It seems to be a weekend tradition for me lately to hang out, watching Christmas movies, munching on leftovers from the night before and just relaxing with Hubby. We get a few things done here and there, but for the most part we are taking it easy. Honestly, after the go-go-go of LAST weekend this is a much-needed respite from all of the hurry. Tomorrow I do need to go to the store since the kitty has been going through her food at record place. She isn’t much for being held, so when I picked her up the other day, I was a little stunned by how stout she is! She isn’t fat, but she is solid! Regardless she’s been yapping her head off. She has food – soft food, which she loves – but she isn’t happy that her crunchies are almost gone. Yes, Queen Kitty, I will go to the store for your crunchies. Sheesh!
Verse of the Day
December 1, 2018
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Thoughts on the Verse of the Day
All true ministry is “incarnational” — it involves people to people contact, human touch, and genuine physical care. While Heartlight is an Internet ministry, it will never live in cyberspace. It must be carried into the daily life of believers who are committed to share the grace of Jesus with their FRANs (Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors). Just as God purposely sent Jesus at the right time to the right place, he did so with us. We are here to bless others, “not just in word, but in deed and truth!”
December 2, 2018
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Thoughts on the Verse of the Day
God is a speaking God. He loves us and has chosen to get his message to us in words. First there were the patriarchs and great prophets. Then there was the written record in the Scriptures. But God’s greatest message, his most powerful words, were not really words at all, but a person named Jesus of Nazareth, who is Christ and Lord of all. For us, his Church, to be what he wants us to be, we must not just look at Scripture, we must also look at him. He is the key to understanding what Scripture means and how it is to be lived.
Why do we put up Christmas trees? Where does the tradition come from and does it tie in to the birth of Christ? Well, I looked up several sources and this is what I found out: The fir-tree has long been associated with Christianity, beginning in Germany almost 1,000 years ago with St. Boniface, who converted the German people to Christianity. It is said that he came across a group of pagans worshiping an oak tree, and in his anger, he cut the oak down. To his amazement a young fir-tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree, and he took this as a sign of the Christian faith. That was the very beginning of the Christmas tree, but it wasn’t until the 16th century that fir trees were brought indoors at Christmas time.
The Christmas tree has even older history than that though! King Tut never saw a Christmas tree, but he would have understood the tradition that traces back to long before the first Christmas. The Egyptians, like many other cultures, treasured and worshiped evergreens. When the winter solstice came, they brought green date palm leaves into their homes to symbolize life triumphing over death. The Romans also celebrated with greens – with a winter solstice festival called Saturnalia – in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture. They decorated their homes with greens and lights, exchanging gifts. They gave coins for prosperity, pastries for happiness and lamps to light one’s way through life. In Great Britain centuries ago, there were woods priests called Druids who used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. They used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life and placed evergreen branches over doors to keep the evil spirits away.
Late in the Middle Ages, Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes, or just outside their doors, to show that they were hoping for the upcoming spring. Our modern Christmas tree is an evolution from these early traditions. According to legend Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. In about the year 1500, one crisp Christmas Eve, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was quite taken with the beauty of a small group of evergreens that were dusted with snow and shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir-tree indoors, so he could share this story and the beauty with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lit in honor of Christ’s birth. The Christmas tree tradition likely came to the United States with Hessian troops during the American Revolution, or with the German immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio. The custom spread slowly though. The Puritans banned Christmas in New England and even as late as 1851 there was a Cleveland minister who just about lost his job because he allowed a tree in his church. Schools in Boston stayed open on Christmas Day through 1870 and even sometimes expelled students who stayed home that day! In 1851 a Catskill farmer hauled two ox sleds of evergreens into New York City, and sold them all, starting the Christmas tree market. By 1900, one in five American families had Christmas trees, and 20 years later the custom was nearly universal.
With all of that history though – I’ve barely scratched the surface – what it comes down to is that the Christmas tree is enjoyed as a holiday decoration by people of many cultures and religions. To Christians it is a promise of renewed life during a barren season, symbolizing Christ’s birth, resurrection and promise of eternal life.
December 1 –
Civil Air Patrol Day – The Civil Air Patrol is a volunteer organization that is a Congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force. People from all backgrounds, lifestyles and occupations are part of the Civil Air Patrol, and they perform three key missions. Emergency services, which include search and rescue by both air and ground, disaster relief operations, and aerospace education for youth and the general public. One of their major programs is the cadet program for youth ranging from 12 to just under 21 years old, with their senior members being 18 years old and up. This is a wonderful education program that teaches responsibility, community outreach, discipline and dedication.
National Rhubarb Vodka Day – I really love rhubarb, though I know that not everyone does. It is thought of as a fruit to many people, but it is actually a vegetable. Did you know that? Interestingly enough, the New York court decided in 1947 that since rhubarb was used in the US as a fruit, it would be counted as one for the purposes of regulations and duties. This celebration isn’t about rhubarb as a fruit though, it’s about the unique tartness that rhubarb gives to vodka. Rhubarb Vodka was introduced to the United States in 2010 by Maple River Distillery in Casselton, North Dakota. It was an instant hit due it being a local favorite, with the popularity spreading across the country.
Rosa Parks Day – On December 1st, 1955, Rosa Parks, a black woman, was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law that required all black passengers to give up their seat to white passengers when the bus was full. Black passengers were also required to sit at the back of the bus. When she was arrested, a 381-day boycott of the Montgomery bus system was done, which led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation. I cannot imagine life during those times and know that people like Rosa Parks helped pave the way for the lines between the races to be erased. It is so sad that all these years later the lines have been drawn again, with the relationship between the races worse than it has been in decades.
December 2 –
First Sunday of Advent – Advent Begins – Growing up I always looked forward each week to the Advent ceremony at the beginning of church, my heart filling up with happiness, wonder and gratitude as the candles were lit and the readings were done. We always attended the morning services, and it was wonderful in the mornings, but there is something about the hush of the evening that appeals to me when lighting the candles and reading the verses that herald the birth of our Lord. Christmas has become so secular. The world is working so diligently to remove Christ from His own birthday celebration, that the true meaning is getting lost in the politically correct terminology (and anyone who knows me KNOWS how I feel about that!), the non-spiritual commercialistic celebrations of a “holiday” instead of a Holy Day. As a nation, and a world even, we have cut off the purpose of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is so important, for this very reason, for Christians to recapture the season of Advent as a time for preparing for Christmas. Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming”. Advent begins the church year, starting four Sundays before Christmas. The season of Advent has been set aside as a time of preparation for Christmas since the last half of the 6th century, if not earlier. It is a time for self-examination and asking for forgiveness as the church prepares for Christ’s Second Coming, even as it prepares for Christmas. Traditionally the color of the first three candles is purple, which signifies royalty. The 3rd week in Advent is set aside as more celebratory than the others, and the color for this week is rose, rather than purple, to mark the week. The purple and rose candles were used primarily in the Catholic church. Many Protestant churches that celebrate Advent use red candles instead.
The circle of the wreath and the evergreens used both signify God’s endless mercy and His undying love. The three purple candles and one rose-colored candle, or the four red ones, are evenly spaced around the wreath. A larger white candle is placed in the center of the wreath. The wreath can be as simple as four candle holders with greenery laid around them to form a circle, or very detailed, using a variety of greens that mean different aspects of the season. These include:
Ivy: to remind us of the human spirit clinging to God’s strength. Cedar: to remind us of eternal life that is available to all of us through Christ. Holly: to remind us of Jesus’ crown of thorns. Bay: to remind us of victory over sin and death.
Celebrating Advent faithfully each day of the season, more than any other activity, can restore Jesus to the center of the Christmas celebration because on each Advent Sunday we read about the birth of our Savior and discuss it – bringing it to the center of our day. The whole family can be a part of it and find it to be meaningful. The memories and training will last a lifetime, and by doing it at home, each family can add their own emotion to the celebration.
When: Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Because Christmas falls on different days each year, Advent can last 22 to 28 days.
Prepare your family: Let your family know that this year you are going to start a new tradition to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. Deciding what time of day works best for you is something you should think about ahead of time. For us it is after dinner.
You need an Advent wreath, the five candles listed above, and a Bible for the nightly readings. If you search the posts in DIY you can see instructions for making your own Advent wreath. We made ours a few years ago and it’s still working out very nicely for us.
Beginning the celebration:
On the first day begin with either a prayer or a Christmas carol. Light the first purple (or red) candle, known as the prophecy candle. With the lighting, talk about Jesus being the light of the world. Read the Advent Scripture of the day. End by singing or praying. Blow out the candle. Light the same candle each day of the first week. Follow with the reading, Christmas carols or other meaningful activities.
Here is a suggested reading list for the week. It’s a different one from what I have used for the past several years to change things up.
Sunday: Romans 13:11-14
Monday: Corinthians 1:3-9
Tuesday: Mark 13:33-37
Wednesday: John 1: 1-5
Thursday: John 1:6-9
Friday: Jeremiah 33:14-16
Saturday: Isaiah 6
Chanukah – This is by no means a comprehensive description of this beautiful celebration, but since I didn’t know much about it, I thought I’d post something so all of us who are not of the Jewish faith can understand a little bit better. Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods. The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication,” and it is called this because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple. It is also spelled Hanukkah (or variations of that spelling), the Hebrew word is actually pronounced with a guttural, “kh” sound, kha-nu-kah, not tcha-new-kah. In the 2nd century BC, the Holy Land was ruled by Seleucids (or Syrian-Greeks). They tried to force the people of Israel to accept the Greek culture and beliefs instead of their own belief in G-d. (Jewish people do not spell out the name of the Most High because it is disrespectful and blasphemous.) A small band of Jews, led by Judah the Maccabee, defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove the Greeks out and reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, rededicating it to the service of G-d. When the wanted to light the Temple’s Menorah (the seven-branched candelabrum) they found that only a single container of olive oil had come through without being contaminated by the Greeks. Miraculously, when they lit the menorah the one-day supply of oil lasted for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under the conditions of ritual purity. To always remember these miracles, the festival of Chanukah was created. I am annually confused about the dates of Chanukah, since they are different each year. Well, it happens on the same date, but not on the calendar we use. We use a Gregorian calendar, used around most of the world I modern times. The Jewish calendar is different from this though and follows a lunar cycle – or the moon’s rotation around the earth. The Gregorian calendar is based on solar activity, on the earth’s rotation around the sun. So, the dates are different on the Gregorian calendar each year, but the same on the Jewish calendar.
National Mutt Day – Mixed breed dogs fill shelters around the nation and today was set up to raise awareness of their plight. They are desperately waiting for new forever homes, but so many people are determined to buy a purebred dog, without stopping to think of the benefits of a mixed breed. Mixed breed dogs tend to be healthier and better behaved. They live longer and are just as able to perform the duties of purebred dogs. They can be bomb and drug sniffing dogs, search and rescue dogs, and they can guide the blind. There are millions of loving, healthy mixed breed dogs sitting in shelters, waiting, possibly for you! Please, if you have the ability to do so, if you have a place in your heart and home, please adopt a new best friend this month. If you can’t, then could you consider donating to your local animal shelter? They are always short on funds and need to buy food and provide medical are for the wonderful animals in their care.
Safety Razor Day – In 1901 King Camp Gillette and William Emery Nickerson invented the world’s first disposal razor. Up until that time shaving was done with a wedge-shaped heavy metal forged blade on top of a handle. When it was dull the wedge was stropped by hand until it couldn’t keep a sharp edge any longer. Gillette thought of the idea of a disposable blade in 1895. Metallurgists of the day said that it wasn’t economically feasible to mass produce such thin pieces of sharpened metal. Not long after that he met W.E. Nickerson and they worked for 6 years to invent the equipment necessary to produce the first disposable blade. They patented their invention in 1901, starting the American Safety Razor Company, which was re-named the Gillette Safety Razor Company in 1904. The safety razor was a huge success and my 1910 King Gillette was a millionaire. My husband uses one of the safety razors that use a single blade that is changed out when it gets dull, same kind my dad used when I was growing up. I don’t care how many blades new razors may have on them, my hubby swears that this razor gives the best shave he has ever had. He gave my son a set to use, and now he agrees that his shave is better with the old-fashioned razor. Some things just can’t be improved upon, no matter how much you try.
Special Education Day – Today we celebrate the anniversary of the nation’s first federal special education law, passed on December 2, in 1975. Since the time that President Gerald Ford signed the ground-breaking legislation, we have come a long way, and now provide access to education for all children, including children with disabilities. Today, take the day to honor progress and celebrate students with disabilities, their parents, teachers and their schools. All children deserve to get and education, so this day is indeed special and worthy of being celebrated.
This Day in History –
Dec. 1, 1887 – Sherlock Holmes appeared for the first time in print in “A Study in Scarlet.”
Dec. 1, 1955 – In Montgomery, Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to give up her seat in the front section of a bus.
Dec. 2, 1891 – The toilet paper roll was patented (Patent #465,588)
Dec. 2, 1982 – Barney B. Clark receives the world’s first artificial heart transplant.
Food Celebrations of the Day –
December 1 –
National Fried Pie Day – Here’s a recipe I found on www.cook.com for fried fruit pies. Give them a try!
- Fried pies are small fried dessert pastries, which have fruit fillings wrapped in the dough.
- Fried apple pies were first introduced in McDonald’s in 1968, originally fried in lard.
- New Hampshire fried pies (blueberry or blackberry flavored variations) were the favorite dessert of S. president Franklin Pierce.
- The two most popular flavors of fried pies in the deep South are apple and peach.
- Roadside stands in the South often refer to fried pies as “Crab Lanterns”.
Eat a Red Apple Day – The phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” was coined at the 1904 World’s Fair by J.T. Stinson in an effort to promote apples as a healthy snack. I love apples. I’m sure most of us do. We all know how good they are for us, they are delicious and the combination of tasty and healthy is one we can all get behind. There are thousands of apples grown all over the planet, so there are tasty choices, so we can all find a type that appeals most to us. My personal favorites are Honey Crisp and Cameo. YUM! Did you know that the science of growing apples is called “pomology”?
December 2 –
Feast of St Bibiana – This one showed up on the food celebration list on www.foodimentary.com but I am confused by it. I looked up Saint Bibiana, and her history is interesting, and I’ll be glad to tell you about it. That isn’t the confusing part – the confusing part is that this is her feast day, but I cannot find ANY information on if any feasting actually happens and if so, what the feast would be! Why not? It is a big secret? WHAT DO YOU EAT ON A SAINT’S FEAST DAY? Seriously, if anyone has an answer to that question, I’d love to hear it. In the meantime, here’s a little information about Saint Bibiana. She is the patron Saint against Epilepsy, hangovers headaches, insanity, mental illness of the Diocese of Los Angeles CA (and I had to laugh at this since I consider so many in Los Angeles to fit into the mentally ill category based upon their ridiculous politics), single laywomen (?) and torture victims. That’s a lot of responsibility for one saint! So how did she become a saint? Well, her parents were very zealous Roman Christians who, like so many during that time, were persecuted for their faith. Her father was branded on the face with a hot iron and banished. He died from his wounds a few days later. Her mother was beheaded. This left Bibiana (also known as Vivian) an orphan. The court sent Bibiana to live in a brothel, but she refused to participate in the sin of their line of work to earn her keep. Because of her rebellion, the judge ordered her to be tied to a pillar and beaten with a lead whip until she died. Her body was left to the dogs for disposal, but the dogs wouldn’t touch her (smart dogs), so after a couple of days, hidden by darkness of night, a priest buried her body. The legend says that after she was buried some mysterious and magical herbs grew up around her grave and that it was these herbs that worked miracles. A church was built over her grave in Rome. During the middle-ages pilgrims went to the holy site of her burial and would scrape the dust from its columns and eat it, saying that it worked the same magic as the herbs did. None of this tells me anything about a feast though – so I’d still like to know – IS there any feasting done on these feast days?
National Fritters Day – Aren’t we all lucky that this special day has finally arrived!? Before you can celebrate this one though, you need to know what a fritter is. Apparently not everyone knows! A fritter is a fried cake or dough with fruit or meats inside. The Spanish came up with this fried food technique, but today almost every culture has its own version of fritters. Sometimes they are sweet, and sometimes they are savory.
- Zucchini & Corn Fritters
- Prawn & Rice Fritters
- Zucchini Fritters
- Apple Fritters
- Pea & Halloumi Cheese Fritters
- Shrimp & Corn Fritters
- Squash Fritters
I’m getting this posted so late that as I get ready to publish it, I realized that there is rain pattering on the roof, which means that the big tree lighting and caroling event in town is getting rained on, which is sad. The lights at the waterfront park are stunning each year are incredible and they deserve an amazing turnout. I hope for their sake that lots of people come bundled up against the cold and wet and enjoy the hard work of the folks who put all of the lights together. Why aren’t we there, you ask? Well, I’m too cozy wrapped up in my blanket on my chair to venture out. HAHAHA We will see the lights at the waterfront, just not when all of the crowds are there. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend! God bless you and I’ll see you on Monday.
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Celebration list sources: