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

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

Jacksonville ~ Is Christmas Town

JAX Chick-fil-A 19

First Coast All About Christmas

A neighbor in my condo complex wanted to see the local  Mandarin Chick-fil-A’s Twelve Nights of Christmas, again. Mandarin is our neighborhood in the geographically huge city of Jacksonville.

She’d been there the night before to support her daughter’s school. Each night if customers mentioned the name of the particular local not-for-profit showcased, the organization received a percentage of the price of the meal. So, I said, “Why take two cars, I’ll drive.”JAX Xmas Tree 3

We had our chicken sandwich meal and the place was packed with families. Squirming, laughing children couldn’t wait to rush over to the the outside decorated area and see what was going on. Many of the not-for-profits had decorated a tree.

JAX Chick-fil-A 19 2

We were early-birds and the singing presentation would be quite a bit later. We didn’t stay for it. We did listen to the teenagers rehearsing their Christmas carols. They sounded great.JAX Chick-f0;-A Carolers

Jacksonville is on the First Coast (called thus because St. Augustine was the first permanent settlement by Europeans in the Americas) and the First Coast is very Christmasy. Nothing can compare to it.  It seems every single church is having a presentation of some type (classical Christmas music, Christmas worship music, children’s presentations, a series of family-friendly Christmas movies, and much more). There are local neighborhood Christmas crafts fairs, food fairs, and the like.

JAX Chick-fil-A Cow

I did get to meet the Chick-fil-A cow from the television commercials. He is real.

The Jacksonville Historical Society has an extraordinary Gingerbread Extravaganza display every year. Grade school classes contribute displays as well as professional bakers.

Jacksonville Beach has Deck the Chairs every year. I went last year and it was spectacular…forty decorated lifeguard chairs.

When I lived in NYC, my husband and I went many times to see “the tree” and huge lighted angels at Rockefeller Center. Each time it was wonderful. But, let me tell you, St. Augustine’s Night of Lights at Christmas has NYC beat by a mile. You have not seen a Christmas light display like this. It’s not to be missed.

My Christmas Mug ‘O ~ tea!!!

Christmas Mug TeaHo, ho, ho. You thought I was going to have something thrilling, with kick, spiked even.

I pulled one of my Christmas mugs out today. I have six, purchased in various places: Christmas fairs, while on vacation.

It’s mid-morning and tea was in order. My usual brew is Lipton Organic Tea. It’s warming, inviting, has a lovely aroma and taste. Highly underrated, IMO. Note: I am not a spokesperson, have no relationship to the company at all.

I’m a black tea drinker. I’ll drink Irish Breakfast, English Breakfast, Darjeeling. But Lipton is what I keep in my airtight tea caddy and is my go to. It brings up comfy feelings that hearken back to my childhood. If a cold was threatening, my mom made me a cup of Lipton tea with honey and lemon. I still do that if my sinuses are clogging except, that I might add a shot of Bourbon.

Yes, black tea has the health benefits of antioxidants and I am into health. But I pulled out a Christmas mug and brewed a cuppa for myself today because in this wonderful holiday season it brings up a lovely memory of my mom.

Guarding Candy Kane by V.B. Tenery ~ a review

Guarding Candy KaneChristmas novella, Mystery, RomSuspense

This is a wonderful Christmas mystery. I enjoyed reading the mystery driven part of it and the Christmas part of it. Loved the main characters. At points, the suspense was chilling, by the end it was uplifting and filled with Christmas cheer.

I loved the Colorado setting. In one scene we’re walking with the characters through the quaint village of Christmas Tyme, with all its cheerful seasonal decorations. Then in another scene, we’re in the snow-swept Colorado wilderness fearing for the characters’ lives.

The author is a skillful writer who takes the reader through a delightful Christmas mystery and adds that something additional that makes it a read that’s on more than one level. If I had one question to ask the author, it would be: “What’s next?”

Purchase GUARDING CANDY KANE on Amazon