Category Archives: Christmas

The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came (On Handbells and With Lights)

This video combines two things I love — the piece our handbell choir played this year for Christmas and houses with lights synchronized to music.

This year’s piece was The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came.  And while the musical accompaniment to this light show isn’t ours ,it gives you an idea of what the piece sounds like.

I will also note it’s been stuck in my head for the past couple of days while I’ve been swimming laps in the pool.


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Musings Mondays: Christmas Reading


Time to start the week with Musing Mondays (hosted by A Daily Rhythm).

This week’s random question asks: What books are you hoping to get for Christmas (whether as gifts, or ones you’ll purchase yourself)?

I haven’t put any books on my Christmas list but I do have a few on my reserve list at the library that I hope come in to read during the season.

At the top of my list is the new Michael Connelly novel, The Crossing.  Hopefully it will come in soon because I’m eager to read it!

I’ve also been doing a bit of browsing of books to get me into the spirit of the season.  Luckily my local library has a couple of displays of books with a Christmas theme.   I’ve picked up a few cozy mysteries with a Christmas theme and I’ve got to admit I’m really enjoying them.  I’ve also got a collection of stories from Southern writers that has been enjoyable as well.

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A Few of My Favorite Christmas Things: Lessons & Carols


This morning, I participated in one of my favorite Christmas traditions –the annual service of Lessons and Carols at my church.

The service is a proclaiming of the true meaning of Christmas in word and song.   I’ve been blessed to be part of the handbell choir for close to a decade now, playing the lower octave bells.

It’s always a wonderful service, always reminding me why and what we are celebrating during the Christmas season.   In many ways, it doesn’t feel like it’s Christmas until I’ve been to Lessons and Carols.

And as our family grows in the next year, I’m looking forward to sharing the experience with our daughter.

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A Few of My Favorite Christmas Things: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


I think I first encountered Barbara Robinson’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever when a teacher read it to our class. I’m not sure exactly which grade I was in when this happened, but I do remember I found the story of the Herdman clan invading the annual Christmas pageant a lot of fun.

I think I checked this book out of the library at least a hundred times growing up.   Of course, it got very popular during the Christmas season, so I’d get in my seasonal reading of the book in early to late November each year.

The Herdman family comes from the wrong side of the town.  They’re dirty, rude and have a terrible reputation.  Somehow the Herdman family catches wind of the annual Christmas pageant and shows up for tryouts, bullying their way into some of the prime roles in the play.  As rehearsals unfold, the Herdman family proves to be disruptive, leading up to a funny performance. Continue reading

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A Few of My Favorite Christmas Things: Mickey’s Christmas Carol


Each evening at the dinner table, my parents would ask my sister and I what we’d done that day at school.   Most of the times, I tended to not really address the central question in any great detail.  But for some reason when I learned about verb tenses, I shared this information with my family with some enthusiasm.

A couple of days later, my dad told me about this great story that could help keep the concepts of the past, the present and the future straight for me.  He said it was called A Christmas Carol and that a recorded version had come out.  He said it starred Disney characters and it featured Scrooge McDuck as Ebeneezer Scrooge.

He related some of the story, whetting my appetite to hear the entire story.  And so it was that I was given the LP version of Mickey’s Christmas Carol.   I believe the record was issued released before the animated version hit theaters and then home video.

The record features the story of A Christmas Carol along with a few songs along the way.  I have to admit these songs were kind of catchy and I could hum them for days after I’d listened to the record. Continue reading

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A Few of My Favorite Christmas Things: A Charlie Brown Christmas


A Charlie Brown Christmas aired as part of the Christmas season for the fiftieth time last night.

It seems like a lot of the things I enjoy are celebrating milestone anniversaries these days.   But there aren’t many that I’ve watched longer than A Charlie Brown Christmas.*

*I suspect I’m not alone in this.

Growing up, it seemed like the special aired a bit closer to Christmas than it does now.  This created a bit of an issue when my family was stationed in Hawaii for four years.  This was in the days before satellite television and so television programs were generally shown in our fiftieth state a week behind their transmission date in the continental United States. ** This sometimes meant that certain Christmas specials would air the week after Christmas.  This was also the days when VCRs were a bit luxury item and we’d often say that if we had one, it would be worth it to record all the Christmas specials one year and then watch then the next year leading up Christmas instead of after it

** Of course, we could also go to the beach on Christmas day.  It’s all a trade-off! Continue reading

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