C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S. - Page 2

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J esus, Son of God Eternal
E verlasting Lord is He
S avior of a world of sinners,
U niversal King to be,
S ought us, brought us victory.

C hrist is due all adoration,
H umbly born to save our race
R uler of the whole creation,
I ntercedes and gives us grace
S aves us from sin's condemnation,
T ruly worthy of all praise!

The Meaning of "The 12 Days of Christnas"

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me: What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge in a pear tree have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments
Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.
The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed.

However, if you're not into symbolism, you may like these alternative lyrics:

The Twelve Days Of Christmas - Gifts From Jesus
� Carroll Robertson

On the first day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
Salvation full and free.

On the second day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
Everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the third day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
Peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the fourth day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
Love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the fifth day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
Joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the sixth day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
Power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the seventh day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
A body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the eighth day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
A robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the ninth day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
Mansions up above, a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the tenth day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
A street of pure gold, mansions up above, a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
A thousand tongues to sing, a street of pure gold, mansions up above, a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, Jesus gave to me:
Eternity to praise, a thousand tongues to sing, a street of pure gold, mansions up above, a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

Here is another modern-day and sadly true version of the world's most famous Christmas poem:

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town,
Not a sign of Baby Jesus was anywhere to be found.

The people were all busy with Christmas time chores
Like decorating, and baking and shopping in stores.

No one sang "Away in a manger, no crib for a bed".
Instead, they sang of Santa dressed-up in bright red.

Mama watched Martha Stewart, Papa drank beer from a tap,
As hour upon hour the presents they'd wrap.

When what from the T.V. did they suddenly hear?
'Cept an ad ... which told of a big sale at Sears.

So away to the mall they all flew like a flash,
Buying things on credit and others with cash!

And, as they made their way home from their trip to the mall,
Did they think about Jesus?
Oh, no ... not at all.

Their lives were so busy with their Christmas time things,
No time to remember Christ Jesus, the King.

There were presents to wrap and cookies to bake.
How could they stop and remember who died for their sake?

To pray to the Savior ...
they had no time to stop,
Because they needed more time to "Shop til they dropped!"

On Wal-mart! On K-mart!
On Target! On Penney's!
On Hallmark! On Zales!
A quick lunch at Denny's!

From the big stores downtown to the stores at the mall ...
They would dash away, dash away and visit them all!

And up on the roof there arose such a clatter
As grandpa hung icicle lights on his brand new step ladder.

He hung lights that would flash,
He hung lights that would twirl.
Yet, he never once prayed to Jesus,
Light of the World.

Christ's eyes ... how they twinkle!
Christ's Spirit ... how merry!
Christ's love ... how enormous!
All our burdens ... He'll carry!

So instead of being busy, overworked, and uptight
Let's put Christ back in Christmas
And enjoy some good nights!

The Ten Commandments of Christmas

1. Thou shalt not leave "Christ" out of Christmas.

2. Thou shalt not value thy gifts by the cost, for many shall signify love that is more blessed and beautiful than silver and gold.

3. Thou shalt give thyself with thy gifts, thy love, thy personality, and thy service and shall increase the value of thy gifts a hundred fold and they who receiveth them shall treasure them forever.

4. Thou shall not let Santa Claus take the place of Christ, lest Christmas become a fairy tale, rather than a sublime reality in the spiritual realm.

5. Thou shalt not burden thy servants, the sales girl, the mail carrier and the merchant.

6. Thou shalt not neglect the church. Its Christmas services are planned to help spiritualize the Christmas season for thee, thy family, and thy friends.

7. Thou shalt not neglect the needy. Let thy bountiful blessings be shared with the many who will go hungry and cold unless you are generous at Christmas.

8. Thou shalt be as a little child. Christmas is the day of the Christ child; not until thou has become, in spirit, as a little child art thou ready to enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

9. Thou shalt prepare thy soul for Christmas. Verily, most of us spend much time and money getting gifts ready, but few seconds i n preparing our souls.

10. Thou shalt give thy heart to Christ. Let thy Christmas list have Christ in my heart at the top as thy gift to Him this Christmas.

1 Corinthians 13, Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family...I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family...I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family...it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on those I love the most...I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Christmas Tree Angel
by Virginia Ellis

Angel on my Christmas Tree,
Pretty in your lofty place,
I see you looking down at me,
I see that smile on your face.

Little Angel, how old are you?
You've been around so long,
I think it was to grandma's mom,
That you first belonged.
Then you were grandma's: then, our mom's,
And now you belong to me,
So many Christmases you've seen,
So many Christmas Trees.

So many fingers touched you,
Your precious face and eyes.
You're so delicate and fragile,
I'm in awe you're still alive,

Do you remember long ago
When you broke your little wing,
When dad fell off the ladder,
And dropped all the Christmas things?

We kids gasped and picked you up,
And mama ran to dad,
He laughed and said he was all right,
But your wing was broken bad.

Patiently mom mended it,
Though it was never quite the same.
I think it made me love you more
To know one wing was maimed.

All my Christmases, but one,
You've hung upon my Tree.
That one was when the war was on.
, No one at home - just me.

Who celebrates the Holidays
Alone - all by oneself?
So, little Angel, you were left
In your box atop the shelf.

But later that same Christmas Eve,
I took you from your place,
And propped you on my tabletop
, Where I could see your face.

I can't remember which year it was,
The kitten got your eye,
The rest of you was still intact
But without your eye, I cried.

I made another eye for you
At best, a substitute,
But if you held your head just so,
You still looked sweet and cute.

Each Christmas, I feared, would be your last,
But there you were next year.
Though marred and scarred and scratched and patched,
Each year you still were here,

You've aged with Angel dignity
In spite of one bad wing and eye,
Those scars are your gold medals now
As you hang on the Tree with pride.

Of all the Angels I have seen
Of solid gold or priceless gems,
I would not trade my one of you
For any ten of them.

The Legend of the Poinsettia
by David Langerfeld

Roberts Poinsett was the first US Ambassador to Mexico appointed by President Andrew Jackson in the 1820's. During his stay in Mexico, he wandered into the countryside looking for a new plant species. In 1828 he discovered a beautiful shrub with large red flowers growing next to a road. He took cuttings and brought them to his greenhouse in South Carolina. You can guess that it was Joel Roberts Poinsett who brought the poinsettia to North America, creating a billion dollar industry. Later, the botanical name, Euphorbia Pulcherrima, was given to the poinsettia by the German botanist, Wilenow. The plant grew through a crack in his greenhouse. Dazzled by its color, he gave it the botanical name, Euphorbia Pulcherrima meaning "very beautiful." And it is in late October when the greenhouse poinsettia changes the color of it's top leaves while the sunshine diminishes to 8 hour days.

The legend story of the poinsettia is told of Pepita, a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present the Christ Child at Christmas Eve Services. Pepita walked slowly to the chapel with her cousin, Pedro, her heart filled with sadness rather than joy.

"I am sure, Pepita, that even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes," said Pedro consolingly.

Not knowing what else to do, Pepita knelt by the roadside and gathered a handful of common weeds, fashioning them into a small bouquet. Looking at the scraggly bunch of weeds, she felt more saddened and embarrassed than ever by the humbleness of her offering. She fought back a tear as she entered the small village chapel.

As she approached the alter, she remembered Pedro's kind words: "Even the most humble gift, if given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes." She felt her spirit lift as she knelt to lay the bouquet at the foot of the nativity scene.

Suddenly, the bouquet of weeds burst into blooms of brilliant red, and all who saw them were certain that they had witnessed a Christmas miracle. From that day on, the bright red flowers were known as the Flores de Noche Buena, or Flowers of the Holy Night, for they bloomed each year during the Christmas season. Today, the common name for this plant is the poinsettia!

Pepita, our poor Mexican friend, felt very humble as she gave her scraggly bouquet of weeds to the Christ Child. Yet, she gave it in love. That very beautiful gift, Euphorbia Pulcherrima, became a poinsettia. In the same way, the gift of our lives to the Christ Child this Christmas can become a meaningful and beautiful display of flowers; God uses our new lives in Him as we begin to serve our Savior and Lord. Just as a flower can grow through some crack in a greenhouse, we can be transformed into an amazing color of light in the darkness if we accept Him (Romans 12:2).

The Innkeeper's Tale
by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

They think I'm some kind of cruel, heartless landlord. Someone must have told them that. But they're wrong, just plain wrong, and it's time to set the record straight, once and for all.

People say I'm an innkeeper. I suppose you'd call it an inn. To us it's just a big house. My grandfather, Joshua ben-Yahoudi, built it back when his trading business was at a peak. And he built it big enough to fit all fourteen kids.

Well, a few years ago, the missus and I were just rattling around in that big house--kids grown up and all--and we were thinking, maybe we could take in a few travelers. Rachel has always been mighty good in the kitchen, so we just let out word that we'd take people in, and they started to come. Every night we'd have a person or two, sometimes more. People would always come back when they came to town again, intent on another bowl of Rachel's lamb stew.

Then came that blankety-blank census the governor thought up. Taxation, pure and simple! People from all over the province flooded into town that week. Filled us clean up. Rachel and I slept in the main room where we always do, and we started putting guests in the other three rooms. They kept coming. Then we doubled up two or three families to a room. They kept coming. Finally, when we had filled the main room with four families plus Rachel and me, we started turning people away.

I must have gotten in and out of bed ten times that night, stumbling over bodies to get to the door. "No more room, sorry folks. No more room. Come back in the morning. We have a couple of families leaving then." They'd mutter something and head back to their party, and sleep somewhere next to a house under the shelter of a blanket. I just couldn't make any more room. That's the honest truth.

But I did make room for one more couple. Joseph was a burly man with big arms and strong hands, down from Nazareth, I think he said. He wouldn't take "no" for an answer. I would say, "No, I'm sorry," and he'd tell me about his "little Mary." Well, when I saw "little Mary", she wasn't very little. She was just about as pregnant as a woman can get, and awfully pale. While Joseph was pleading, I saw her grab her tummy in pain, and I knew I couldn't let her have that baby outside in the wind and sleet.

The barn. That would just have to do, I told myself, and led them and their donkey out back. Now it was pretty crowded, so I shooed several animals into the pen outside to make room in one dry corner. Joseph said, "We sure are grateful, sir." Then with a serious look, he asked me, "Do you know where I can find a midwife in these parts? We might need her tomorrow or the next day."

That man didn't know much about having babies, it was plain enough to see. I ran to Aunt Sarah's house and pounded on the door until her husband came. "One of the travelers is having a baby," I told him. "I'll wait while Aunt Sarah gets dressed." I stopped a moment to catch my breath. "And tell her to hurry."

By the time we got back to the barn, Joseph had "little Mary" settled on some soft, clean hay, wrapped up in a blanket, wiping the perspiration off her brow, and was speaking softly to her as she fought the waves of pain. Aunt Sarah sent me to get my Rachel, and then pushed Joseph and me out of the barn. "This ain't no place for men," she said.

We waited just outside in the shelter of the barn for hours, it seemed like. Well, all of a sudden, we hear a little cry. "You've got a baby boy," Aunt Sarah was saying as we peeped around the corner. She hands the young-un to Rachel, and she wraps it up in those swaddling bands she had saved. Cute little thing, I tell you.

Well, Joseph goes over to Mary and gives her a big hug, and a kiss on the cheek, and Rachel hands Mary the baby, and then comes over to me and takes my hand. "Remember when our Joshua was born?" she whispers.

The lantern was blowing almost out, the cattle were lowing softly, and baby Jesus was asleep in his mother's arms. That's how I left them as I walked Aunt Sarah home. Chilly wind, though the sleet had stopped.

By the time I got back, Rachel was in bed, and I was about ready to put out the light, step over sleeping bodies, and get under the warm covers, when I heard some murmuring out by the barn.

I'd better check, I told myself. When I peeped in, I saw shepherds. Raggedy, smelly old shepherds were kneeling down on the filthy barn floor as if they were praying. The oldest one was saying something to Joseph about angels and the Messiah. And the rest of them just knelt there with their heads bowed, some with tears running down their faces.

I coughed out loud, and Joseph looked up. I was almost ready to run those thieving shepherds off, when Joseph motioned to me with his hand. "It's okay," he whispered. "They've come to see the Christ-baby."

The Christ-baby? The Messiah? That was when I knelt, too. And watched, and prayed, and listened to the old shepherd recount his story of angels and heavenly glory, and the sign of a holy baby, wrapped in swaddling bands, to be found in a stable-manger.

My Lord, it was my stable where the Christ-baby was born. My manger he rested in. My straw, my lamp, my wife Rachel assisting at his birth.

The shepherds left after a while. Some of them leaned over and kissed the sleeping Christ-child before they departed. I know I did.

I'll always be glad I made room in the barn for that family-- that holy family. You see, I'm not some mean inn-keeper. I was there. I saw him. And, you know, years later that boy came back to Bethlehem, this time telling about the Kingdom of God. Oh, I believe in him, I tell you. I was there. And, mark my words, if you'd seen what I've seen, you'd be a believer, too.

Only A Man

At first glance she looked like any other old woman. Plodding along in the snow, alone, neglected, head bowed. People passing on the busy city sidewalk averted their eyes, lest she remind them that pain and suffering did not stop to celebrate Christmas.

A young couple, smiling, talking, laughing, arms loaded with Christmas presents, took no notice of the old woman. A mother with two small children hurried by, on their way to grandmother's house. They took no notice. A minister walked by proudly carrying his Bible in his right hand, like a well armed Christian soldier. But his mind was stayed on heavenly things, and he took no notice.

If these people had noticed, they would have seen that the old woman wore no shoes. She walked barefoot in the ice and snow. With both hands the old woman gathered her worn button-less overcoat at the collar to keep out the wind. She stopped and stood bent and bowed at the bus stop. A red and blue scarf covering her head, she waited for the downtown bus.

A gentleman carrying an important looking briefcase waited near her, not too closely. After all, she could have something contagious. A teenage girl also waited for the bus. She glanced repeatedly at the old woman's feet, but said nothing.

The bus arrived and the old woman slowly, painfully boarded. She sat on the side seat just behind the driver. The gentleman and the teen-age girl hurried to the rear. The man sharing the seat with the old woman shuffled uneasily and twirled his thumbs. "Senile," he thought. The bus driver saw her bare feet and thought; "This neighborhood is sinking deeper and deeper into poverty, I hate to see it. I'll be glad when they put me on the College Park route."

A little boy pointed at the old woman. "Look, Mother, that old lady is barefoot." The embarrassed mother slapped his hand down. "Don't point at people, Andrew. It's not polite to point." She looked out the window.

"She must have grown children," a lady in a fur coat suggested. "Her children should be ashamed of themselves." She felt morally superior, because she took good care of her mother.

A teacher seated near the middle of the bus steadied the bag of gifts on her lap. "Don't we pay enough taxes to handle situations like this?" she said to a friend seated beside her. "It's this tax-cut crazy Republican administration, her friend replied. "They rob the poor and give to the rich." "No, its the Democrats," a gray-haired man behind them interjected. "These Democrat welfare programs just make people lazy and keep them in poverty."

"People have to learn to save their money," a well-dressed young college man added. "If that old woman had saved when she was young, she wouldn't be suffering now. It's her own fault." And all these people beamed with satisfaction that their acumen had delivered such trenchant analysis.

But a kind businessman felt offended by this murmuring detachment of his fellow citizens. He reached into his wallet and took out a crisp twenty-dollar bill. He strode proudly down the isle and pressed the bill into the old woman's unsteady, wrinkled hand. "Here, Madam, get yourself some shoes." The old woman nodded her head in thanks. The businessman strode back to his seat, feeling pleased with himself, that he was a man of action.

A well-dressed Christian lady had noticed all of this. She began to pray silently. "Lord, I don't have money. There is no way I can help. But Lord, I can turn to you in every need. Lord, I know that you are a loving God. You make a way out of no way. Now Lord, let your blessing shine on this old woman. Let shoes fall like manna from heaven, so that this old woman can have shoes for Christmas." And the Christian lady felt supremely spiritual.

At the next stop, a young man boarded the bus. He wore a heavy blue jacket, a maroon scarf around his neck, and a gray woolen cap pulled down over his ears. A wire running under the cap and into his ear was connected to a Walkman. The young man jiggled his body in time to music only he heard. He paid his fare and plopped down on the sideways seat directly across from the old woman.

As the young man's glance caught the old woman's bare feet, His jiggling stopped. He froze. His eyes went from her feet to his. He wore his expensive, new, brand name sneakers. For months he had saved from his minimum wage pay to buy these sneakers. Everybody in the gang would think he was "so cool."

The young man bent down and began to untie his sneakers. He removed his impressive new sneakers. He removed his socks. He knelt down before the old woman. "Mother," he said, "I see you have no shoes. Well, I have shoes."

Carefully, gently, he lifted the old woman's crusty feet in his hands. He placed his socks and his fine sneakers on the old woman's feet. The old woman nodded in thanks. Just then the bus arrived at the next stop. The young man left the bus and walked away, barefoot in the snow. The passengers crowded at the windows to watch him as he plodded barefoot through the snow.

"Who is he?" one asked.

"He must be a prophet," said another.

"He must be a saint," someone suggested.

"He must be an angel," said yet another.

"Look! There's a halo around his head," somebody shouted.

"He must be the Son of God," said the Christian lady.

But the little boy who had pointed, said, "No Mother, I saw him clearly. He was only a man."

This is Christmas Day
by Joan Clifton Costner

Take away the Christmas tree
From the City Square
Take away the manger scene -
We don't need it there.

Take away the shining lights -
The stars are still above
And we don't need these plastic things
To tell us of God's Love.

Take away the little lamb,
Take away the hay.
In our hearts this special time
Will still be Christmas Day.

Take away the wise men
And the little shepherd boy.
Do you think that will remove
This celebration of God's Joy?

For Christmas can't be anything
But the Birthday of our King.
Take away the things of clay
And still our praises ring!

You can say that day is night
Or that the night is day,
But your words are worthless -
We know this is Christmas Day!

How I love the wonder
In A little child's first sight
Of the star of Bethlehem -
All shining in the night!

Mary's face, that Baby's smile
And Joseph's tender care,
Little ones deserve to see
This "fabled" scene so rare.

But take it all away and see
How God supplies our need -
He was flesh and blood,
We know the story of God's seed.

In our hearts that manger bed
Holds the promise of God's Love -
You can never take away
What God sent us from above!

You can't issue orders
To take stars down from the sky,
Christmas trees will still grow tall
On mountains snowy white.

Love will still encircle earth
As if to hear Him say,
"In your hearts you still will know
That this is Christmas Day!"

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