Experience Joy This Christmas By Supporting Our Vets And Troops!

 

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Tis’ the season of joy, a joy that must be tapped into and “worked,” much like tapping into raw syrup from a maple tree and then laboring it through a boiling process that produces its heavenly sweet end.

Joy takes a bit of effort, but its sweet ending releases a euphoric affect on the human spirit, the ambrosia of heavenly food that spiritually satiates the soul, delivering indescribable happiness and peaceful content to those who experience it.

Joy can be fleeting or take up permanent residence in the heart and become the dependable remedy that gets us all through  dismal despair or difficult times.

Fleeting joy can easily be described by those who believe material possessions provide them with the basis of happy sustenance. The problem is, once the joy of shopping is over and the bills must be paid, life coldly reverts back to the harsh reality of daily life. For the wealthy elite, spending marathons produce material gifts packed full of fleeting joy, a manufactured love packaged with a return policy.

Sustained joy must be worked at, beginning with steadfast faith that recognizes the inceptive source of everlasting joy, Jesus Christ. It is a faith that understands daily joy comes from repeated practice and from knowing joy is fueled by unselfish, charitable giving and kind acts of the heart that do not seek recompense or award, but instead are quiet deeds which ignite the spark of joy in another’s life.

Americans have aways been the most charitable people on earth, for good reason. The desire to give back is ingrained in the American DNA, for living in a nation that God has so richly blessed makes its citizens feel fortunate and eager to share their good fortune.

Unfortunately, for the last eight years, charity that has emanated from the oval office has been politically motivated, a disdainful disfunction of generosity and goodwill. On the global stage, billions of American dollars have been sent to aid foreign governments whose leaders utilize the funds for their own selfish and nefarious purposes instead of humanely helping their poor populations.

Here at home, it is especially disgraceful this Christmas season to hear of the continued uncharitable mistreatment of our Veterans, those courageous members of our military who spent many Christmas’ overseas without their loved ones, just so we could, today, enjoy a warm and safe Christmas with our loved ones.

Last week there was yet another tragic story of a mistreated Veteran who literally rotted away due to gross medical negligence, a courageous man who fought for America, only to be mistreated and die in his own beloved country because of a lack of competence, compassion and care!

Americans voted for change and are hopeful that the new Trump administration will not only improve the lives of Veterans, but will also return honor and dignity back to the military and put an end to the secular purging of God, for what victorious battle has ever been won without prayer and His intercessory assistance?

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is a popular English lullaby, the lyrics adapted from the “Star” poem written by Jane Taylor. Stevie Wonder’s musical version is especially wonderful!

Every American has boundless, joyful gifts to give….millions of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Me” moments that can enrich the lives of others and make their wishes come true! Let’s shine bright for our cherished Veterans and Troops this Christmas season!

May God Bless our Troops and Vets!

Below is just a sampling of programs set-up to help our Vets, either by volunteering or by donation!  Please help make a Vets life more joyful this Christmas season!

http://militarybenefits.info/how-to-help-veterans-during-the-holidays/
• American Legion
• Cars for Veterans – Car donations help fund programs
• Disabled American Veteran (DAV) – Assists disabled veterans, veterans, their families, their widowed spouses
• Elks Lodge – Dedicated Elks volunteers put their passion for serving veterans into action through through many veterans programs including Adopt-A-Veteran, Freedom grants, VA voluntary service and more.
• Help our Wounded –  Delivers much needed support, direction and assistance to the caregivers of seriously wounded soldiers and the troops themselves
• Honor Flight
• Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America – IAVA leads the charge on combating veteran suicide, improving support for female veterans, ending the VA disability claims backlog, and defending veterans’ education benefits.
• Operation Home Front – Helps the families of service members and wounded warriors
• National Coalition for Homeless Veterans – Assists veterans in crisis.
• Red Cross – Services for Veterans.
• Salvation Army – For services in your area, contact your local Salvation Army.
• Semper Fi Fund – The Semper Fi Fund, and its program America’s Fund, provide immediate financial assistance and lifetime support to post 9/11 wounded, critically ill and injured members of all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, and their families, ensuring that they have the resources they need during their recovery and transition back to their communities
• Soldiers Angels – This program assists patients at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. This support can range from visiting patients to providing comfort items (like blankets and quilts) and clothing, to sponsoring special events like BBQs or assisting VA facilities with large-scale efforts to improve in-patients’ quality of life.
• VA Search – Find local VA hospitals and more
• VA Volunteer Services – Volunteer or donate your time to the VA Voluntary Service
• Veterans of Foreign Wars – The VFW offers a wide range of assistance programs aimed at helping veterans.
• Vets Christmas Ride
• USO

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Priceless Gifts

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For my friends,

the following is a children’s Christmas book I wrote and was published in 2012.

 I hope you will share it with your family! Have a very Merry Christmas!

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Wishing you a New Year full of priceless gifts! See you in 2016!

 

 

 

 

‘Tis The Season When Christians Can Make A Statement

SantaPark in Finland

SantaPark in Finland

According to “The Atlantic,” there is a joke going around in Beijing; “Santa Claus was descending into China from the sky. Due to the heavy smog, he fell to the ground, but no one dared help him up. While he was still lying in the snow, his bag was ransacked for presents, and his reindeer and sleigh taken away by the CHENGGUAN, who are much-despised urban-management officials.Therefore, no Christmas this year.”

There is no sign of Jesus, but in many big cities you can catch a glimpse of Santa and Christmas decorations, and Christmas has become the second-most-celebrated “festival” in China. Eighty-five percent of wealthy Chinese send their children to countries like the U.S. for higher education and when these students return home to China during the holiday, they bring their own version of Christmas back home. It has become an excuse to party and shop and have some fun.

Mall in Shanghai

Mall in Shanghai

Christmas in China is also the opportunity to “use the romantic atmosphere of Christmas to spread love. Long Fei, an assistant pastor at an “underground” church in Beijing whose activities are not officially monitored or approved by China’s religious authorities says “Many young people choose to give themselves to their beloved on this eve and eat forbidden fruit.”

The Christmas spirit has even reached as far as China’s sweltering south. Since 2009, a Santa Claus Post Office has operated in Guangzhou, offering specially stamped postcards, inked in Chinese calligraphy, and sends Santa’s laden with donated gifts to children in remote parts of the country.

President Xi Jinping visited Santa’s official cabin in Rovaniemi, Finland in 2010 and now an official 13,000-square-meter replica of that Finnish Santa village is currently under construction in Floraland, Chengdu. Named SantaPark, the theme park promises to “bring families and friends together in an active learning and magical Christmas atmosphere,” and will emulate the cavern residence of Santa Claus on the Arctic Circle, including Santa Claus’ office, elf’s workshop, and Santa Claus’ main post office. The amusement park will be based on the original Santa Park design which stands in northern Finland and opened in 1997. After the opening of the first SantaPark in Chengdu, five or six more Christmas themed attractions will be built in China.

Greeting Children At SantaPark, Truly Magical

Greeting Children At SantaPark, Truly Magical

There are currently around 100 million Chinese Christians (the government claims it is 23 million), more than the Communist Party’s membership, and Fenggang Yang, an expert on religion at Purdue University, believes this number will eclipse America’s estimated 159 million Protestants by 2025. “Although they don’t know Jesus Christ or the origin of Christmas, many people come to the church and join the carols and other worshiping events,” said Zhang Jie, a Christian in Beijing. Come Christmas Eve, state-approved churches will be packed as thousands queue for midnight mass or watch the services on outside monitors. Many will be first-timers, drawn by the crowds. It’s the rare time of year when China’s churchgoers are most noticeable.

Far from ushering in a new age of enlightenment from the “opiate of the masses,” the country’s strident and bewildering economic development has left behind Marxism and instead spent millions searching for priests and prayer books.

Celebrating Mass at the South Cathedral in Beijing China, Dec. 24, 2014

Celebrating Mass at the South Cathedral in Beijing China, Dec. 24, 2014

China’s leaders are trying to shift the economy away from investment-led growth to one driven by consumption to put economic growth on a more secure long-term footing. “Christmas is a perfect consuming festival,” said Patrick Peng, who works at Xidan Joy City, one of Beijing’s biggest shopping centers. “Our department store will prepare fantastic activities for consumers…this year we will prepare a music concert for them.”

Meanwhile, in America, better known as Mao/Muslim ObamaParkWorld, middle-class Christians who grease the wheels of consumerism and the economy throughout the year, especially during the Christmas season, are being subjected to Grinch-like retailers who Morgan Stanley analysts are not predicting a lot of cheer for this Christmas;  a 1.2 percent growth in comparative sales this year, down from 2.8 percent the previous year.

Are America’s CEO’s so politically correct they have lost all common sense?

The CEO of the Simon Property Group, David Simon, must be drinking too much Socialist Starbucks. Last week the Simon group unveiled their new Christmas mall displays, a minimalist, futuristic ice glacier, sure to please elites like Bill Glacier Gates and his climate aware kids, but not the children of Christian families who still cherish the enchanting, nostalgic displays that for decades have helped celebrate the birth of Christ during the Christmas season.

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Fortunately, over the weekend, a Facebook group called “Boycott Simon Malls” sprang up urging customers to boycott malls owned by the company until the holiday displays featured a traditional set-up. More than 7,000 people have joined the group as of Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, Change.org petitions have popped up over the last three days pressuring Simon malls to abandon Santa’s glacier. A petition seeking the removal of the display at the SouthPark Mall in North Carolina had received more than 25,000 signatures as of Tuesday morning.

In response to the online backlash, Simon Property Group issued an apology and said it would replace the displays with traditional decorations, Huffington Post reported, however, members of the Boycott Simon Malls group have pointed out that while some malls have removed the arch in favor of traditional decor, others have only added Christmas trees to the glacial set-up.

It is time to rise up and ‘Buycott’ each and every retailer who does not have the sense to cater to Christians during the Christmas season and beyond! The only thing these retailers and our own American-style CHENGGUAN (who live in a smog of political correctness) should receive from Santa is a lump of coal. As a matter of fact, sending the IRS a lump of coal this next tax season instead of a healthy check, may be the perfect way to shut down ObamaParkWorld for good and put an end to all this Marxist nonsense.

This Christmas make a ‘Buycott’ statement. “If you don’t see Merry Christmas in the window, Yes! You don’t go in that store, you walk right by that door….”

Our Greatest Gift

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As one ages, birthday’s seem to occur more frequently, causing one to ask where the past year has gone. Then comes the glut of thoughts and self-reflection, introspection eager to explore all the angles, including unfulfilled dreams and hopeful wishes for the future. Birthdays offer a way to measure and weigh time; was it a productive year well spent, or were the days unproductive and heavily laden with wasted hours? After reviewing all of God’s timely trials and tribulations, it is the perfect time to receive one of his greatest gifts, the gift of wisdom, for the wisdom of hindsight is one of life’s greatest treasures.

As Jesus Christ prepares to celebrate his birthday on December 25th, 2014, will he be reflecting on an increased quality of life and time well- spent in America, or will he instead be shedding a tear for the Barack-like Babylonian behavior and waning of faith in him? Will Jesus be disappointed in the Christian “Can’t Do” attitude that he better defines as “Won’t Do?” Will Jesus continue to teach us in 2015, hoping for a spiritual revival, or will he decide to judge instead?

When looking back at 2014, it seems that many Americans have not wisely learned through history and hindsight that if we as a nation continue in the current direction, we are doomed for failure. The breakdown of the family unit, suppressive and stifling Government giveaways, racial division, political correctness, immorality and a visible snubbing of God are the devil’s lair, deceptive tools meant to break down the essential foundation of America and leave it in ruin’s.

This Christmas, more than ever, it is important to focus on Jesus Christ, his birth, our rebirth, and God’s greatest gift to humankind… faith! It is a time to think about the year ahead and be reminded that “fruitful” hope and change can only be orchestrated through God.

Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday Jesus! How Great Thou Art!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing up With Lead Tinsel

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The Christmas season at our house was filled with it’s share of unique rituals. During the fifties, Christmas waited until Thanksgiving was over and then after that, the local Five & Dime store began to stock up on brightly colored sequins, glass tubes of glitter, styrofoam balls, velvet ribbons, Christmas tins and candies. Our dining room would then magically transform into a satellite of Santa’s workshop and a hub of creativity. Ornaments, Christmas cards, gingerbread house plans and platters of sugar cookies waiting to be decorated would consume every inch of the large oval table and for several days force our family to eat on tray tables in front of the TV, a real bonus for us five kid’s.

Mom’s rituals included purchasing a new Christmas apron, like my favorite, the see-through one with the reindeer pockets and dangly red pom- pom’s hanging from it’s zigzagged lower edge. It was a time when Mom began to increase her time spent behind closed doors to finish the Christmas sweaters she was making for me and my siblings, to wrap the stocking stuffers she had been collecting throughout the year, and to hide her carefully chosen Christmas presents in her closet. Mom’s rituals reached a frenzied peak when she would address us all while armed with a brand new ping pong paddle, (a plentiful item at the Five & Dime during the Christmas season) …minus the attached little red rubber ball, and give us all a stern warning to not go anywhere near her bedroom closet. In those days, visions of a paddling on a bare bum usually outweighed any of those storied visions of sugar plum fairies.

Dad worked in the basement and put the finishing touches on the wooden dollhouse, toy train or revitalized sled, got out the movie camera and its bar of seven gigantic lights to make sure they were in working order (the same lights that would make us all squint, tear up and make funny faces), and made the repeated dusty journey to the attic for the stored cardboard boxes containing our collection of Christmas decorations. We could easily tell when Dad’s rituals had reached their frenzied peak when his covert trips to the refrigerator to take sips of his “tainted” egg nog became much more frequent.

For us kid’s, the highlight of the Christmas rituals was picking out the tree and decorating it. The Christmas tree’s we purchased were never perfect and there was always that “hole” that needed to be directed toward the wall, like some disobedient child. After positioning the tree to everyone’s liking, my father would then begin to hum, the signal that he was ready to untangle the many strings of red, blue, green, yellow and white ‘large’ Christmas bulbs and clip them to the tree. Next, ruffles of red foil garland were swagged and then the Christmas angel took her prominent position at the very top. It was now our turn to dig into the boxes of ornaments and remember to hang the “unbreakable’s” on the bottom branches to make them black Labrador Retriever “tail proof.” Years worth of memories were hung and on display for all to enjoy; prompting grins, laughter and nostalgic sighs. Then with great aplomb and fanfare, my father dealt us each a box of tinsel, the treasured tinsel, the tinsel we were instructed to not just “throw on.” Slowly and deliberately, each long silvery strand was carefully draped so that every bough was covered in glistening, gaudy delight. It was a sight to behold, a radiant reflection of colors that sparkled and swayed with every movement we made. It was a bedecked, icy tree, a snow queen, that showered a supernatural-like glow over the nativity scene that had been placed on the snow blanket below.

Growing up with lead tinsel was special. During the fifties, tinsel, which emanates from the French word ‘estincele’ meaning “sparkle” was made from lead foil, a substance that had the perfect weight and shininess to allow the tinsel to dramatically drape and shine. However, in the sixties, our Grinch-like government stepped in and declared lead tinsel a possible health risk to children. Although never proven, convinced manufacturers and importers voluntarily stopped producing the product. Bah Humbug. Now, our children are subjected to tinsel made from polyvinyl chloride coated with a metallic finish that neither hangs well nor reflects a clear light. Pure junk.

I never ate the lead tinsel because the superb public schools in the fifties taught us to think for ourselves and not be stupid. Let’s bring back lead- based tinsel and get rid of our socialist, nanny government instead. The possibility of Capitol Hill poisoning us with their Grinch-like legislation poses a far greater risk to Americans than the potential poisoning from lead tinsel. Just ask Poisoner-In Chief, Barack Hussein Obama.

 

Dear Santa, I Have One Special Request This Year.

 

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It has been over fifty years since I last wrote to you. At that time, life was extremely uncomplicated and my thoughts and dreams filled with the innocent anticipation of Christmas day, even though there was no fireplace for your convenient arrival. As I am sure you remember, I am one of five children who lived in a typical American middle class neighborhood. My friends were my neighbors and my neighbors filled my days with childhood play. Remember that igloo we all built as a playhouse and the steep hill in my backyard where everyone gathered to go sledding? What a winter picture that was; flying saucers, card board boxes, shovels and anything else we could conjure up that would hold a heavily padded snowsuit that seemed to have a child inside. Everyone brought their dogs, who usually ran loose in neighborhood packs, so they all got along too! Barking dogs, bursts of laughter and screams of delight that a recently completed slide down the hill yielded the longest run of the day, all contributed to the backyard mayhem. Just about the time my wool mittens would begin freezing up with tiny cubes of ice, my mother would peek out a slightly cracked open back door and yell “Who would like some hot chocolate?” Her bright red Christmas apron, covered in flour, was an indicator that she had spent the afternoon baking her weekly two loaves of bread and everyone pushed and shoved to get to the kitchen first to be the first in line for a bite of her warm, thickly sliced white bread smothered in a melted slick of yellow butter.

For extra money, my mother ran ceramic classes in our basement. At Christmas, the shelves would be lined with plain white singing cherubs, old fashioned carolers, Santa boots, and beautiful Nativity figures and animals. Once painted, they went into a kiln where they were fired and then re-introduced the next week to an appreciative audience of happy mother’s who could not wait to box up their homemade creations and give them to a delighted family on Christmas day. One year my mother painted me a piggy bank and it was by far my favorite gift. My little white pig had happy pink eyes, nose, ears and smile and as I cuddled on my Grandfathers large lap on Christmas day, bank in hand, an endless stream of change from his suit pocket began to fill my pig. Clink, clink, clink….went the pennies, with every beat of my excited little heart. When there were no more coins, my grandfather peered over his Santa-like spectacles and with a twinkle in his light blue eyes, a look reserved just for me at that treasured fleeting moment, he shook my almost full bank and promised to come back and finish filling it another day. I smiled contentedly, for my beloved Grandfather always kept his promise.

Once the gifts had been opened, it was time to focus on the turkey and stuffing smells wafting from the tiny but productive kitchen. Being the eldest daughter, my chore was to stir the gravy, a big responsibility because it was the one side dish that seemed to bring the entire meal together. Pools of gravy covered not only the turkey and stuffing, but the corn, carrots, beans and sweet potatoes, making the food filled plates take on a homogenous look of brown gravy delight. I made sure not to fill my plate too full though because I was privy to the desserts that my mother had been preparing the last couple of days. My Grandmother’s Plum pudding with scrumptious brandy sauce, pecan pie, apple pie, iced sugar cookies, and a cake that looked like Santa would soon grace our large oval dining room table. Once filled to the brim with food, the day would finally come to a close. It was time for my siblings and myself to put on our new matching flannel pajamas and go upstairs to bed. For me, it was time to cuddle my new baby doll and fall fast asleep with sweet dreams of a day filled with happy memories.

Santa, that is why I am writing to you after all these years. My request this year is much more complicated than simply asking you for two front teeth or a baby doll. With the advent of electronics, internet, and cell phones, there is very little quiet time. The daily urgency of a life fraught with instant messaging and planned activities seems to dictate rather than aid. Modern day conveniences have shoved the simple things in life aside, making them seem outdated and unimportant. I worry Santa, that we as a society are setting aside the best life has to offer, the truly important things that are right at the end of our noses, but that we cannot see. A conversation with a friend without interruption from a quick text, an evening spent listening to Christmas music while putting together an elaborate puzzle, an unexpected visit to church to bask in the quiet of God’s love.

Christmas 1956 was the year Bing Crosby sang his popular version of “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Even though introduced many years ago, its lyrics are even more poignant today.

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

Santa, this year I ask that old familiar carols play, peace prevail and ringing belfries of all Christendom peal their bells more loud and deeply, for God is not dead nor does he sleep. I wish everyone a meaningful, old-fashioned Christmas full of God’s light and goodness. Santa, please dig deep into your sack of unfulfilled wishes and grant me this one special request; future generations of children will be forever grateful.

 

 

A Light is on in the Manger

 

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As I turned down the streets of my neighborhood, the cold air caught my breath and reminded me to consciously breathe in the frosty air and be grateful that I was alive. As the gently falling snow cooled my burning cheeks, I thought about how Christmas always brought out the best in me, those feelings of charity, the thankfulness that I had good friends and family, the infinite blessings that accompanied the birth of Jesus Christ.

As I walked, I did not miss a single Christmas wreath hung on a front door, an inflated Snowman waving in the soft breeze or a window whimsically stenciled with snowflakes and stockings. Sometimes, if I walked the same path in the early evening, I might even be able to catch a glimpse through a lamplit window of a family playfully trimming their Christmas tree. Everyday during the Christmas season I took the same route that led me to the village church a few miles away, its steeple always in view, virtuously presiding high over our small country town.  My walk was a ritual that was always filled with eager anticipation and emotional yearning. As I rounded the last corner of my journey, there it faithfully stood, a bright white church that gleamed against the crisp winter sky, its bell tower partially camouflaged against the snowy white clouds. As I approached the familiar front path, I paused to take in the magnitude of the precious panorama before me; it always made me gasp. There taking up the entire front lawn of the church was a Nativity scene so grand and realistically detailed that when I squinted my eyes, it would seem to come alive. When staring at the empty creche, I always felt relieved to know that after the midnight service on Christmas eve, baby Jesus would ceremoniously, once again, be placed into the waiting cradle and assume center stage.

I contemplated my own Christmas this year, empty of finances but rich with an over abundance of Gods good tidings and knew that there was not a gift in the world as precious as God’s presence in my life. Although it was disappointing to not be able to purchase presents for the family, I knew that the day would not be void of laughter and good cheer. Just a few ingredients in my scantily stocked pantry would yield grand results and turn my small home into a make-believe gingerbread world, full of gingerbread men chasing after dancing ballerina’s and running reindeer. The air would become intoxicating, each whiff of cinnamon and ginger offering the alluring comfort and anticipation of yet another Christmas filled with the aroma of pungent spices and flickering candlelight. Old puzzles, well worn games and books full of tales of old Saint Nicholas would be displayed on the oak sideboard, begging for family fun.

On this particular day, as the sky turned a brilliant pink and yellow at sunset, I made my familiar trek to once again feed my Christmas soul. The church was bathed in a deep amber hue that made it glow like a golden music box and when standing perfectly still, seemed to be chiming “Away In the Manger” to my longing ears. Thoughts of Christmas’s past with my four siblings began to surface, an unexpected nostalgic treat that seemed to offer me some well timed joy year after each year. It was a treasure trove of sweet memories; a mother and father who unselfishly doted on their family and made each Christmas special, even when times were tight. Homemade doll houses, trains, and knitted sweaters with snowflake motifs adorned the bottom of our tree, and as busy fingers tore open the brightly colored packages, bows flying in the air,  smiling faces and laughter outshone the silvery sparkling of the heavily tinseled tree. As the last gift was opened, the small wooden Nativity set that had been carefully tucked underneath the tree, once again became prominent, a reminder that the birth of Christ was the most lasting and valuable gift of them all! The true happiness of the day was entirely due to his unfailing grace, mercy and omnipresent blessings.

As my eyes once again scanned the life-sized Nativity in front of me, my worries for America and the unsettling attack on Christianity diminished as the star at the top of   the manger suddenly became brightly lit in the now darkened night. I knew that the light of Christ could never be extinguished by anyone, no matter how intrusive, unless I allowed that to happen. “Away in the Manger” still infused my senses and as I slowly walked away, I began to softly hum its tender words; “I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky and stay by my side ‘til morning is nigh.”

 

Merry Christmas to all…and remember to always keep the light of Christ, shining bright.