December 2008


While many of us participated in some sort of shopping escapade in the jam-packed malls and almost vicious parking lots, perhaps we who follow an “alternative” calendar would do well to add “Boxing Day” as part of the celebration of Christmas.  Instead of December 26th being a “shopping-frenzy holiday”, perhaps we could participate in a generous giving…

What is Boxing Day?

“There seems to be two theories on the origin of Boxing Day and why it is celebrated. The first is that centuries ago, on the day after Christmas, members of the merchant class would give boxes containing food and fruit, clothing, and/or money to trades people and servants. The gifts were an expression of gratitude much like when people receive bonuses, from their employer, for a job well done, today. These gifts, given in boxes, gave the holiday it’s name, “Boxing Day”.

The second thought is that Boxing Day comes from the tradition of opening the alms boxes placed in churches over the Advent season. The contents thereof which were distributed amongst the poor, by the clergy, the day after Christmas”

Some practical ideas:

Operation Christmas Child – brings hope and joy to children across the world with gift-filled shoeboxes

Shoebox Ministry – collecting and distributing personal hygiene kits to the homeless in the Greater Phoenix area

Keep shoebox (or Kleenex box) for collecting all the spare change you have in your pockets or wallets during the Advent Season.  After Christmas, donate it to a charity of your choice.

After the Christmas season, box up all those extra toys, clothes, and stuff you don’t use anymore and take it to a Goodwill or local thrift store that benefits the community.

Brainstorm with your family, kids, friends and community and come up with some way to fill a box to bless someone else.  (Post them in the comments to share with us all!!)

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I woke up this morning to a quiet house, which is a true sign that our children really are growing up!! We have gone from the “younger” years of them waking us up far too early on Christmas morning to now when we all wake up at relatively the same time. I am sure there will be a day when David and I will have to actually go into their rooms to wake them up and drag them out of bed!!

So, as I lay in bed, I was thinking about the past season of Advent and this new season of Christmas. I pondered how we are now shifting our focus from a time of listening and waiting into a time of jubilant celebration. I prayed that God would help me to celebrate all 12 days of this Christmas season with full joy and delight, and not move on too quickly into a working season.

As I lay there the Spirit brought to mind 2 words: ABOUT and WITH. He reminded me that during Advent I listened to a lot of stories “about” God and His interaction with the Israelites. I thought a lot “about” Him and wrote poems or created slideshows “about” Him. But in this season of celebration, He wants something different from me. He wants me to celebrate “with” Him. He wants me to practice His presence in each present moment – not looking back to the past nor moving into the future. He wants a “with-ness” with me.

So for the next 12 days, by the power (and reminder) of the Spirit, I want to practice that “with” in everything I do. After all, it is the very celebration of God-with-Us that we enter into.

Jesus, thank you for entering our world by the name “God-with-Us”. Would You teach me what it is to celebrate that? Would you enter into all my daily activities – my time with my kids, friends, husband, and all I have to do – and remind me of Your immediate Presence there. And when I remember Your “with-ness”, may it cause me to celebrate all the more!!

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I open the stable door
I kneel before the infant
I worship with the shepherds
I adore the Christ child
I give my love with Mary and Joseph
I wonder at the ‘Word made flesh’
I am aware of the love of God
I sing glory with the angels
I offer my gifts with the wise men
I receive the living Lord
I hold Him in my hands
I go on my way rejoicing
Glorifying and praising God.
-David Adam

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Desire of Nations

Emmanuel

Root of Jesse

Key of David

Morning Star

Here are the Antiphons for the 19th, 20th and the 21st.   Once again, Thank you Bethany!!

A good friend of mine has done some posting on the O Antiphons (which started yesterday).  Since we are traveling, I am just going to direct you to her site.  Thank you, Bethany!!

Click here (Wisdom)…

Then here(Lord)…

Many richest blessings to all as we approach the birth of our Savior!!

This is what we will read together each evening around our dinner table…

Christmas Evening Prayer

Yours is the day, O Lord, Yours also is the night….

If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,

And the light around me will be night,”

Even the darkness is not dark to You,

And the night is as bright as the day

Darkness and light are alike to You.

Call to Celebrate (Psalm 24)snow07

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;

For he founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the waters.

Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ?
Who may stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.

He will receive blessing from the LORD
and vindication from God his Savior.

Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
Selah

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory?
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.

Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.

Who is he, this King of glory?
The LORD Almighty—
he is the King of glory.
Selah

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Luke 2

Each night unwrap a book and read it together as a family

Song (Psalm 148)

Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all stars of light!
Praise Him, highest heavens,
And the waters that are above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For He commanded and they were created.
He has also established them forever and ever;
He has made a decree which will not pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;
Beasts and all cattle;
Creeping things and winged fowl;
Kings of the earth and all peoples;
Princes and all judges of the earth;
Both young men and virgins;
Old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
For His name alone is exalted;
His glory is above earth and heaven.
And He has lifted up a horn for His people,
Praise for all His godly ones;
Even for the sons of Israel, a people near to Him.
Praise the LORD!

Blessing

img_0043Sweet Jesus, King of glory!

Now You sleep in a manger, in a stable poor and cold;

But for us You are the highest King, making our hearts into Your palace.

This season is born Jesus, Son of the King of glory.

This season is born to us the root of our joy.

This season unites heaven and earth together.

This season was born Christ, the King of greatness.

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