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Christmas Card Post Script

The cost of a stamp keeps rising, it takes a lot of time, and technology offers other ways of sending greetings. Nevertheless, we continue to send Christmas cards to many people. I do not, however, hand address each envelope since my husband figured out how to make a list, check it twice, and print the addresses from the computer. One reason the tradition lives on is my love of finding boxes of cards during the After-Christmas sale season.  In the last days of 2016, I was in a drug store hoping to find our 2017 Christmas Card in the post-season mess. We needed several boxes and the selection was limited, but I was determined. Therefore, I settled for a nice, sentimental design, brought the cards home, and stashed them away in a closet.

Thanksgiving passed and I pulled the boxes out for post office preparation. They were strange. I had a hard time opening the card and had to make a crease in each one prior to signing our names. In addition, while the sentiment was nice, there was no mention of Christ, no nativity image and no scripture verse. Instead, the card displayed a whimsical row of townhouses and the words, May you have love in your home and peace in your heart…Let Christmas be a joyous time right from the very start! We do want our loved ones to have love, peace, and joy, but I felt that the words were a bit trite. After considering the time it would take to add a meaningful verse to each, I signed, sealed, and mailed them as is.

I’m not apologizing. And some of our friends and family did receive Christian Christmas cards because we ran out of this year’s design. I’m simply taking this opportunity to add a P.S. regarding “love in your home” today and hoping to add a P.P.S. regarding “peace in your heart” tomorrow.

Love In Your Home

  • The Source: “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  1 John 4:7-11
  • The Description: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Merry Christmas!

With love,

Dave and Lisa

 

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On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

As each day passes, I notice fewer and fewer decorations and lights.  Our own Christmas tree will be disassembled and stored in the next day or so. Less gradual was the abrupt change in the song play list at our mall from every version of “White Christmas” ever recorded to “Cheeseburger in Paradise” (I kid you not).  And it’s getting hard to find a cookie or piece of Christmas candy in my house.  I am especially sad that my Pfeffernusse cookies are  gone.

So, on this January 6, the Twelfth Day of Christmas, I’ve decided to share some of my favorite cookies and carols with you.  Think of it as a late Christmas gift, or an early one if you wish.

I made Peppernuts, the English translation of the German recipe, for the first time in December.  I found the recipe in a magazine I had laying around and decided to give it a try. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity of the word Pfeffernusse to my maiden name, Pfeiffer, however, the cookies don’t seem to have been a tradition for my relatives.  They do share many of the spices of my Grandma Pfeiffer’s molasses cookies which are still a family favorite, but they also contain cardamom, ground almonds and, yes, white pepper.  I enjoyed making these crunchy bite-sized cookies and found that I couldn’t eat just one. The flavorful treats stay fresh longer  than most cookies, and I’ve loved grabbing a handful for a snack.  Do they really have to be a seasonal thing?  I don’t think so.  Here is the Pfeffernusse recipe that I used.

Although it’s January 6, I confess that I listened to a disc of Christmas music today.  When I stashed the rest of my seasonal CDs away this week, I couldn’t bear to put my newest one out of sight and out of mind just yet.  Fernando Ortega’s CHRISTMAS SONGS album was such a breath of fresh air compared to the many tired renditions of carols that fill the season.  The beautiful instrumentation and thoughtful treatment of the lyrics brought out deeper appreciation for the true reason we celebrate. Some may not approve of setting a beloved carol to a new melody, but I found Ortega’s rendition of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” to be quite special.  It’s upbeat and hopeful sounding all the way through the last verse.  And the truth of that verse is not constrained to December or outdated 2,017 years after Christ was born of Mary.

How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.

 

 

 

 

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Father, forgive us.

This week I’m sharing a poem that I penned about 15 years ago.  It’s still very thought-provoking and humbling to me. 

Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.

We read your words; make them fit our beliefs

 without ever hearing you.

Father, forgive us, for we know not what we do.

Won’t turning the other cheek make us seem weak?

You wouldn’t want that, would you?

 

Father, forgive us, for we can’t help how we feel.

Doesn’t love have to start with a throb of the heart?

Can doing good make our love real?

Father, forgive us, we’ve been taught and we’ve learned.

Stand up for our rights; sometimes we have to fight.

What’s ours we should keep; it’s been earned.

 

Father, forgive us, but did you really say

we’re to love you with all our heart, soul and mind?

And that if we love, we’ll obey?

Father, forgive us, but what you ask is tough.

Do those who would beat us, badmouth and cheat us

really deserve our love?

 

Father, forgive us, but how can you expect

us to not only give up the right to get even,

but also forgive, love and bless?

Has this method been proven?  Can it be done?

Does loving one’s enemies work?

What’s that?  You want us to look at your Son,

and the mission you gave Him on Earth?

 

The world that you loved, that you sent Him to save

was full of darkness and pride.

Though He did not condemn and spoke only truth,

he was hated by foes; by friends, denied.

And the one who was tempted, but never gave in,

lived only to serve, not be served.

Greater love has no man than he lay down his life.

Could anyone claim it deserved?

In silence He bent his back to the whip,

took the mocking, the sneering, the crown.

Between two thieves he was hung on the cross

till with love his life He laid down.

But, Christ did not die without speaking his mind.

He had words for the crowd and us, too.

“Pray for those who mistreat you” had been his command.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

By Lisa Frisch

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