Our Daily Thread 12-24-13

Good Morning!

Tomorrow is Christmas!!! 🙂

And here’s something that Peter asked me to pass along. 🙂

You asked for it, and here it is. I used an old grocery store ad with a large picture of a Christmas wreath made up of fresh veggies and fruits. Perfect for Mrs L since she loves such foods. And she approves of this wrapping job. (I usually don’t bother wrapping her gifts, since she picks them out. But since we’ll be opening them with grandchildren present, I thought I’d better with this one.)

wrapped

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Quote of the Day

“At Christmas play and make good cheer, for Christmas comes but once a year.”

Thomas Tusser

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From The London Symphony Orchestra

Love it!

This one too, from Kings College, Cambridge. Courtesy of Drwestbury

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QoD

Are you excited? 🙂

I am! I know I’m a grown man, but I still get excited about it. 🙂

And I still have gifts to wrap. 😯

41 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 12-24-13

  1. I am excited for the children. So blessed to have a great relationship with son and DIL and share in these good times with their family. Emmy is almost three – such a fun age for the wonder of Christmas.
    Second son is expecting his first child, another granddaughter, due tomorrow.

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  2. Merry Christmas everyone.
    If Jo were in PNG, she would be waiting for Santa about now.
    On Fox and Friends (Fox News) they are talking about “The war on Christmas”. There is one, no doubt.
    In SS last Sunday, our teacher talked about the need for a Christmas since it wasn’t celebrated by the early church.
    I said, that’s true, but Christmas is an important American tradition and is a good vehicle for dispensing the gospel to everyone. People who never go to church hear about “Christ the savior is born,” etc.
    I think Christmas, as a Christian celebration, is an important tradition and useful for the gospel.

    In a couple of hours, we’re on our way to Greensboro. I may –may not- comment from the shopping mall in Hickory, since Elvera wants to go to Belk there.

    I got a surprise phone call yesterday afternoon. It was from Sawgunner. He has been reassigned from Fort Jackson to San Antonio. I sent the link to our blog to him and I hope he shows up to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone.

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  3. That is a beautiful, and unique, wreath. BTW.

    Just waiting around for time to go. We don’t want to get to Hickory before things open. Though, it’s Christmas Eve. They may already be open.
    🙂

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  4. It’s just me and Linda this morning. 😉

    When I was working at the Defense Mapping Agency (now NGS, National Geospatial Service), we all went in to work on Dec. 24. We were supposed to be there all day.
    I worked in a SCIF (Special Classified Information Facility). They would close the SCIF at noon to all “nonessential” personnel. (That is, everyone but security.) So, we walked around to “the other side” and visited friends, partook of some of their goodies. I generally left after about an hour and went Christmas shopping at Tysons Corner Mall.
    I got a present for TSWITW. Not extravagant, but something. Then I had it professionally wrapped. It was always the prettiest present there. It wasn’t much, but it was something and it was pretty and a surprise. That went on for years.
    We don’t buy presents for each other now.
    I told you several times before, in 1963, we bought each other a snow tire for Christmas.

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  5. I’m up because I’ve got to dance the Jingle Bell Zumba this morning. Our instructor, who is my age, has been out for three months with a severe knee injury that required surgery. It’s been hit or miss with our class, and one of the other dancers called up the teacher and asked if she’d come in for this one day (she’s due back next week, but recovery hasn’t gone well).

    “You’re coming aren’t you?”

    How could I not?

    So, I woke up at 4:15 on what is traditionally the longest day of MY life–with company coming for lunch, 15 for dinner (I’m doing the big traditional family Slovenian sausage meal this year since my sister-in-law is not available. Not hard: boil sausage, potatoes, carrots and cabbage all afternoon), make the annual Ule log at some point (direction here: http://wp.me/p3HcoH-1rT), and then sing for the midnight service.

    At the recommendation of my choir director/prayer partner, I’m NOT playing Christmas carols on my clarinet at 3:30.

    True bliss would be a nap around 2. I doubt that will happen, but I’ve tried to be good all year . . .

    Merry Christmas to all!

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  6. Nice, creative wrapping job Peter. I love Christmas. I have things to get done today. I have to go find two things to share with you. Be right back

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  7. This is a work day for me. I was originally going to work from home (as I normally do only on M-W-F) but my new iPhone is ready for me to pick up, so I came into the office. I think I may be the only person here.

    Hubby and I have never bought Christmas presents for each other. The pressure of that would be way too stressful for him, and anyhow, he treats me like a queen, which is the best gift of all. We can buy anything we want or need during the year. The first year we were married (’79) he bought me flowers for my birthday, which is Dec. 21. I made a point of letting him know that would be a great tradition so that he wouldn’t have the stress of trying to buy me a birthday present every year, either. He is a Prince and I am glad to let him off the hook relating to presents. Besides, presents aren’t my “love language” anyhow.

    Merry Christmas to all.

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  8. BEHAVE
    Jest ‘Fore Christmas
    by Eugene Field (1850-1895)

    Father calls me William, sister calls me Will,
    Mother calls me Willie, but the fellers call me Bill!
    Mighty glad I ain’t a girl—ruther be a boy,
    Without them sashes, curls, an’ things that ‘s worn by Fauntleroy!
    Love to chawnk green apples an’ go swimmin’ in the lake—
    Hate to take the castor-ile they give for bellyache!
    ‘Most all the time, the whole year round, there ain’t no flies on me,
    But jest ‘fore Christmas I ‘m as good as I kin be!

    Got a yeller dog named Sport, sick him on the cat;
    First thing she knows she does n’t know where she is at!
    Got a clipper sled, an’ when us kids goes out to slide,
    ‘Long comes the grocery cart, an’ we all hook a ride!
    But sometimes when the grocery man is worrited an’ cross,
    He reaches at us with his whip, an’ larrups up his hoss,
    An’ then I laff an’ holler, “Oh, ye never teched me!”
    But jest ‘fore Christmas I ‘m as good as I kin be!

    Gran’ma says she hopes that when I git to be a man,
    I ‘ll be a missionarer like her oldest brother, Dan,
    As was et up by the cannibuls that lives in Ceylon’s Isle,
    Where every prospeck pleases, an’ only man is vile!
    But gran’ma she has never been to see a Wild West show,
    Nor read the Life of Daniel Boone, or else I guess she ‘d know
    That Buff’lo Bill an’ cowboys is good enough for me!
    Excep’ jest ‘fore Christmas, when I ‘m good as I kin be!

    And then old Sport he hangs around, so solemnlike an’ still,
    His eyes they seem a-sayin’: “What’s the matter, little Bill?”
    The old cat sneaks down off her perch an’ wonders what’s become
    Of them two enemies of hern that used to make things hum!
    But I am so perlite an’ tend so earnestly to biz,
    That mother says to father: “How improved our Willie is!”
    But father, havin’ been a boy hisself, suspicions me
    When, jest ‘fore Christmas, I ‘m as good as I kin be!

    For Christmas, with its lots an’ lots of candies, cakes, an’ toys,
    Was made, they say, for proper kids an’ not for naughty boys;
    So wash yer face an’ bresh yer hair, an’ mind yer p’s and q’s,
    An’ don’t bust out yer pantaloons, and don’t wear out yer shoes;
    Say “Yessum” to the ladies, and “Yessur” to the men,
    An’ when they ‘s company, don’t pass yer plate for pie again;
    But, thinkin’ of the things yer ‘d like to see upon that tree,
    Jest ‘fore Christmas be as good as yer kin be!

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  9. Peter, that is lovely gift wrap, IMO.

    Publix had a few more shoppers than usual for the 7:00 a.m. hour.
    I found some small catnip mice for Bosley or Boslina. This kitty has become a wild child. It’s favorite toys are a badminton birdie, a purple Mr. Grip pen (that I was using for Bible study time), a gift tag with little mesh bow attached, catnip mouse, and unfortunately, hands. She is finally settled for a nap on my lap. This kitten does not need Wheaties in the morning.

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  10. Our Christmas excitement has all left. We had a chaotic few days of great joy, though, before they left. All was well with their traveling, for which we are grateful. One daughter was quite upset to find the freezer full of crab brought home by her fishermen husband was all spoiled. Apparently the door was stopped from completely shutting and since they were a thousand miles away, it was not noticed. 😦

    We had grandchildren here from two to fourteen. The little ones are so much fun to watch, but the older ones are fun to play games with, too. Our sweet little four year old boy told his mom he was proud of us for buying him a talking guinea pig toy. He was the one who was super excited to get the glow bracelets his aunt promised the children as soon as all the toys were cleaned up etc. and they were ready for bed. She said his response was reason enough to be glad she brought up goodie bags for all of them. I just love how excited little ones can get with the simplest of things.

    It was a very good time of connecting again with both activity and conversation.

    I agree that Christmas is a great opportunity for sharing the gospel. That explains why the evil one would want to distort it, silence the Christmas carols, outshout it with disgustingness and ban its real meaning in the public square. It is just another front line for the battle.

    I love the fruit and vegie wreath wrapping.

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  11. Hmmmmm. The Kitty has Christmas presents. She is settled on your lap for a nap. Face it, you are her person. Once you ha ve been picked…

    Yesterday Mr. P was on a tare to find out if Oldest Son and his wife had a guest room bed. He was thinking of sending them money to buy one. (You do see the logic in this-we would have a place to sleep when we visit) .. I sent DIL a text asking. The answer was that they have a blow up mattress in there now but are working on a reason to put a crib in there. September is a nice time for Baby Girls.

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  12. Merry Christmas Eve. It’s a work day for me, too, but we have early deadlines and were told we could scoot out of there when we’re done. I’m writing what should be an easy story on some volunteers conducting a sock donation for the homeless that runs through Dec. 31, have to meet up with them this morning for a quick interview & photo, then I’ll roll into the newsroom to write it up.

    I’m hoping to get out by 2 or 3 p.m., then it’s off to pick up my disabled friend to go to her church’s Christmas Eve service at 5:30 (I’ll have to miss ours, unfortunately, since it’s the same time). Tomorrow will be a juggling act with different friends and two meals. 😦 Back to work on Thursday then.

    JanetG, your kitty will LOVE all the boxes after gifts are opened tomorrow. 🙂 Cats love being in boxes for some reason.

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  13. I’m still learning things about her.
    We got into the car at the rest area. She said,
    “The restroom was clean, but there wasn’t anyone in there”
    Huh???
    “Usually, when we travel on a holiday, I give the attendants a $5.00 tip because they have to work on a holiday.”
    That had never crossed my mind. I have never tipped a restroom attendant.
    I have seen them in fancy hotels, where they expect a tip. But none of them ever did anything for me.

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  14. Me too, Jo. I’ve been home a week and still haven’t wrapped the gifts I brought home. I have six small distractions as my excuse. My eldest sibling and all her family are staying with my parents for two weeks. My youngest sibling, who lives nearby, brought her little one over to visit yesterday (we’ll be all together again tomorrow) . It was so cute to see the six month and four month old cousins regarding each other. The older kids were delighted to have two babies to gloat over (except for the two year old, who got his nose out of joint). I’m strong enough now that I can hold the wriggling bundles for a short while.

    I’m a grown woman, and I still get excited on Christmas Eve. This morning, I sat down and played a lot of my favorite carols on the piano, while my littlest nephew gurgled at me from his bouncy seat. This evening, I hope to curl up on the couch beside our beautiful tree and watch the presents pile up as my parents and siblings finish wrapping their gifts. Now it isn’t the anticipation of what I will get, but the fun of watching other people open their gifts that I love.

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  15. Chas,

    I just have to disagree on the whole “There’s a war on Christmas” meme. Or if there is,it seems like Christmas is winning! 🙂

    Nearly every business I go into has a tree or a wreath. Musc fills the air – I have played two Christmas programs, my wife one plus a parade.

    The bank where I work does a wonderful series of concerts during December in our historic main branch. And yes, there are public and charter school groups, performing both secular and religious holiday music! 🙂

    Almost every store and business is closed tomorrow. I didn’t see that happening over Hannukkah or Kwanzaa. Not even Thanksgiving.

    What do you think everyone has been going around buying and making gifts, baking and cleaning their houses for?

    Are there a few grumpy Scrooges out there? OF COURSE!. But, again, from what I see, they are few and far between. Don’t let them get to you!!

    I had a friend, who is a Christian of very conservative beliefs, (mine are quite liberal) who must have been having a bad day as witnessed by several grumpy posts about stores and traffic post on fb asking, “If you don’t believe in Christ, why do you celebrate Christmas? Seriously though I can buy gifts for people any time I want. If there is no faith attached to the holiday what is the celebration for?”

    My response was that, for better or for worse, although the holiday may have been largely secularized, the Christian expressions of love, generosity, giving, and feelings of warmth towards our fellow men have been DEEPLY engrained into our culture and the secularized celebration. If non-Christians, then, choose to partake in the spirit of this season, I will not question their motivation nor assert that my faith alone owns this holiday, and that others may not keep it, nor celebrate their own holidays. If it increases Peace and Love in this world, then I am for it! So, I will wish them, as I do you, Happy Holidays! Happy Hannukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! and above all, as a fellow believer, Merry Christmas!

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  16. Merry Christmas everyone.

    Don’t worry Chas the only war on Christmas that actually succeeded was by those pesky Puritans in 17th century England. Apparently, Christmas was too pagan for them.

    I’m actually cooking the Christmas dinner so the rest of today is about making the house presentable, etc. Take care.

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  17. Roy, thanks for your comments. Unfortunately the war on Christmas has had some successful battles in removing religious expressions from public places, but Christmas is far from conquered.

    Merry Christmas to all!

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  18. It is actually a war on Christ and has been going on for millenium. And He is far from conquered. He left Heaven to live as a man. He was crucified and died and buried. He is Risen. He is victorious.

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  19. Chas, I worked at McDonald’s for over a year after I graduated high school, the busiest McDonald’s in the state of Arizona, and we had such a nasty head manager she had a reputation all over the area. As a result, though McDonald’s average turnover then was 100% (average employee stayed one year, so “on average” you had full turnover in a year), ours had a 400% turnover.

    Well, when I was trained we were told that we weren’t allowed to accept tips unless a customer insisted. Once or twice a customer offered a tip, but when I said no thanks, we weren’t allowed to accept tips, no one ever “insisted.” When you’re working a really horrible job for $3.35-3.50 an hour and not getting very many hours a week (I was saving for a car so I could get a better job), a $5.00 tip would be greatly appreciated, but I never got one.

    I determined that occasionally I would give a fast food worker a tip and “insist.” I’ve actually only done it once or twice. (But our local McDonald’s, where we sometimes eat breakfast, employs a teenage boy from our church, and my husband said we should give him a nice tip sometime.) My father-in-law has said that waitresses have to pay taxes on tips but not on gifts . . . so when he goes into a restaurant, he asks the waitress when her birthday is. Even if it’s months away, when he leaves he gives her a nice “tip” but says, “That’s a birthday gift. Thank you, and happy birthday.” Probably some of them don’t even realize what he is doing and count it as a tip, but I think that’s a creative way to handle it. (Similarly, I once sent a $100 check to a missionary friend and told her, ‘I don’t itemize, so I’ll pay taxes on this gift. So, consider it a gift and not a donation, because there’s no point in it being taxed twice.'”)

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  20. I’ve been busy gift sitting and kitten wrapping. Ooops! I meant kitten sitting and gift wrapping. It’s the second nap in the lap for today. Sun shines through the window on the kitten in my lap. Cats somehow always like to soak up sunshine on a winter’s day.

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  21. Merry Christmas Kim. I got a new to me dining room table and six chairs. A friend was using it as a conference table in his law office and is changing things around and made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. Love it.

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  22. It will soon be the time of lighting the Christ candle at the Christmas Eve services. Merry Christmas to you all! The pace is about to pick up. How do I get a napping kitten out of my lap without too much trauma? I have many things to do but am being held captive by this peaceful little one.

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  23. Always interesting to see some of the ‘Christmas’ messages this time of year on FB. Like this one:

    “Jesus is NOT a fundamentalist Christian. Jesus is PERFECT LOVE. Jesus is YOU. Jesus is me. Let Christ consciousness guide your every breath and every step. Agape” 😮

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  24. Chas: Any idea when Sawgunner will arrive in SA? We are here over Christmas and into January, and then again in the spring.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!

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  25. Merry Christmas, everyone! It’s 30 minutes until Christmas officially begins here, but I’m too tired to wait for it. We had a Christmas Eve bonfire and cookout with the whole missionary team. Just a nice relaxing time. No programs. Just food and enjoying each others company. We missed our violin player!

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  26. sitting in the sunshine with friends and family yesterday and today. something I never do and was just so sweet. Friends had a high tea luncheon for my daughter’s family with all the little girls. Oh, such delightful food and fellowship. And then each little girl went home with a new doll. Heaven in a little girl’s eyes.
    I think that I am done wrapping, but not sure who the last thing is for. 🙂

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  27. We get to sleep in tomorrow. It is the only day of the year that I let the children sleep past seven. they have yet to take me up on it. I wonder why?

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  28. Roy,

    War on Christmas?

    Depends where you look I guess. The Obama admin seems to be engaged in one against Christmas and Christians.

    http://nation.foxnews.com/2013/12/24/starnes-army-don’t-say-christmas

    “Don’t say Christmas.

    That’s the message that was conveyed to a group of soldiers at Camp Shelby by an equal opportunity officer from the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, according to a soldier who attended a recent briefing.

    “It’s unbelievable that the Army would ban ‘Christmas’ like it’s a bad word,” said Michael Berry, an attorney with the Liberty Institute, a legal firm representing the unidentified soldier.

    Two weeks ago, a routine meeting was held at the Mississippi base with various leaders of the 158th Infantry Brigade. During the meeting, they discussed an upcoming Christmas football tournament. The equal opportunity officer immediately objected to the usage of the word “Christmas.”

    “Our equal opportunity representative stopped the briefing and told us that we can’t say Christmas,” the soldier told me. “Almost the entire room blew up. Everybody was frustrated. The equal opportunity rep told our commander that not everyone celebrates Christmas and we couldn’t say Christmas celebration. It had to be holiday celebration.”

    _____________________________________________

    See also,

    http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/24293539/students-parents-upset-that-religious-christmas-cards-wont-go-to-north-texas-veterans#ixzz2oPFtucJR

    “They thought it was a kind holiday gesture, but dozens of Prosper students didn’t get to deliver the Christmas cards they made for local veterans because of a VA policy against specific religious cards and phrasing.”

    “An spokesperson for the VA clarified the policy Monday, which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook, by stating the following:

    “In order to be respectful of our Veterans religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by Chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation. The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.”

    However, on Tuesday, the director of the VA North Texas Health Care System released the following statement:

    “First, we would like to state that the VA greatly appreciates donations made by students and organizations on behalf of our Veterans and we will always accept cards for our patients who celebrate Christmas. We would like to clarify the process though in which VA North Texas Health Care System (VANTHCS) handles religious/spiritual donations. All forms of holiday donations are received every year and recorded through Voluntary Services. A multi-disciplinary team led by Chaplaincy services reviews holiday cards and determines if the cards contain religious/secular material within them and in the event they do – our Chaplains distribute them by asking patients on a one-on-one basis if they will accept a holiday card with religious references.

    Our Veterans enlisted in the military with the understanding they may be called to fight for our freedoms. One of those freedoms is our freedom to practice a religion of our choice free of persecution. As a federal agency that provides health care to our Nation’s Veterans, it is our duty to uphold and respect the fact that our Veterans are from all faiths and backgrounds and we must honor their sacrifices by making sure we approach religious donations through highly trained VA Chaplains and seek patient approval before distribution.”

    So they just spout a bunch of PC nonsense.

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