Happy (celebration of your) Birthday, Jesus!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
-Luke 2:1-21 (ESV)

Merry Christmas!

O Holy Night

As many go to bed tonight awaiting a certain jolly old gift-giver to pay them a visit when fast asleep, it pays to remember the gift given to us from above that bears no comparison to the trinkets we give each other.  Praise God for His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, for lowering Himself to live as one of us and die an unjust death as atonement for the sins of all who put their faith in Him.

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Curiosity didn’t kill the horse, but…

Raise your hand if you remember Winnie the Pooh and his tendency to get his head stuck in the pot of “hunny.”  Okay, you can put your hands down now.  This story isn’t about Winnie the Pooh, but rather Gracie the horse.  I honestly can’t say I have ever heard before of something like this happening.  Fortunately the horse is relatively unharmed from her ordeal.  Story below picture.  Click picture or headline for original story with a second picture.

Having a mare: The horse who got its head stuck in a tree

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 1:00 AM on 21st October 2008

They say curiosity killed the cat. It didn’t do this poor filly any favours either.

When she managed to squeeze her head into a hole in a tree she had been keen for a good nose around.

The only problem was she couldn’t get it out again. Tired of trying, and stuck fast, she looked as silly as Winnie the Pooh with his head in the honey pot.

Finally, neighbour Jason Harschbarger heard her dismayed whinnying across the fields in Pullman, West Virginia, and came to her rescue.

Gracie, as the horse is called, was left with a dislocated jaw and a few cuts and scrapes from her ordeal.

The tree, however, was considerably worse for wear.

Mr Harschbarger had to resort to a chainsaw to cut Gracie free.

He said: ‘She has a few cuts on her face and ear.

‘Last I heard her jaw was a little dislocated but I think it is healing up and she can eat on her own again.’

I guess that’s what happens when you start horsing around!

The Real Christmas part 1

Well, this being the last weekend before Christmas it is time to start talking about what’s been going on in Christ’s house, eh?  At least the particular earthly house of His that I visit on a regular basis- I can’t speak for any of the thousands and thousands of other ones around the world.  Aside from advent, which began at the beginning of the month, the real show began last weekend.  At the, er, other branch of this house that I attend.  That is to say, the worship service including the choir was on tour with two stops.  I did not take part in the choir last weekend as I am also involved in children’s ministry and I needed to be at my usual place.  That was okay because although the other church is larger, the stage is smaller so not all the members of the choir would fit.

Since I wasn’t there I’ll just skip ahead to this weekend.  We sang three choir pieces, all of which had to be memorized, and five worship songs, which the entire congregation sings.  One of the songs was from a previous year so I more or less had it memorized already, meaning only two songs for me to work on for the last month.  One of the interesting things to note about this choir is the altos seriously outnumber the sopranos and the tenors outnumber the basses.  The women of course outnumber the men.  Now I couldn’t do anything about the altos vs. the sopranos, but as a lyric baritone (tenor II) I dutifully stepped down to the bass part.  This wasn’t at all unfamiliar territory since I had sung baritone in choir for years before my tenor range opened up.  The choir songs were The Night that Christ was Born, a strange up-tempo rendition of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and Light of the World.  Now I said that we did one of these songs before so I knew it (the first one I listed), but really we did two of them before.  The other one though had a very different choir part so the choir part (most choir songs we do are solos/duets with choir background) was new.  I lasted for the Saturday night service and the first Sunday service.  After that my voice started going- the upper range.  I just don’t have the endurance I should.  I should exercise my vocal muscles more.  Well, I should exercise all my muscles more, but that’s going a bit off topic here… 😛

Following two of the choir performances I rushed to serve in the 4th/5th grade room, where I made it for the lesson and small group time (the important part).  While past years have often meant a video during this weekend and cookies, we had a real lesson this year instead of the video (still had cookies at the end- yum).  It was on patience.  Zechariah and Elizabeth had to wait several decades for a child before God finally gave them one.  The Bible says they were “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” and so their childlessness wasn’t due to sin in one of their lives.  Eventually, God gave them the son they had waited for all of their lives into their sixties.  Naturally since it was customary to name the son after the father he would have had his father’s name, only Zechariah the Baptist isn’t a name we know.  Rather, God had them name their son John of course.  In fact, these were the first words out of Zechariah’s mouth after God allowed him to speak again (his disbelief over having a child at his age earned him the inability to speak until John was born- good thing he wasn’t in a choir, at least that we know of! 🙂 ).  So in small groups then we talked about how patient they, as 10- and 11-year-olds, tended to be.  They got to rate themselves and talk about what kinds of things makes them impatient.  Waiting for big gifts like video game systems topped the list, but there were other things like healing.  Two of my kids are actually going through cancer in ther families- an uncle and a mom.  Big ouch on the mom.  If anyone wants to add these two to their prayer lists their names are Daniel (mom) and Matt (uncle- currently not responding well to treatment I understand).  This while my pastor and associate pastor are both being treated for prostate cancer… 🙁

Christmas part 2 coming later following Christmas Eve service.

Is winter over yet?

I read a little bit of a column in yesterday’s paper about him already being tired of winter and I had to think to myself that I quite agree with him, at least for now.  A week ago I would not have been in agreement but the last several days have shown the rougher side of winter.  Starting Monday morning, we had the rain from the night before that turned into the freezing rain during the night leaving the roads very icy in the morning.  The very next day, the snow started coming down in the afternoon making for a longer return commute that time.  However, after all was said and done about this storm I said to myself that I could shovel snow like that all the time- very light and fluffy.

Then Thursday night came.  The storm that shut down the schools on Friday for a head start on the two-week break.  I really would have liked to say I didn’t mind shoveling after this storm but that would make me a liar.  Shoveling this snow was like shoveling dirt and rocks it was so heavy.  It felt like the snow had been compacted as much as possible after falling, but still leaving several inches to move.  The end of the driveway was the worst.  We could use some modern technology to replace those snowplows that shove all the snow in the road to the side, including driveways.  I could not shovel the driveway and sidewalk all at once- I took a few-hour break between sessions.

Saturday.  Not so bad, but then snow started coming down in the evening when I was still driving.  Light snow, but at this point I was already tiring of it.  Then of course we have today’s frigid temperature.  Fortunately the car started right up for me this morning, but it was a little more trying following church.  The battery is only two years old, so I can only guess that I didn’t let it run for long enough between home and church to keep the battery charged.  I did notice that by the time I got near my home afterward the temperature needle still had not moved so I drove for about ten minutes more just to let the car warm up.  And tomorrow promises more of the same.  At least it was sunny out.  Tuesday is forecast to be much warmer in the upper 20s, but it also shows snow.  How about sunny and warm.  Please?

So is it time for spring yet?  Unfortunately the calendar shows winter only just began…

Not quite who I’m thinking of…

Hey, I recognize him.  Hmm, a bit younger, wearing pink, and in a wheelchair- I guess I didn’t recognize her after all.  No, I’m not on any sort of drug, illegal, prescription, or otherwise.  The class I was in today, a mentally impaired class, had a dead ringer for a boy who was in my cabin last summer and comes to church from time to time.  No, he didn’t look like a girl, but rather with the short haircut and the familiar face I thought the girl was a boy.  Then I saw the pink jacket and shoes, so I actually asked if the student was a boy or girl.  I didn’t realize at first why the face, not just the haircut but the face, cried “boy” to me, but once I looked closer at her I was like, “Wait a minute, I know that face…”  Well, if not the boy I know, then was she his sister?  Nope.  Completely different last name, and a foreign first name to boot, Preet, unlike his very English name of Danny.

To get on with things, this day was extremely easy for me.  It seemed like whatever I tried to do I felt like I was just getting in the way more often than not, so the usual best thing to do was in fact nothing at all and let the teaching assistants (there were three of them for the six students, usually eight though two were absent) do their thing.  These were primary kids (K-2), so that coupled with their impairments meant they needed the consistency anyway.  Their schedule for the day looked something like this: calendar time, which included singing; writing, which was either cutting and pasting words and pictures or inconsistent script for the higher-level students; an assembly which was a band concert by the area junior high; language lab where they put toppings on cookies (one refused to eat his too, saying the icing on it tasted “yucky”); making ziti for the party in the afternoon; lunch; self-selected reading; party with another class- they had made the dessert to go with the ziti- delicious!; more writing.

Well, I’m about to fall asleep so I will let the post end here.  If you see any errors, it’s because I couldn’t be bothered to fix them.  Tomorrow.  Until then.  Maybe I’ll add a picture to the top then too… 😉

Is something different?

I hope you don’t mind my not-so-good attempt at dressing the site up with a decorated header…  🙂

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