“Some business owners are saying that this could be the greatest Christmas ever. I always thought that the first one was.” (Art Fettig) Some interesting notes – 1. Over 1 trillion dollars will be spent by Christmas shoppers. 2. Self-giving is a major part of the buying. 3. More and more shopping is being done online. It’s head-scratching to see how Christmas has evolved. From something so simple as a birth in a barn, hardly noticed, to what it is today? ;-) Jack
FROM HONEST JOHN: I think of how it has evolved here in America since I was a kid....we got one present...usually not a big deal....we didn't have a Christmas Eve or Christmas service....only a "piece" to recite on the Sunday before Christmas....put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve....almost always had snow on the ground for good sledding....===JACK: I remember most the Christmases when we, as a family, went out and cut down our own Christmas tree, tied it to the top of our car, and drove back home, just like the Griswolds in Christmas Vacation. I, too, memorized "a piece" for the Sunday School program.
FROM CJS IN WI: I agree Jack the first Christmas was the best ever. Without Jesus this world would be dark. Merry Christmas! Love your Winning Words!===JACK: As the saying goes...
"Jesus is the reason for the season!"
FROM RS IN TEXAS: Yeah - as a numbers guy, I figured that just two percent of that trillion would probably be enough to keep the 20 million that are starving in Yemen alive. We told the kids that this year we we taking some of the money we would normally spend on gifts and giving it to ELCA world hunger relief in their names. We have so much, and so many have so little. Merry Christmas, Jack. May your gifts be contentment, comfort and happiness.===JACK: The beginnings of our "system of values" usually begins in the home. Thanks for being a family that is trying to make this world a better place.
FROM NO IN MI: Today's WW reminds me of a sermon T and I recently listened to. It's called "It's Not Your Birthday" in a series called Advent, by Ashley Wooldridge. Ashley is one of two young teaching pastors at our favorite church in AZ, called Christ Church of the Valley. I know you already have plenty of resources, but if you ever want to check out some great stuff, you could google their website and have access to amazing sermons, music, etc. This church has nine campuses around the Phoenix area with a combined average attendance of 30,000 per week. They are doing amazing ministries there, and we can't wait to be part of it all when we get there in January. Anyway, I just had to share this with you. Thanks for your WW. We look forward to reading every day and sharing with friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family.===JACK: Some of the larger churches are able to put on amazing Christmas programs, but one that I remember was the time that a Sunday School shepherds was walking down the church aisle, and his grandma said out loud, ""He's wearing my bathrobe!"
FROM OPTIMISTIC MATT: Merry Christmas Jack. I’m thankful for you and your daily Winning Words.===JACK: I wonder if the internet is one of God's gifts? It certainly allows us to have more contact with family and friends. Christmas is a good time to be thankful for the many gifts that we so often take for granted. God is good!
FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: Love that one!===JACK: Did you ever celebrate Sancta Lucia's Day in your home? Were you ever the one wearing the crown of candles?===MARLYS: No, I don’t think it was popular then, but even if it was, my Dad was the Swede. His mother died when he was 6 so I’m sure he didn’t know about a lot of Swedish traditions that we now do. Mom was Norwegian and Danish and they did not have Lucia. I was in the Lucia Court when I was at Gustavus tho. That was fun.
FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: I totally agree with Art! As fun as it is to see the grandkids open their gifts, it’s nothing compared to why we open gifts! We make sure they know Why we celebrate Christmas!!===JACK: Christmas is a lot like Easter. It's more than a "one-day" event. Every day is a day to celebrate that God became human, that God promise life beyond this life.
FROM BLAZING OAKS: Excellent quote! I am one of those shoppers, and every year I swear to
simplify, and yet keep buying for all my family, in addition to Xmas money! I do give to charities, church, and one man in prison (son of a pastor friend, who has died) but yes, how did it come to this?! People like me! :-(===JACK: At some time you must have memorized Hebrews 13:3.
FROM ST PAUL IN MESA: sadly, the true meaning is still "hardly noticed" by many...===JACK: In reality. it only matters to those who believe it matters.===SP: that was almost profound, Jack. ===JACK:
I SAW JESUS TODAY HERE IN MINNESOTA
WE PULLED UP TO THE RED LIGHT,
WAITING FOR THE GREEN
THERE HE WAS STANDING AT THE CORNER
WITH A SIGN IN HIS HAND.
I COULDN’T SEE THE PRINTING
THERE WAS NO TIME TO LOOK AT HIS FACE,
BECAUSE THE LIGHT TURNED GREEN,
AND WE HAD TO BE ON OUR WAY
TO WHEREVER WE WERE GOING.
FROM GUSTIE MARLYS: Today I went to a Minnesota Orchestra Concert—it was called Minnesota Christmas. We sang Christmas Carols, there was story telling by Kevin Kling and a quartet, they showed the story by projecting pictures behind the Orchestra. If you have been to Orchestra Hall, they have big box shaped things for acoustics on which they projected wrapping paper—it changed periodically. The whole concert was just fantastic. They sang a version of the Halleluia Chorus that had everyone laughing out loud. How lucky am I to have all these wonderful things to go to!===JACK: I went there a couple of weeks ago to a Thrivent-sponsored Christmas Concert featuring the same orchestra. Fantastic!
FROM JT IN ST JOE: Good morning Jack I agree the first was a greatest! Last evening a group of us went across the street to the senior living apartment and celebrated Christmas with a some who live there. True Christmas event ===JACK: Christmas come but (more than) once a year!