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Activated December 2013

Ring Christmas Bells - December 2013

Christmas is a time for family and loved ones, and for remembering the greatest gift ever given. Join us in celebrating the good news that Jesus came into the world and changed it forever.
 

01-12-2013
Birthday Boy Celebration
Birthday Boy Celebration

My entire life so far has been spent in the Northern Hemisphere, and as a result, my body clock is programmed to recognize dropping temperatures and shortening days as sure signs that Christmas is approaching.

I love everything about the Christmas season—the colors, the twinkling lights, the presents, the Christmas trees, the aromas, the smiles strangers exchange, the quality time with loved ones. Most Christmas music is beautiful, but I’ll admit to even enjoying the slightly tacky songs that seem to play on a loop in malls or on the car radio.

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01-12-2013
The Christmas Star
The Christmas Star

I’ve always loved red and green poinsettia plants and assumed that it was their vibrant colors that had earned them a place in Christmas decorations. But there is more to the story …

Mexican legend has it that in the 16th century, a young peasant child named Maria was distraught one Christmas Eve, as she had no gift to lay before the altar of the baby Jesus in her local village church. As she walked to the chapel, saddened that her poverty prevented her from making even the smallest offering, her young cousin encouraged her that whatever she gave from her...

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01-12-2013
Ring the Bells
Ring the Bells

Let the joy of Christmas touch your soul, whether in the peal of bells, the chorus of songs, or the quiet of your heart. There’s plenty to celebrate: Jesus is born!

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The world is filled with the sounds of Christmas. If you listen with your outer ears, you will hear carols, bells, and laughter, and now and then a sob of loneliness. If you listen with the inner ear, you will hear the sound of angels’ wings, the hush of inner expectation, and the sacred sound of the deepest silence, the vibrant whisper of the eternal Word.

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01-12-2013
Christmas Charades
Christmas Charades

In charades, the player acts silently while the audience guesses “who” he or she is meant to be. The players in the first Christmas might have appeared like this:

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01-12-2013
A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol

What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Perhaps gifts, evergreen trees, lights, holly, good food, the birth of the Christ Child, the coming new year, the end of the old, and probably for many, A Christmas Carol.

The well-known tale of the bad-tempered, miserly Scrooge has been often retold through the many years since its first publication by Charles Dickens in 1843.1 To many, the story has become a symbol of Christmas; yet while most of us are familiar with the hardheartedness, stinginess, and greed of the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, how often do we apply the story’s lessons...

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01-12-2013
A Very Personal Dilemma
A Very Personal Dilemma

The world in which Joseph and Mary, Jesus’ earthly parents, grew up was substantially different from our world today, and they were probably still very young when they were betrothed. In ancient Israel, a couple became betrothed when the man gave the woman either a letter or a piece of money, no matter how small, directly or through a messenger. It was also required that he expressly state, before witnesses, that he intended to make the woman his wife. At the time of the betrothal, the marriage contract was written and agreed upon. Once the woman was betrothed, she was...

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01-12-2013
The Gift of Your Heart
The Gift of Your Heart

All the works that Jesus did on earth had to be extremely important for the Son of God to come down in order to do them. But when you examine those extremely important things, you see that not all of them were what most people would call “spectacular” in the physical. Many of the things He did—the spiritual transformations—had very little, if any, fanfare. Many of them, like His witness to Nicodemus,1 or forgiving the immoral woman’s sins,2 or His encounter with the woman at the well,3 weren’t outstanding in physical ways.

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01-12-2013
Christmas Memories
Christmas Memories

I was born in 1955, only ten years after World War II, when wartime hardships were still fresh in people’s minds. Grandfather used to tell us children of the extreme hunger and exhaustion of those days, and the struggle of staying alive during the long freezing winter months.

Our town was in the heart of Germany’s industrial center, and everything was covered with a seemingly permanent layer of gray-brown dust from the steel mills. In springtime, the grass and green shoots quickly turned brown, and so did the fresh snow in winter, making its white coat look worn after only a...

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01-12-2013
Why Christmas?
Why Christmas?

There was once a man who didn’t believe in God, and he didn’t hesitate to let others know how he felt about religion and religious holidays, like Christmas. His wife, however, did believe, and she raised their children to also have faith in God and Jesus, despite her husband’s disparaging comments.

One snowy Christmas Eve, his wife was taking their children to a Christmas Eve church service in the farm community in which they lived. She asked him to come, but he refused.

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01-12-2013
Be an Angel
Be an Angel

There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.
—Sister Mary Rose McGeady (1928–2012)

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We should make the Yuletide season an occasion not merely for the giving of material things but an occasion for the giving of that which counts infinitely more … the giving of self.
—J. C. Penney (1875–1971)

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01-12-2013
Candlelight
Candlelight

Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmastime.—Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

 

I light this advent candle in ANTICIPATION…
The fact that we don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth doesn’t matter; what counts is that He was born. Amidst all our busy activities, let us pause to think about the Savior who lived, died, and rose again for our sake.1

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01-12-2013
What I Gave at Christmas
What I Gave at Christmas

What did I give the world at Christmas? My life for the forgiveness of your sins. That from Me and through Me and in Me you could have life.1

It all began when I designed the amazing and beautiful world that you live in and gave you life. Then I gave you My life, thus offering you access to eternal life. I give you hope through the knowledge that I am eternal, unchangeable, and never going away.

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