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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Spreading Christmas Cheer

"Do you hear that? Those are sleigh bells and that means the holidays are here! I love this time of year because...I'm Mark the Moose and I'm on the loose -Spreading Christmas cheer- I want to wish you peace and happiness throughout the coming year. I love to skate and decorate with my Christmas lights aglow. I'm Mark the Moose the very merriest moose you'll ever know."

Mark the moose came to us several years ago as a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law. His batteries are still going and he's still singing... By the second year I had Mark's song memorized. And now, I'm convinced it's a song I will never be able to forget. I can sing it in my sleep. Talk about spreading Christmas cheer and I can break out into song that YOU will never forget.

I wanted to share some things my family has been up to. It's such a fun time of year.

Gabriel came home earlier this week from school with this "secret" note for our pastor. If you can't read the picture it says, "To my friend: Gordon. You are the best pastor and preacher. From your secret Santa." I thought it was a great idea for keeping the Christmas spirit alive. You can write a note of appreciation for someone you care about, and hide it somewhere they will find it. But make sure you don't get caught!

I almost want to go and share with Gordon that Gabe left him the note. What he probably won't understand is that this was a project from school, not church. It should be quite an honor to Gordon that Gabriel singled him out all by himself when he had the opportunity to choose anybody for this project. My son really admires our pastor.

Last week my daughter had the opportunity with her community group at church to adopt a 7 year old girl in foster care. This girl lost her mother two years ago, and is now in foster care due to her father's alcohol abuse.

While this is a great opportunity for Ariel, sometimes it doesn't always hit home with a kid when they aren't spending their own money on the gift. The community group leader challenged all the girls to find something special of their own to give this little girl.

I figured my daughter would choose a few of her own books she's outgrown and leave it at that. She knows this little girl enjoys reading.

She surprised me with her generosity. She prayed about what she should give and felt God told her to give her first American Girl doll, Annette, along with several clothes that I had sewn for the doll.

I've been especially proud of my daughter lately. She's learning what it means to give. God has so richly blessed us, it's hard not to want to share that blessing with others.

A last photo with Annette

“The righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’"
Matthew 25:37-40 (The Message)

One of the ways that our family tries to keep Jesus the focus of our Christmas is by doing random acts of kindness. We have a special "Jesus stocking" that hangs in our window. Every day we are supposed to be asking Him what gift or act of kindness we can do for others. It can be as simple as writing a note, bringing someone a snack, or saying a kind word to a friend. When we're done, we write it down and slip it into the stocking. On Christmas morning, before we open any of our gifts to each other, we first open Jesus' stocking. We take turns reading the acts of kindness and gifts that we have given Jesus.

It's been very inspirational to our family, and I love to see how this has grown each year. We're not doing the same things we've always done. We're looking for new ways to reach out to others; to show God's love in a unique and special way.

And now, on a less serious, but still important funny note, in the words of Elf, "The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear."

I want to send a little holiday cheer your way. Zechariah was singing Jingle Bells to me earlier and I thought it was priceless the words he sang.

♪ ♪ Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells
Jingle on the Way.
All is Fun
Is to Ride on a Selfish Sleigh.
Hey! ♪ ♪

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