Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Around the World

This is an amazing recording of a 13-year-old boy's call in to a radio program. He has an important message for us from God, especially at this time of year.

My flare up isn't getting any better. Mia missed school today, because I couldn't manage to drive her in. It's reached the point where I can't chew anymore because even my jaws ache. I called the doctor, and he bumped up my prednisone to 15 mg a day. Great, chipmunk cheeks for Christmas. Just call me Alvin. Honestly though, I'm trying to find the joy in having RA. I just started reading Elizabeth George's Finding God's Path Through Your Trials, and she emphasizes counting joy in all trials. Then my other devotional was focused on how God hates grumbling, and we should offer up a sacrifice of praise even when we don't feel like it. So obviously the Lord has a message for me here. In my prayer journal last night, I listed all of the reasons that I am grateful for having RA. I get to read more, I'm a more attentive mom, my relationship with God has strengethened, plus many more blessings that have been showered on me since I got sick. This isn't something I can overcome just once. I'll have to count it as a joy daily and offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving when I feel like grumbling. I am blest. I know this to be true.

Christmas Around the World by Chuck Fischer is a sensual delight. Fischer includes world traditions for celebrating Christmas in a glorious pop-up book filled with color and surprises. I was thrilled when I got this book and paged through it repeatedly before reading it. With all of its multi-layered pop-ups and pull-outs, it's impossible not to touch. Placing it on the coffee or end table is an invitation to explore. While relating educational material about Italy's Christmas Witch and Russia's version of Santa Claus, he somehow manages to capture the wonder and magic of Christmas in a way that's perfect for young and old alike. I had no idea of the differences in the versions of Santa from around the world, and it was intriguing to learn how he evolved from St. Nicholas to the Dutch Sinterklaas with hints of the Norse Odin. Christmas traditions from cards to crackers are all included. From the creche at St. Peter's to the streets of Paris, the pop-ups are fantastic and lovely. In the back is a drawer holding a Santa and sleigh that can be used as a small candy dish or even a gift box. Not a detail has been missed in this celebration of the holiday Every generation in my family is in love with this book, and it's certain to become a family keepsake.

I only have three gifts left to buy for Christmas, so now the only thing stressing me out is getting out my cards. I wanted to stamp them and include a family picture. At this point, I'll be happy if they are the boxed variety and arrive before Epiphany!