• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Thursday, December 24, 2015


 Our old copy of Dickens Christmas Carol
Loved to pieces (published before copyright dates were  inscribed)

We found a lighted Christmas ornament this year, with the reformed Scrooge from Dickens’ Christmas Carol coming into the Cratchit home with Tiny Tim on his shoulder.

Ornament Inscription on back:
          “It was always said of him
            that he knew how to keep Christmas well,
            if any man alive possessed the knowledge.
           May that truly be said of us, and all of us.”

As David read again Dicken’s wonderful work, "A Christmas Carol," part of Scrooge’s conversation with the Ghost of Christmas Present captured his attention.

The Spirit of Christmas Present had been sprinkling the groceries of passersby with his torch.

     “Is there a particular flavor in what you sprinkle from your torch?”
       asked Scrooge.

     “There is. My own.”

     “Would it apply to any kind of dinner on this day?” asked Scrooge.

     “To any kindly given. To a poor one most.”

     “Why to a poor one most?” asked Scrooge.

     “Because it needs it most.”

When Scrooge journeyed forth with the Ghost of Christmas Past he expressed his fear of falling – being mortal.

The Spirit of Christmas Past touched his heart saying, “Bear but a touch of my hand there and you shall be upheld in more than this.”

The Ghost of Christmas Present bid him, “Touch my robe and hold it fast.”

After being transformed by these two spirits, and after being shown the headstone of his own grave, Scrooge, as Jacob in the 32nd chapter of Genesis, wrestled with the future. “In agony he caught the spectral hand. It sought to free itself, but he was strong in his entreaty, and detained it….”

May we lay hold of the Spirit of Christmas and thereby master our Christmases yet to come.

Love the Ames

Monday, December 21, 2015


Today Church featured hymns chosen by the Ward Council with short readings between each musical number. It is one of my all time favorite Christmas Programs - ever. Thank you Bishop Dax Wells and everyone else that contributed.

One of my earliest memories is singing with my family.

We would gather together and sing, just to sing,
especially near Christmas.

The songs and carols of the Christmas season always lift my heart.

Please join us.

12:00 a.m. O Come All Ye Faithful.

This unique version shows how people who worship at Westminster Abbey rejoice in the joy of the Savior's birth. Although the words they sing are not common in popular music, we can nevertheless follow their words and hearts toward Jesus Christ.

Westminster Abby, a large Gothic cathedral in England, was founded in 960 A.D., and is steeped with history.

Many of our ancestors are from Britain, and specifically from the London areas of Britain. What was worship at Christmas time like for those that have seen and walked near or in this building?

3:00 a.m.

O Little Town of Bethlehem 

Some religions believe they know the actual site of the birth of Jesus Christ.

14 pointed silver star marks place believed to be site of the birth of Jesus Christ.
 "Jesus birthplace in Bethlehem" by DE.MOLAI -
Originally uploaded on the Italian Wikipedia. 
Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

The Church of the Nativity,located in Bethlehem, is a World Heritage Site.

This link provides a virtual tour of the site first identified in the mid-second century by Justin Martyr.

6:00 a.m.

Away in A Manger

What were his grandparents like?
1. Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head;
The stars in the heavens looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

2. The cattle are lowing; the poor baby wakes,
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.

3. Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

Text: Anon., ca. 1883, Philadelphia
Music: William J. Kirkpatrick, 1838-1921;

harmonized by Rosalee Elser,1925-2007. (c) 1980 Rosalee Elser.

9:00 a.m.
Stars Were Gleaming

1. Stars were gleaming, shepherds dreaming;
And the night was dark and chill.
Angels' story rang with glory;
Shepherds heard it on the hill.
Ah, that singing! Hear it ringing,
Earthward winging, Christmas bringing!
Hearken! We can hear it still!

2. See the clearness and the nearness
Of the blessed Christmas star,
Leading, guiding; wise men riding
Through the desert dark and far.
Lovely showing, shining, growing,
Onward going, gleaming, glowing,
Leading still, our Christmas star!

Music: Polish carol; arr. by Darwin Wolford, b. 1936

Words (c) 1930 by Presbyterian Board of Christian Education; renewed 1958; from Hymns for Primary Worship. Used by permission of Westminster/John Knox Press. Arr. (c) 1989 IRI.

12:00 noon

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night

Oh Yeah! watch these sheep - we should follow the shepherd, AND - unlike these sheep, we should think for ourselves so we can receive inspiration and personal revelation suited to our stewardships and needs.

I truly love this depiction of the angels coming to shepherds by night.

1. While shepherds watch'd their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
"Fear not," said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind;
"Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind."

2. "To you, in David's town this day,
Is born of David's line
The Savior who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:
The heav'nly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid."

3. Thus spake the seraph, and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song:
"All glory be to God on high
And on the earth be peace.
Goodwill henceforth from heav'n to men
Begin and never cease."

Text: Nahum Tate, 1652-1715; based on Luke 2:8-14
Music: Yorkshire carol, ca. 1800

Glow in the Dark Angel 2013 tree

3:00 p.m.

Angels We Have Heard on High

played by The Piano Guys

1. Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o'er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

2. Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heav'nly song?

3. Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

Text: French carol, ca. 1862

Music: French carol

6:00 p.m.

Joy to the World

Dancing Snow Couple ornament 2013

What makes you dance with JOY? And sing hallelujah?
Here's another wonderful version of Joy to the World

9:00 p.m.

With Wondering Awe

The human voice is an instrument of wonder. I love barbershop. Sing like that at my funeral, eh?

My favorite 3 wisemen. 
And this rendition is worth every second of the 4:40 minutes. 


1. With wond'ring awe the wisemen saw
The star in heaven springing,
And with delight, in peaceful night,
They heard the angels singing:

Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to his name!

2. By light of star they traveled far
To seek the lowly manger,
A humble bed wherein was laid
The wondrous little Stranger.

3. And still is found, the world around,
The old and hallowed story,
And still is sung in ev'ry tongue
The angels' song of glory:

4. The heav'nly star its rays afar
On ev'ry land is throwing,
And shall not cease till holy peace
In all the earth is growing.

Text and music: Anon., Laudis Corona, Boston, 1885

The Holy Night, by Carl Heinrich Bloch

12:00 midnight

Silent Night


1. Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon virgin mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace;
Sleep in heavenly peace.

2. Silent night! Holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight!
Glories stream from heaven afar;
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior, is born!
Christ, the Savior, is born!

3. Silent night! Holy night!
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth;
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.

Text: Joseph Mohr, 1792-1848; trans. by John F. Young, 1820-1885
Music: Franz Gruber, 1787-1863