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Cathy Turner
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I saw something to really make me think today: what if you woke tomorrow and all you had was what you thanked God for in your prayers yesterday.   Hmmm, would your prayers change?

Ah, the last day before Christmas. As you read this story, may your eyes be opened to see, your ears be unstopped so you can hear words of truth and may you have the ability to move yourself and others to follow the King.

A Christmas Legend

There's a beautiful legend
That's never been told
It may have been known
To the Wise Men of old
How three little children
Came early at dawn,
With hearts that were sad
To where Jesus was born.

One could not see,
One was too lame to play;
While the other, a mute
Not a word could he say.
Yet, led by His Star,
They came there to peep
At the little Lord Jesus
With eyes closed in sleep.

But how could the Christ Child,
So lovely and fair,
Not waken and smile
When he heard their glad prayer,
Of hope at His coming,
Of faith in His birth,
Of praise at His bringing
God's peace to the earth?

And, then, as the light
Softly came through the door,
The lad that was lame
Stood upright once more.
The boy that was mute
Started sweetly to sing
While the child that was blind
Looked with joy on the King!!

...Author Unknown

Tom is home!!! But that doesn't make it Christmas yet so here is another story for you to think about.

A Christmas Story

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription.  It has peaked through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.
It all began because my husband, Mike, hated Christmas - oh, not the true meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it, over-spending... the frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting powder for Grandma - the gifts given in desperation because you couldn't think of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts, sweaters, ties and so forth.  I reached for something special just for Mike.  The inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son, Kevin, who was twelve that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended, and shortly before Christmas there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an inner-city church, mostly black.  These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together. presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes.  As the match began. I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling without head gear, a kind of light helmet, designed to protect the wearer's ears.  It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford.  Well, we ended up walloping them.  We took every weight class.  And as each of their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could have won," he said.  "They have lots of potential, but losing like this could take the heart out of them."
Mike loved kids- all kids - and he knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.  That's when the idea for his present came.  That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling head gear and shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his gift from me.  His smile was the brightest thing on Christmas that year and in succeeding years.  For each Christmas, I followed the tradition - one year sending a group of mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas.  It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope never lost its allure.  The story doesn't end there.  You see, we lost Mike to dreaded cancer.  When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up.  But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree and in the morning three more joined it.
Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for their dad.  The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with out grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as their fathers take down the envelope.  Mike's spirit, like the Christmas spirit, will always be with us.
May we all remember Christ, who is the reason for the season, and the true Christmas spirit this year and always.  Gold bless.

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 Happy Christmas to all our friends and family.  May you all really remember this as the most special and holy time, the birth of our Savior, the gift of our loving Heavenly Father to bring His peace to our souls and life eternal with them.

Oh, whatever day of Christmas is it anyway?  Here's another touching story to uplift your sagging spirits.  It is especially for those who are really missing loved ones.

A Christmas Poem - Spending Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees
Around the world below
With tiny lights, like Heaven's stars
Reflecting on the snow.  

The sight is so spectacular.
Please wipe away that tear
For I'm spending Christmas
With Jesus this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs
That people hold so dear.
But the sounds of music can't compare
With the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you
The joy their voices bring
For it is beyond description
To hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me.
I see the pain in your heart
For I'm spending Christmas
With Jesus Christ this year.

I can't tell you of the splendor
Or the peace here in the place.
Can you just imagine Christmas
With our Savior, face to face?

I'll ask Him to light your spirit
As I tell Him of your love.
So then pray for one another
As you lift your eyes above.

So please let your hearts be joyful
And let your spirit sing.
For I'm spending Christmas in Heaven,
And I'm walking with the King!

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The not so good news about Tom: the radio-isotope tagged white blood cells did not congregate in any place they didn't expect so no encapsulated or cyst-like pocket of infection was found.  Good news: he's responding better to treatment so they are sending him home tomorrow!  Bad news: Cathy isn't ready for him to come home, she's been enjoying her vacation from care-giving.  Best news: Tom will be home for Christmas!
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It's officially the next day, barely so I'm doing another Day of Christmas.  This man spoke in our Sacrament meeting hours ago and it was very touching.  I asked for a copy and his wife informed me that the story won 1st prize in the Deseret News Christmas Story Contest years ago so I searched for the story so I didn't have to type it all.  Please enjoy it as much as I did.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700093321/Man-cherishes-first-service-project-as-new-deacon.html?pg=all

Oh, my, I was side tracked ... and on Sunday so here's something a bit light for the 9th Day of Christmas.

Christmas One LIners

Question: Why was Santa's little helper depressed?
Answer: Because he had low elf esteem.

Question: What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?
Answer: Claustrophobic.

Question: What was so good about the neurotic doll the girl was given for Christmas?
Answer: It was wound up already.

Question: What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Answer: Snowflakes.

Question: What's red and white and gives presents to good little fish on Christmas?
Answer: Sandy Claws.

Question: What do you get when you cross an archer with a gift-wrapper?
Answer: Ribbon Hood.

Question: Why does Santa have 3 gardens?
Answer: So he can ho-ho-ho.

Question: What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?
Answer: Frostbite. 

Day #8, didn't know it was getting that much closer so soon, did you? Me, neither. Here's another thought about ordinary people like you and me doing extraordinary things together.

Ordinary People
Nancy B. Gibbs

As the Christmas season of 1996 was quickly approaching, I wasn't listening to Christmas carols, decorating the house or baking Christmas cookies.  As a matter of fact, I dreaded Christmas.
Two months earlier, my father's doctor informed us that Daddy probably wouldn't live another twelve months. If the doctor was right, this would be Daddy's last Christmas. While I wanted to make the best of the holiday, the dread of the coming event filled my soul.  Because Daddy needed around the clock medical care, he resided in a long term care facility.
"Everybody needs to be able to go home for Christmas," I told my husband, Roy. We evaluated how much money it would take for Daddy to spend the day at home. We would have to rent a hospital bed. Daddy would have to be transported by ambulance, since he couldn't ride in a car. We would have to hire a nurse to come to stay with him. After the figures were totaled, I realized I didn't have nearly enough money to bring Daddy home for Christmas.
One morning, as I drove the sixty plus miles to visit with Daddy in his nursing home room, I heard an important announcement on the radio. The deejay mentioned that the station would be making twelve wishes come true that Christmas.
"My dream is simply too big," I said aloud in my car. Then the Bible verse in Luke 1:37 came to my mind: "For nothing is impossible with God."  As I drove the remainder of the way to the nursing home, I prayed. "Please God, help me to take Daddy home for Christmas."
That night after I returned home from my trip, I wrote a letter to the radio station. I explained my father's terminal illness, how we had always spent Christmas Eve together in his home, and how my greatest wish was to bring Daddy home one more time. I listed what it would take to make my wish come true. The next day, I said a prayer and dropped my letter in the mailbox.
Several days passed. I received a telephone call at work. "Your wish is coming true," the deejay announced. For a few seconds I was speechless. All the plans to bring Daddy home for Christmas were already made! A medical supply company would donate a hospital bed. A medical transportation company had agreed to take Daddy home that morning and then back to the nursing home that night. A nurse, who was also a young mother, agreed to spend Christmas Eve with us that year.
A few things happened health-wise with Daddy that caused us to worry that he wouldn't be able to make the trip. Daddy spent several days the week before Christmas in the hospital. But two days before Christmas Eve, God performed a miracle. He made Daddy well enough to come home.  On Christmas Eve morning, I met the ambulance at the nursing home. I rode along humming Christmas carols. My heart felt like it would explode with joy. My greatest wish was coming true. My mom had gotten busy and decorated the house. When we arrived, I walked beside the stretcher as the technicians carried Daddy inside. When Daddy saw his home, tears filled his eyes. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, including the eyes of the nurse and the medical technicians.
That Christmas Eve was a day that I will never forget.  I saw an awesome amount of love as it poured from the hearts of many people. The deejays, a young nurse, two medical technicians, and the owners of a medical supply company, gave freely of their hearts to make my greatest Christmas wish come true. I was then, and forever will be, grateful for their generosity.  I experienced what I already knew in my heart -- that God uses ordinary people like you and me to make heartfelt Christmas wishes come true.
Maybe this is the year that God would like to use YOU to make someone's greatest Christmas wish come true.  Are you willing to freely give of yourself to bring joy to another person's life?

More in the continuing saga of Tom's latest hospital stay.  In order to find the localized infection, on Monday they will take more blood, separate out the white blood cells, use a radioisotope to "tag" those cells and then put them back in.  God designed the body to send white blood cells to injured/infected areas.  The "tagged" cells will then go to the localized area of infection.  An X-Ray will show where that area is and then they can know what area to work on.  We should know by Tuesday. 
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