Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 33 Encore Performance

Just when you thought the marathon was over, I find a song worthy of extending the posts one more day. Besides, I have family photos to share.

One of the family traditions is that the grandkids have special Christmas PJ's. This year the girls went with a Star Wars theme while the grandson opted for Arkansas Razorback attire.

Our daughter and her husband decided on a more subdued wardrobe.

Meanwhile, my wife and me chose traditional Christmas red. Merry Christmas everyone.

This is the first year I have done an encore song. Most of the songs I have posted have centered around the birth of our Savior. Questions have been asked like, "Mary did You Know?" and there has been celebrations like "Hallelujah Chorus". A couple of songs have reminded us that there was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph. The real question that remains to be asked, "Is there room in your heart for a Savior."

Monday, December 25, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 32 The Grand Finale

Merry Christmas! Today is the day to celebrate the single greatest event in human history, the birth of Jesus Christ, God's only Son and the Savior of this world.

Well it's time to bring another marathon to a close. Thank you for enduring this adventure with me. It has been a joy and a pleasure to find and post music that speaks to the core values of the Christmas season. It's been a good year.
So from our family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Each year I begin this journey with the Trisha Yearwood video, Take a Walk Through Bethlehem. Yesterday I posted what I believe to be the best arrangement and performance of O Holy Night by David Phelps and today I wrap up this eighth music marathon with my traditional grand finale, a flash mob performing the Hallelujah Chorus. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Music Marathon - Day 31

It's Christmas Eve Sunday!!! Today people all over the world will gather in churches to celebrate the birth of our Savior. They have worked all year, bought gifts, sent cards, traveled across the country to see family, and now it is time to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. A Savior is born. The Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Emanuel has come to bring peace to the hearts of men. May you and your family experience the joy of the season. Have a blessed Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 30

After finishing my post for yesterday I went back into the archives and found other photos of the grand kids baking with Nana at Christmas.
This is 2001 when the oldest was only 5 and the second was about 18 months.

 In 2002 cookie cutting training had begun for grand daughter no. 2.

In 2003 grand daughter no. 3 joined the party at the age of  two. We were renting a duplex while our new house was being built. The kitchen was tiny so their table became the work space.

By 2005 we were in our new home and all three grand daughters were fully involved in the Christmas baking tradition. Nana kept the youngest one close to her so things wouldn't get too far out of control. Still, you can see flour on the floor.

In 2008 a five-year-old grandson put a masculine touch to the cookie decorating process.

In 2010 The entire crew gathered around the kitchen counter and decorated cookies for the whole family.

Fast forward to 2015 we have downsized and moved into a new home. The second grand daughter is now the tallest of the grand kids and they are all helping Nana in her fourth kitchen since moving to Arkansas.

This year it was all girls in the kitchen once again and the results were spectacular. Just scroll down to the previous post to see a sample of their work. The oldest, on the right, is engaged, so one young man is going to get an experienced baker for a wife. Around our house, it's never just another Christmas.  May your family have a very Merry Christmas and the best that the New Year has to offer.

Friday, December 22, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 29

Every year Nana and her baking elves show up in the kitchen just to make sure that Santa and everyone else have sweet things to eat.  The kitchen island turns into their workshop and a sea of sweet treats begin to appear.

And you thought that the movie "Elf" was fictional. I'm here to tell you that the magic happens right here in Nana's kitchen. Family and neighbors will benefit from the work of Nana and her baking elves. Goodies will be packaged and delivered before Christmas day.

And there will be a special plate of delights for Santa.

In a society that seems to always be in a rush to get to the next thing, slowing down and taking the time to enjoy family and friends throughout the holiday season is just what we need. It's like a "Breath of Heaven". Have a blessed day.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 28

Soon we will be exchanging gifts, sharing food and fellowship with friends and family. Time will be spent with those we love and memories will be made. The greatest gift of all was shared with us by our Creator. Jesus is called Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, Savior, and yes his birth brought this world Glorious Impossible. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 27

My favorite ornaments are the photo ornaments of the grand kids. We have one ornament for each child from their first Christmas until they reach the age of 18. Each year we add a photo ornament of each grandchild until they graduate high school. As noted on Monday the oldest grand daughter is now 21 and engaged to be married. The second grand daughter is 17, so next year will be her last ornament. The youngest grand daughter is 16 and the grandson is 14, so we are nearing the end of our ornament journey. I would suggest this Christmas tradition for any family. We have a small tree in the den to display these ornaments. There are now far more ornaments than space on the tree, so we trade different ones out each year. Christmas is about a Savior. But Christmas is also about family and sharing our lives together and making memories. The photo ornaments are a way of preserving those memories. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 26

This little guy has been in my life, most of my life. He stands about two and a half inches tall and was a decoration on my Christmas tree when I was a child. He is a constant reminder of the joy of childhood and how even the smallest things can bring happiness into our lives. From our family to yours, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas".


Monday, December 18, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 25

We interrupt this Christmas Music Marathon to bring  you the following news. Our oldest grand daughter is engaged!
The happy couple have been dating for three years and now have committed to spend their lives as one. We love them, pray for them, and look forward to watching where God takes them and how He uses them.

Okay, back to the marathon. This engagement has brought so much joy to so many people it is only fitting to sing about Him who brought Joy to the World. Have a blessed week.


Sunday, December 17, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 24

Christmas came early this year. After fifteen years without a pet, my wife and I welcomed Lucy to the family in March and our home has not been the same since. There is more laughter, more entertainment, and more life under our roof these days. The special thing about Lucy is that she was born on Christmas eve, so she is about to celebrate her first birthday. While life around our house may have been changed by a pup, the life of every human has been changed by a baby boy lying in a manger. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Music Marathon - Day 23

 For some of us there is a part of Christmas that may bring a tear to our eye or a sadness to our heart. Some of us may have lost a loved one during the Christmas season and others are celebrating their first Christmas without the presence a beloved member of the family. Today is the 8th anniversary of my father's passing. Dad worked for the Frisco railroad for forty-two years and this ornament was a part of a wreath at his memorial service. There is a peace that comes from knowing where my father is now. He acknowledged Christ as his Savior and he is spending eternity is a place prepared for him by Christ ("...I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also [John 14:2-3]). Still, there are days when I miss my father dearly and during this season of the year I wonder what is Christmas in Heaven like? Have a blessed day.

Friday, December 15, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 22

We don't have "Elf on a Shelf" at our house. In our home Santa is Everywhere! These are a few of the Santa images that can be found around our house during the Christmas season. There are also several Santa lamps and at least one large Santa wall hanging that may make an appearance before this marathon is over. The Santas come in all shapes and sizes. After Christmas they return to their boxes and are put away for another year. However, the One whom Christmas is all about can be taken with us all day, every day. The saying, "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" is truth is a capsule. If you want to know the whole story, read the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Have a blessed day.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 21

Once the tree is up and the house is decorated for Christmas, we get our shopping done, we look at our schedule and see when family will be in town and what day(s) they will visit us, then do the grocery shopping so that everyone's favorite food will appear on the table during the holiday celebration. There is mostly a renewed happiness among people everywhere during the Christmas season. It is as if "Joy Has Dawned". Well, it did...in a manger in Bethlehem. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 20

The Christmas Story is both simple and complicated. One thing that becomes clear to us is that Christ is the Son of God and He came to save humanity from their sin. Salvation is available to everyone who calls on Jesus. Take a look at the story and see the call of Christmas. Christ was born in a manger to parents who could not find a room for the night. He was not born in a palace and heir to any throne on this earth. He was already heir to eternity. Among the first to be told the good news were shepherds in nearby fields. Shepherds were hard working men and their job was not what most young men aspired to. Again, there was not a palace of nobles awaiting His arrival. He grew up among the citizens as a carpenter. He did not live a life of luxury awaiting His turn to rule over peasants. The whole story of Christ tells us that salvation is not exclusive to the rich, famous, well educated, or purchased by those who can afford to pay the price. Eternal life is available to everyone, regardless of their place in this life. The call of Christmas is a call to faith. Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas Music Marathon - Day 19

 In virtually every country, in every age, when an heir to the throne is born, there is great celebration. When the King of kings was born there was great celebration in heaven but not everyone on earth received their King with open arms. The heavens rejoiced, the angels sang, but here on earth Christ was seen as a threat by some rulers and nothing more than another poor Nazarine born in Bethlehem. But, He was not like any other child and He grew to become not like any other man. Jesus was God's only Son and salvation can only come when we receive our king. Have a blessed day.

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 18

All of us look forward to good news. Last Thursday I got some very good news. Back in October I had a bit of an accident and my camera along with my favorite lens took a tumble and broke both pieces of equipment. I sent them in to the manufacturers and got an estimate on the repairs. That process took a couple of weeks. After I approved the expenses, it took another three weeks to get the equipment fixed and returned to me. Most of the images you have seen in this year's marathon have been taken with my phone, a borrowed camera or a few are reprints from previous marathons. The image above is the first published image with MY camera back from the camera hospital. It's like an old friend returning after being apart for a very long time. Believe me, being without my camera for five or six weeks is an eternity. My camera and lens are back, and just in time for Christmas. Happy days are here again. I could boogie, but I'm sure I'd break something else.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 17

I love this Santa cookie jar. It is a joyful creation and there is the promise of good things inside that are to be shared with others. Christmas is a special season. It is a joyful time of year with the promise of the Good News that is to be shared with everyone and the gift of eternal life made available to all.  That's Christmas to me. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 16

Have you ever spent time just gazing at the ornaments on a tree and pondered the story of Christmas?
What questions come to mind when you read the account of the birth of our Savior? There are a couple of songs that consider what thoughts went through Joseph's mind as Mary carried the Son of God in her womb, and what questions did he have about being the earthly father of Christ. I wonder indeed.
After all, it seemed like a strange way to save the world but God tells us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are higher than our ways. Thank you Lord for your infinite grace.

Friday, December 8, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 15

Of all the traditions that our family enjoys at Christmas, our favorite is probably the Christmas Eve worship service. We have lived in three states and been members of several congregations over the years, but each one has had special Christmas Eve services. Some have celebrated the Lord's Supper, others have had musical presentations, and a few have told the story of the birth of the Savior. All have served to allow us to stop and focus on the true meaning of Christmas. The birth of Christ is the single most important event in human history. May your family know the joy that can only come from knowing the Savior.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 14

Nearly all of us can remember making a Christmas list. We might see the latest toys in store windows or the Sears and Montgomery Wards Christmas catalogs would arrive in the mail and we would wear them out looking at things that we longed to have. Some of us may have even cut out the pictures in the catalogs and pasted them to our letters to Santa, hoping that the gifts would be waiting on us Christmas morning. Time passes and we grow up. As we mature, our hopes, dreams, and Christmas wishes changes. Family, friends, employment, and health become our focus. We want peace, joy, and security. We long for family that are absent, and we look forward to spending time with those who are close at hand. We learn that true happiness is not found in things that can be purchased, but in things beyond the reach of financial gain. True joy, peace, comfort and security can only be found in the manger and everyone who does not know Him as their Savior is on my, "Grown Up Christmas List." Have a blessed Christmas season.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 13

Christmas ornaments come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and themes. These three represent first responders. These are the first people on the scene of some of life tragic events. They must bring skill, training, compassion, and professionalism to the point of contact with the public in the most difficult of times. Many of them have to work holidays while the remainder of society takes a break from their labors. Whether it is spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in a police station, Fire Station or Hospital, or military personnel stationed around the world many of our countrymen will have their minds consumed by one thought, being home for Christmas. I am ever thankful for those who have chosen to make service to others their life work. Have a blessed Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 12

Decorating the house with Christmas lights is a tradition around our house. I usually put the lights up sometime in November, when the weather is good, then turn them on the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year I was a couple of weeks late getting the lights up and didn't get the job done until the Monday after Thanksgiving. Still, when the lights come on, it a sign that "Christmas is Coming". Have a blessed day.

Monday, December 4, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 11

Everyone loves giving and receiving gifts at Christmas. We enjoy seeing the expressions on the faces of loved ones when they unwrap a package and the gift inside is most unexpected. It brings joy to the entire household. On that first Christmas night God gave us a gift that was most needed, the gift of eternal life though His Son Jesus Christ. On that night Love Crossed Over. Have a blessed day.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 10

We live in a world that is desperately seeking love. We ask ourselves, "Why can't everyone just get along?" For the most part we are seeking love in all of the wrong places. We try to find happiness in things that we can purchase or events that we can control only to find out that our idea of peace does not make others happy. Peace, joy, and happiness can only be found in the manger. The Bible tells us that "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world throught Him might be saved." (John 3:17) There can only be one response to the gift of a Savior...Adore Him. Have a blessed day.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 9

All of us have favorite Christmas memories. This ceramic ornament, made by my wife a few decades ago is one of mine. Like some of the music you will see and hear during this marathon, I consider this decoration a Christmas classic. It won't be long before Santa Claus comes to town. Have a blessed day.

Friday, December 1, 2017

2017 Christmas Music Marathon - Day 8

While there is a great deal said about the virgin Mary and her being chosen to be the mother of God's only Son, one has to ask about Joseph, the man chosen to be Christ's earthly mentor. Joseph had to be a patient, understanding man of faith. He is the example of a husband, father, and man that we would do well to emulate. He took Mary and cared for her, protected her, and loved her when many advised him to abandon her. After all, she was pregnant and "It Wasn't His Child". Have a blessed day.