18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about[d]: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us").
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Our Family Christmas
The baby was born in a barn, but I had all the animals come to worship him in our Bethlehem scene.
Some of you have asked what Christmas in the USA is like compared with China. Since I have lots of pictures of our Christmas celebration this year posted on Pinterest, I thought I would share them with you and tell you something about our special traditions in our family. Christmas is a special holy holiday all over the world because it celebrates the birth of the son of the creator (see the verses above).
China does not have any official holy holidays, so even Christmas there makes no mention of the reason for the day. Here Santa Claus, reindeers, and snow are also featured along with wonderful Christmas songs and gifts to give. The merchants here and in China love to sell Christmas gifts. But there is a better reason for the season. It is a time to show love and joy to the world, because the one who will save us from death and our own evil has been born.
I went to a fellowship meeting on Christmas Eve to sing Christmas Carols and take a special rite with all the others there that night. The building was decorated with Christmas trees with holy symbols on them. The room was full of candles on each row of seats. At the end of the service we all lit candles and raised them high to sing the Christmas song
Whole families where there with their little children. Grandparents came as well as mothers and fathers. There were no empty seats in the place. The minister wore special clothes and did special things to remind us of the birth and death and coming to life again of the son of the creator.
At home we have a Christmas tree with silver and gold decorations, and I put up lights outside our house to welcome guests. We also send out Christmas cards to our friends and relatives. I send a family Christmas letter online to people who write me.
When I was a child on our family farm, we used to go out to the fields and cut down our own live Christmas tree to put in our house. It was always an adventure and an argument about which tree to select. Then when we got it inside, it was always too big since it looked smaller outside before we cut it.
I made pumpkin bread to give to my friends, but others give small gifts like Christmas decorations or gift cards. My husband gave me a lot of gift cards for McDonald's and other restaurants. That way we can enjoy a night out to eat together all year. My friends at the local Chinese restaurant also gave me gift cards to eat there. I will have plenty of meals after Christmas. Our son Matt gave us Chromebooks this Christmas. He came from California for Thanksgiving, so he did not come back for Christmas. He usually goes with his wife Cindy to his in-laws for Christmas
Our older son Ross and his wife Rachel brought our grandchildren for an early Christmas before going to Pennsylvania to their other grandparents' home. They got magnetic blocks from Uncle Matt and Aunt Cindy. The grandkids of course got toys, games, puzzles, and clothes. Josiah got a Spiderman scooter he could hardly put down.
Josiah shares his Spiderman Scooter
Ellie wanted help with her new puzzle. She is three years old and loves legos, cooking with Mom, and books.
Uncle Matt and Aunt Cindy gave them magnetic wooden blocks
Ellie works a puzzle
孙子孙女在装饰姜饼屋 The grandkids decorated this gingerbread house.
The most fun we had this year was decorating a gingerbread house with our grandchildren. They loved to lick the icing off their fingers. The house is held together with the sticky icing, and candy is also "glued" to the house with it. Unfortunately, the roof slid off over night. The kids thought maybe a mouse wanted to get inside, but we taught them about gravity.
I will come to China on January 6th for the Qinzhou tuition gathering of our high
school students. We are also planning a scholarship dinner on the 18th of January in Qinzhou. Any former or present college scholarship student is welcomed and should come to the lobby of the White Dolphin Hotel at 5:30 pm. We will walk together to a nearby restaurant.
From Yangshuo I will go to Nanning and then on to Kunming by plane to see our projects there. I plan to spend Chinese New Year in Guizhou with our Buyi minority students. The Anlong students will gather on Tuesday, February 4th at Anlong High School. Any Blessing Hands college scholarship students in that area can contact Mrs. Nancy Huang about her plans for that day. We also hope to see a water purifier installed at a primary school.
王岭学 Lin Wang School
I will be back in Nanning on February 7th and plan to go to the Du'an Yao minority schools before leaving for the USA on the 11th. During that time I hope to see my friends who have been visiting scholars at Morehead State University over the years.
Some of the students will be on holiday, but some at the primary school students live close enough to come to greet me and get school supplies. We will be supporting two more primary/kindergarten schools in the Du'an mountains for school supplies. I hope to see Wei Senbao and get pictures of him after his operation on his neck.
Blessing to all of you on these wonderful holidays both in China and the USA. They are times for family and good food. If you have a gift to give our kids before the end of the year, the Paypal donate button works in China or the USA. .
I am a mother and housewife that loves China and children. The two interests
have come together in serving the children of China who need help with
educational needs. I started as a teacher in an English summer camp and got to
know the teachers first. When I toured their schools and met their precious
students, I could see many needs and decided to try to help. I first started a
fund to assist children with tuition, but it has expanded into a 501(c)(3)public
charity granting money for textbooks and school supplies for primary school and
lower middle school students and tuition for older students.