What To Do This Christmas A Few Really Good Ideas

We had our first winter storm of the year over the weekend, and believe me, this is somewhat of a rarity !!

Much of Georgia is still covered with inches of the white coat of snow.

In short, I should have liked to have had the lightest license of a child, and yet be man enough to know its value. Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

A decade or so ago, I wrote out the following in calligraphy, printed the message on green paper, and then laminated the copies. (Those of you who know me will be SO surprised with the laminating part, lol)

Atlanta Botanical Gardens

I gave them out to my seven grade school friends, Mary, Jan, Lynn, Debbie, Evelyn, Cindy, and Jane Ellen, who are as close as family to me.

Our FF Group of Eight! Some of us met as early as First Grade at Fernbank Elementary and we all finished Druid Hills High School together in 1976!

When Mary texted me a picture of hers last week, telling me it was one of her favorite things to put out during the holiday season, I decided I wanted to share it with my friends and family here on Pages From Joan. I try to read my copy a few times over the holidays each year.

LET’S BE THE LIGHT IN SOMEONE’S DARK AND DIFFICULT PATH

When I first shared it with my Forever Friends, this message was claimed as anonymous. Since then, I have learned that at least the first part was written by Howard W. Hunter, (1907-1995)

I have highlighted (linked) previous related posts throughout the message.

What To Do This Christmas

This Christmas, mend a quarrel. Seek out a forgotten friend. Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust. Write a letter. Share some treasure. Give a soft answer. Encourage youth. Manifest your loyalty in word and deed. Keep a promise. Find the time. Forego a grudge. Forgive an enemy. Listen. Apologize if you were wrong. Try to understand. Examine your demands on others. Think first of someone else.  Appreciate others. Be kind; be gentle. Laugh a little. Laugh a little more. Deserve confidence. Take up arms against malice. Decry complacency. Express your gratitude. Go to church. Welcome a stranger. Gladden the heart of a child. Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth. Speak your love. Speak it still once again. Christmas is celebration, and there is no celebration that compares tight the realization of its true meaning—with the sudden stirring of the heart that has extended itself toward the core of life. Then, only then, is it possible to grasp the significance of that first Christmas—to savor in the inward ear of the sweet music of the angel choir; to envision the star-struck sky, and glimpse, behind the eyelids, the ray of light that fell athwart a darkened path, and changed the world.

What in the above reading will be a priority for you in the days ahead?

I will be emphasizing more laughter, better listening,  and demonstrating my loyalty in word and deed.

Wise Men and Women Still Seek Him! The Word tells us that when we seek God with our whole heart, we will find Him every time.

Other Related Posts You May Have Missed:

52 Things I Love About You and Other Homemade Gifts

Christmas Cards

The “W” In Christmas

Tears To Teddy Bears

Two Trees Symbolize New Traditions

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The Calvary Kids Committed To Making A Difference For 50 Years in 2016

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IMG_7735 IMG_7733Many of you already know the story of how my mother was adopted from an orphanage at age three, on a Sunday afternoon, by a Pastor, his wife and three older brothers. Mama’s life was forever changed for the better on that day. In case you missed it, you can read more about her story in an earlier post entitled: Adoption: The Answer To So Many Questions.

This past Sunday afternoon when Donny and I were searching for our Christmas tree at Calvary Children’s Home annual lot, I was moved by the account of another 3-year-old little girl who lived her entire childhood at Calvary and I wanted to share the story with you.

The Christmas tree is a symbol of love, not money. There's a kind of glory to them when they're all lit up that exceeds anything all the money in the world could buy.” Andy Rooney (1919-2011)

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But first, if you live near Powder Springs, Georgia, and you have not yet picked out your special tree, consider stopping in at this lot where 100% of the money goes to fund the following activities for the Calvary kids:

  • Youth group expenses
  • A winter ski trip 
  • A summer youth conference in Gatlinburg
  • The hosting of an every other week event where the Calvary kids invite their friends to participate. These events really help alleviate any stigma associated with living in a children’s home that the Calvary kids may feel
  • Last year, the tree lot was so successful that Calvary was even able to fund the final semester of one of their kid’s college tuition!

IMG_7758And that is an ideal lead into the moving story I learned about while choosing our tree last Sunday. That Calvary “kid’s” name is Jennifer McMurray and she came to live at Calvary Children’s Home  when she was three years old and spent her entire childhood as part of the Calvary Family. Jennifer graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Counseling in Mary 2015, and was married to her sweetheart on August 8, 2015. From the words of Calvary Campus Director, M. Brian Busby,

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Calvary Campus Director with The Newlyweds!

“I had the honor of walking this precious girl down that aisle, and she is now Jennifer Lane. As a young woman, Jenny represents all the young children who need someone to care enough to step into their life to love and guide them. As she stood there with her new husband, I felt great joy because she was…Godly, graduated, grateful, and now grown! Jenny is currently working for the Trinity Rescue Mission in Jacksonville, Florida, a shelter that cares for women who are homeless. This Christmas tree lot has opened doors for our ministry that would be closed otherwise. Our customers are the very heart of those opportunities being made possible. For all of the young people who are blessed by your friendship, I sincerely thank you.”

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Mrs. Jennifer Lane

Here’s a word from Jennifer included in a letter distributed at the tree lot:

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. Larry Wilde (1928- )

“Please let me take a minute to tell you my story. When I was a child, I was not wanted by my parents. However, God wanted me and He gave me a new home. When you are feeling alone and rejected, God will always want you. You just have to be willing to let Him into your life. As a child, my parents did not protect me, but God always watched over me. My parents did not show the love for their children, but God loved me and showed me that His love for me is unconditional.” You can read the rest of Jenny’s letter when you pick out your tree at the 10th Annual Calvary Kids Christmas Tree Sale!

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Whatever stage of “Christmas,

Hanakkah, Kwanza, Holiday Decor”

you may be in,

Don’t get your Tinsel in a Tangle!

Related Posts YOU may have missed:

Children Are Wet Cement

Let’s Listen To Children

10 Ways To Value A Teen

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Children have that innocent charm that makes days shorter and life fulfilled. Anonymous
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A creative gift for a loved one: honor them with a donation to Calvary Children’s Home!