Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Greatest Story Under the Stars...

 

"Do not be afraid!"  the angel said to Mary.  "God has found favor with you.  You will have a baby boy, and are to give him the name Jesus. The Holy Spirit will perform a miracle, and because of this your baby will be called the Son of God."

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"Joseph, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  The child Mary is going to have is God's son, and you are to give him the name Jesus."

The angel of the Lord also visits the shepherds guarding their flocks in nearby fields and brings them good news of great joy: "To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord." The angel tells them they will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger. The angel is joined by a "heavenly host" who say "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!". The shepherds hurry to the manger in Bethlehem where they find baby Jesus with Mary and Joseph.

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O come, all ye faithful,
joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye
to Bethlehem;

Come and behold Him,
born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.

A star reveals the birth of Jesus to three wise men who travel to Jerusalem bringing gifts of gold...

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frankincense...

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and myrrh...

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And there around the manger, they all bow and pay homage to our newly born Savior...

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Jesus Christ...

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Who will take away our sins and promise us eternal life with Him.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled."

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Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

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Joy to the world! the Lord is come:
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders of his love.

*****

Now wasn't that fun? Didn't that put you in better mood? It's so awesome to be reminded sometimes of the simple gifts that we are given, and Jesus is the greatest gift of all!!!

Well, let me explain the "simple gift" I was given that is related to the photos above...I'll see if I can make this short and sweet...

~Shopping with my sister Penny the night before Thanksgiving.

~She grabs my arm in the parking lot, squeezes it (hard) and she screams. Everyone turns to look at us. (yep, she left a bruise) Well,  I s**t because I think someone is about to hurt or mug us. Not hardly...

~We are here and in the entrance, she sees the nativity set (above) of her dreams! She buys it...ALL 11 pieces. BUT she can't bring all of the pieces home in her Honda. My son loads half of it in his suv and delivers it to her house about 70 miles away on Thanksgiving Day.

~The day after Thanksgiving, (while Penny and her dear hubs are picking up the other half of the nativity set), I am putting up her Christmas tree with her wonderful son Kristian and her daughter Payton. Oh we have a BLAST! They soon return and we all gather and finish up the tree...

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and the mantel...

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and the front entrance...

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~Then on Saturday, two days after Thanksgiving... MY sweet husband and I head back to Penny's house where her dear hubs is finalizing the last minute touches on the manger that he custom built just for HER beautiful new nativity set. Oh...it's a family affair of the love of this nativity set now...

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~We placed the pieces, and rearranged. Placed the pieces again, and rearranged. When SHE was happy where they were, we secured them to the ground, added and spread the hay, and strung the electrical wires for lights. We managed to finish right before night fall..and viola! It's gorgeous!!!!

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If we wouldn't have laughed and cut up so much, we would have finished a lot earlier...but what's the fun in rushing right?

I want to let you in on a couple of our laughs...

Don't you think the donkey looks like "Donkey" in the movie Shrek?

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And don't you think Penny's lighted palm tree looks like something from a Corona commercial?

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Penny just loves that palm tree. I know I shouldn't be telling you this but...One year, she even used it as a Christmas tree in her house! I know...don't tell anyone, she's going to kill me when she reads this. But, it was sooo unforgettable that her kids have a photo of it on their cell phones! Unforgettable. That's my word to describe it and I'm sticking to it ;)

The End.

 

Moral of the story:

We buried my Dad only 2 days before I received this "simple gift" above. Even though this is not MY nativity set, or even when I thought that I had nothing more to give nor much to smile about, OR even when I thought I nothing to be thankful for during the Thanksgiving holidays, I quickly realized that I have the "gift" of a beautiful family and I have MUCH to be thankful for! Shame on me for ever thinking I had nothing to be thankful for, but grieving the loss of a loved one may sometimes put you in a whole other crazy world of mixed, sometimes not-so-positive feelings. If you are honest with yourself, then it's easy to admit it. And if you can admit it, then you can work towards making the loss of a loved one more positive.

Celebrating the Christmas season made me realize that Mom & Dad are with our Savior as promised above!!!  I think the meaning of Christmas should be celebrated year around as I for one sometimes tend to forget the TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS. Those 4 days were such a wonderful reminder!!!! :)

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Those 4 days above was a simple gift that was unknowingly at the time, given to ME...

~watching my college son willingly give the gift of his time to help and be with family without me having to ask, orchestrate commands, or beg...I'm so proud of him (however...it did take a burrito to seal the deal!)   :)

~spending precious moments with my 16 year old niece and soon to be graduating Pharmacist nephew that still likes to hang out with Auntie Jodie :)

~feeling the love and compassion that Penny's husband had in building the manger and trying to make her nativity set dream come true (many many points earned there!)  :)

~seeing through Penny's eyes how excited she was that her nativity set was coming to fruition, especially since this is the first Christmas in their new home. I am happy because she is happy :)

~and last but not least, appreciating the time that my husband spent with me and with my sister's family to help make all of this possible (& making us laugh the whole way through)  :)

I have a new appreciation for nativity sets, especially Penny's!!!!

 

So what's your Christmas Story???

37 comments:

Julie said...

Jodie--that was absolutely beautiful! Yours was the first blog I looked at this morning...thank-you for a perfect start to my day!

We ALL have so much to be grateful for, and most of all, for the birth of our Savior--thank-you for reminding us all in such a beautiful way.

I'm so sorry about your Dad...what a hard time of the year to have to go through that--no time is good for that, actually! What an inspiration you are in the way you've come through it...in celebrating this special time with your family.

LOVE that Nativity! I hope your day is lovely...you've certainly blessed my day today!

NicNacManiac said...

Oh my gosh Jodie,

How truly beautiful to have this fabulous nativity set on your sisters front lawn. Each piece is exquisite...I so can totally see how she fell in love with it and went to all of the trouble to have it!! What she probably did not know at the time was that it would be a wonderful bonding time for your family when you needed it most! We really need to step back and enjoy the moment while we are experiencing it, just because...you never know!!
Your Bella goodies and tour of all of the creative treats was just fabulous...thanks for sharing, Have a fantastic day sunshine!!
Blessings xOxO Nerina :)

Julie Ann said...

What a sweet post, Jodie!! I'm so glad your sister happened upon this set! It brought all of you together in the Christmas spirit- one of selfless giving! Her tree and mantle are just gorgeous! And I loved reading your jokes- so, so true!! :) I'm glad that you've realized your parents are with the Lord and that you will see them again one day! What peace that thought gives. You have made me smile this morning-- as well as turned some heads as I sat laughing at the computer screen! :) Have a wonderful day!!

Avalon76 said...

What a beautiful, wonderful post! Thank you so much for this - it brightened my day immeasurably. Merry Christmas! ^_^

Inspired Comblogulations said...

Hi honey,
This post really touched my heart.
I believe God spoke through all of it (the nativity)to your family and will in turn speak to others as they drive by and see a beautiful home with the true meaning of Christmas displayed so beautifully. He is everywhere speaking in so many ways isn't He?

That tree was so beautiful...I got a huge blessing from reading this... thank you.
Lee

miss lynn said...

oh come all ye
faithful! joyful
and triumphant!

love this! what
a beautiful
nativity and
reminder of the
greatest Gift
ever given...
you are precious.

Linda said...

Jodie, God does give us the gifts we need. I am so happy you found joy in being with family and celebrating this special time of year. So hard to loose a loved one but as you say he is with God in heaven now. Thank you for sharing this story and your gift with us.

Hugs....Linda Mac

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

beautiful and thoughtful post - thanks for sharing it.

... and I love that creche!

Heather ~Pretty Petals said...

What a wonderful story Jodie... and what a beautiful nativity. It looks beautiful in front of her home. Thank you for the reminder of what Christmas gives to us all.

xo Heather

LiLi M. said...

Thanks for telling this great story, I just loved it! It is all about love and the importance to be aware of your blessings all the time, even when times seems to get rough. You are so right. I will remember this.
This story also evokes many sweet memories: in the village where my mother was born every year in every neighborhood there is at least one 'as big as life' nativity scene, we call it a 'stalletje' a small stable. So every year I try to watch as many stalletjes as possible, seeing how all neighbours have done their best to pleasure bussloads of people who are watching.
Thanks for inspiration Jodie!

Gypsy Mermaid said...

Aw Jodie! I loved this post. You always know how to make me smile and be thankful for what I have. I hope Christmas is like this for everyone! People who surround you are blessed! Hugs

toodles-
Sarah

Karen said...

Good morning.
What a fun time. I mean - the Lord was working with all of you - to remind you that time heals all wounds, that as much as you are hurting, you still made lemonade! And had a blast! I think that's awesome.
(And yup - the donkey looks like the one from Shrek)
I would love to have this in our yard. How cool!
But you should've taken pictures of all of you loading into a Honda!
Thanks for making everyone grin, and remember, and say a prayer of thanks.
HAGD! Hugs! Karen

GWENDOLYN said...

Jodie,
This is a wonderful post, from start to finish. I think the tree fits in perfectly with the manger scene, but as a Christmas tree? Ha! That is funny. Blessings today!
Gwen

T's Daily Treasures said...

The nativity scene is absolutely beautiful! I can't imagine what it looked like to be riding down the road with all of that in your car. HA! I was singing right along with you in this post. Wonderful songs of the season. wishing you a day of blessings, :) Tammy

Cheryl said...

Jodie,
What a perfect start to my day! Thank you for sharing your Xmas story...I'm sure my Dad and Brother have met your Mom & Dad and are watching over all of us this holiday! What a great reminder to count our blessings with those of our family and friends that we can celebrate the holidays with! Merry Christmas!
XO
Cheryl

Debra @ Common Ground said...

It is so amazing how God can take something and enlarge it for us, speak to us through it, and engrave it on our hearts. Christmas comes at a good time for you, sweetie. To feel God's gentle hand on you and your family, to bring you peace and joy in knowing your mom and dad are with the Lord, and for giving you the gift of time with your precious family. Blessings, sweet Jodie, enjoy the Season.
love you,
Debra

vintagesusie said...

Sweet Jodie...
I loved your Christmas story & I'm always glad to be reminded that it IS the SIMPLEST of things that bring us the GREATEST of joys! Your sister's nativity looks amazing! I know the neighbors will be coming by in the evening with their cameras to take pictures of this glorious sight & that your Daddy, looking down from heaven as his baby girls were playing & laughing, was filled with such pride & smiling!! :)
Hugs Friend...Susie

{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Thank you for sharing that sweet story....(she says with tears in her eyes)....it was wonderful.

Blessing you!
Spencer

Lynnae said...

That did put me in a better mood. It's nice to stop and remember what all this hustle and bustle is for. Not only did you have a nice holiday, but everyone who passes that set will have a little reminder.
I think I'll end my blog browsing right there on a high note this morning.

Signs and Salvage said...

mmmmm....It does not matter how many times I hear the story...hope & joy...
thank you for sharing your sweet story too...you are wonderful and a gentle reminder to see the gifts in simple moments:) Merry Christmas:)

Geralyn Gray said...

I like your Christmas Story......I am glad you are finding such goodness this Christmas Season.....with what you are going through sometimes it's hard to enjoy the season. I love your sister's Nativity set and how everyone made it happen for her.

Sares said...

What a heartwarming post. You and your sister in the parking lot cracked me up! It' s a beautiful Manger set. I'm sure all the passers by will appreciate it as well. It sounds like you have wonderful and loving family, you are indeed blessed!

Jane said...

Beautiful post. Beautiful sentiment. Beautiful nativity scene. Beautiful time spent with family. Beautiful reminder of what's important not only at Christmas but throughout the year.
Jane

icandy... said...

A very touching story, Jodie. May God bless you and yours throughout this holiday season.
The nativity is wonderful~ no, the tree doesn't make it look like a corona commercial, silly!
You are so sweet!
Love and hugs!
Christina

A Fanciful Life said...

Oh, Jodie, what a wonderful, wonderful story. You have such a great family, but that is no surprise. That is some nativity scene! I just love those large sized figurines, it makes such a statement. Well, then, maybe it's the neon palm tree that makes the statement - haha!
Sharon :-)

Claudia said...

Jodie, thank you for this wonderful story. It puts everything in perspective. Bless you!

Claudia

Christine Edwards said...

Jodie, you've brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story about the simple gifts. It is so easy to overlook them, especially when things just don't seem as right as they should be. You have a wonderful family, and that really is a treasure to be enjoyed.

All the best,
Christine

Linda said...

Jodie,
This was one of the most beautiful posts ever! I cried and have thought long about it.

The nativity set is gorgeous!!! The story behind it is priceless. Yes, it puts everything in perfect perspective.

Also - yes that does look like the donkey from Shrek and I loved your comment about the lighted palm tree as well. I love you humor. My daughter and I joke about such things as well.

Funny thing about that lighted tree - a few Christmases ago, we were packed into our car (my parents, husband, daughter and I) driving around town looking at the Christmas lights and there was this house that we drove slowly past, as there in the living room, all aglow, was this same lighted palm tree and a crowd of people enjoying a Christmas party. They saw us driving slowly and just laughed and laughed, with their drinks in hand, seemingly toasting us as we went by. :)

Becca said...

Thank you dear friend for sharing. I am sending out my best wishes for you to have a joyous holiday season, surrounded by the love and laughter that comes with family. hugs,
Becca
ps~ as a pharmacist, your nephew has a great career ahead of him :)

The Victorian Parlor said...

Jodie,

This post is truly beautiful-I have goose bumps as I read it! Of course, the story of the birth of Jesus is always beautiful. The way your family came together and celebrated the Nativity scene is a memory you will treasure forever. My grandfather (he raised me) passed on November 22, 1999. It was a very difficult Tahnksgiving and Christmas was even more difficult as we had been planning a celebration of my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary which was Christmas Eve. I could not imagine enjoying the holiday without him. But I took comfort in the fact that he was in Heaven with Jesus and that he would always be with me in my heart. I wrote down all of the phrases I was so used to hearing from him and all of the sweet little names he called me and slipped them into my Bible for safe keeping. Reading about your father reminds me of my grandfather and I feel deeply for you. I'm glad that you and your family have found joy during this amazing and magical time of year.

Blessings,

Kim

BTW, the Nativity is GORGEOUS! It's one of the prettiest I've seen:).

Karyn Bernard (French Charming) said...

Oh Jodie,

What a beautiful post and thank you for the message of life's little gifts. It really is our family and our faith that bring true happiness.

I LOVE the nativity set! Wowza, how fortunate your sister was to find such a gorgeous one!

I'm so sorry for the loss of your Dad, I lost my Dad just over two years ago and not a day goes by that I don't think of him and miss him. Here's a great big (((HUG))) for you sweet friend.

Love and blessings,
Karyn

Frippery said...

Sweet Jodie. This was an absolutely beautiful post. Reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas, God's gift of a Son and the season to celebrate love with friends and family. What a beautiful Christmas scene for your sister's first Christmas in her new home. I am sure your parents are together rejoicing at their children and their families celebrating life together. Keep the positive spirit and celebrate each day. Love ya, Pam

zandra said...

Such a touching story. I just love the way you tell your stories. You really know how to touch my heart! Glad you are finding some joy this holiday season. ;o)
Sending big hugz, Z

Anne~fiona and twig said...

What an amazingly beautiful nativity and post! Yes, I believe too that your dear folks are with the Lord...it's still hard this time of year, though.

Thank you for reminding us that it's about more than pretty paper wreaths and mercury glass ornaments. It's about Him.

Much love,
Anne

Stephenie said...

Jodie,
Thank you for such a beautiful post and for reminding me what Christmas is truly about.. I sometime get so caught up in the gift thing and that's not what it's about..
I love that beautiful nativity!!!
Stephenie

Rebecca said...

The GREATEST story, indeed.

How faithful God is to us. How blessed we are.

Thank you for sharing the true meaning of Christmas and the birth of our Savior.

How truly lonely my life would be without Him.

Love to you~ Thanks for visiting girly...

Rebecca

Payton said...

You have such an awesome talent Aunt Jodie...you make your blogs so interesting!! Thank you SO much for coming over to help us TWO days in a row. I loved every minute of it. I miss you!!
Love,
Payton. :)