Christmas will soon be here! I’m sure I have shared the story before how my Grandma Hanson, who came from Denmark, would tell us about what Christmas was like in the old country. They hung up their stockings by the fireplace like we have often seen pictures, and were delighted on Christmas morning to find an orange inside. You do realize this was a treasure because it was out of season and not shipped like today.
Grandma thought this was a great thing and thought she would try again. Surprise, the second time her stocking had an apple inside. Now she knew she’d try again. She did, and what did she receive? The bones from the herring fish they had for supper. She said she learned what it was to be greedy and never forgot.
The animals were not forgotten either. Shoes were lined up and filled with hay and grains that usually weren't fed.
Have you ever thought about how Christmas is celebrated in other countries? We know that the real birth may not have been on December 25th, nor was there snow, yet we recognize our Christmas, here in the Midwest, with snow and evergreen trees.
When my mother was little she remembers her Grandma Christensen always gave the grandchildren a tin of peppernuts, which were hard little candies or cookies she had made. Often they would also get cista kage, something she still wishes she had a recipe for, but Grandma Christensen was a baker without recipes. Bud’s Phyllis made it from a recipe, but of course nothing tasted as good as Grandma’s — even if the copy might have been better.
When my mother worked at Lerberg’s in Ellendale after she graduated from high school, Christine who worked there would make fruit cakes. Don't wrinkle your nose. It was absolutely delicious and should have been because it was all good stuff: red and green cherries, brazil nuts, very little batter. One year she made too many and put some away and forgot them until the next Christmas. She wrapped them in white towels and gave them a drink of brandy. In fact she gave them more than one — not all at one time. They were delicious, you might even say, "Out Of This World."
I used to make cookies for Christmas and other times too — enough for elderly neighbors or whoever. I still do but it is not as much fun anymore. The calories in those cookies make me realize they were a gift I shouldn't be giving. Cancer feeds on sugar. Calories cause overhang over the belt and jeans, anywhere fat wants to reside.
Watching the news can make you shiver as forecasters track winter storms. It is kind of scary putting our children on buses, not knowing what could happen, even with the safety devices that once were unheard of. It doesn't pay to fight the weather. It is easier to let the weather win.
No matter how important the event might be, it isn't worth risking life or limb, toes, noses or fingers. Even the cold air can be enough to take your breath away, enough to lose a life. We used to cover our children with blankets and snowsuits when we took them outside. Now it scares me when I see little ones without warm enough outerwear, mittens and scarves. The baby carriers must give some degree of safety to help keep them warm.
We worry about toys for disadvantaged children. Do we pray at least for the orphans and children in "war torn" countries who have nothing but their fear and danger? Sometimes we put it to the back of our minds.
Bless the little boy who, when asked what he wanted for Christmas, said, "Peace, no more war."
There are things we will never understand. Maybe we aren't suppose to. It is enough that we love for today. Yesterday is just a memory and who knows what the future will bring.
Love today and be the best you can and may you have a very merry Christmas.
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Birthdays and anniversaries:
• Thursday, December 22nd: Destiny Rita Hill, David Arends, Pam Cook, Gary Dobberstein, Tracy Dulas, Julie Jensen Wichman, Ed Nelson, Nikki Toft Schumaker, Barbara Zamora, Bryce Hanson, Jamie Jensen
• Friday, December 23rd: Vicki Richards, Jonika Otto Wing, Jess Dunlap, Paitin DuBois, Julie Cornelius, Keith Severson, Carol Schultz, Sophia Swift, Burt & Carla Scripture
• Saturday, December 24th: Christmas Eve! Barbara Mrotz, Brooke Reese, Craig Paulsen, Anna Louise Fuerniss, Susan Oolman
• Sunday, December 25th: Merry Christmas! Mitchel Gale Evans, Krista Lee Hardyman, Tom Reitveld, Makenzie Butler
• Monday December 26th: Nadine Strenge, Tom Hanson, Joshua Kasper, Jill Peterson Otterbein, Nicklas Hanson
• Tuesday, December 27th: Sue Bailey Billbray, Colette Hemingway Moudy, Mikkel Iverson, Jamie Hagen, Scott Christensen, Carly Titus, Stacy Osmundson Titus, Ron Peterson, Shannon Peterson Pederson, Brad Bothum
• Wednesday, December 28th: Hope Mikesell, Chad Toft, Tyler Titus, Charlie Marlin, Merrill Bunn, Laura & John Ortiz, Neil & Ellen Pence, Erin & John Christensen
• Thursday, December 29th: Maxx Greyson Richards, Maya Grace Richards, Gary Hunnicutt, Seth David Petranek, Brent Born, Craig Haberman, Darlene Underland, Benjamin Paulson, Whitey & La June Hagen, Amy & Joe Louks
• Friday, December 30th: Anita Casterton, Matt Christensen, Ryan Schrodt, Jane Simon, Jim Dobberstein, Gladys Peterson, Mark & Gail Skroch, David & Arianna Arends, Kyile & Rachel Aase
Hope this birthday wish is just the beginning of a great year for you!