Happy New Year!

I hope you had very Merry Christmas and New Year’s Day celebrations.

I am so thankful that the Lord sent us a white Christmas. I had almost given up. When it poured over the weekend of December 20, I feared we’d have yet another green Christmas.

It’s just not the same when there’s no snow. When it snows, everything is clean and the sun seems brighter. Everything from blue spruce to ragweed looks beautiful when it’s snow covered.

When I think about winter I think of snow. Cardinals and blue jays seem so much more vibrant against a bright white palate.

I hope you attended a Christmas Eve service. I had planned to, but the snow and the last minute Christian preparations kept me home. My husband, children, and I had a short Christmas Eve service at our house instead.

We sang Christmas carols, read Luke 2:1-20, and offered gifts to Baby Jesus. My daughter has a realistic-looking baby doll that represents Jesus and we use a decorative crate as the manger. Then we give Jesus gifts. We offer things like our complete trust in Jesus for 2014, favorite toys, our money, and things like that.

Pastor Dave Bell offered a beautiful Christmas Eve service at Fallowfield United Methodist Church. It included seven Bible readings, and the congregation sang Christmas carols between readings. The choir sang “Hurry on Down to Bethlehem,” a spiritual-style song. It was well attended.

Fallowfield United Methodist held its annual Christmas party on December 22. Lots of finger foods, cookies, and homemade candies dressed the table. Teachers and Sunday school students exchanged gifts and every child in the church received a bag of treats.

The Sunday following Christmas Pastor Dave preached on what to do after Christmas. He used the example of Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt after Jesus’ birth. Followers of Christ are to trust God, keep serving God, go about our work, and take care of our families.

Epiphany is January 6. This is when Orthodox Christians celebrate Christ’s birth. Amish also celebrate Second Christmas on January 6.

Western Christians remember the Magi’s journey from Persia to Bethlehem to find the Christ Child.

I find the relationship between Israel and Babylon fascinating. Abram came from Ur of the Chaldeans. Chaldeans lived in Babylon. The Israelites traveled from Israel to Babylon after King Nebuchadnezzar captured Jerusalem. Then they returned to Israel under King Cyrus. The Magi came from the east, possibly Parthia or Persia, to worship Baby Jesus. Babylon was once a Persian province.

Some food for thought.

All God’s blessings in 2014!