While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks

Here is a classic Christmas song that I just LOVE. This song is a celebration of the birth of Christ, one of the greatest events in all of history. Merry Christmas!

 

While shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground;

the angel of the Lord came down, and glory shown around.

 

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread had seized their troubled minds.

“Glad tidings of great joy I bring to all mankind.

“To you, in David’s house, this day is born of David’s line

The Savior, who is Christ the Lord, and this shall be the sign:

 

“The heavenly babe you there shall find to human view displayed,

All meanly wrapped in swaddling bands, and in a manger laid.

 

Hallelujah, Hallelujahshepherds

Hallelujah, Christ is born

Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Christ is born.

 

“All glory be to God on high, and to the earth be peace;

Good will henceforth from God to man begin and never cease!”

Cookie Baking Day

It’s baking day! If you swing by our home, you may find powdery messes on shirts, beaters in small hands and sticky sweetness on the faces of my cherubs. But when we’ve finished, baked a few cookies and placed the leftover dough in the fridge or freezer, we’ll have made a few more memories!!! (And added a few more calories to Momma’s waist, but – hey – who’s counting??? It’s the holidays!)

Rolled Sugar Cookies

1 c. shortening (or palm oil)

1 c. sugar

Cream together.

2 eggs

½ t. vanilla

Add to the sugar/oil mix.

3 c. GF flour (see mix below)

1 ½ t. xanthan gum

2 t. baking powder

½ t. baking soda

½ t. salt

½ c. yogurt or sour cream (or safflower mayo)

Mix together and add to the other ingredients.

Cover bowl and chill for 1 hour. Roll on floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out. Bake at 350 degrees on ungreased cookie sheet for 8 – 10 minutes.cookies

(GF flour mix – 2 c. rice flour, 2 c. arrowroot flour, 2 c. tapioca flour, 2 T. potato flour = Featherlight Mix. OR use your own mixture of GF flours!!!)

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 Chocolate Chip Cookies

¾ c. sugar

½ t. salt

3 c. GF flour

Mix in a large bowl.

2/3 c. softened butter (or palm oil)

2 t. vanilla

Add to the first ingredients. Beat well.

1 t. baking soda

2/3 c. shortening (or coconut oil)

¾ c. brown sugar

2 eggs

½ t. xanthan gum

Combine with the rest of the ingredients and mix.

1 c. chocolate chips (how about Enjoy Life brand!)

Stir in the chips by hand.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Cool on the pan.

 

** Using the ingredients in parenthesis will make this recipe not only gluten-free but also free of dairy and soy!

Away With The Manger

Tis the season to be jolly…. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

OR IS IT?

“Tis the season for perennial battles between true believers and atheists, between mass marketers and the devout souls who worry about blatant commercialization of the holiday season.”

This, more accurately, is how yet another article from a typical newsroom in America begins.

Will the battles ever stop?!?

Controversies and culture wars predictably light up the month of December. Everyone has his own view on how anything deemed ‘religious’ should be handled when in the public eye.  You have your own view and I do, too.

Today, rather than urging you to write a letter to the editor of your local paper to voice your opinion (who reads the newspaper anyway, right?) or suggesting that you picket the stores that won’t let their employees wish you a “merry Christmas” this year, I simply wanted to share a bit from a novella I recently read titled *Away With The Manger – a spiritually correct Christmas story. 

The following selections are taken from the ending chapter of this fictional story. Uproar ensues in a community when the town council bans a manger scene on the front lawn of City Hall unless other “Winter Holiday” symbols (Santa, reindeer, etc) are included in the display as well. See whether you find a little nugget to hold on to this season as well!

                “You can have the best intentions, you can have truth and God on your side, and still be wrong.

                “Listen to me. We were so caught up with our constitutional rights and our legal protections under the law and our convictions about freedom of religion that we forgot about the most important thing Christmas came to bring. A relationship.

                “We were so high and mighty about the manger. We fought a culture war to keep God in the center of Christmas, and we let him get out of the center of our own lives.

                “Let me say this to you. We can win legal battles all the way to the Supreme Court, but if we lose a soul, everything we’ve done will have been in vain.

                “Friends… how many of us in here are for prayer in the schools? How many of you want the Ten Commandments back on the walls of our classrooms?… Now let me ask you another question. How many of those who just said they were for prayer in the school – how many of you prayed with your children last night before they went to bed? How many of you prayed with them at the breakfast table before they went off to school last week, or prayed with them at the dinner table, more than to thank the Almighty for the food and bless it to the nourishment of our bodies?… How many of you right now can give me more than five of the Ten Commandments? … It’s easy to hold a poster or wear a T-shirt, but it’s harder to really live what you believe.

                “The whole thing comes down to this: if we believe that the God of the universe invaded time and space for us, how far will we go to communicate his message to others? How much love will we show to people who are against us?

                “The message of Christmas is this, friends. The same little baby who felt the straw in the manger felt the nails on the cross. The same baby those smelly old shepherds came to see was the very Lamb of God who came to take away our sins. And if we can sit here being forgiven by the holy God of the universe, and turn around and spit venom at the people who don’t know him, then God help us. We’ve missed it, friends. We’ve missed the whole reason for Christmas.”

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Don’t miss it this year. Don’t get so wrapped up in a cultural battle that you miss living out the reason for the season to those we meet on the street, work with, and live with.

God is LOVE.manger

He is FOR us.

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Soon the bells will start

And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing

Right within your heart, right within your heart.”

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly…

singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Col.3:16

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“It’s easy to hold a poster or wear a T-shirt, but it’s harder to really live what you believe.

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* Away With The Manger – a spiritually correct Christmas story by Chris Fabry (published by InterVarsity Press, 1996)