And She Brought Forth Her Firstborn Son…

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

A BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS STORY

About a week before Christmas the family bought a new nativity scene. When they unpacked it they found 2 figures of the Baby Jesus. “Someone must have packed this wrong,” the mother said, counting out the figures. “We have one Joseph, one Mary, three wise men, three shepherds, two lambs, a donkey, a cow, an angel and two babies. Oh, dear! I suppose some set down at the store is missing a Baby Jesus because we have 2.”

“You two run back down to the store and tell the manager that we have an extra Jesus. Tell him to put a sign on the remaining boxes saying that if a set is missing a Baby Jesus, call 7126. Put on your warm coats, it’s freezing cold out there.”

The manager of the store copied down mother’s message and the next time they were in the store they saw the cardboard sign that read, “If you’re missing Baby Jesus, call 7126.” All week long they waited for someone to call. Surely, they thought, someone was missing that important figurine. Each time the phone rang mother would say, “I’ll bet that’s about Jesus,” but it never was.

Father tried to explain there are thousands of these scattered over the country and the figurine could be missing from a set in Florida or Texas or California. Those packing mistakes happen all the time. He suggested just put the extra Jesus back in the box and forget about it.

“Put Baby Jesus back in the box! What a terrible thing to do,” said the children. “Surely someone will call,” mother said. “We’ll just keep the two of them together in the manger until someone calls.”

When no call had come by 5:00 on Christmas Eve, mother insisted that father “just run down to the store” to see if there were any sets left. “You can see them right through the window, over on the counter,” she said. “If they are all gone, I’ll know someone is bound to call tonight.”

“Run down to the store?” father thundered. “It’s 15 below zero out there!”

“Oh, Daddy, we’ll go with you,” Tommy and Mary began to put on their coats. Father gave a long sigh and headed for the front closet. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” he muttered. Tommy and Mary ran ahead as father reluctantly walked out in the cold. Mary got to the store first and pressed her nose up to the store window. “They’re all gone, Daddy,” she shouted. “Every set must be sold.”

“Hooray,” Tommy said. “The mystery will now be solved tonight!”

Father heard the news still a half block away and immediately turned on his heel and headed back home. When they got back into the house they noticed that mother was gone and so was the extra Baby Jesus figurine. “Someone must have called and she went out to deliver the figurine,” my father reasoned, pulling off his boots. “You kids get ready for bed while I wrap mother’s present.”

Then the phone rang. Father yelled “answer the phone and tell ’em we found a home for Jesus.” But it was mother calling with instructions for us to come to 205 Chestnut Street immediately, and bring three blankets, a box of cookies and some milk. “Now what has she gotten us into?” my father groaned as we bundled up again. “205 Chestnut. Why that’s across town. Wrap that milk up good in the blankets or it will turn to ice before we get there. Why can’t we all just get on with Christmas? It’s probably 20 below out there now. And the wind is picking up. Of all the crazy things to do on a night like this.”

When they got to the house at 205 Chestnut Street it was the darkest one on the block. Only one tiny light burned in the living room and, the moment we set foot on the porch steps, my mother opened the door and shouted, “They’re here, Oh thank God you got here, Ray! You kids take those blankets into the living room and wrap up the little ones on the couch. I’ll take the milk and cookies.”

“Would you mind telling me what is going on, Ethel?” my father asked. “We have just walked through below zero weather with the wind in our faces all the way.”

“Never mind all that now,” my mother interrupted. “There isn’t any heat in this house and this young mother is so upset she doesn’t know what to do. Her husband walked out on her and those poor little children will have a very bleak Christmas, so don’t you complain. I told her you could fix that oil furnace in a jiffy.”

My mother strode off to the kitchen to warm the milk while my brother and I wrapped up the five little children who were huddled together on the couch. The children’s mother explained to my father that her husband had  run off, taking bedding, clothing, and almost every piece of furniture, but she had been doing all right until the furnace broke down.

“I been doin’ washin’ and ironin’ for people and cleanin’ the five and dime,” she said. “I saw your number every day there, on those boxes on the counter. When the furnace went out, that number kept going’ through my mind. 7162 7162. Said on the box that if a person was missin’ Jesus, they should call you. That’s how I knew you were good Christian people, willin’ to help folks. I figured that maybe you would help me, too. So I stopped at the grocery store tonight and I called your misses. I’m not missin’ Jesus, mister, because I sure love the Lord. But I am missin’ heat. I have no money to fix that furnace.”

“Okay, Okay,” said father. “You’ve come to the right place. Now let’s see. You’ve got a little oil burner over there in the dining room. Shouldn’t be too hard to fix. Probably just a clogged flue. I’ll look it over, see what it needs.”

Mother came into the living room carrying a plate of cookies and warm milk. As she set the cups down on the coffee table, I noticed the figure of Baby Jesus lying in the center of the table. It was the only sign of Christmas in the house. The children stared wide-eyed with wonder at the plate of cookies my mother set before them.

Father finally got the oil burner working but said, “You need more oil. I’ll make a few calls tonight and get some oil. Yes sir, you came to the right place”, father grinned.

On the way home father did not complain about the cold weather and had barely set foot inside the door when he was on the phone. “Ed, hey, how are ya, Ed?”

“Yes, Merry Christmas to you, too. Say Ed, we have kind of an unusual situation here. I know you’ve got that pick-up truck. Do you still have some oil in that barrel on your truck? You do?”

By this time the rest of the family were pulling clothes out of their closets and toys off of their shelves. It was long after their bedtime when they were wrapping gifts. The pickup came. On it were chairs, three lamps, blankets and gifts. Even though it was 30 below, father let them ride along in the back of the truck. No one ever did call about the missing figure in the nativity set, but as I grow older I realize that it wasn’t a packing mistake at all.

Jesus saves, that’s what He does.

Christmas Story shared from the following website: http://christmas.spike-jamie.com/inspirational.html

 

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Not The House (and what comes with it) But The Home

I am now an empty nester – one of those women who carry photos of her children and grandchildren to bore others with because she is no longer overwhelmed with noisy, energetic (and sometimes cranky) children underfoot.

I cannot claim to be new to the experience of being an empty nester – mainly because I believe that every time a child leaves home an empty nester experience occurs. Yet, all of those empty nester experiences and observations of my children as adults have taught me some invaluable lessons:

•    Cherish all of the teaching moments with your children – especially the ones that come at inconvenient times. And…make an effort to create as many of them as you can.
•    In order for our teaching moments to be effective they must be backed up with our example.
•    Take time to have fun as a family…and do it often. Laughter and giggles are important!
•    Teach children responsibility and how to work (even when it’s easier to do it yourself).
•    Teach children right from wrong, morality, the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. They do not automatically absorb it.
•    Dance lessons, music lessons and sports are all wonderful and have their place but they need to have their place and not rule schedules or a family. All too often families lose the connections they should have with each other because they are spending every spare moment effort funding the lessons, traveling to practices/games, and living life on the go.
•    A parent needs to be a parent and not relegate authority over the home to the children. The angriest and most emotionally unhealthy children I have ever seen are from families where those children were allowed control of their families.
•    Daily expressions of love are invaluable to building relationships and a loving family.
•    Skip the expensive toys and electronics and encourage children to play and use their imaginations. (The best toy in the world is an appliance box!)
•    A large fancy house does not have an increased ability to make a happy family.  Many shacks have been better homes to children than mansions have.
•    Children do not learn to be successful by being coddled and indulged. They learn to be successful by learning self discipline and how to work.
•    The most important things parents can do to provide security for their children is to make their marriage a priority. Date nights are important and the courtship that initiated the family should never…ever end.
•    Don’t wait to do things with your children until your children are older. It may seem like lots of activities would be easier if you just wait until they are older but the most critical time to build relationships with them is when they are young (and those activities take the most effort).
•    A house does not make a home.
•    Building a home is not done with walls, mortar or nails. A home is built by two parents who love each other – who are committed to each other and the work and effort it takes to build a family.  A home is built with hugs, teaching, tears, a few scraped knees, kissing boo boos better, discipline, work, trips for ice cream, chores, water fights, attending church together, family dinners and more. And somehow…even when we are so exhausted that lifting a finger seems a monumental task – we must do it all with love.

Building a home out of a house is tough demanding job. The hours are grueling and there is no monetary compensation. However, “the toughest job in the world” has amazing rewards. I feel and experience those rewards every time I walk through the door of my house and sense all of the laughter, love, and memories that have been created and shared there, spend time with my sweetheart (who is still my sweetheart because we have made each other a priority), share in the successes of my children, and gather together with my loving, energetic, and sometimes mischievous family!

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Families…A Blessing to the World

Perhaps the greatest social service that can be rendered to anybody to the country and to mankind is to bring up a family George Bernard Shaw

I normally share an inspirational story but today, I just had to share a laugh!

Families are such a wonderful thing! I believe in that families are where we change the world for the better and leave our greatest legacy.

As you read today’s humorous article, I hope you will think about your family and the positive difference that you are making with all of your hard work!

25 Things My Mother Taught Me

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE. “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside.  I just finished cleaning.”

2. My mother taught me RELIGION. “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL. “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

4. My mother taught me LOGIC. ” Because I said so, that’s why.”

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC. “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.”

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT. “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

7. My mother taught me IRONY. “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS. “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM. “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER. “This room of yours look s as if a tornado went through it.”

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY. “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times.  Don’t exaggerate!”

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE. “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.”

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. “Stop acting like your father!”

15. My mother taught me about ENVY. “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. “Just wait until we get home.”

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING. “You are going to get it when you get home!”

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE. “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”

19. My mother taught me ESP. “Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

20. My mother taught me HUMOR . “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

22. My mother taught me GENETICS. “You’re just like your father.”

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS. “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

24. My mother taught me WISDOM. “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

25. And my favorite: My mother taught me about JUSTICE . “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.

Today’s humorous article shared from the following website: https://www.atimetolaugh.org/mothertaughtme.html

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The Greatest Gifts You Can Give Your Children…

I have learned that there are things that can be given to children that are invaluable; none of which cost a dime.

The most valuable gift is the gift of God in their lives. When parents give this gift to children, they enable their children to have a mentor and an ally with them for the rest of their lives – through thick and thin and through highs and lows.

The next most important gift is the gift of two solid, dependable parents who love each other and who blatantly and boldly are committed to each other and their relationship.

The third most valuable gift is the gift of knowing how to work. Most children balk at this gift at some time in their lives. Yet, a child who knows how to work will be an adult who is not afraid of work or responsibility.

The fourth most valuable gift is the gift of independence and/or self-responsibility. A parent is responsible for their initial guidance but it is the child who will ultimately become responsible for his/her actions and for their life.

One of the most amazing examples I have ever witnessed was a man who was new to a congregation I attended. He was a professional man and clearly very capable. At the time, I was only a young teenager. This man was asked to be a door greeter on Sundays. Everyone else that had been asked to be a door greeter had considered it to be such a trivial and insignificant task that they ignored the task and left it undone – considering it to be beneath them. Not this man. He made sure that everyone was greeted with a warm smile and a hand shake. Within just a few weeks, he had learned the names of everyone who regularly attended and he addressed each of us by name with sincere questions about how we were doing. Little did he know the keen eye that I kept on him as he welcomed members each week. Little did he know what a remarkable example he set for me. From him, I learned that there is no insignificant task and that one person addressing a seemingly trivial task with love and devotion can change the world (at least my world!).

I love the following quote by Gordon B. Hinckley:

“I do not mean to say this with egotism. But I believe in my capacity and in your capacity to do good, to make some contribution to the society of which we are a part, to grow and develop, and to do things that we may now think impossible.

I believe that I am a child of God, endowed with a divine birthright. I believe that there is something of divinity within me and within each of you. I believe that we have a godly inheritance and that it is our responsibility, our obligation, and our opportunity to cultivate and nurture the very best of these qualities within us.

Though my work may be menial, though my contribution may be small, I can perform it with dignity and offer it with unselfishness. My talents may not be great, but I can use them to bless the lives of others. I can be one who does his work with pride in that which comes from hand and mind. I can be one who works with respect for my associates, for their opinions, for their beliefs, with appreciation for their problems and with a desire to help them should they stumble. I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world. It may be ever so small. But it will count for the greater good. The goodness of the world in which we live is the accumulated goodness of many small and seemingly inconsequential acts.

This quote sums up well for me all that I know and believe to be true about work, addressing insignificant tasks and the importance of strong, positive examples for children. I think today’s story does a great job of teaching the same precept! I hope you enjoy!

An Insignificant Task

The day when the jobs were handed out was one of the most exciting for all the children in the class. It took place during the first week of the term. On that day, every boy and girl was given a job for which they would be responsible for the rest of that school year.

As with everything, some jobs were more interesting than others, and the children were eager to be given one of the best ones. When giving them out, the teacher took into account which pupils had been most responsible during the previous year, and those children were the ones who most looked forward to this day. Among them Rita stood out. She was a kind and quiet girl; and during the previous year she had carried out the teacher’s instructions perfectly. All the children knew Rita was the favorite to be given the best job of all: to look after the class dog.

But that year there was a big surprise. Each child received one of the normal jobs, like preparing the books or the radio for the lessons, telling the time, cleaning the blackboard, or looking after one of the pets. But Rita’s job was very different. She was given a little box containing some sand and one ant. And even though the teacher insisted that this ant was a very special ant, Rita could not help feeling disappointed. Most of her classmates felt sorry for her. They sympathized with her, and remarked at how unfair it was that she had been given that job. Even her father became very angry with the teacher, and, as an act of protest, he encouraged Rita to pay no attention to this insignificant pet. However, Rita, who liked her teacher very much, preferred to show the teacher her error by doing something special with that job of such little interest.

“I will turn this little task into something great,” Rita said to herself.

So it was that Rita started investigating all about her little ant. She learned about the different species, and studied everything about their habitats and behavior. She modified the little box to make it perfect for the ant. Rita gave the ant the very best food, and it ended up growing quite a bit bigger than anyone had expected…

One day in spring, when they were in the classroom, the door opened, revealing a man who looked rather important. The teacher interrupted the class with great joy, and said,

“This is Doctor Martinez. He has come to tell us a wonderful piece of news, isn’t that right?”  “Exactly”. said the Doctor. “Today they have published the results of the competition, and this class has been chosen to accompany me, this summer, on a journey to the tropical rain forest, where we will be investigating all kinds of insects. Among all the schools of this region, without doubt it is this one which has best cared for the delicate little ant given to you. Congratulations! You will be wonderful assistants!”

That day the school was filled with joy and celebration. Everyone congratulated the teacher for thinking of entering them in the competition, and they thanked Rita for having been so patient and responsible. And so it was that many children learned that to be given the most important tasks you have to know how to be responsible even in what are apparently the smallest tasks. And without doubt, it was Rita who was most pleased at this, having said to herself so many times “I will turn this little job into something really great”.

Pedro Pablo Sacristán
Story shared from the following website: https://freestoriesforkids.com/children/stories-and-tales/insignificant-task

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Family….The Relationships and Love that Bind Us

She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her Proverbs 3:15I am biased – I admit it. I believe that I am blessed with the most amazing and wonderful family in the world!

I hope you feel that way about your family too!

I believe that our marital relationships and the relationships we have with our family are the most important mortal endeavors we can participate in. I also believe that families are for eternity. I don’t know, for sure, that our families existed prior to our birth but I do know for sure that our families were planned well before any of us were born.

Additionally, I know that our deceased family members are not far away and I know that they often help and mentor us. I believe that they are often our guardian angels.

I know that my grandparents have been with me and I know that my father was a part of the circle of angels who protected and gave strength to my granddaughter at the time of her accident and while she gingerly clung to life in the NICU at Primary Children’s Hospital.

I now have 18 grandchildren with the 19th on her way. When the newest member of our family makes her mortal entrance, she will be my 13th granddaughter and she join what I consider an elite team of incredible individuals. It is my hope and my duty as her grandmother to help her know just how amazing and wonderful she is. You see, once she takes her first breath, she will lose much of her pre-mortal memory. I will need to remind her of what I know of her – what I know of each of us: We are all precious children – all worth incredible sacrifice and effort as far as the Lord is concerned.

And I will pray for her and for the world as I always do – I will pray that she will know God’s love for her. I will pray that she comes to know Him well throughout her life. And…I will pray that each individual who is a part of this world will have the same blessing and knowledge of God that I want for my granddaughter and every member of my family.

I hope you enjoy today’s story!

The Lost Ruby

I’ve had only one experience in my life and this one changed my life and way of thinking.  When I was a teen my grandmother moved in with us.  I loved my grandmother, we were very close. My mother called me her ‘junior’.

When I was seventeen I went to the prom and my grandmother let me borrow her beautiful ruby necklace. At that age, being somewhat reckless, I lost it somewhere. To this day I still don’t know where, I just remember at the end of the night my mother was extremely upset with me. My grandmother being very understanding and forgiving was not upset at all.

A year later my grandmother passed away and not long afterwards I joined the military and was stationed in Germany. For years I had not talked to my family. My husband left me and at this point I‘d been in Europe four years with still another year to go.

One night I became an hysterical drunken mess, cried for hours and I passed out. The next morning I found clutched in my hand my grandmother’s beautiful ruby necklace. I don’t know how to explain this! I shared this with my mother and we both cried. Together with the help of my family and this miraculous event, I’m putting my life back together,

Contributed by Cindy Rowe

Story shared from the following website: https://www.keen.com/CommunityServer/UserBlogPosts/Ms_Claritynow/TEN-ORIGINAL–TRUE–DIVINE-INTERVENTION–ANGEL—-MIRACLE–INSPIRATIONAL–STORIES—collected-by-me–amp–till-now-unseen/141689.aspx

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