Sunday, December 25, 2016

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS PEOPLE!!!
Yes, this day is special enough to require a special greeting.
IT'S JESUS' BIRTHDAY!!!
What better occasion to use a different salutation? ;)


Today, some people will be going to church.


Some people will be sleeping in late.
Some people will be watching shows or movies like:




Some people will be sitting in front of the fireplace, doing devotions or drinking coffee or just sitting.


Some people will be opening gifts.


Some will be singing.


But, I hope all of us will remember the true reason for the season.


Happy birthday, Jesus!!!!


Merry Christmas everyone!!



~Kaitlyn

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas with a Capital C

Hi people!
CHRISTMAS  IS  TOMORROW.
Seriously, how does time go so fast?!?!
We so often take Christmas for granted.
 For most people, it's just… Christmas.  The holiday.  But, for us Christians, Christmas means so much more.  Even all the lights, gifts, songs and busyness mean something.

Lights.
The star that led the wise men shed light for them to see.  In the same way, Christ is our light.  We trust Him to guide us to His father, following His footsteps.
He is the only way to heaven.


Gifts. 
 I love giving gifts, and, I'm not gonna lie, I love receiving gifts too.  The wise men gave Jesus gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Expensive, but worthy.  Just like God's gift to us.  I mean, what Sovereign God sends His Son for us?  What God would condemn His perfect Son to die a criminal's death?  I have the answer:  My God.  My God did this, and I hope He's your God, too.  His Son Jesus died.  For us.

Songs.
The angels that visited the shepherds that night sang.  They sang joyfully, ecstatically, because the Savior was born!  Jesus Christ!  



King David, one of the most famous kings in the Bible, sang so many songs.  There's 119 of his songs recorded; I wonder how many more he wrote that weren't written down.  King David is known as a man after God's own heart.  So if we intend to be people after God's own heart, don't be shy to sing.  Belt out that song running through your head to your heart's content!



Busyness.
Oh, there's so much busyness in this season.  Rushing around, preparing for all the aforementioned things: lights, gifts, songs.  But Christmas originated busily.  When Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem, it was so incredibly busy, they couldn't even get a hotel room.  Instead, Mary had to give birth in the stable; to put it in modern terms, she had to give birth in a parking garage.  In the cold.  With hardly any warm clothes.  I'm shivering just thinking about it.


But, we must remember that Christmas isn't just a time of remembrance for Jesus' birth.  It's… it's a time to rejoice, to give thanks to God, and to praise Him for what He has done for us.  Even in all the busyness, God is still there, and He wants us to love Him with all our hearts.


People have shortened "Christmas" to "Xmas".  I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that; I've heard that the "X" is Greek for "Christ".  But still, it kinda seems to take the "Christ" from "Christmas".  


With all the lights, gifts, songs, and busyness, let's be sure to keep the "Christ" in "Christmas"!
~Kaitlyn

Friday, December 23, 2016

Songs & The Stories Behind Them--Part 2

Hi people! 
I'm back with the second edition of… well… *points to the post title*
Jesseca is doing I'll be Home for Christmas, Faith is doing Silver Bells, and I will be doing Winter Wonderland.

I’ll be Home for Christmas

Ahh, the very title of this song seems to burst with some sort of whimsical, old-fashioned elegance. Indeed, the words bring us back to a time when truly the greatest gift for anyone was to be home with their loved ones on Christmas day. This song takes us back to a time when life was a little slower. When days seemed to last just a bit longer, and when the world was at war.
Written in 1943 by Kim Gannon, it was rejected by those in the music industry because of the fact that it was “just too sad.” However, he seems to have had friends in high places. ;) One day, a bit later in the year, he was playing golf with Bing Crosby. The two men were discussing the subject of music, and Gannon went ahead and sang the song he had written for Crosby. Immediately, Crosby saw the potential it held, and he decided to go ahead and record it. The rest, they say, is history. Or should I say, it was written at the correct time in history.
Having been written from the POV of a soldier during WWII, the song put into words exactly the kind of bittersweet longing that most soldiers and families were feeling during this era.
Even now, the song brings back the nostalgia of home and family. So if  by chance you are not able to be with those you love this Christmas, remember, you still can be there. If only in your dreams.

I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me.
Please have snow, and mistletoe, and presents on the tree.
Christmas eve will find me, where the love light gleams.
I’ll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.




Silver Bells
by Faith Potts, New York Times bestselling author

 Silver Bells, a popular and well-loved Christmas song, was composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. The song was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in The Lemon Drop Kid {1951}. It was first recorded in October of 1950 by Bing Crosby, Carol Richards, and John Scott Trotter with his Orchestra. The song has since been sang and recorded by many well-known singers and actors. It hit the charts in the United Kingdom for the first time in 2009.
 As of the inspiration for the song, sources disagree. Several cite Jay Livingston for stating that the inspiration came from Salvation Army bell-ringers and Santa Clauses on New York City street corners. But co-writer Ray Evans told in an interview that the song was inspired by a bell on a shared desk belonging to Jay and himself.



City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.
Dressed in holiday style
Don't you just love it when the streets are decked out in light-up snowflakes and snowmen, with lights strung through the trees?!

In the air
There's a feeling
of Christmas
Again, don't you just love it? I don't! :) It's so wonderful when you can just feel Christmas in the air. The joy, the love, the laughter…

Children laughing
People passing
Meeting smile after smile
and on every street corner you'll hear…

Smile after smile...lovely line. Okay, so not everyone you meet is going to be smiling. Because we're living in this world after the fall, there is sin – a messy, ugly, dirty thing which wrecks anything and everything it can. But with Jesus as the Lord and Light of our lives, we can still experience a joyful life free from the guilt and shame of sin.

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas Day

Doesn't the chorus here just give you happy feels?! Eeps!

Strings of streetlights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green
As the shoppers rush
home with their treasures
I can perfectly picture a city street with snow falling down and people rushing home, their arms full of brightly colored packages. <3

Hear the snow crunch
See the kids bunch
This is Santa's big scene
And above all this bustle
You'll hear…

Ahhh, I'm telling you, this is such a visual song! I really love the lyrics. :)

Silver bells, silver bells
It's Christmas time in the city
Ring-a-ling, hear them sing
Soon it will be Christmas Day…

Thanks for reading everyone! Hope you enjoyed, and Merry Christmas!! *passes out candy canes*




Winter Wonderland
In 1934, Richard Smith (from Honesdale, PA) found inspiration after seeing Honesdale’s Central Park covered with snow.  He wrote the lyrics while in the West Mountain Sanitarium, being treated for tuberculosis.  Felix Bernard wrote the music for it and it was recorded by Richard Himber in ‘34.
Guy Lombardo’s orchestra made it a top 10 hit, and Johnny Mercer took it to #4 in ‘46.  Obviously, it became a hit.
I love this song because… well, just because.  I’m not sure why.  My mom, sister and I will sing it in 3-part harmony over and over and over and we’ll never get tired of it.  Every time we sing the song, I imagine… I imagine a pasture, surrounded by trees, covered with snow.  And the snowmen… well, what does a traditional snowman look like?  I’m sure everyone has their own ways of making snowmen. ;)  The one I imagine is just a simple snowman: a couple of big black splotches for eyes (I don’t know if they’re coal or what), a mouth made of rocks, arms out of branches.
I suppose another reason I like this song so much is because Kansas is notorious for no snow on Christmas.  Which is sad.  But, the song in my head helps my imagination put snow on the ground. ;)
But something I do not like is the fact that there is never any mention of Christmas in the song.  I mean, shouldn’t there at least be some mention of Jesus or the God who created the winter wonderland?  *Nod* yes, there should.

Sleigh bells ring
Are you listening
In the lane
Snow is glistening
A beautiful sight
We're happy tonight
Walking in a winter wonderland

Gone away is the bluebird
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song
As we go along
Walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadow we can build a snowman
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say are you married?
We'll say no man
But you can do the job
When you're in town

Later on
We'll conspire
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid
The plans that we've made
Walking in a winter wonderland

In the meadow we can build a snowman
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman
Until the other kiddies knock him down

When it snows
Ain't it thrilling
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play the Eskimo way
Walking in a winter wonderland
~Kaitlyn

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Movie Recommendations

Hi people!


Today, I shall share with you some Christmas movies.

Silent Night
Not Rated
On Christmas Eve 1944, in an isolated cabin in Germany's Ardennes forest, three American soldiers and three German soldiers are forced to confront the realities of war, face to face, person to person.  What they discover is the true meaning of courage and the true spirit of a blessed night.

*Winks to a certain two people* really sweet movie.  *nods*

Christmas Child
Not Rated
As Christmas draws near, Jack finds himself disconnecting from the holidays, his job, and ultimately his wife.  His latest assignment as a journalist takes him to Dallas, but a mysterious photograph draws him to the town of Clearwater, Texas.  It is here he discovers the town's life-sized, intricately carved nativity.  As Jack delves into the mysteries surrounding the nativity and its creator, he uncovers secrets from his past, reunites with the family he never knew, and returns to the love that never left him.

Poor Jack.  He doesn't know the true meaning of Christmas.
But the ending... very good ending. *nod nod*
Plus, it stars Megan Follows, who played Anne in Anne of Green Gables.

The Nativity Story
Rated: PG
It was the cruelest of times.  Under Herod's torturous reign, families struggled to survive and yet, in the midst of utter turmoil, a young woman's faith was put to the test.  Join Mary and Joseph on an incredible journey of hope and discovery.

It's the nativity story.  And it is portrayed excellently.  The actors and actresses, the cinematography... it's very well done.

Ok, like I did in my book recommendations post, I shall share a couple of children's movies as well.

The Polar Express
Rated: G
Get up, get on, and get ready for the ride of your life!  It's Christmas Eve, and you're about to roller-coaster up and down mountains, slip-slide over ice fields, teeter across mile-high bridges and be served hot chocolate by singing waiters more astonishing that any you can imagine.  You're on The Polar Express!

This is about a boy's dream on Christmas Eve.  He finds himself rudely awakened to the fact that Santa Claus isn't real, but this dream changes his mind.  
It's a cute movie, but doesn't have any reference to the real Christmas story.

The Star of Christmas
Not Rated
It's 1880's London, and Cavis Appythart and Millward Phelps are putting the finishing touches on their first Christmas musical - "The Princess and the Plumber."  Filled with spectacle and more electric lights than London has ever seen, Cavis is convinced his impressive show will "teach London to love!"  Unfortunately, a church christmas pageant staged by little Edmund Gilbert is opening the same night, right down the street, and features the "Star of Christmas" - a priceless artifact that hasn't been seen in 80 years!  Just how far will Cavis go to make sure his show opens on top?

It's Veggietales.  How can you get better than that? XD *smirks at a certain person*
I absolutely loved this movie when I was little.  I laughed so hard at the scene in the church when- *clamps hand over mouth so I don't give y'all any spoilers*
I highly recommend this movie.


Well, there ya go!  Have any of y'all seen any of these?
~Kaitlyn

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Memories and Traditions

Hi people!


Today I will be sharing something special with you.
You know those special times with loved ones, sad times, or just plain silly times?  I've had a few of those. And I'd like to share some of those memories with y'all.

Something that I will remember always is just a little thing. I remember our cousins visiting from out of state: two girls and a boy. Two of them are older than me, and when they would visit, my mom would put a Lonestar CD in the player.  The very first song on the CD is "Santa Claus is Coming to Town", and us kids (ranging from the ages of 10 to 3) would just dance around the house.  I was the youngest at that time, and to be included in their fun, to dance and laugh… now, every time I hear that song, I think of dancing with my siblings and cousins. ;)



December 25, 2008
It was Christmas morning.  All the children were excited to open presents and stockings. Kaitlyn was on her way to the Christmas tree when the phone rang.
They didn't open presents that morning.
They rushed to the local hospital, where Kaitlyn's grandfather was being airlifted to the city with severe pneumonia.  
There he stayed in ICU for 40 days.  
He was not expected to live.
I remember visiting the hospital, staying in the waiting room doing jigsaw puzzles, jealous because my older brothers could visit Grandpa but I couldn't because I was too young to visit ICU.
Until one day.
My parents came to us with face masks to put on.  I didn't like the masks, feeling that they made me look silly.  But I put it on, and Kordell and I were ushered into Grandpa's room.  He looked so weak, with tubes and IV's attached to him.
"They're happy to see you," Grandma said. "You can see it in their eyes."
The doctors had let us see him because he wasn't expected to live through another day.
But God performed a miracle; in February of 2009, Grandpa was released from the hospital and he is still alive and well today!

Traditions.
They are fun.
(Yes, that's all I have to say; what more needs to be said?)
We have several traditions in the Krispense household.
1. Each year, we make Brenig with my grandma.  We go to our grandparents' house, and us kids will roll the cookies and place them on the pans while Grandma cuts them. (I'm sorry if that sounds confusing; it's hard to explain.)  Brenig is a foreign peppermint cookie that is about the texture of heavy cake.  It's a Krispense favorite.
2. Christmas Eve program at church.  Somebody organizes some sort of program, whether it's a simple candlelight service or a pageant performed by the kids.  This year we're having music with a slideshow. :)
4. Daddy usually reads an advent story.  We especially like the books by Arnold Ytreeide: Tabitha's Travels, Jotham's Journey, Bartholemew's Passage, and Ishtar's Odyssey.  Each of these books actually have one or two of the characters from the other books, so it's neat to see how all the stories tie together. ;)

And, I suppose another tradition would be listening to the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas CD while decorating, or making brenig, or eating on Christmas Eve :D
I'll include the first song here.


Well, there ya go; a couple of Christmas memories, and some traditions that our family enjoys.
What are your favorite Christmas memories and traditions?
~Kaitlyn

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Book Recommendations

Hi people!


At least some of you probably figured that I would do a book haul post sometime during 12DOC; I mean… it's me.  I love books.  They're amazing.  
So, I come to you today with some book recommendations.  I know, lots of the bloggers in the linkup have done book recommendations, but I've got some that nobody else has done.  I think. It's hard to keep up with everyone's posts when I'm scrambling to post something every day, plus company over the weekend, and Christmas so close.  But anyway, I shall get on to the good part of this post: books!!!

What Child is This

Not everyone is lucky at Christmas. Some people would call 16-year-old Liz Kitchell and her family truly fortunate, but it doesn't feel that way to her. It seems that only a miracle can give 8-year-old Katie her holiday wish. She wants a family, something she does not have as a foster child. As for 17-year-old Matt, he too is in a foster home and is finally letting himself feel a sense of belonging. When he allows himself to do a good deed for Katie, he doesn't realize what would happen. Is the spirit of Christmas strong enough to grant the impossible? 

I really liked What Child is This, the storyline was really sweet and I liked the characters.  Well, except for Mr. and Mrs. Kitchell. ;P  Unfortunately, there wasn't much in it about the Christmas story.

A Simple Christmas Wish

Rachel Milligan is caring for her seven-year-old niece, Holly, at her home in Chicago when she receives devastating news: Holly's parents have been killed in a plane crash. Because Rachel is Holly's only known relative, she assumes that she will be her beloved niece's guardian. However, custody is awarded to Lydia, a distant aunt who happens to be Amish. Just a week before Christmas, Rachel takes Holly to the Amish community in the hopes of persuading Aunt Lydia to relinquish custody. Instead, Lydia sets out to teach Holly to live according to the Amish way. As family secrets emerge and old wounds are healed, Rachel realizes that she will do whatever it takes to ensure that Holly has the loving family she needs.
Combining an Amish family saga with the anticipation of Christmas cheer and the promise of a budding romance, this newest Christmas story from beloved author Melody Carlson is sure to please.
 


This story starts out really sad.  Poor Holly didn't really know what was going on.  
Aunt Lydia frustrated me.  But, since she was keeping the main character from getting custody of Holly, of course I felt that way. ;)  Though there are Amish in the book, I wouldn't call it an Amish book.  More like... a half-and-half. ;)

Beyond the Horizon


Eliana longs to see the world beyond the mountains that tower above Salzburg, Austria, but knows that dream will never see such adventure- and neither will she.
Surrounded by a world of cruelty, she lives for the weekly visits of Aron, a boy she met on one of her rambles through the countryside.
But as the years pass and she begins to grow older, a new and unwelcome world is opened up to her.
On a fateful night at a party she vowed she’d never attend, she comes face to face with a shocking truth.
As the world around her teeters on the brink of war, Eliana struggles to figure out just where her loyalty lies; a decision that will drastically change the course of her life. Will she ever be free to see what lies beyond the horizon?

I loved this book. :D Read my review here.

The Christmas Shoes

Robert Layton is a wealthy attorney who seems to have everything and yet nothing at all. Somewhere along the way, Robert has lost sight of what is truly important in life and has become a workaholic who never spends time with his family. His long-suffering wife has decided that she's had enough, and is planning to file for a divorce after the holidays. Robert isn't quite sure that he is ready for his marriage to end, but neither does he seem to understand what he needs to do to save it.
Across town, the Andrews family live very simply on mechanic, Jack's modest salary, but they have a whole lot of love in their household. Everything changes for them though, when Jack's wife, Maggie is diagnosed with cancer and only given a short time to live. As the holidays approach, Maggie's condition begins to deteriorate rapidly, leaving little question that this will be her last Christmas with her beloved husband and her children, Nathan and Rachel. When everyone in Nathan's class at school share their fondest holiday memories, Nathan is particularly moved by his teacher's story of a special pair of shoes she received as a little girl.
On Christmas Eve, Robert half-heartedly goes shopping for his family, and chances to meet a little boy who is desperately trying to purchase a fancy pair of shoes for his mom, so she will look pretty when she meets Jesus. The boy doesn't have enough money, and when he turns pleading eyes on Robert, it awakens something within him that makes him realize everything he's been missing and changes his life in a profound and lasting way.
This book.... ugh. It's so good. But it's SO SAD. It's based off of the song "The Christmas Shoes", so those of you who have heard the song know what happens. It's... yeah. Sad. Very sad. *sniffs*
I shall attach the song at the end of this post.


Ok, now I'll share a couple of children's books. :)


Punchinello and the Most Marvelous Gift

With the Maker-Day Festival fast approaching, Punchinello wants to do something really big for Eli, the woodcarver. But everyone else he meets in Wemmicksville is also trying to make the best contribution to the festival.
Hans believes that his seven-layer chocolate cherry truffle cake with double butter-cream frosting will be the best part, but Violet is sure her bountiful bouquet will come out on top. Lucia knows her vocal solo will make the day, and Dr. Marvel is eager to show off his magnificent Marvellaphony-organoni. What can Punchinello do?
When all of Wemmicksville gathers for the unveiling of the cake and the bouquet and Lucia's solo, Punchinello accidentally destroys the cake, the bouquet, and the Marvellaphony-organoni! What could have been a disaster results in the marvelous gift, and the people of Wemmicksville realize that Maker-Day is not about a cake or a bouquet-it's all about Eli.

This is one of my very favorites. Whenever given the choice of what book to have Daddy read to us, Kordell and I would always pick this. It's an allegory, and I love the illustrations. :D Our family actually still quotes the book sometimes: "Marvellaphony-organoni".
What is the Marvellaphony-organoni? Funny you should ask...


Punchinello helping Dr. Marvel play the Marvellaphoni-organoni

The Crippled Lamb

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.

This book is really sweet.  Poor Joshua, rejected by all, played an important role in the Christmas story. <3


Well, people, that's it for today!  Have you read any of these?
~Kaitlyn

Monday, December 19, 2016

Katie's Christmas--Part 3

Hi people!


It's time for… you guessed it!  Part 3 of Katie's Christmas!
This is the last part of the story, so I hope you have enjoyed it! :)

"Ugh…" Katie awoke, feeling exhausted.  She tried to take a deep breath but found it difficult, and almost panicked until she saw Mom standing over her.
"Oh, thank God you're awake," Mom said quietly.  She bent down and kissed Katie's forehead.  She reached towards the bedside table and picked up a small glass of water.  She gently placed her hand under Katie’s head and lifted it, tipping the glass toward her daughter’s mouth.  "How are you feeling?"
Katie swallowed the water, but could still only manage a few words.  "I'm tired, and it's... hard to breathe."
"That's understandable.  You've had a severe bout with pneumonia, Dear."
Katie's eyes widened.  "Really?  How long... have I been… asleep?"  She hated the way her voice rasped, hated how hoarse she sounded.
Mom gave her a tearful smile.  "Well, you woke up once you got warm.  But infection set in, and you've been delirious about a week."
Katie gave a small gasp.  She tried to sit up, but flopped back down on her pillow.  "I’ve never been this weak in my entire life."
"I would certainly think so.  Here, I've got some soup; are you hungry?"
Katie nodded.  "A little."
"Good."  Mom picked up a bowl and spoon.  "Open up, now."  She brushed aside Katie's hand.  "Kathryn, you are much too weak to feed yourself.  Now, open up."
Katie opened her mouth obediently, swallowing as the thick, hot broth slid down her throat and she closed her eyes.  "Mmm, that's really good, Mom.  Thank you."
Mom smiled and continued feeding her daughter spoonful by spoonful, little by little, until the bowl was nearly empty and Katie couldn't eat anymore.
Katie settled deep into her bedding, closed her eyes, and was almost asleep when her mind played a scene so vividly that her eyes flew open, wide in terror.
"Katie, what's wrong?"
Katie shook all over, as fear filled her.  "I just…" her voice trailed off, and she closed her eyes and shuddered.  Mom gave her another sip of water.  "It played over and over in my mind.  I was skating, and I fell through the ice… the water was so cold, and then Isaac-"  Her eyes flew open.  "Isaac!  Where is he?"
Mom bit her lip and looked away.
"Mom!  Tell me!  I have to know!"  Her voice squeaked.
Mom turned back to Katie, and her eyes were red and swollen, tears running down her cheeks.  "He's in bad shape, Katie.  That cold water was so hard on his lungs.  The doctors have almost given up on him."
Katie felt what little wind there was in her lungs leave her in a whoosh.
"No."  It was a simple word, one that required little oxygen, but carried so much emotion.  "No."  It was all she could whisper, over and over, trying to convince herself that it wasn't true, couldn't be true.
“Hope was closest when he fell in, and she jumped in after y’all.  It took her a while to find him, and by the time Jerry and Martha got you to the car…” Mom’s voice trailed off.
Katie was silent, lost in thought.  “Hope jumped in after me,” she murmured to herself.  “She risked her life…” Katie’s eyes jerked back to her mother’s face, clouded with worry.  “Mom, how is Hope?  Is she all right?”
Mom nodded and smiled.  “She was sick for awhile, but she’ll be just fine.”  She stood.  “Call if you need anything.”  With that she slipped out of the room, carrying the bowl and spoon.
Katie settled back into her pillow and was almost asleep once again when a knock came at the door.  “Come in,” she called.
The door opened, and there stood Joey.  Stood.
Katie’s jaw dropped in surprise.  “Joey… what in the world!”
Her brother grinned and leaned against the doorframe.  “Surprised you, eh?”   He chuckled at her shocked expression and made his way to the bedside chair.  “Yeah, figured it was time I gave these babies a try.”  He patted his leg braces fondly.  “I’ve been wearing them for about a year now, but decided to keep it a surprise.”
Katie’s mouth opened and closed, but no sound came out.  She stared at the metal braces, at his crutches.  Finally she whispered, “Joey… you’re walking…” tears spilled onto her cheeks.
Joey shifted awkwardly in the chair.  “Well, c’mon Kate, it’s not like I performed a miracle or something.”
Katie just stared at him, her vision obscured by tears.  Finally, she wiped her eyes with the back of her sleeve and let her arm flop back to her side.  “But… how come you… never told us?”
“Well, like I said, I wanted it to be a surprise.”  Joey sighed.  “And, I wanted to be sure it would work.  I didn’t want to get everyone’s hopes up.  I know, that’s a lousy excuse.  I guess... I guess it was just…” He paused.  “Fear of failure.”
Katie shook her head slightly.  “No.”  She tried to take a deep breath.  “Not… a failure…” Joey had to lean in close to hear her.
“Here,” he said picking up the glass of water.  He pillowed her head in his other hand and carefully poured the clear liquid down her throat.
Katie sighed with satisfaction and closed her eyes.  “Thanks Joey.  Wait a minute.”  Her eyes re-opened.  “Joey, Mom said I’ve been like this for a week…”  She swallowed.  “Joey, what day is it?”
“December 29.”
Katie puffed her lips and let out her breath.  “I missed Christmas.”
Jerry tilted his head to the side.  “I wouldn’t exactly say you missed Christmas.
“What do you mean by that?  Of course I missed Christmas!”
“Kate, you missed the holiday, that’s true.  The official date, December 25, is past.  But Christmas?  Naw, you haven’t missed it.”  Joey shifted in his chair and cleared his throat.  “Christmas isn’t just about a date.  It’s about Jesus being born here on earth so that he would grow into a Man that would save the world.  Sure, you missed Monday.  But that’s all.  Christmas is something we should celebrate year-round; why not do it slightly off-schedule?”
Katie smiled.  “I… suppose… that’s true.  But we’ll have to wait… a little longer.”
Joey nodded and sighed, staring down at his metal-clad legs.  “Yep.  When Jerry ran inside, I was so afraid…” He paused and looked up.  “So afraid that I’d not only lose my nephew, but my sister and fiancĂ©e as well.  You really had me worried, Kate.”  He sighed.  “But Isaac… Kate, pray.  Jerry and Martha are taking this so hard.  Jerry feels responsible somehow, and as his twin, that makes me hurt even more.”
Katie nodded.  “I’ll pray, Joey.”
“I’ll let you get to sleep.”  Joey slowly stood up, leaning heavily on his crutches.  He sighed.  “If Isaac dies, I don’t want to know what this will do to Jerry and Martha…” his voice trailed off.
Katie nodded and closed her eyes.  She understood.  God, be with Jerry and Martha, she prayed silently.  Help them see that You are in control of all things… she drifted to sleep without finishing her prayer.

***

“O come, all ye faithful…” Katie opened her eyes the next morning and smiled, listening to Hope and Mom sing in the kitchen while making breakfast.  She heard the clatter of silverware and plates, the sizzling of eggs on the stove. Suddenly their song was interrupted by the ring of the telephone.  
“Hello?” She heard Mom say.  The rest of the phone call was lost to Katie’s ears, and she didn’t think anything of it until Mom entered the room with tears streaming down her face.
“Mom… what is it?”  Katie felt the blood drain from her face.
Mom sat down beside the bed.  “That was Jerry on the phone just now.”
Oh no.  God, please, no, no, this can’t be happening!  “Oh, Mom…” Katie’s eyes filled and spilled over.
Mom wrapped her arms around Katie.  “Hush, child, everything will be okay.”
“Mom, I loved that boy so much; we all did.  How can you say everything will be okay?”  Katie wailed.
Mom pulled back and shook her head.  “No, Katie, you don’t understand.  Jerry called to say that Isaac woke up this morning, and he’s going to be all right!”  She smiled.  “Katie, my tears are tears of joy.  My grandbaby is going to be all right!”  She laughed, and fresh tears ran down her cheeks.
Katie’s eyes widened.  “Isaac’s all right,” she whispered.  “He’s gonna be okay.”  she closed her eyes and rocked back and forth.  “Oh, thank You God.  Thank You, thank You…” she whispered over and over.


A few days later Katie was able to stand and, with Jerry’s help, slowly made her way downstairs.  
“Ahhh, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it up the stairs!” Katie exclaimed, flopping onto the sofa.  
Mom smiled.  “We’ll make you a bed right here if need be.  I’m just so happy that you were able to be with us today after all.”  She looked fondly at Isaac, cuddled on his mother’s lap.  “We’re all here, all a family once again.”  She sighed and exchanged a glance with Jerry.  “Even if my husband isn’t here to share this special Christmas with us.”
All was silent, save for the merry crackling of the fire in the hearth, and the soft sounds of Isaac’s slumber.  
Finally Joey spoke.  “Well, everyone, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some presents!”  This made everyone laugh, and he wheeled his chair to the brightly decorated Christmas tree.  “Who’s first?”
Jason waved his hand wildly in the air from where he sat on Jerry’s lap, then squirmed off and ran to Hope.  “I wanna sit on your lap, Hope,” he said in his sweet voice.
“Well, be my guest!”  Hope lifted the boy and plopped him onto her lap.  When Joey handed Jason a small box wrapped in shiny red and green striped wrapping paper, she helped him tear the paper off.
“This is from your uncle Joey,” she explained.
Jason, guided by Hope’s fingers, opened the box and pulled out a piece of paper with writing on it.  Jason’s face fell, until he heard Hope whisper,
“Go look in your grandma’s bedroom, on top of the bed, Jason.”
The little boy dashed out of the room.  A few seconds later they could hear him shouting in delight, “A rocking horse!  A pretty little rocking horse, all my own!”  He ran back into the room and took a flying leap into Joey’s lap, which caused the chair to roll backwards a few feet, wrapping his little arms around his uncle.  “Thank you, Uncle Joey!”
Joey laughed and returned the hug.  “You’re very welcome, Jason.  I made it myself, you know, just like I made your brother’s.”
Jason looked seriously into Joey’s face.  “Are you God, Uncle Joey?”
Joey shook his head, frowning in confusion.  “No, of course I’m not; whatever gave you that idea?”
“Well, Mommy says that God is the Master Carpenter, so I was just wondering.”
Everyone burst out laughing.  Jason, not sure why everyone was laughing but not wanting to be left out, guffawed loudly.  This woke Isaac, and he sat up and rubbed his eyes.
“Did you give Jason his rocking horse, Uncle Joey?”
Joey nodded.  “Yes, I did, and you kept the secret very well.”  He winked at Isaac.
Jason folded his arms in a pout.  “You told Isaac a secret and you didn’t tell me,” he huffed.
“But if you would have known Jason,” Isaac explained patiently, “then your present wouldn’t have been a surprise!”
Jason tilted his head and puckered his lips in thought.  Finally, he nodded with great finality.  “This is true; I guess it’s all right this once.”  He hopped off Joey’s lap and ran to his father.  “Daddy,” he said, pulling on his father’s arm, “Will you bring my rocking horse over here?”
Jerry grinned and ruffled Jason’s hair, then stood up.  “Lead the way, Little Mister!”
Mom sighed, tears in her eyes as she watched the two exit the room hand-in-hand.  “They remind me so much of when you were little,” she said to Joey.  “Your father would hold your hands just like that.”  She smiled slightly and sighed.  “Oh, Isaac was wonderful with children.”
Isaac grinned.  “Thanks, Grandma.”
“No, dear.” Mrs. Judson chuckled.  “I was talking about your grandpa.  You were named after him, you know.”
“And that’s quite a compliment,” Joey added, grinning.
Isaac’s eyes widened, and he sat up proudly.  “I wanna be just like Grandpa when I grow up.”
Katie smiled.  She felt that this day couldn’t get any more perfect.  I’ve gotten so many gifts this year, she thought contentedly.  And they’re not under the tree; the family is gathered here, Isaac is on the mend, and, she smiled at the couple sitting close together, holding hands, the family is growing.  Her thoughts turned to a prayer.  Thank you, God, for giving me so much to be thankful for.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.


~Kaitlyn