Archive | December 2018

Great Photos for Christmas by my friend, Kathie!​

 

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You may have noticed the beautiful photography in my blogs. Especially the Little Isabel stories. They were taken by my dear lifelong friend, Kathie. If you are looking for an excellent photographer for Christmas, New Years, Birthdays, Weddings, Special Occasions or even pets, Kathie is your gal. Check out her site!

Kathie Kingery Photography

 

 

 

 

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Little Isabel’s Christmas Joy – Part 5

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Eugene sat in the front of the sleigh beside Mama to make room for Sally Anne.

“Is everyone nice and warm back there?” Mama turned and smiled as Isabel and Maggie held up their fur muffs, feeling the softness against their cheek. “Tuck in those blankets, Curtis. It’s beginning to snow again.”

It wasn’t long until the horses stopped in front of the first house. Everyone bounced out of the sleigh, singing Jingle Bells before reaching the house.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the Little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head…” Mama pushed Maggie forward as the neighbor opened the door. Soon the entire household stood on the porch, joining the serenade. Maggie timidly offered a package containing cookies and was rewarded with a hug from the lady of the house.

“Oh, that was wonderful!” the woman said and motioned to the door. “Won’t you all come in for some hot cider?”

“Thank you, no,” Mama said with a smile. “We have several more stops to make.”

“Merry Christmas!”

Each household was as friendly as the first. Isabel was beginning to get cold and buried her head in the soft furry muff to warm her frozen nose. Finally, there were only two packages in the sleigh. One contained a basket of food for an unfriendly neighbor who had been battling influenza.

“Now children, Mrs. Barker has been ill so I will take the basket to her door. She may not be up to our serenade tonight,” Mama said softly, “We will go back to Sally Anne’s home and pick up little Sylvia.”

“Papa, do we have to stop at widow Barker’s house?” Eugene asked as they turned and headed the back way to the Albright home, passing by a dark, unkempt small house.”

“Oh Eugene, I’m surprised at you!” Mama said softly. “Mrs. Barker has been ill. She needs this visit more than anyone – don’t you think?”

“But Mama, everybody knows she hates boys! She makes us walk on the other side of the street when she sees us going and coming home from school,” Eugene said.

“She’s not very nice!” Curtis agreed.

“It isn’t nice to speak unkindly of our neighbors, boys,” Papa said and coughed towards Mama.  “They’re right.”

Mama stepped out of the sleigh and reached for the basket on the floor. “I will be right back,” she said and walked gingerly over the icy sidewalk and up one step to the small porch. The door opened slightly and Mama passed the basket to her through the door. “Hope you have a Merry Christmas, Mrs. Barker and I’m praying you will feel better soon.”

“Thank you, Miz Greene, and the same to you.” Without acknowledging the family in the sleigh, she quickly closed the door, leaving Mama to find her way over the ice back to the sleigh.

Papa helped Mama back into the safety of the sleigh and covered her with a fur rug. “Good thing that was the last house,” Papa said, “Feels like that snow is turning to sleet. Getting colder by the minute.

  By the time they reached the Albright house, Isabel’s teeth were chattering. The three girls snuggled closer together under the thick blanket and started singing Away in the Manger.

“Look at that!” Sally Anne exclaimed as she pointed to the sky. “Do you think that’s the Bethlehem star?”

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“Nah,” Eugene said with confidence. “That star is all the way in Bethlehem!”

Soon the laughing group pulled into the Albright drive. Mr. Albright met them with a bucket of oats for the horse.

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“Go on inside for hot cocoa and cookies,” he said as he lifted the girls one at a time from the red sleigh.

 Isabel picked up  Sally Anne’s gift and quietly handed it to her friend.

“It’s not as nice as the muff but I helped Mama make it.”  Sally Anne squealed as she tore away the brown paper to reveal a cloth doll with yarn hair. “Oh, I love her. Thank you, Isabel!”

By the time the children warmed by the kitchen stove with two cookies and a cup of hot chocolate, Isabel felt her eyes drooping. When she awakened, she was in her own yard and Papa was unhitching the horse.

“Alright children,” Mama said as she hung up coats on hooks in the screened- in- back porch. “you may place your gifts from your friends under the tree and then hurry up to bed.”

Excitement filled Isabel as she ran into the parlor, lit by the fire in the fireplace. There on the table holding the stable were three new carved items. A man, a woman, and a donkey.

“Look!” Curtis said, “It’s Mary, Joseph and the donkey she rode on to Bethlehem!”

Isabel slowly walked to the stable and traced the figures with her fingers. “Where did they come from? How did they get here?”

“The donkey brought them, silly!” Eugene said with a smile before mussing her hair.

“It’s bedtime children,” Mama said, “hang your sock on the mantle and then go on to bed. Morning will be here before you know it.”

“But Mama,” Maggie said with a tear in her eyes. “Baby Jesus isn’t here. The manger is empty! Did Mary and Joseph forget the baby?”

“No, dear. They are still waiting for the baby to be born.”

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Sharing the Gospel with the Christmas Tree

 

 

Our first Christmas tree as a “family”. Mom and “Dad Hinchee” were married in April 1964. I moved from my grandparents home and into our new apartment when school started. A new home, a new school, and a new name. I morphed from Kathy Smith to Kathy Hinchee. It took a while for us to feel like a family. It must have been around Christmas time. Jerry (Dad Hinchee) cut two scotch pine trees and wired them together to make our very first Christmas tree – just as two “families” became one.

The Lord impressed upon my heart about 35 years ago that a Christmas tree could be more than just something to look pretty. In the middle of the night, I awoke and grabbed my Bible, paper, and pen and have been sharing the Christmas Tree Gospel ever since.

I’m sure you have heard this before and have used the tree and lights to lead others to Christ. For this reason, I choose to exclude the jolly old elf and instead, focus on the King of King and Lord of Lords. His birth and His love for – you!

(This is a re-blog from last year. Since I have been posting about Christmas trees and cats, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to once more share the Gospel with the Christmas tree.)

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Have you ever considered using your Christmas tree as a witnessing tool? I used to love using a small Christmas tree to present the Gospel to children.

  • First, we discussed the evergreen tree which reminds us of eternal life. It is evergreen with sap running through it (before it is cut down)
  •  The shape of the tree points to God.
  • Of course, the tree must be in a stand to remain upright, as we need The Lord Jesus as our firm foundation.

The Next thing I would do (especially in Awana at night)  is to have someone turn out the lights so that the room would be dark – just as the darkness of sin. The world was in darkness until the Savior came.  I would then turn on the tree lights. White lights because they shine brighter then red, blue, green or even yellow lights.

  • The lights on the tree remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world. “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
  • The lights also remind us that we are to let Him shine through us ”Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
  • The lights also remind me that there will be no need of sun or moon in Heaven; for Jesus is the light. “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21:23)
  • Gold decorations & tinsel remind me of the streets of gold in Heaven. (Rev. 21:21)
  • Red decorations remind us that Jesus was born to die.  He shed His blood that we may be saved.  He paid the penalty for my sin. (John 3:16)
  • White on the tree reminds me that he washed me white as snow.
  • The star reminds us of the Bethlehem star which signified the birth of the King of Kings and was a guide for the wise men to follow that they may find Him, and worship Him.
  • Angels remind us of the Heavenly Host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on the earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2)

(In the Bible, Angels appear as men.  They are not portrayed as beautiful women in slinky or fancy dresses with wings and a halo. They are messengers of God.  They came to announce His birth and to Worship Him! We are to worship Him and not the angels.)

  • Ice-cycles hung on the tree reflect the light – just as we are to let The Light of the world reflect through us. When I was a child, the Ice-cycles were silver tinsel-cut into long strands. Granddaddy always insisted on hanging them on the tree one by one so that they would hang perfectly. (I must admit to giving into the urge to take a hand full and fling them on the tree and allowed them to fall where they may. They often landed on the floor!) Today I use crystal or clear plastic. When the light shines on the crystal ones, we can almost see a rainbow reflected on the wall!
  • The tree skirt reminds me that He has clothed me with HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS.
  • The gifts under the tree remind me of the greatest gift of all. Salvation wrapped in love. The perfect gift from God – His only begotten Son; the lamb of God who was born to die for us. Our virgin-born Savior, wrapped in swaddling clothes was the best gift ever given!

When doing the Christmas Tree Gospel presentation, sometimes I gave each child a card with a verse to read as we came to the appropriate moment/decoration. Of course, each was given the gift of a candy cane to take as a reminder of God’s wonderful gift to us.

Please excuse the family pictures as I haven’t decorated our tree yet this year and didn’t have a suitable photo of a Christmas tree to use.   I would love to hear how you share the Gospel at Christmas. Please feel free to give us your stories in the comment section. Have a blessed Christmas season this year!

Love,

Kathy