What Is Christmas ~ all about?

 

 

 

Believers are the product of Christmas. We came from Him, from His bloodline. ~

Merry Christmas to one and all. The idea/concept of a merry Christmas season is something that delights my heart. And so much of Christmas is about this to me. Actually, so much of life is about this to me. Perhaps that’s because I’ve had so many things happen to me designed to steal my happiness and rob my joy. So, I’ve made a study of being merry and of good cheer and I’m striving to invite these two spirits into my thinking and being more and more each day.

Merry is actually a Bible word. Merry appears 28 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Merrily, once and Merryhearted, once. Cheer, ten time (eight of them ‘be of good cheer’). Cheerful, four times. Cheereth, Cheerfully, Cheefulness, each once.

So why is a merry/cheerful spirit or attitude associated with the Christmas season which begins with Advent on the fourth Sunday in November and ends on December 24th? First of all, Christmas means the celebration of the Christ, or of the Christ’s coming. In Roman Catholic Church, and in the Western Rite Orthodox churches, the Old Catholic churches, Eastern Catholic churches, some Lutheran churches, as well as in some Anglican churches the Mass is celebrated. The word Mass itself means ‘sent’, or in the case of Jesus ‘the One Who was sent’. We celebrate The One Who Was Sent in this Christmas season, the One who taught us about freedom of the spirit. That, in Him, we could be free. That in and of itself brings on a feeling of merriment, delight and good cheer. There is a place where we can be free from this world’s strife, rage, and hate and that place is in Jesus.

Wow! That’s what Christmas is all about. The celebration of the coming of the Christ. Jesus Christ. Christ isn’t Jesus’ last name. It’s more accurately stated Jesus the Christ. Christ means the Anointed One but it’s more than a title. It’s who He is, His very being, the Son of God in the flesh. He came to us as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem, entrusted to the care and protection of Joseph and Mary. He suckled at Mary’s breast like every other baby.

During this season, from time-to-time, almost every person thinks of Him as a baby…has that concept in their heads. For many that brings on a warm feeling. Joy. Gentleness. Kindness. Happiness. a Merry heart, and Good Cheer. Many of us want to help someone else, give to the less fortunate, share of our abundance.

Sharing with others makes us feel good. It’s the evidence of our prosperity. Yes, prosperity! Even if we only have a little, if we share some of it that is an act of prosperity. Christian prosperity starts with inner prosperity, the prosperity of the soul. That is something that should bring good cheer to our lives. Of course, the Bible teaches in many places, that it’s God’s will that we should prosper materially as well, that we should have enough, and that God is our source of enough.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. ~ 3 John 1:2 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

And that is my Christmas wish for you all. That you would come to know Him and that you would prosper in all ways and be in good health, as your soul prospers…and that you will enjoy prospering in your soul and be merry, cheerful, and that you would laugh a lot. Merry Christmas.

My two Christmas season novels are ACTS OF MALICE and BLOOD SPEAKS.

Major Cookie Company Says,”cookie shortage for Christmas” ~ so make your own!

Gather the family, friends together in the kitchen to bake cookies ~

So, Pepperidge Farms, the largest cookie manufacturer has announced to the media, they will most likely have a cookie shortage this Christmas 2020. Don’t despair. Really, don’t. This is an opportunity, a time to look forward to fun. A time to make merry. Bake your own cookies for Christmas.

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 [New King James Version]

Everyone loves Snickerdoodles. They’re cinnamony and sugary and just right for Christmas. They’re perfect for a family and friends Christmas baking experience, especially with children. This is an easy, ‘no fail’ Snickerdoodles recipe even the most ‘baking challenged’ among us can handle. Get your family and friends together and have a ‘Snickerdoodles Christma Baking Party’, then eat them…perhaps with eggnog or hot apple cider. Don’t fore get to leave a few for Santa!!! LOL

Easy Snickerdoodles

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
1 C butter or margarine (2 sticks)
1 1/2 sugar
2 3/4 C all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tartar (the secret ingredient)
1 tsp baking sod
1/2 tsp salt
Make cinnamon sugar (2 Tbsp sugar to every 1 tsp powdered cinnamon)

1. Let butter or margarine come to room temperature. In a medium or large bowl cream the butter or margarine, add beaten eggs and stir well until smooth. Sift in flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt. Stir until completely combined.

2. Shape into 1 inch balls. Roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture twice to get them well coated.

3. Place the balls 2 inches apart (they will flatten and need space) on a baking sheet well coated with cooking/baking pan spray.

4. Bake at 400 degrees fir 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool. If you don't have a wire rack, remove to a plate to cool. You may have more cookie dough. Then repeat steps 3 and 4.

 

If it’s not a perfectly formed ball, that’s okay. The point is to have fun. It will taste great anyway. So, you’re NOT a baker? So, what? Don’t be hyper-self critical. Make merry in this Christmas season, and be of good cheer.

**Such a good Scripture for this Christmas season threatened with world-wide Covid lockdowns and political unrest.

“…These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 [New King James Version]
 
 
 
 
 

“Ronnie’s” and her bridesmaids’ shopping is derailed in a winter wonderland setting where they sample hot apple cider and all kinds of delectable treats. However, they must survive lies and treachery. #Christmas themes, classic #murdermystery #wedding BLOOD SPEAKS #femalePI #inspy http://amzn.to/2kcOyjX

The Season of Merriment and Good Cheer ~ is at hand

A concert

“…Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The Bible speaks of merriment as something that is not only fun, but healing.

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 [New King James Version]

Twenty-five years ago, Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday Review, American political journalist, professor, and world peace advocate, was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, an incurable and fatal spinal column illness of unknown cause. He did the traditional medical route, but they could not help him. He tried various ‘alternative remedies’ but was not cured. So, he did what he loved. He shut himself in his apartment for one month and read humorous stories and jokes, watched the old comedy movies (humor without mean barbs), and read ‘the funnies’. At the end of the month, when he returned to the hospital and, the doctors could find no trace of the disease. He was cured by intensive merriment and laughter.

Over nine months ago, I was given a serious diagnosis in the natural. One of my doctor’s personality and temperament leans toward optimism, while the other’s slides toward negatives. While I appreciate their medical knowledge and skill, I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to research Christian healing. I looked back to the faith healers of decades ago and learned how to negate generational curses, word curses, and formal curses that might have impacted my life and health and could block healing. Present day healing preachers and teachers often stress finding healing Scriptures in the Bible that speak to you, then feed on them (reading them and saying them aloud continually, also writing them). Another contemporary practice is to regularly take communion at home for the purpose of healing. Since my diagnosis in late March, I’ve done all of these things…and I’ve seen progress in healing, supernaturally in my body. At the time of my partial healing, there was no medical reason for it. I almost can’t express my gratitude to the Lord, and my desire to draw closer to Him.

So, when I sensed the Holy Spirit guiding me toward humor as the next avenue toward my healing, I took it as gospel (good news). I felt the need to enjoy good, clean humor on a regular basis. Wholesome laughing (with not at someone and without meanness) is good medicine and should be a regular part of my life. Seeing the humor in difficult and painful situations brings good cheer and is healing.

Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ~ John16:33 [JKV]

It’s in red in the Bible. Jesus is telling us in Him we can have peace, the peace that passes understanding. His spirit that indwells us can give us His peace. After all, it is His peace that we want, not whatever little bit of momentary peace we can scratch together. Then He says that in the face of tribulation we can be of good cheer because His spirit lives in us, and He has overcome the world. So good cheer, a happy countenance, is something Jesus would like believers to have even in the face of stress, affliction, and trials. Sickness is the enemy putting all of that on us: stress, affliction, and trials.

I’ve been spending time on YouTube watching a few of my favorite Christian comedians go through their comedy routines…and I’ve been laughing out loud.

Jean Robertson, a classy lady, runs through her routines, such as convincing her husband to go white water rafting on the Colorado River with a Christian group from all denominations. You can guess how that turned out.

I’m tickled and warmed by Mark Lowry’s humor, ranging from gentle to raucous, drawing from his own life, having been born and raised in the church. Who knew growing up churched could be so funny.

And of course Shandra Pierce is hysterically funny. She has drawn from family experiences and activities, as well as from the deep pain in her life to make others laugh.

Jeff Foxworthy is just good old down home humor.

I also find Bob Smiley and Tim Hawking routines get me laughing. These two Christian stand up comics would probably be appealing to the younger generation.

And don’t forget to watch old movies, or contemporary comedy films without smut and without snide, rude, crude, debasing humor. Guard your heart from that. Not only is it not humor, it’s deadly to the inner man.

As we head toward Christmas, it’s a good idea to rev up our merriment and cheer and have a good laugh, and then laugh again and again. Hey, it’s healthy for body, mind, and spirit.

ribbon-green

Harmful Intent 400 P Don’t like to snort-giggle out loud. Then DON’T read this book. HARMFUL INTENT! Detective story with a pulse racing plot. Murder, mayhem, #drugs. Sometimes hilariously funny. As addictive as Stephanie Plumb but a #cleanrread. #humor #inspy 

Memorial Day ~ when we’ve been attacked on our soil

A memorial-day-354082_1920

Honoring the brave men and women in the American Armed Forces…and…

Whether the Corona Virus was designed to be a biological weapon and just got away from the Chinese Communist Party or not, in the aftermath they used it as if it were a weapon. They threatened the United States of America with the possibility of withholding our medicines which are manufactured in China.

This year, 2020, I honor those who have died in the line of duty in every branch of the US Armed Forces: The Army, the Navy, the Marines, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard. I especially want to remember those sailors and medical personnel on the two Navy hospital ships. I want to remember the Army that built entire hospitals in a matter of weeks. Hopefully none of them died of Covid19, but if they did, they were there for us, as they always are and I honor their sacrifice.

I also honor those working round clock in hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities who lost their lives fighting Covid19. I honor those in meat and other processing plants who lost their lives, cashiers and stock clerks in supermarkets and drug stores, and other necessary markets. Yes, also dollar stores. Truck drivers and delivery personnel who lost their lives due to Covid19 so that the rest of us could continue living, though living was restricted. I think of them all as first responders, those on the front lines who perished. Maybe they are the New Minute Men/Women, resisting a deadly virus sent to our shores by a foreign power, an enemy. This year it’s been a different kind of Memorial Day for me.

A Navy Hosp Ship

Epiphany 2020 ~ my three lovely gifts

Xmas FL 20 Three Best Gifts

Thinking of the gifts of the magi today

 

 

Of course today is January 6th, Epiphany, or Three Kings Day. It’s the twelfth and last day of the Christmas season that began on Advent Sunday (not the day after Thanksgiving) and ends today. I’ve had a wonderful, interesting, and blessed holiday. I hope all my readers and supporters are blessed in the new year. That is my heartfelt prayer for you.

These three decided to nap together and gave me this photo. The tortoise-shell in the foreground is Beauty, because she is one. She’s the queen of the household, is a talker, and has an opinion on everything. Then you have Sophie The Wonder Dog. Her name was Sophie when she was rescued and we kept it. At that time our kids were in the house and we started calling her “Soapy.” I sometimes now call her that and she perks up and prances, perhaps going back in time. I’ll have to call her that more often. And in the background is Trouble. He earned that name by his mischievousness since he was a teeny tike. He’s either in trouble or causing it. I know he looks like an angel here under the tree. That’s his cover. He’s part of an international cat burglar and jewel thief ring.

Ghee, I sure have a vivid imagination. Perhaps I should write murder mysteries with a national security twist. Hmm, now that’s a thought.

My Christmas Story ~ 2019

Xmas Angel

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. ~ Luke 2:10-11, King James Version [KJV]

The Christmas season is my favorite time of year. It’s a season that starts with Advent and ends on the 12th Day of Christmas, sometimes called Epiphany or Three Kings Day (January 6). These twelve days are symbolic of the period of time from the birth of Jesus until the Three Magi arrived in Bethlehem bearing giftsfor the baby Jesus.

.Xmas 19 JAX Chick-fil-A 12 Days   Xmas FL 19 JAX Chick-fil-A   JAX Chick-f0;-A Carolers   Xmas 19 JAX Chick-fil-A Cow

My personal Christmas celebration began twelve days before Christmas when the local Chick-fil-A in the Mandarin neighborhood of Jacksonville had their own “12 Days of Christmas” with a percentage of sales going to local charities. I was sooo excited I got my pix taken in the sleigh with the Chick-fil-A cow from the TV commercials…or a kids dressed up like him. He does exist!

Xmas Fl 19 Deb Williams   Xmas Fl 19 Deb Tree #2   Xmas FL Deb Tree #3   Xmas Fl 19 Deb Nativity

Christmas has always been important to me. I believe in the supernatural, and so believe in the Spirit of Christmas. This is how Jesus manifests Himself to me at this time of year through the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s as if He’s wrapped me up in a warm blanket of good cheer, music, glittering lights. ~~  The next stop on my Christmas journey was my good and excellent gal-pal Deborah Williams. (see above) Now she’s a real decorating diva. She invited her good friend Becky Walsh, Valery Riley, a professor at Trinity College and kittie foster mom, and moi for a Christmas luncheon featuring one of her famous chili recipes. Yum.Xmas FL 19

Then Lynn Wood Rix (writing as Dalyn Woods) and Lou Ann Atwood, my JAX reading, writing, lunch/dinner, thrifting friends celebrated Christmas the Friday before with a steak dinner at the Longhorn Steakhouse.

Xmas FL Destiny Kids

Next came the Christmas Sunday service at Destiny Church. Lou Ann Atwood and her adult son Douglas went with me. The children performed a brief skit…more like a skitlet, and then they sang a truly powerful rendition of the Christmas song, “My Gift Is Me.” There was also an amazing saxophone solo when the adult music team sang. I’d already put my phone away and couldn’t get it out and right-side-up fast enough to get a pix of the sax player. (My relationship with cell phones is another blog article.Xmas FL 19 Alaska Logs 2

Every year I do Christmas baking. I always make my mother’s recipe for Alaska Logs which is a huge hit wherever I bring them. Thanks mom!  Last Christmas I gave the recipe on this blog. Click for recipeThis year I also made Cheaters Christmas Stollen which Olivia, a sweetheart of a character in my new release ACTS OF MALICE, baked for guests. Stollen is a German Christmas sweet bread with fruit and possibly also nuts. The cheaters version is a hack that takes half-the-time. It’s the first time I’ve made it, and while it tastes good, I’ll perfect it by next year and give the recipe then. ~~ So, I finished my baking on the day of Christmas Eve. There wasn’t enough time to make a proper Eastern European Christmas Eve dinner for myself (meatless) and also get to a candlelight service. So, I threw family tradition to the wind and grabbed some dinner at Chili’s. Then I drove to the Mandarin Presbyterian Church for their candlelight service which was amazing. I didn’t take any photos of the magnificent church and choir because I was a first-time guest and as the service ended, we were instructed to light our candles and to walk out onto their piazza as a body to sing Christmas carols. At that point, I was juggling candle in one hand, handbag on my other shoulder. And then there’s that proverbial relationship (or lack of one) I have with cell phone…so, no photos.

I went to Lou Ann’s house for Christmas dinner and also didn’t take photos. Again, I was a first time guest. Besides, the good sized house was crammed with family and friends and the joint was jumpin’. And then there’s that relationship I have with cell phones. There’s no pix of it, but trust me, the prime rib was out-of-this world as were the desserts and everything in-between.

Beth, moi JAX Bch 12.18

I want to take a moment to remember and celebrate the life of my dear friend Beth Glash, Beth Ellen on Facebook, writing amazing Christian romance novels as Jenna Victoria. She waged a full assault on advanced triple negative breast cancer for eight years. This awful disease finally took her on December 5th of this year. We were friends while I lived in Brooklyn (NYC) and she lived on Long Island lunching, mall-crawling, going to movies. She visited me in Florida right before Christmas in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, it was so warm in mid-December that we hung out on Jacksonville Beach in short sleeves. She was an accomplished person in her career. As a Long Island RAW member, she organized and directed their annual luncheon at the Fox Hollow Country Club. What a gal! What a friend! I miss her.

Hope You’re Rockin’ Around ~ the Christmas tree

J's Biker Jacket

In the new old fashioned way.

When I got up to feed the strays it was 40 degrees in Jacksonville (with a feels like of 38). That’s when Floridians start thinking of wintering in the Caribbean. It had dropped to the mid 30s overnight. It was cold and damp…a breeze coming off the Atlantic and up the St. John’s River. I’m closer to the river than the beach.

I had been meaning to give my late husband Joseph’s biker jacket to Goodwill since I only wore it once last year. That was right before Christmas, when I went to see Deck the Chairs in Jacksonville Beach with my daughter Victoria and Lynn Woods Rix writing as Dalyn Woods. It was cold that night This year, I wanted to let someone get some use out of the jacket, but Joseph had loved it even though he didn’t have a Harley, not even a motor scooter. It made him feel a little like James Dean. I must confess, when I wear it some of that James Dean spirit rubs off on me too. There’s just something about a well-worn, broken in biker jacket.

Joseph passed away on December 8th three years ago. I’m seeing a lot of memes about how to treat a person who is mourning at Christmas. Should you bring up the loved one who is gone? Should you tip-toe around it? If you care for your loved one who is in mourning, they will know you care. You might say the wrong thing. If you’re a believer, you might say, “He/she’s in heaven with Jesus,” when all your loved one wants is for them to be back here, even for a moment. We all say the wrong thing in situations like this. Your loved one knows that. Your loved one has also said the wrong things. It means you’re human.

So, what should you do? What should you say at Christmas to a loved one who’s heart is aching (and mourning goes on for years)? Say, “I love you lots.” Call them, tweet them, private message them, email them, send them cute, light-hearted memes, send them a Christmas card. For a person in mourning, the hours can creep slowly by, feeling empty. Fill some of that empty space up…in a gentle, gentle way saying “I love you.” “I’m thinking of you.” Don’t pressure them to be part of the holly-jolly spirit of Christmas, but leave the door open to them if they’d like to join in. You might be surprised. They might have no place to celebrate and would love to be part of your Christmas.

…casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

JDC Xmas 2013-3
Joseph, Christmas morning 2012, before coffee

JDC Waldorf Astoria-Boca
Boca Raton, vacay 2011