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As the Christmas season moves forward, our mailboxes provide delightful posts of encouragement, reconnection and well wishes with cards, letters and photos. I especially love the humorous one!images-13

I have the habit of sending mine out the week after Christmas …

Some years it was a card, some an update letter and now it is usually a family photo card … every second year.

Today’s guest post (Linda Ann Nickerson) is one I discovered when looking for Christmas poems. It is The Top 10 Famous Poems for Christmas Cards, and I am certain that many, if not most you have heard or read before.

The list caught my eye because I was certain that my most favorite of poems (Christmas focused or not) would be included in the list, and it was!

Just leave me a note here, or on Facebook as to which poem you think is my favorite, and maybe tell me if one of them is a favorite of yours too.

“To many folks, Christmas poems may be the most memorable verses of the entire year. These treasured verses do echo annually through our Christmas picture books and holiday greetings.

Here are our top 10 favorite famous Christmas poems for use in Christmas cards.

These famous Christmas poems include both lighthearted and lingering verse, but all are appropriate for holiday greetings. Readers may recognize some of these verses from traditional Christmas carols, as many of the most famous Christmas poems have been set to music over the years.

Favorite famous Christmas poems (or excerpts, in some cases) are listed here in alphabetical order (by author).

The Holy Night

We sate among the stalls at Bethlehem;
The dumb kine from their fodder turning them,
Softened their horned faces
To almost human gazes
Toward the newly Born:
The simple shepherds from the star-lit brooks
Brought their visionary looks,
As yet in their astonied hearing rung
The strange sweet angel-tonge:
The magi of the East, in sandals worn,
Knelt reverent, sweeping round,
With long pale beards, their gifts upon the ground,
The incense, myrrh, and gold
These baby hands were impotent to hold:
So let all earthlies and celestials wait
Upon thy royal state.
Sleep, sleep, my kingly One!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
British Poetess
(1806 – 1861)

Some Children See Him

Some children see Him lily white,
the infant Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white
with tresses soft and fair.

Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
the Lord of heav’n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown
with dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Saviour whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed
With skin of yellow hue.

Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary’s Son to whom we pray.
Some children see Him dark as they
And, ah, they love Him so.

The children in each different place
Will see the Baby Jesus’ face
Like theirs but bright with heav’nly grace
And filled with holy light.

O lay aside each earthly thing
and with thy heart as offering
Come worship now the infant King
‘Tis love that’s born tonight!”

Alfred Burt
American Composer
(1920 -1954)

The Christ-Child

“The Christ-child lay on Mary’s lap,
His hair was like a light.
(O weary, weary were the world,
But here is all aright.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s breast
His hair was like a star.
(O stern and cunning are the kings,
But here the true hearts are.)

The Christ-child lay on Mary’s heart,
His hair was like a fire.
(O weary, weary is the world,
But here the world’s desire.)

The Christ-child stood on Mary’s knee,
His hair was like a crown,
And all the flowers looked up at Him,
And all the stars looked down.”

Gilbert K. Chesterton
British Author
(1874 – 1936)

Before the Ice

“Before the ice is in the pools,
Before the skaters go,
Or any cheek at nightfall
Is tarnished by the snow,
Before the fields have finished,
Before the Christmas tree,
Wonder upon wonder
Will arrive to me!”

Emily Dickinson
American Poetess
(1830 – 1886)

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet the words repeat,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll’d along th’ unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bow’d my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men.

‘Til ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
American Author
(1807- 1882)

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

“‘Twas the night before Christmas,
when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring,
not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
‘Now, Dasher! now, Dancer!
now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!’

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes – how they twinkled!
his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses,
his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.'”

Clement Moore
American Author
(1779 – 1863)

Peace on Earth

“Peace on earth will come to stay,
When we live Christmas every day.”

Helen Steiner Rice
American Poetess
(1900 – 1981)

Love Came Down

“Love came down at Christmas;
Love all lovely, love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Stars and angels gave the sign.”

Christina G. Rossetti
British Poetess
(1830-1894)

Heap on the Wood

“Heap on the wood.
The wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.”

Sir Walter Scott
Scottish Author
(1771 – 1832)

A Christmas Prayer

“Loving Father,
help us to remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and the worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate and
open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and
good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing
which Christ brings, and teach us to
be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy
to be Thy children, and the Christmas evening
bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.”

Robert Louis Stevenson
American Author
(1850 – 1894)”

 

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Today is the end, and tomorrow the beginning of a calendar year.

If I were to make one New Years Resolution that I need to follow through with, it would be to awaken EVERY day viewing it (that day) as a brand new start.

Last week I got a head start on resolution-type promises. I attacked areas I could improve in my marriage, as a parent, and tried really hard to put my goals on the page that I might have with regards to my walk with God. Today is the easiest list to write, but maybe the most difficult to get around to actually completing … the goals I have for my own life.

So, here they are, my goals for my own Earthly existence for 2013:images-4

  1. Finish editing my book – Well I thought that it would be completed by the end of summer, but it is so far not done. I need to finish it this year … for me, and then I will see what I want to do with it after that.
  2. Continue with weight loss – Last June I saw the picture and was sickened by the image staring back at me. That photo brought me to tears also brought me to an awareness of my need to lose the weight that has been hindering living fully, and I must continue in this downward direction.
  3. Increase physical activity – This has been the most difficult part of trying to improve my overall health. I know that weight would drop faster, and more consistently if I was more active. Surely I can make time for three walks a week to start.
  4. Read one book each month – Another goal that means I need to ‘make time’ for something.
  5. Think before I speak – Is there any more that needs to be said about this? I think not!
  6. Call my parents more regularly – This is one thing I need to do, for them and for me. I will aim for every two weeks …
  7. Stop procrastinating – This one really applies to all of my goals for 2013! In all things in my life, from finishing my book to responding to phone calls, I need to just get it done.
  8. Take more time for girlfriends – This one does not come naturally for me, but it is one that I know I benefit from when I do it, and it feeds my heart and soul so greatly.
  9. Get away for a writing weekend – Just me, my laptop, a place to walk, and time to pray …
  10. Dream – I need longer term goals to plan for and dream about, not just surviving, but aiming for more out of life, this I need.

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As the Christmas celebrations wind down and the New Year looms nearer and nearer I am in the midst of saying good-bye to the successes and failures of 2012, and saying hello to the goals for success in 2013.

The goals for 2013 that I have shared so far have been about my Earthly loves … my family. They are the ones who I consider to be such sweet gifts from God.

images-3For today, though, I am considering my goals in my walk with God.

These goals are not easy to come up with, compared with my goals for my marriage and goals for my children. Maybe it is because I feel rather ‘pious’ in considering trying to improve in my walk with God … as though that is possible, not because I am so ‘good’, but because He is truly so good to me.

I could say that my list includes goals like reading my Bible everyday, witnessing to at least one person each week, or doing random acts of kindness for total strangers. All of those are good goals, but is that what God desires of from me?

The more I have tried to write goals, the less valuable them seem to be, in comparison to the grace, the freedom and the love that God offers to me (to us).

As I understand that the point of doing this in regards to my relationship with my husband or my relationship with my kids, I realize that my goals in those relationships are intended to improve my relationships with those people … they are self-improvement goals, for my benefit. I hope to improve something in their lives, thereby improving my own.

As I ponder my goals in my relationship with my Savior, and consider how I might improve my relationship with Him, I realize that there is nothing that I can do to change it, increase it, improve it. My relationship with my God is not dependent on my changes, or my actions, or my goals. My relationship with God has always been complete from the first moment that I handed the keys of my life over to my heavenly father. From that wonder-filled moment I was reunited with my Creator, and there was no altering my steps from that moment on.

Each day I awaken with Him in my first breath. He guides my every step, and when I side-step Him, He is still right beside me. He makes me aware of His presence in the wind through the trees, the joy of watching my children grow and learn, the scent of my hubby when he kisses me goodnight. He never leaves my side, whether I walk through rain or sun.

My goal for 2013, in my walk with God …

is to believe Him when He says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake youโ€ (Hebrews 13:5)

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So, I am now at day number two of my Top 10 Goals for 2013, and this time the focus is hubby.

He REALLY does not appreciate posts about him, that mention him, that use him as an example … so, in honor of his preference that I not write about him … heck, I’m just going to do it anyway!

P&C Cropped

He has to forgive me … comes with the whole “love, honor and … forgive” ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are my Top Ten Goals for my Marriage for 2013:

  1. Do not go to bed angry – I mentioned this yesterday in regards to our kids and it doesn’t hurt to say it again, โ€œdo not let the sun go down while you are still angryโ€ (Ephesians 4:26).
  2. Get away – make time for at least one night each season to get away together, sans children, as a couple. It is so easy, with all of the demands of life, to forget that the family we created started with us, just us, and for this family to continue we need to invest in us.
  3. Respect him – As I write it I just know that some poor, misinformed lady is going to interpret respecting your husband as some kind of response to an archaic male dominated patriarchal society or religion. That is NOT what this is about! He is a child of God, like me, and as such I need to respect him …
  4. Make his life easier – I am sure that there is at least one thing I can do each week to make his life easier … from answering the phone (instead of letting him, because it is always for him), to doing his dinner clean up once in a while (not too often, as I do not want him to get too used to being relieved of ‘his’ chore).
  5. Thank him – so often when we live with someone it is so easy to forget our manners. Please and thank you are words I know I need to use more often with my man.
  6. Let him decide – … and be okay with his decision! My hubby knows that if I say “you choose” his whole future is at stake. I need to trust him to make a decision, and trust the outcome!
  7. Surprise him – there is nothing like veering from the normal, everyday, meatloaf every Monday stagnant way of living to bore a couple to mediocrity! Start seeing excitement and refreshment in someone else. I WILL surprise him … and the details of that, well those are between the two of us ๐Ÿ˜‰ .
  8. Remember the past – I need to reflect on those days, so many years ago, when we only knew adoring love (aka, before we were married ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) … not bills, crisscrossing schedules, and to do lists.
  9. Forget the past – we have baggage, and that is a reality, but the past is the past, and needs to be left there. We cannot move forward if I keep looking back.
  10. Plan for the future – “Where there is no dreaming for the future, the marriage relationship is dead” (that is the Carole Wheaton interpretation of Proverbs 29:18) … enough said.

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If you are reading this, then yes, you have survived the chaos that can be associated with Christmas Day.

For me, Boxing Day means two things; one is that I am ready to take down the tree, and clean up the house, and the other is that I start to think about next year.

Over the next few days, my posts will be related to my thinking about next year. Each day I will share Ten Goals that I have for myself, my children, my marriage and my relationship with God.

Today, I am starting with my ten goals for 2013, related to my three children.

Wheaton+Family-38-2-1602627366-O

God has blessed hubby and I with three healthy, productive, God-fearing/loving children. There was a time when we wondered if we would even have children with our own DNA. There was a time when we understood contentment with one, believing that our chances of carrying another to term would never be. There were dark and sorrow-filled times, times when we cried out to God, times when we grew to understood that today we only see a part (1 Corinthians 13:12) …

As parents we have taken those experiences, that pain, of the past and promised to not forget the gifts that these children are to us. Oh, we fail – daily we fail as parents, but our hearts desire is to not take them for granted, not forget our responsibility to be active in their lives, and to daily hand them back to their Creator.

My goals, as their mom, for 2013 are:

  1. Be intentional in spending at least one time per month with each child – they are individuals, and I need to know them individual
  2. Pray with each more often – so easy when they were young, but it is still such a beautiful thing to lay our burdens at His feet together
  3. Be more involved in assisting them with school work (even unsolicited … mostly unsolicited) – I often am so desiring that I give them independence in their school responsibilities that I forget that they still need help, and I am able to help them!
  4. Tell each child, every day, that I love them – I cannot just think it, for their benefit I need to give wings to my thoughts
  5. Do not end the day, or go apart angry – this applies to so many relationships (every relationship). There is wisdom in “do not let the sun go down while you are still angry” (Ephesians 4:26)
  6. Laugh with them – Oh how sad to spend a day living under the same roof and not sharing a laugh together … what sweet memories laughter provides!
  7. Tell them why I love them – not just ‘I love you’ but ‘I love how you ….’, ‘I love that you ….’
  8. Tell them that I am proud of them – I do believe that success breeds success, and if I let them know of the successes I see in their lives, I believe that it will magnify their ability to do even greater things
  9. Praise their father, in their presence – although hubby and I do not parent exactly the same, we are one, united front when it comes to our kids, and our kids need to know that we love each other, and that we respect each other … and thinking it is not enough … I need to give words to my thoughts.
  10. Give them wings – I cannot hold them too tightly, I need to hold them with enough flexibility that they can come and go. God’s example to us is to give us the choice to come to Him … there is no better parenting example! And there can be no greater gift than having my child choose to share their life with me.

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