Happy Hanukkah

Living By Faith, Uncategorized

Hanukkah began at sunset today. As a Christian, I celebrate this holiday because the roots of my own faith are in Judaism. Below, I’ve shared an article my dad wrote a few years ago concerning Hanukkah and how the Christian faith and Christmas exist because of the Jewish faith and the events that brought about the celebration of Hanukkah. May you enjoy the blessings of God’s love and provision during this season of celebration.

MENORAH -- BY CHESDOVI, DEC. 2006 - EDITED 2

WITHOUT HANUKKAH, THERE WOULD BE NO CHRISTMAS
(by Ted Pavloff)

I do not hesitate to say, or apologize for saying, that our Christian heritage is in Judaism. If you dig down into our foundations deeply enough, you discover the Jew. That is not only a spiritual truth, but also a historical fact. Jesus was a Jew—100%, full-blooded, full-fledged Hebrew. This was in God’s plan. That is why He called Abraham and, through him and his wife Sarah, established the Jewish nation. Through this Jewish bloodline would come the promised Messiah. No other nation or ethnic people on earth at that time were worthy of that honor. It had to be a brand new people living and worshiping under the law of Jehovah God.

From that point, everything should have run smoothly, but it didn’t. Israel had her problems with sin and idolatry; plus she had her national enemies who also were responsible in part for her sins. You see, Satan did not retire when God cast him out of Heaven. He knew something big lay up ahead, all of which would be to the glory of God. So he never missed an opportunity to try sidetracking every move he thought was God’s. And, without question, his special target throughout the Old Testament era was the Jewish people — the children of Israel. He didn’t want to merely harass them or make them suffer. He wanted desperately to annihilate them—wipe them off the face of the earth. He is still trying to do that today.

And that brings us to a special time in history when Satan almost succeeded. It was in the period between the Testaments, specifically 168 BC. Something happened that culminated into a celebration known as Hanukkah, an 8-day long holiday celebrated by the Jews to this day. And because of Hanukkah we have Christmas. And if there had never been a Hanukkah, there would be no Christmas!

In the period I referred to between the Testaments, the children of Israel were under the iron rule of the Syrian king named Antiochus. Not only did Antiochus subject the Jews to a life of suffering, but he was also openly determined to destroy the very foundation and unique identity of Judaism. He prevented the Jews from ever using the Temple, but he didn’t stop there. He forced them to abandon every phase of their religion. He banned Sabbath, circumcisions, all worship of Jehovah God, and all traditions that dated back to Moses. He destroyed all of the writings of the scribes that he could locate. He erected idols all over the Temple, including in the Holy of Holies. Then as the ultimate act of desecration of God’s temple, he sacrificed a pig on the altar of God.

The Jews were totally defeated and demoralized. This was one unique time in Jewish history when the enemy came within a fraction of destroying all traces of a recognizable Jewish culture. And any chance for a promised Messiah to be born into Judaism would have vanished.

But in 168 BC, at the height of the reign of Antiochus, there was an aged Jewish priest named Mattathias who one day struck down and killed one of Antiochus’ commissioners and an apostate Jew, who were in the process of offering up heathen sacrifices in the temple. Then he leveled the altar and escaped with his five sons into the wilderness. He organized a guerrilla band to oppose Antiochus. Two of his sons were killed in the process, and Mattathias died shortly thereafter.

But the eldest son, Judas, took over. Judas and his guerrilla band defeated every military unit Antiochus sent against them. During this time Judas won the name “Macabbee,” which means “the hammerer.” Within three years, Judas Maccabee and his band of Jewish guerrillas miraculously recaptured the city of Jerusalem and the temple.

They promptly set about destroying every semblance of heathen presence. They thoroughly cleansed the temple and rededicated it to Jehovah God and to the worship of Him alone.

The temple was rededicated on the 25th day of the Jewish month of “Kislev,” which corresponds exactly to our month of December. The name Hanukkah means “dedication.” The celebration is also referred to as “The Feast of Dedication,” and the “Festival of Lights.” The common Hebrew phrase connected with Hanukkah is “Nes Gadoy Haya Sham,” which means: “A great miracle happened here.” Truly, it was a great miracle: Judaism was saved from oblivion.

In actual fact, there are two miracles that link Hanukkah and Christmas, and understanding them will raise your joyful appreciation of both. First, there was the preservation of the Jewish people. Had Antiochus been successful, the Jews and Judaism would have gone the route of all the other nations that are today nothing more than archeological history. (e.g. Philistines, Amalakites, etc.) There would not have been a chosen nation for Christ to be born into. So whenever you are tempted to doubt God’s saving power, remember Hanukkah and His loving power for the Maccabees: all odds against them, yet they miraculously prevailed. He is the same God, who today delivers His people, Jew and Gentile.

The second miracle of Hanukkah is the miracle of lights. Antiochus and his thugs had extinguished the Seven-branch Menorah that was to burn in the temple continuously. The victorious Jews searched for oil to rekindle this sacred flame. They found only enough for one day, and it would take eight days to get more. In their excitement to rekindle the flame, they didn’t wait. They lit it with only one day’s supply of oil. Miraculously it burned continually for eight days. This is why Hanukkah is celebrated for eight full days, and why a nine branch candelabra is used in the celebration. The “Shamash,” or servant candle is lit first; then it lights all the other candles one at a time each night for the eight nights. On the eighth night the full candelabra is brilliantly aglow.

John 10 tells us that Jesus went up to the temple at the Feast of Dedication. Isn’t it appropriate that He would choose that moment to declare, “I am the light of the world. He that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”? (John 8:12.)

Like the “Shamash,” the Servant Candle (Jesus) lights our way and sends His Holy Spirit to ignite us, to fire us up, so we can shine His light into a dark world.

So the miracle of preservation made Christmas possible, and the miracle of light reminds us of the prophet’s voice: “He shall be a light unto the Gentiles … and His salvation will reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6).

Finally, there is the common theme that links Hanukkah and Christmas, and it is that of “God with us – Immanuel.” There is a traditional Hanukkah hymn that reads like this: “Rock of ages, let our song praise thy saving power; thou amidst the raging foe, were our sheltering tower; furious they assailed us; by thy arm you availed us; and thy word broke their sword when our own strength failed us!”

God has promised to be with us, His people, in every endeavor of our lives, and this promise was forever sealed in the Name the prophets chose to call Messiah. “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and you shall call His name Immanuel.”  (Isaiah 7:14).

Jesus was born to die and then rise up victoriously. Born to light our way and make us lights. Born to be worshiped and adored by Jews and Gentiles alike. He is the Hope of Hanukkah and the Christ of Christmas.

These two holidays share their significance in the person of Y’shua, Jesus, our Rock of Ages.

 

‘Stocking Full of Stories’ Christmas Writing Challenge – Week 3

Living By Faith, Poetry, Uncategorized

It’s the 3rd and final week of the “Stocking Full of Stories” Christmas writing challenge at the “Merry Christmas, World!” blog. The first two weeks, I wrote stories that were just fun. But this week, I felt it was time to focus on the true meaning of this holiday, so I’m offering two poems that I hope will do that. To be honest, I wrote the first poem last Easter, but it just seemed so perfect for my focus this week that I felt I couldn’t do better even if I tried to write a brand new piece. I hope these poems bless you, and I hope you hop over to “Merry Christmas, World!” and take part in the challenge.

WHAT WILL CHRISTMAS BRING?

STAR, SHAFT OF LIGHT, CROSS,CROWN

“What will Christmas bring, Mom?”
“Why, Son, ’twill bring you lots of toys and joys.”
“What else will Christmas bring, Mom?”
“Well, fun and games with other girls and boys.”

“But later on in life, Mom,
Will Christmas mean a lot when I am grown?”
“Oh, yes, it will mean more, Son.
For as you grow, a great truth you’ll be shown.

“You’ll learn that Jesus came, Son,
Not just to be a babe in manger sweet,
But to grow up a strong man,
Horrible death and suffering to meet.

“He came to take our sin, Son
And pay the price for it on Calvary.
So God could look upon us all
And shout, ‘From sin and all its curse you’re free!’”

“But I love the little babe, Mom.
I don’t want to think He died for me.”
“That’s what makes Christmas grand, Son:
That Jesus came to die and set us free.”

“You mean, the little baby, Mom?
He had to die and never live again?”
“No, Son, on Resurrection Day,
He rose victorious o’er death for all men.

“This truth of Christmas time, Son,
I think you now begin to understand:
It was the birth of death to sin,
And of eternal life for every man.”

~~~

WHO IS THIS BABE OF BETHLEHEM?

MARY, BABY, LAMB - EDITED

At His birth,
A tiny, helpless child;
At His death,
A lamb so meek and mild;
At His grave,
A conqueror supreme;
At His coming,
Universal King!

~

`

Ever Wish You Were a Wiener?

Uncategorized, Videos

hot_dog
“Oh, I’d love to be an Oscar Meyer wiener.
That is what I’d truly like to be.
‘Cause if I were an Oscar Meyer wiener,
Everyone would be in love with me.”

This jingle kept running through my mind when I was up about 5:00 this morning. I couldn’t get rid of it, so I figured why fight it — blog about it.

Bet you’re hungry for a hot dog now, huh?????

~

‘Stocking Full of Stories’ Christmas Writing Challenge — Week 3

Uncategorized

Sandra Conner:

Don’t miss out on the last week of the Christmas Writing Challenge.

Originally posted on Merry Christmas, World!:

RED STOCKING WITH STORIES # 2 WITH ORNAMENTSOkay, all you story-tellers and poets out there, it’s time to begin the third and final week of our Christmas writing challenge. It’s time to write another Christmas story or poem — any kind of story/poem you like as long as it’s fit for general audiences to read. There’s NO word limit. But I do advise a length that people can easily read within 10-15 minutes because so many of our readers are super busy during this season.

Remember, your story/poem does not have to be like mine. However, if you like the picture that is with mine, and it prompts something new in you, feel free to use it — or use any other picture you wish — or no picture at all. You may also feel free to copy or download the stocking logo for the challenge and use it on your site as well.

Don’t forget to…

View original 70 more words

The Treasures of Christmas

Poetry, Uncategorized

CROSS, MNGR MESSAGE -- NEG BLUE BCKGRD
Gingerbread and stockings …
Christmas trees and holly …
Loving friends and family …
Peace and hope and laughter –
These belong to Christmas.

God’s rich love for mankind …
Word made flesh incarnate …
Coming for one purpose:
Dying that I could have life.
Christmas belongs to me!

~

‘Stocking Full Of Stories’ Christmas Writing Challenge – Week 2 — “Surprise!!!”

Short Stories

RED STOCKING WITH STORIES # 2 WITH ORNAMENTSIt is week # 2 of “Stocking Full of Stories” Christmas Writing Challenge, and I have posted my story below. The challenge comes from “Merry Christmas, World!”  Hop over there and check out the super easy rules. All you need to do is write a Christmas story or poem — fit for general audiences — and post the link to your own story/poem in the “Comments” over on the Christmas blog.

Personally, I was toying with two ideas this week, and finally an idea that was birthed out of a 100-word story I wrote last year got the upper hand. I started with that premise from last year, but let the story grow to something more substantial for this challenge.

ELF FOR STORY - EXTRA NOSESURPRISE!!!

So you’re breaking up with me on my birthday? And Thanksgiving is just three weeks away. What about the plans we made with my family?” Victoria felt the sting of tears behind her eyes, but she was determined not to let them show.

The man across the table from her looked around to make sure no one else had heard Victoria’s response. He dipped his head slightly and then looked back at her. “I didn’t deliberately choose today to tell you this, but I felt it wouldn’t be fair to you if I waited longer. If I’m going to be dating someone else, I want to do this thing right.”

Right! How right do you think it is that you already have your picture plastered all over the paper with her before you tell me? All my friends saw the two of you in that embrace on the front page of the society section before I even had a clue.”

That wasn’t my fault either,” he said. “We were at the cast party the night the play closed, and it just … well … happened.”

Victoria fumed, but she knew further argument wouldn’t change anything. And she’d known from the beginning that dating an actor was probably asking for trouble in the emotional department anyway. Steve Templeton was a hunk in every sense of the word, and women were always after him. The chances of his becoming a one-woman man were about as good as a snowman lasting through the month of July here in the city. Besides, she didn’t need to beg someone to love her —- did she?”

I’m sorry, Victoria. That’s all I can say,” Steve said now.

She took a deep breath. “It’s okay. If you don’t still have feelings for me, you can’t help that, I guess. But what really stings is that this twit you’re taking up with is so obviously out for just one thing.”

Steve looked offended. “That’s a mean thing to say, Victoria, and I would have thought cracks like that were beneath you.”

Well, let’s just look at a few facts then, shall we? She is a bleached blond. Those roots are black as Georgia soil. She’s obviously anorexic. Her body is hardly there except for two prominent implants. And she talks in only one-syllable words. It’s a wonder she can even say your last name correctly.”

Steve stood up. “That’s enough, Victoria. I don’t need to hear anymore.”
Victoria stood too. “Don’t worry. The subject under discussion is so shallow that I have nothing else to add. You two deserve each other,” she said as she turned, snatched her jacket from the back of the chair, and walked away from the table.

Two weeks later.

Vicky, we’ve got problems,” Dale Springer said as he entered Victoria’s office on the top floor of Springer’s Department Store.

What’s up?”

All those mannequins we ordered to use in our front Christmas window have been in an accident.”

“What kind of accident can dummies get into?”

“A real accident – auto accident – well, in this case a truck accident.”

Oh, you mean the truck they were shipped in.”
“Right, and evidently all the merchandise in that truck was totaled. There will be no mannequins in time for the display to go in by Black Friday.”

Victoria leaned back in her chair and rubbed the back of her aching neck. She’d been working day and night the past two weeks – partly because she was trying to get Steve Templeton off her mind – and partly because, as head of the window display division at Springer’s, her busiest season was in full swing. She let out a deep sigh. “Well … I’ll have to think of something. Thanks for letting me know as soon as you could, Dale.”

Sure thing.” He turned to leave, but then turned back. “You know, I thought those mechanical mannequins were a terrific idea. That scene you described to me would really be an eye-catcher. The scenes would have looked like real life. Too bad,” he said and finally started down the hall.

Yeah,” Victoria said, even though she knew Dale was already too far down the hall to hear her response. “That was the idea. To look like real li —” She stopped mid-sentence because an idea had struck full force. It would mean going out on a limb, but did she actually have much choice?

As her mental wheels continued to turn, excitement began to build. “Yep. I really believe it will work,” she told herself out loud and swung around in her chair to reach for her Rolodex. Her list of close acquaintances included two agents in the city who each had a long list of actors who were out of work or looking for more publicity. They should be a lot of help.

The following morning, Dale was back in her office. “Sonya just told me about the all-out search for live actors for our window. Are you sure this is going to be cost-effective, Vicky? It’s a lot of money.”

Now, Dale, you said yourself that the idea of a scene that looked like real life would attract a lot of attention – and that converts to a lot of buyers – which converts to lots of money. We’ll be a sensation, and just think, we will be setting the bar high this year. All of our competitors will be scurrying to try to catch up.”

Well … I admit that knowing Springer’s is leading the way in innovative advertising has a nice ring to it. Okay … I’ll back you on this, but … by jingles, girl, you’d better make it good enough to pay off.”

Victoria gave him two thumbs up and grinned at him.

Two days later, Steve Templeton entered her office. He hesitated at the door, but she put on her business face and greeted him with a smile. “Good morning, Steve. I bet you’ve come about the window display.”

Well, my agent sent me over. He said you were racing the clock on your displays and wanted live actors. But if you’re uncomfortable —”

Don’t be silly, Steve. Our relationship is in the past. All I’m concerned about right now is getting enough actors to do our front Christmas window. We hope to make a dramatic impact this year, and we need a real hunk to pull it off – after all it’s the window that covers half the front of the store.”

Steve preened and sat down in a chair opposite her desk. “Well, if that’s what you need, this is your lucky day, Vic. It’s just too bad I can’t clone myself, isn’t it.”

Victoria pasted on another false smile and said, “The hours are 10:00 to 6:00 with a break for lunch, and the actors will take turns working every other day so that no one gets too tired.”

Hey, that’s not necessary. I can do every day from now ’til Christmas if you want. And let’s face it, there aren’t too many of us who can fill the bill,” he added, sliding his hand lovingly over his trendy hair.

Well, I’d be grateful if you could work every day, Steve. I know the newspapers are planning on a big spread about the new experiment with live actors, and the local TV station will be here at least one day to cover the act in the window.”

Terrific! I’m your man. Look no further.”

Well, do you want to take a copy of the contract and look over the details before you decide? I have several other actors to interview for the position as well, and then you can get back to me tomorrow.”

Hey, no, that’s not necessary.” He stood up and moved to the desk, pulling a pen from his pocket. “Don’t bother with interviewing those other guys. I’m your man. I don’t need to read the details. I’m in for the long haul.”

But you don’t know what all —”

“Vicky,” he interrupted, lifting one hand like a stop sign. “No need to explain anything. Just let me sign the contract.”

Victoria shrugged her shoulders. “Well, if you’re sure,” she said and turned to the last page of the contract for his signature. “I’ll give you a copy to take home, of course.”

No need,” he said pocketing his pen. “Just tell me when we start.”

You’ll need to be here by 9:00 this Friday morning.”

You got it, Vic,” he said with a wink and swaggered out the door.

As he left the outer office, Victoria’s assistant came scurrying up to Victoria’s desk. “Hey, wasn’t that hunk who just left your office Steve Templeton, the actor?”

“Yeah,” Victoria answered, grinning so widely her cheeks hurt.

“Did he come to beg you to forgive him for dumping you?”

Shhhh! Do you think I want everyone in the store to know he dumped me?”

Well, if he’s come to his senses and asked you to come back to him, I don’t see why it hurts —”

For crying out loud, Marci, he didn’t come to apologize to me!”

But you’re grinning from ear to ear.”

Yes, I am,” Victoria answered with a satisfied sigh.

Then what was he doing here?”

His agent sent him, and I just signed him as one of the live actors for our main Christmas display window.”

You gave Templeton the part!? But the guy tossed you aside last month for that anorexic, bleached blond who, you said, can’t even pronounce his last name!”

“Yeah, I know.” There was the grin again. Victoria actually enjoyed the pain in her cheeks.

“So why give him a whole month’s free publicity in your window?”

Wel-l-l-l, knowing him as I do, I was sure he’d sign the contract without reading the fine print.”

He didn’t read the contract?”

Nope. And I offered it to him twice – three times actually. I even told him he could take it home. But, no … our Mr. Templeton has such an ego that he can’t even imagine himself in a part that doesn’t capitalize on his physique and his sex appeal.”

Sex appeal! But didn’t you tell him —-” Marci’s eyes grew large, and her mouth hung open. “Vicky, you didn’t tell him!”

Tell him what … that he’ll be wearing green tights, pointed rubber ears, a light-up nose, and jingle-bells on his shoes and his cap?” She shrugged her shoulders and got up from her desk to get a cup of coffee.

Wow,” Marci said, following her over to the coffee pot. “Way to go, girl!  Justice is served in the end.”  

Victoria picked up the coffee pot and grinned once more, looking at Marci before she filled the cup. “And, after all … a dummy’s a dummy, right?” 

~~~

`

Are You In The Mood Yet?

Photos, Uncategorized

One of my blogging buddies was feeling a little sluggish about Christmas decorating this year and said she could use some good pictures of decorations from my neck of the woods to get her in the mood. So I decided to post a few from my own house, my sister’s house, and several places in my community. Maybe it will light a spark for some others who can’t seem to get started this year.  (Click on any picture to see it larger.).  MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

‘Stocking Full of Stories’ Christmas Writing Challenge – Week 1: “Leonard Takes Life by the Antlers”

Short Stories, Uncategorized

Here’s my story for week # 1 of the ‘Stocking Full of Stories’ writing challenge on “Merry Christmas World!”  (Just to get things started, I posted this first story with the original challenge as well.)  I hope all of you will hop over there and check out the EASY RULES for participating. Take part in one week, two weeks, or all three. And don’t forget to LEAVE LINKS TO YOUR OWN STORIES IN THE ‘COMMENTS’ BOX AT ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS, WORLD!’

REINDEER W. BIRDS NEST

LEONARD TAKES LIFE BY THE ANTLERS

 

“Nicholas, is something troubling you this evening?” asked Lydia Claus, pausing in her embroidery work.

“Hmmmm?” Nick made the sound without shifting his gaze from the flames in the fireplace.

“I asked what’s wrong, Dear?”

Nick sighed, finally looking across at his wife in her chair. “It’s Leonard, Mama.”

“Leonard? Leonard, the elder deer?”

“Yes.” Nick sighed again, but didn’t continue. He seemed lost in his own thoughts again.

“Nick,” Lydia said, putting down her embroidery and sitting up straighter in her chair. “Is Leonard sick?”

“Hmm? Oh … oh, no, he’s not sick … not exactly.”

“Well, what on earth does that mean?”

Nick reached to a little table beside his chair and picked up his pipe. He lit it, and the sweet-scented smoke curled off into the air. “Leonard isn’t sick, Mama. He’s just old … very old. And I’m afraid he can’t do any real work around here any longer. He just sort of stands around watching the younger deer – or worse – sometimes he just lies in his stall and doesn’t even get out for exercise. He feels useless I think.”

“But his son Rudolph is still your lead reindeer, and I know that’s always made Leonard so proud. He’s the one who trained Rudolph to fly and to maneuver so beautifully. In fact, he trained almost all of your teams, didn’t he?”

“Oh, yes. He’s been more valuable to me than almost any other deer in our herd, but he doesn’t feel up to training the younger deer any longer. I’ve had to turn that job over to his younger cousin Archibald.”

“Oh, dear. I wish there were something I could do.”

“Me too,” Nick said, rising and heading toward the kitchen. “But perhaps I’ll think of something soon.”

(Next day. In the stable.)

“Leonard,” said Gladys Reindeer, “I wish you wouldn’t feel so sad. After all, look at all the teams of reindeer you’ve trained for Santa over the years. You should feel proud and just enjoy your time of rest.”

“Rest! Bah! I have to sit by and watch that whippersnapper Archy take my place as Santa’s right-hand. It’s degrading … humiliating … and worse … it’s terribly depressing.”

“But you can still give the elves rides and help with hauling the smaller toys from the toyshop to the warehouse for storage. It’s not as if you don’t do anything.”

“It’s not the same, Gladys. There are scores of other reindeer on the place who can do all that. And they do. In fact, they can do it all faster, and most days they’re already on the job before I can get my old bones and muscles moving. I just wish there were something I could do again that was special.”

“Well, my dear” – Gladys nuzzled his nose – “you will always be very special to me – and to Rudolph. And just think of our son. He’s become so famous, and he’s so good at what he does … and he gives you all the credit – rightly so, I might add.”

“Oh, he’s a source of pride, all right. It’s gratifying to see how well he’s done. But it doesn’t change my feeling of uselessness now.” Leonard plodded out of the stable, his head hanging low.

“Where are you going, Dear?”

He sighed. “I don’t know. I think I’ll go for a walk in the forest. I do always feel a little better when I listen to the Redbirds sing for a while.”

Leonard walked slowly through the forest, stopping now and then to rest and listen to the sounds of all the other creatures he’d come to know and love. He hadn’t heard any Redbirds in song today, but as he moved farther into the woods, he heard a cacophony of bird voices that troubled him.

He followed the sounds to a huge Spruce tree where one of his favorite Redbird friends had her home. But something strange was happening today. Several men in hard hats were surrounding the tree, examining it. Off to the side sat a huge truck with a long flatbed on the back. Suddenly, one of the men pulled a lever on the machine he held in his hands, and the machine started groaning loudly enough to hear it on the other side of the forest.

At that moment, Leonard’s Redbird friend swooped down toward the man, screeching and acting as though she would attack him. A couple of her friends did the same. One of the other men picked up a large stick and started swinging at the birds.

Leonard couldn’t believe his eyes. He hurried over to the scene and called out to his friend. “What’s wrong?” He asked. “Can I help?”

“Oh, Leonard,” the Redbird cried, flying over to him, “I don’t know what to do! These men are going to cut down my tree and use it for the Christmas tree in the center of town. But my nest is there, and my little babies are just about to hatch. I can’t let them cut down my home and kill my babies. But I can’t get them moved to a safe place without building another nest, and that will take too long. What can I do? What can I do?’

The chainsaw had stopped momentarily, while the men talked together, but now it started up again. Leonard thought quickly. “I know!” he said. “I will come and lift your nest onto my antlers and carry it away safely.”

“That’s very kind of you, and it would get my babies out of the tree, but where can I put them? It will take me at least three days to build a new nest anywhere – and that’s if I can find the materials. Wild animals will find my babies and eat them before I can get it done.”

“No they won’t. I will keep the nest in my antlers until you build another nest. You can sit on your eggs in your nest, and when your babies are hatched, you can feed them and take care of them just the way you always do. I have nothing else I have to do these days, and I will enjoy being useful.”

“Oh my, what a great friend you are. How can I ever thank you?”

“There’s no need. In fact, I am the one who’s grateful. I was feeling rather useless lately, and it’s a wonderful thing to know that I am not useless after all. I can be a help to my friends. And, in fact, when you have your new nest built and have moved into it, I think I’ll go walking through the forest every day looking for other friends to help. There must be many things I can do for them if I just set my mind to it.”

The chainsaw had stopped again, and the men were measuring something. “Come on,” said Leonard, “let’s hurry and go around to the other side where your nest is. I’ll burrow my way between the branches and lift off the nest, and you can make sure it’s settled safely on my antlers. Then we’ll go back to Santa’s stable, and you and your babies can enjoy Christmas with Gladys and me. She will be so pleased to have guests for Christmas Day.”

~~~

`

‘Stocking Full of Stories’ Christmas Writing Challenge – Week 1

Uncategorized

Sandra Conner:

IT’S TIME! The ‘STOCKING FULL OF STORIES’ Christmas Writing Challenge Has Begun!  Please follow the “view original” link to the original challenge page at  “Merry Christmas World!”  Post all links to your stories on that page. In order to avoid confusion, the ‘comments’ section on this post here at my personal site will not be open for this challenge.

Originally posted on Merry Christmas, World!:

RED STOCKING WITH STORIES # 2 WITH ORNAMENTSAT LAST!  I AM SO EXCITED! The date for my Christmas writing challenge is finally here. This year we are going to have fun with one Christmas story a week for the first 3 weeks in December. I love Christmas so much, and I can’t wait to read all the new stories/poems you’re going to write. Here’s how to get involved:

1. I will post a Christmas story each Saturday, beginning November 29 (I’ll actually post a day earlier to allow for geographic time differences.).

2. I’m inviting anyone and everyone to write a CHRISTMAS STORY OR POEM during the week following my post — post it on your own blog — then hop over here to the “Comments” section and leave the link to your story. (If you can do only one week or two, that’s fine. Do what you can.)

3. Hopefully, everyone who writes a story will also follow…

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A City Celebrates Thanksgiving

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Every year for decades now, my hometown has celebrated Thanksgiving Day with a city-wide community dinner. Over a hundred people volunteer for all the preparation, serving, and clean-up work, which takes weeks. Hundreds of citizens from our own town and from several surrounding communities converge on our civic center that day and celebrate together, expressing gratitude for each other and for all of the blessings we’ve experienced during the year.

We generally have a continental breakfast for those who like to start early. We have a big dinner with all the traditional Thanksgiving elements from 11:00-2:00. That dinner period includes easy-listening and Christmas music by one of our favorite local singers, and many people get up and dance. There are big screen TV’s for watching football and/or movies, and there are numerous board/table games (and games for kids) for anyone who wants to spend the day. Then about 5:00 the left-overs from dinner — as well as some extras like pizza and finger foods — get set out for supper.

Volunteers deliver mid-day dinners to anyone who is home bound and cannot get to the civic center to participate, and to local police officers, fire-fighters, and store clerks who have to work that day. When all is finished, any left-over food goes to local nursing homes.

All of the food (including over 1300 pounds of turkey), supplies, decorations, and equipment are donated by local businesses, churches, civic groups, and individuals, and every year more people want to be involved. The coordinator of the dinner, who is a dear friend of mine, is licensed in food preparation and safety, and he takes his responsibility very seriously.

For several years I covered the event for the local newspaper. Some years I interviewed as many as 40 and 50 people, many of whom had some wonderful stories to tell about how much the event means to them. It’s a community treasure, and in an age when so much is done in this world out of selfishness and greed, I’m proud of my community for still focusing it’s time, energy, and resources on appreciating the value of community and togetherness.

The short video below shares just a very few photos of the fun involved.

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