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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016 From Gary Graefen

Amazing Grace By The Very Talented Peter Hollens


















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18 Wham Christmas Videos Get Widget























Merry Christmas

One day about 2,000 years ago an angel named Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish woman named Mary. Gabriel told Mary she would have a son, Jesus, who would be the Son of God! Mary was confused and worried about this sudden news, but she had faith in God and said, "I am the Lord's servant; let it be as you say. " Journey to Bethlehem Mary and her husband-to-be, Joseph, lived in a town called Nazareth. But they had to travel to the city of Bethlehem to register for a census ordered by the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus. Both Nazareth and Bethlehem are in the country now called Israel. It is about 65 miles (105 km) from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and the trip probably took them several days. When Joseph and Mary got to Bethlehem, there was no place for them to stay because the inn was already full. They ended up spending the night in a stable, a place where animals were kept. There was probably fresh hay on the floor that they used for beds. That night, Jesus was born. There was no crib, so they laid baby Jesus in a manger, a feeding trough for animals. The manger probably had fresh hay in it and made a nice bed for the baby. Shepherds Visit Jesus Shepherds Visit Jesus Jesus was born in a stable and laid to sleep in a manger. The shepherds came to see firsthand the things the angel had told them. That night, some shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem, keeping watch over their flocks of sheep. An angel appeared to them and gave them the good news that a Savior, the Messiah, had been born. The angel told the shepherds they could find Jesus lying in a manger. Suddenly a whole group of angels appeared saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men! " The shepherds hurried into Bethlehem and found Jesus in the manger, just as the angel had told them. After they had seen Jesus, they spread the news, and everyone who heard was in awe.










































As an American and a Christian I believe in the diversity of all things and people. That each individual should be allowed by country and God to choose. That choice is an inherent quality which should be available to all men and women around the world. The worlds religions are large in number and diversity, as the world we live in. And though I might have missed a few if you are on the text below or not I hope your season has been full of joy. That you are happy and healthy. That your family is well. And that your days flow smoothly and without pain. From my heart to yours Merry Christmas from me.....simply because that is where my heart resides.-Gary <3



A quick glimpse at a calendar is one way to see how religiously diverse the United States has become.
This year, December, a month that encompasses the Christian and Jewish celebrations of Christmas and Hanukkah, includes spiritually significant days for Muslims, Buddhists, Pagans and Zoroastrians.
Yes, Zoroastrians: Scholars estimate there are 6,000 followers of the centuries-old tradition in North America.
Here’s a quick look at some of the sacred days that illuminate the last month of 2011.
Dec. 5, Ashura, the 10th day of the first month on the Islamic calendar. Sunnis, the largest group of Muslims, remember that the Prophet Muhammad fasted in solidarity with Jews who were observing Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. Shiites recall the death of Muhammad’s grandson in battle, an event that led to their differences with the Sunnis.
Dec. 6, the feast of St. Nicholas. Some Christians revere the fourth-century bishop of Myra, a Greek province in Asia Minor. His reputation for piety may have inspired the legend of Santa Claus. The tradition of leaving gifts for children on St. Nicholas Day began in the Low Countries and spread to North America with Dutch immigrants.
Dec. 8, Bodhi Day. Buddhists recall that Siddhartha Gautama vowed to sit under a tree in what is now Bodhgaya, India, and not to rise until he was enlightened. The title Buddha means “awakened one.”
Roman Catholics observe this day as the feast of the Immaculate Conception, believing that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born without sin.
Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Observed by Catholics, especially those of Hispanic descent, the story of Guadalupe recounts a 16th-century apparition of Mary to Juan Diego, a poor Indian, on a hillside near what is now Mexico City.
Dec. 20, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins at sunset on this date and continues for seven more nights. It is a remembrance of an effort to restore the Temple in Jerusalem after a period of desecration. Faithful Jews found only enough oil to light the temple lamp for one day, but the flame burned for eight.
Dec. 21, Yalda, the Zoroastrian celebration of the winter solstice.
Dec. 22, Yule or winter solstice, the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. Juul, a pre-Christian festival observed in Scandinavia, featured fires lit to symbolize the heat, light and life-giving properties of the returning sun. Wiccans and other pagan groups celebrate Yule.
Dec. 25, Christmas, observed by Christians since the Middle Ages as the birth of Jesus. Some Orthodox Christians follow a different calendar, and Christmas may fall on a different date.
Dec. 26, Zoroastrians observe the death of the prophet Zarathushtra, known in the West as Zoroaster. Tradition says he lived in what is now Iran in about 1200 B.C. His teachings include the idea of one eternal God; seven powerful creations: sky, water, earth, plants, animals, humans and fire; and that life is a struggle between good and evil.
This is also the starting date for Kwanzaa, a weeklong, modern African-American and pan-African celebration of family, community and culture. For some people who keep Kwanzaa, the festival has spiritual overtones in its emphasis on imani, Swahili for “faith.”




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