simple reminder that we shouldn't keep things for ourselves—Christmas is a time for giving, and for thanking—thanking God for what He did for us.

The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne, adapted by Pat Matuszak

In this adaptation of the best-selling story of The Legend of the Christmas Tree, little ones ages 4 and under can discover the wonderful story of how the evergreen tree first became a symbol of Christmas and a way to tell people about God.

*Coughs* Yes, that's a board book.  Yes, it does say '4 and under'.  But hey, it's one of the few Christmas book that we've had around the house for as long as I can remember (see how it's worn?); you could say it's a keepsake.  Of sorts. XD

Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift by Max Lucado

The Maker-Day Festival brings out the best that Wemmicksville has to offer.  The best cake, the best bouquet, and the best music.  But when Punchinello's disastrous mistake threatens to ruin the festival, all the Wemmicks discover the most marvelous gift.  And they all sing out: "We like you.  We love you.  We all agree—without you, Eli, there'd be no we."

So, this has always been one of my very, very favorites.  When I was little, and I got to pick a book for Daddy or Mom to read aloud, that's what I'd always pick.  Kord, too.

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

Because Joshua the Lamb was different, he often felt left out-like on the wintry night when he was left behind in a Bethlehem stable. This touching tale helps kids see that even if they're different, God has a unique plan for their lives.

Another one that we've had for as long as I can remember.  It's one of Mom's favorites, it's a sweet story, and I love the illustrations. ;)

The Gift of the Christmas Cookie by Dandi Daley Mackall

It's the Christmas season during a time when people had little money to spend.  Cookie jars held pennies, not Christmas cookies.  So when Jack smells something delicious coming from the kitchen, he can't believe his nose.  Cookies!
But his excitement turns to disappointment when he learns the cookies aren't for him.  Instead, Mother is baking them for the needy people at their church.  While Jack helps roll our the dough, his mother tells him the story of the Christmas cookie.  
In a captivating interplay of simple words and beautiful illustrations, The Gift of the Christmas Cookie tells a tender story of giving—not just cookies, but gifts of the heart that last forever.

Ahh, I love this story.  Not only is it a great reminder about what Christmas is really all about, but it's also got cookies.  Sugar, ya'll.  I don't know about you, but I have a weakness for stories with food—especially dessert.  XD

A Child's Christmas at St. Nicholas Circle by Douglas Kane McKelvey

In A Child's Christmas at St. Nicholas Circle, the artwork of world-renowned painter Thomas Kinkade brings to life a story destined as a Christmas classic.
Little Henry and his sister Katie will always remember the Christmas Eve that the mysterious message started to come through the telegraph machine at the town's train station.  Yet after only part of the message had appeared, a winter storm suddenly snapped the power lines.
"Good news - stop an important guest will arrive at St. Nicholas Circle by train to—"
Amazed to think someone important was making a special visit to their little town, the entire community turned out to welcome this mysterious guest.  But it is six-year-old Henry whose faith changed the lives of his family and those of a family of strangers.  The lessons of treating others with respect and sacrificial love come alive, as does the enchanting art by Kinkade.

Hearwarming and thought-provoking, this story brings out the fact that we should welcome everyone—whether they're "important" or not.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

A Humorous Christmas

Are you stressed, doing your last-minute shopping, getting ready for company, or just plain grumpy?
You've come to the right place.  Now, before you start thinking I'm making a sales pitch, I'm not. XD Maybe one or two of these songs will make you laugh just a little bit, or at least put a smile on your face. ;)

United States Navy - Sleigh Ride

Straight No Chaser - The Twelve Days of Christmas

Farmer Derek Klingenberg - Walking Around a T-bone Steak
(Okay, I'll admit this isn't exactly a Christmas song, but it's a parody of Walking Around the Christmas Tree, and it does mention Christmas, sooooo)

Straight No Chaser - The Christmas CanCan

Tim Hawkins - Do You Hear what I hear?


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hello in There

Well folks, I'm back again!
Don't get too used to me—I might disappear without a word of warning again at any given moment.  You've been fairly warned. XD

Have you ever walked by someone—someone elderly, to be specific—and, making eye contact, smiled at them?
Have you ever visited a nursing home just to say hello?
Have you ever opened the door for them?
Even a greeter at Walmart—do you smile and politely tip your head, or do you ignore them and brush past?
Or your grandma.  Do you ever sit down and talk with her, or do you ignore her and turn on the TV when you visit?  Just a simple hug and a "how are you?" or a five-minute shoulder rub would do wonders.

You may be asking what in the world this has to do with Christmas.
Well, this month, our pastor started his sermon with this song:

He then went on to talk about various things, but one thing that stuck out to me was this:
Give a gift that money can't buy.
A simple handshake, a short hug, help across the street, even putting hand lotion on the ladies at the nursing home—you never know what your actions can do for a person.

We had an apartment in the city,
Me and Loretta liked living there.
Well, it'd been years since the kids had grown,
A life of their own left us alone.
John and Linda live in Omaha,
And Joe is somewhere on the road.
We lost Davy in the Korean war,
And I still don't know what for, don't matter anymore.

Ya' know that old trees just grow stronger,
And old rivers grow wilder ev'ry day.
Old people just grow lonesome
Waiting for someone to say, "Hello in there, hello."

Me and Loretta, we don't talk much more,
She sits and stares through the back door screen.
And all the news just repeats itself
Like some forgotten dream that we've both seen.
Someday I'll go and call up Rudy,
We worked together at the factory.
But what could I say if he asks "What's new?"
"Nothing, what's with you? Nothing much to do."

So if you're walking down the street sometime
And spot some hollow ancient eyes,
Please don't just pass 'em by and stare
As if you didn't care, say, "Hello in there, hello."

As you do your last-minute shopping, don't ignore those around you.
Say hello.


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

An Instrumental Christmas

Can you tell I love music? XD
Here's some amazing instrumentals of some amazing Christmas songs:

Nashville Superpickers - The Twelve Days of Christmas

Craig Duncan - Go Tell it on the Mountain

Lindsey Stirling - O Come, O Come Emmanuel

Angels we have Heard on High

Trans Siberian Orchestra - Carol of the Bells

Lindsey Stirling - I Saw Three Ships

Banjo Ben - Joy to the World