Jimmy Stewart’s Nativity Scene with Love

https://youtu.be/oK85O6FgRC0

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Courts of Praise

Thank you, dear Lord, for my life long,

for beloved family and friends,

and all dear hearts touching mine.

My treasure trove of souls

spills far beyond my time

to number as my own

those who have gone before,

your saints of ages past,

the cloud of witnesses on high

and pure angelic beings

in realms veiled from the eye.

There never was a day in which I was alone,

nor forgotten before Your throne.

There, at Your feet,

all heaven sweet anthems raise

to set celestial hearts ablaze.

My heart with choruses

swell my love,

grown great in gratitude.

I make a small return of love beside Your All Love.

You count my debt as paid

and bid me enter courts of praise.

By Joann Nelander

Why My Husband and I Canceled Christmas | Over The Big Moon

By Lisa on November 24, 2014.

It’s true. We have cancelled Christmas in our house this year.

Now before you all go crazy on me in the comments, let me explain. We have not cancelled putting up decorations, celebrating the birth of our Savior, or any of our other heartwarming traditions. But, we have cancelled presents, Santa, and stockings. Their letters to Santa this year will be asking Santa to find someone who needs their presents more.

Here is why – John and I feel like we are fighting a very hard uphill battle with our kids when it comes to entitlement. Our kids have been acting so ungrateful lately. They expect so much even when their behavior is extremely disrespectful. We gave them good warning, either it was time for their behavior to change or there would be consequences. We patiently worked with them for several months and guess what, very little changed. One day after a particularly bad display of entitlement John said, “we should just cancel Christmas.” And, so that’s what we did.

Instead we will be taking the money we would have spent on presents and put it towards service projects and giving gifts to others this season. We are trying to teach them the pleasure of giving rather than continuing to feed their childhood desire for more.

The first project we did this season was to hold a clothing driving in our neighborhood. We gathered gently used clothing, sorted them, and packaged them up to send to a village in Northern Cebu of the Philippines. The village was hit hard by Typhoon Haiyan last year. Then the kids wrote letters and found hard candy from their Halloween stash that we could ship to the kids in the village. It was awesome! Instead of being sad over giving up their Halloween candy they were excited and kept wanting to give more and more. After we had the boxes all packaged up we mailed them. The kids loved it! It was a lot of money to ship and they understand that they gave up having something, so they could give these clothes to others.

We also ordered a couple of these 12 piece Nativity sets.

We will be choosing two families for the 12 days of Christmas. Each day we will deliver a different piece of the nativity. On Christmas day we will give them the last piece of the nativity, baby Jesus. That will be 12 nights of fun memories we will be making trying to deliver the pieces without getting caught. We are also looking into an Adopt a Grandparent program. For Christmas dinner we have invited several older widows and couples in our area that don’t have family around to eat with us.

See what I mean? How cool will this Christmas be! Instead of focusing on what they will be getting, we will be keeping the focus on what they can give!

The few presents they get from Grandparents and other families members will be more cherished because the quantity will be less. They can enjoy what they get rather than feel overstimulated with so much. Christmas morning won’t be less special without Santa coming. Instead we can enjoy our Cinnamon rolls, play games as a family, and truly enjoy the few presents they did get. There is a good possibility that Santa will be writing them a letter of how proud of them he is and perhaps put a few pieces of hard candy and an orange in their stockings. We have Santa Stationary that is free for download.

I really think that we as parents need to take a step back and look at our motivation for giving gifts to our kids. READ MORE via Why My Husband and I Canceled Christmas | Over The Big Moon.

The Gift of Thanksgiving-Reflection

by Sr. LaDonna Pinkelman OSF

St. Paul (in one of his letters) told his friends, "Never worry about anything, but tell God your desires of every kind in prayer and petition filled with gratitude and the peace which is beyond every understanding will guard your heart."

In November, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time to remember the many gifts given to us by a gracious God who cares for us endlessly. The Scripture passage, above, says so plainly what can happen when we depend and thank God for the many gifts of our life. Can you imagine how different this world and our lives could be if we all had a heart filled with praise and gratitude?

Let’s take a look at the very ordinary gifts of life that we so often take for granted–the ability to breath (our life source); for gift of sight to see God’s beauty all around, to see the needs of others and do something about it (whenever possible), to see with an inner sight God’s life and light within and let it shine out to all we meet; the ability to smile and spread joy and more joy by our friendliness; for our ears to hear what is good and not so good (helping us make proper choices) to hear God’s Word spoken in prayer and Scripture, in and around us; to speak and talk in kindly ways and not harsh ways; our tongue to taste/savor the gift of food and drink; for the gift of hands to touch tenderly, to grasp and hold (for they are always handy); our fingers to move and put things together, screw and unscrew, to hold a pen and pencil (WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT THEM?); FOR the gift of our feet–to walk, run, move from place to place; our mind/intelligence, to think, to ponder and learn for our good and the good of others (allowing us to work carefully for others); for faith, spirituality and religion that brings meaning and life to us and all God’s People; for our families, relationships and co-workers who give purpose and meaning to love, living out our daily ordinary lives. These are only a few of ordinary gifts. We could go on and on.

When we can readily think of things we are grateful for, we more than likely have a grateful heart and healthy spirituality. Let us make it a practice to praise and thank God with a heart filled with gratitude and love (even when it is difficult). And yes, the peace beyond understanding will be an added gift from God for our life.

Sr. La Donna Pinkelman, OSF

Morning Gratitude

<blockquote>All thanks and gratitude arise to dance before Your throne.
All praise and honor bow with swelling heart to glorify my God.
Make me a vessel overflowing,
A chalice full of grace willing for the good,
Desiring but one All Holy Love.

© 2013 Joann Nelander</blockquote>

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