Jack Blanchard’s Column: Nothing Is Over Like Christmas
Nothing is over like Christmas.
Months of anticipation, and then it’s gone.
Try to hold on to it and it slides away like this morning’s dream.
People who tell us that it’s a pagan holiday,
just because it’s near the winter solstice,
may not realize what an intrusion that is upon our enjoyment.
We can each bring our own thoughts to the season,
and make it our personal non-pagan celebration.
It’s in the spirit of the beholder.
It’s hard to work up the spirit here in Florida,
but we give it a shot every year.
Misty decorates a tree,
and puts Christmas stuff all over the place.
We listen to Christmas music with the air conditioning on
and with palm trees lurking in the yard.
Television doesn’t help, with reports of all night sales,
talking heads urging us to be good consumers,
stranded travelers sleeping in airports,
and carolers singing “Happy Honda Days”.
I toss up futile prayers for snow here in the subtropics,
but this is the time of year
when we just get a cheap imitation of early autumn.
A couple of trees around here get a touch of red,
and I go look at them.
I get sentimental about Christmas,
probably because I had real Christmasy holidays years ago,
with folks who are no longer with us,
and my childish subconscious thinks it will happen again.
I think next year I’ll write a letter to Santa,
and ask him for one more snowfall in Buffalo,
where the night is silent, the homes are warm,
and Christmas is strong in the air.
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Jack Blanchard’s Column: A Winter Morning
By the time you read this it will not be current,
but I’m writing at the kitchen table on Christmas morning.
It’s a little chilly and the steam is swirling up from my coffee cup.
Carolers are singing softly and there are church bells.
I haven’t opened the curtains yet
but judging by the grayish light seeping through, it’s a winter day.
I haven’t heard any snow shovels, but it’s still early.
I think I’ll plug in the tree lights.
Even through the closed curtains
snow is visible in the corners of the windows.
Holly and candles add color to the room
and the silhouette of a Christmas wreath
can be seen at the front window.
As little as a couple of inches of overnight snowfall
can blow into deep white drifts,
so I feel around under the bed for my high top boots.
The ones with the knife pocket.
And I’d better get out my blue flannel shirt.
The checkered one.
That always feels good and warm on a winter’s morning
when the snow is squeaky cold.
We’d better hurry.
We’re due at Alan and Vivian’s house for Christmas dinner.
Funny, I can’t seem to find my high-tops,
or the flannel shirt,
or even my sheepskin mittens and earmuffs.
Grandma probably put them away somewhere.
I’ll ask her.
No, that’s right, I can’t ask her.
She’s not here. She’s been gone a long time.
Sometimes, especially at Christmas, I forget that.
I wonder what ever happened to those old winter clothes of mine.
Seems like I had ’em just the other day.
Or was it 20 years ago?
Got to go now, we’re late for dinner.
Don’t forget to turn off the tree lights and the air conditioner.
And, oh yes, the stereo Christmas music.
As I step out the door, Christmas presents under each arm,
the white glare makes my eyes water.
It could be snow. It really could!
But I feel the coral rock under my feet
as I step down from our motor home
and I hear the waves slapping against the shore a few feet to my left.
I wonder if they’re having snow up home.
Jack Blanchard’s Column: The Christmas Town
It was the day before Christmas: We were road tired, and traveling westward through Illinois or Iowa…on our way to another show somewhere. We tried to cheer each other up, and said we’d celebrate our Christmas at a later date.
The countryside looked like a Christmas card through the windshield of our motor home.Fine dusty snow was starting to whirl around and the Interstate Highway was just about deserted.
It began snowing harder.We needed a place to pull in for the night, but we hadn’t seen anything open for miles.
We started to get worried.
It was getting dark, and the wind was blowing the snow into drifts. We pulled off at the next exit,but there was no sign of life except an old barn. The barn had a sign over the door, and Christmas lights were on inside.
It turned out to be a little store with a few groceries, and some antiques for sale in the back.
The owner took us to a little room where they kept boots and snow shovels. That’s where we plugged in our electric line.
Misty made a good deal…One night, two dollars.
We dragged our small artificial Christmas tree out of the trunk and into the bus. She had it trimmed and lit in about ten minutes.
We’d been on a long hard tour and we didn’t have any presents for each other, so we looked around at the antiques and things in the store.
We picked out a few gifts, but we didn’t have any way to gift wrap ’em.
Two or three at a time some people from the town came into the store, stomping the snow off their shoes and saying “Merry Christmas” to each other. They were smiling and friendly and offered to take our gifts back to their homes and wrap ’em for us.
When they came back a while later, our presents looked beautiful.
They brought along some cookies and eggnog, and we had a little party with these unusual strangers. We wanted to cancel all our future bookings and live here.
In the morning we woke up to snow covered cornfields and a sparkling forest of winter trees. An old rusty plow and a wagon were half buried in the snow outside our window.. It was a perfect Christmas.
We don’t even know the name of the town, or which state it’s in. And we haven’t been able to find it on any map.
We just think of it as our Christmas Town. Maybe it’s in the twilight zone.
“Rhonnie Scheuerman’s Christmas Time Inspiration For All In Need This Morning”
Your Daily Devotions for The Day Before Christmas
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts
Here are two more reasons why spending time alone with God each day is important:
1) To take spiritual inventory of your life. David prayed, ‘Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting’ (vv. 23-24). Note the words ‘anxious thoughts’ and ‘offensive way’. These are things you start to take stock of when you are in God’s presence. For example, are you growing daily in your spiritual walk? Are you allowing unconfessed sins to pile up in your life? How about your attitudes? In order to see yourself from God’s point of view, you have to face these questions in His presence and answer them honestly.
2) To commit each day to the Lord. The writer of Proverbs said,‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths’ (Proverbs 3:5-6). Share your schedule with God, ask Him to guide you in your daily activities and alter them as needed. Ask Him to help you manage your time better so you can get more done (Psalms 90:12). Ask Him to help you distinguish between what’s truly important and what isn’t (1 Corinthians 10:23). Every day of your life you’ll have to deal with two things: problems and opportunities. And God will give you the right perspective and approach to handle both. You’ll be amazed how much more effective and efficient you are when you’ve spent time with Him.
search me Lord and reveal my heart and heal me. In Jesus’ Name
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A PAIR OF CHRISTMAS SHOES.
A long time ago Misty and I took a holiday season job in a Miami
department store in a poor neighborhood.
She was the photographer who snapped and sold the pictures of the
children on Santa’s lap. I was Santa.
The Santa suit and the whiskers were hot,
but it was an unforgettable experience.
Little poor kids would tell me their dreams,
which I knew could not come true for them, at least this year,
but they had faith in Santa,
and even a “maybe” from me made their eyes sparkle.
Somehow, I felt guilty.
One little boy asked me how come Santa Claus is white.
I told him I hoped he wouldn’t hold that against me,
and he assured me he wouldn’t.
There were always a few raggedy strays
wandering around the toy department,
giggling and touching all the magical things
that would soon belong to someone else.
Some of them laughed and pointed at me, but never came too close.
Others showed off to their pals by climbing right up on my lap,
as if they weren’t scared at all.
One little girl, dressed in filthy rags, was too small to climb up on my knee,
so I lifted her up. She weighed nothing.
I wondered if she was old enough to talk, as she just smiled at me.
Obviously, she was alone and uncared-for.
I asked her where her mommy and daddy were and she said, “Drunk”.
Then she confessed her love for me.
I asked her what she really wanted most for Christmas,
and she lisped, “New shoes”.
She wasn’t wearing any this winter.
“Merry Christmas! Ho-Ho -Ho”, I choked,
as she climbed down to be replaced by the next in line.
When business tapered off I searched the whole store for the little girl,
to buy her a pair of new shoes, but I was too late.
She had disappeared and I never saw her again,
except in my mind every Christmas.
“Rhonnie Scheuerman’s Christmas Time Inspiration For All In Need This Morning”
Put Your Trust In Me, And I Will Keep You Safe
There is a deep, deep yearning in your heart for safety and security. You can mask these longings with activity for a time, but only for a time. These feelings actually serve a very good purpose. Properly used, they can point you to Me and My sufficiency. I am the only One who can really, ultimately keep you safe.Whenever you start to feel insecure-about anything-come to Me. Talk with Me about your fears and concerns; then affirm your trust in Me. Voicing your trust connects you with Me at a deep level. It also pushes back the darkness of deception. The evil one has been deceiving people ever since time began, since the Garden of Eden. Do not listen to his lies. Instead, put your trust in Me, for I am absolute Truth. As you come to know Me-the Truth-better and better, I make you increasingly free.Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. -Proverbs 29:25The Lord God said to the woman, What is this you have done? The woman said, The serpent deceived me, and I ate. -Genesis 3:13Jesus said to [Thomas], I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. -John 14:6 nkjvAnd you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. -John 8:32 nkjv
Listen To 10 Perfect Country Christmas Party Songs
Drinks, snacks, mistletoe and music … that’s pretty much all you need for a great Christmas party. Country stars have been providing the soundtrack to gatherings nationwide for decades, but if you’re a little lost on where to begin with songs to play at your Christmas party this year, we’ve put together this playlist of the 10 Best Christmas Party Songs.
Not all of these cuts are upbeat and merry; one or two might be best saved for the end of the night, when it’s just you and that special guest left amongst the candlelight, empty cups and dirty dishes. Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift and Garth Brooks each have a song included, and the top spot on our Christmas party songs list goes to a song we all know (though few can name the artist).
“Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy”
Garth Brooks is sure to get any Christmas party going with his sampling of Buck Owens’ Bakersfield sound. Brooks has sold over three million copies of the Beyond the Season album, one of two he put out during his career. This fast-paced country-rocker is perfect for a get together with adult friends, and just right to kick off this list of the Top 10 Christmas Party Songs.
Brooks and Dunn
Brooks and Dunn‘s version of this classic is lively and spirited, perfect for your Christmas party. The slower, more poignant songs have their place during the holidays, but when it’s time to have fun, we want the thrills of Kix Brooks‘ guitar and Ronnie Dunn‘s vocals. “Winter Wonderland” can be found on the duo’s 2002 album It Won’t Be Christmas Without You.
“Jingle Bell Rock”
Dozens of artists — George Strait and Eddie Rabbit, to name two — have released their own recordings of this 1957 hit, but Helms’ original still stands alone as the most endearing version, earning him a spot on our 10 Best Christmas Party Songs list. Everyone knows the words, and after a few glasses of eggnog, revelers should be singing along together — for better or worse. “Jingle Bell Rock” was a Top 20 hit for Helms.
While it’s nice to assume that everyone at your party will be crazy for country music, a few may enjoy hearing a pop cover. Taylor Swift‘s version of George Michael’s “Last Christmas” should more than suffice. It’s one of the best country Christmas songs since 2000; the EP it was featured on sold almost one million copies. The singer proves that even during a Christmas celebration, sadness and regret can sound sweet. In addition to making this list of the 10 Best Christmas Party Songs, “Last Christmas” was included on our list of the Top 10 Traditional Christmas Songs.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside”
Lady Antebellum were practically built to sing songs like this. The steamy interplay between Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott is messaged beautifully on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The No. 6 song on our list of 10 Best Christmas Party Songs is one you may want to save until it’s just you and that one special guest who seems to be lingering around a little longer than the rest. “I’ll just help you clean up?” Sure, we’ve heard that line before.
“Let It Be Christmas”
Alan Jackson‘s hit topped our list of the 10 Best Original Christmas Songs, and would rank higher on the list of the Top 10 Christmas Party Songs, but it falls more under the category of songs you want to play on Christmas morning with the family rather than a few nights before when there’s a line to stand under the mistletoe. Still, it’s one your country music loving friends and family will want to hear at your get together. Find this song on Jackson’s Let It Be Christmas album from 2002.
“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”
Brenda Lee was hardly a teenager when she recorded this song in the late ’50s. Even though more contemporary artists like Toby Keith and LeAnn Rimes have taken a turn at reinventing it, the original has persevered and earned a place on our Top 10 Christmas Party Songs list. Lee’s label originally released this song as a pop song, but country radio stations have since kidnapped it.
Kellie Pickler‘s addition to this list of the 10 Best Christmas Party songs is one for the women. It’s doubtful you’ll find a bunch of cowboys singing along to “Santa Baby” (unless they’ve had way too much spiced eggnog), but the ladies may want to do their best impression of Pickler’s recreation of this Eartha Kitt classic. The North Carolina born cutie isn’t a diva, but she sure acts like one on this song, and we love her for it.
“Run, Run Rudolph”
Dozens of artists have covered this Chuck Berry original, but few have played “Run, Run Rudolph” with as much energy as Luke Bryan. He recorded this song in 2008, and it cracked the country Billboard charts. The singer stays true to the original, only allowing his Georgia twang to set his version apart from the others.
This is the most played Christmas song on country radio, making it an easy choice for No. 1 on the Top 10 Christmas Party Songs list. But that’s not the only reason it’s here. It’s charted multiple times since its 1989 release. Lisa Layne (not Vince Vance) is the lead singer, and her straightforward rendition of the holiday love song makes it one people look forward to hearing. Perhaps it’s that few people have covered this version of the song that allows “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to remain so dear to Christmas revelers. Unlike traditional songs like “Jingle Bells” and “White Christmas,” we have no reason to grow tired of it.
“Rhonnie Scheuerman’s Christmas Time Inspiration For All In Need This Morning”
Your Daily Devotions
“I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand.
I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, Isaiah 42:6
Another goal of your daily devotions should be: guidance. Without God’s input you’re at the mercy of your own best thinking—and that should concern you greatly! The Psalmist wrote, ‘Show me Your ways…teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.’ (Psalms 25:4-5). God said through the prophet Isaiah: ‘I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them.’ (Isaiah 42:16). The path you take determines your destination, so before you decide to go in a given direction, talk to God. And don’t be surprised when He takes you down a road ‘you have not known’. You must trust that God knows what He’s doing. Blaise Pascal said, ‘All of man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.’ In this fast-paced age you must take time to slow down, collect your thoughts, evaluate what’s happening around you, and get direction from the One who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Jesus told His disciples to ‘come apart’ in order to be rejuvenated physically and spiritually (Mark 6:31). The Bible says, ‘…When they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.’ (Mark 4:34). There are certain things God will explain to you only when you take the time to be alone with Him.
help me spend alone time with You today so that I can meditate upon You!
In Jesus’ NameAmen