Friday, 11 November 2016

Christmas Stocking Fillers # 9


Its time to celebrate
Our saviour’s birth
Its time to mark
The day he came to earth

Its Christmas again
Its time to rejoice
Its time to sing
And to our praise give voice

So praise the Prince of peace
Our majesty of mercy
Hallelujah Son of God
Oh Jesus Son of Mary


Charles Pathé was a French photographer and in 1909 He was the first to present newsreels as a regular attraction at a theater in Paris the following year in 1910 he introduced the newsreel to the United States.
He was born on Christmas day 1863 in Paris and died on Christmas day 1957 in Monte Carlo.


Telesphorus, the second Bishop of Rome from 125 to 136 AD, declared that public Church services should be held to celebrate "The Nativity of our Lord and Saviour."


The Christmas Card begins with Cody Cullen (John Newton) in the midst of war in Afghanistan.
He is touched by a Christmas card sent to him by Faith Spelman (Alice Evans) from the small, picturesque town of Nevada City, California. As the months pass, the card never leaves his side, giving him the strength to survive.
Then on his return stateside he sets off on a mission to find her.
He travels to Nevada City and meets the Spelman family and after saving her fathers life (played by Edward Asner) he is invited to stay with the family for the holiday.
And so the tale begins a lovely uncomplicated holiday treat of a film with a seasonal happy ending.


863 Boudouin with the Iron Arm married Judith, daughter of Charles de Kales
1545 Council of Trente the 19th ecumenical council opens
1642 Dutch navigator Abel Tasman discovers New Zealand
1577 Sir Francis Drake sets sail from England to circumnavigate the world
1833 HMS Beagle with Charles Darwin aboard arrives in Port Deseado, Patagonia
1843 "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens first published
1903 Wright Brothers make maiden flight at Kittyhawk
1903 Italo Marcioni patents ice cream cone in New Jersey
1913 the Mona Lisa which was stolen in Aug 1911 returned to the Louvre
1916 Avalanche in the Tyrol kills 10,000 Austrian and Italian troops in 24 hrs
1918 U.S. Army of occupation crosses Rhine and enters Germany
1918 Wilson, becomes the first serving president to make a foreign visit (France)
1919 Ross and Smith land in Australia after flying from London
1920 League of nations establishes International Court of Justice in The Hague
1928 Clip-on tie designed
1938 Los Angeles freezes at 28ø F
1939 Battle of the River Plate between 3 British cruisers and the German Graf Spee
1941 U-81 torpedoes British aircraft carrier Ark Royal
1943 150 U.S. Marauders bomb Schiphol
1944 Japanese kamikaze pilot crashes into U.S. cruiser Nashville killing 138
1949 Knesset votes to transfer Israel's capital to Jerusalem
1951 Future British Prime Minister Margaret Roberts marries Denis Thatcher
1959 Archbishop Makarios elected first president of Cyprus
1966 U.S. bomb Hanoi for the first time
1967 Unsuccessful coup against Greek King Constantine II
1974 Malta becomes a republic
1976 Longest non-stop passenger flight 13hours 14mins (Sydney to San Francisco)
1977 14 University of Evansville basketball players die in plane crash
1978 the first U.S. coin to honor a woman, the Susan B. Anthony dollar is issued
1979 Strikes against price increases in Gdansk Poland
1981 Polish government declares martial law and arrests Solidarity activists
1982 a major Earthquake hits Northern Yemen killing 2,000
1990 Heavy earthquake strikes Sicily, 18 die
1993 Fire in textile factory in Fuzjou China, killing 60
1994 American eagle commuter plane crashes in North Carolina, killing 15


On the eve of her feast day People lit "St. Lucy's fires" they would throw incense into the flames and then bath in the smoke
This they believed would protect them against witchcraft, disease, and other evils.


Words by James Montgomery and Traditional Music

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o'er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation's story,
Now proclaim Messiah's birth:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light;
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great desire of nations,
Ye have seen His natal star;
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!


From December 17th to the 23rd the Romans ornamented their temples and homes with green boughs and flowers for the Saturnalia.


St. Thomas is sometimes called Didymus the Twin or the Apostle of India or more often Doubting Thomas, he was a Jew and a carpenter and was one of the original twelve disciples chosen by Christ to preach his Gospels He was a dedicated follower of Christ even Ready to die with Jesus when Christ went to Jerusalem.
when Jesus announced His intention of returning to Judea to visit his sick friend Lazarus, Thomas immediately rallied his fellow disciples to go with Him on the trip which involved because of the mounting hostility of the authorities certain danger and possible death.
when Christ told His Apostles At the Last Supper, that He was going to prepare a place for them to which they also might come because they knew both the place and the way it was Thomas who said “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?" and Christ assured them with the beautiful assurance that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Thomas was not with the other disciples when Jesus came to them after the Resurrection. And on his Thomas’s return he refused to believe what had happened.
He continued to doubt the Resurrection until Eight days later he was allowed to touch Christ's wounds when The Lord came a second time.
Thomas was gently rebuked for his skepticism and then exclaimed: "My Lord and My God," thus making a public Profession of Faith in the Divinity of Jesus.
Thomas was also present at another Resurrection appearance of Jesus when a miraculous catch of fish occurred at Lake Tiberius.
After Pentecost the Apostles dispersed and Thomas was sent to evangelize and he preached to the Parthians, Medes, and Persians he formed many parishes and churches along the way and he eventually reached India, spreading the gospels as far as the Malabar Coast.
While in India he was stabbed to death with a spear around 72 AD at a place called Calamine.
Since the fourth century the celebration of the transference of his body to Edessa in Mesopotamia has been commemorated on his feast day on July 3rd.


The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary is located in the District of Saanich, near the city of Victoria, Canada.
It is an oasis of natural beauty Surrounded by the urban sprawl of Victoria and Swan Lake is only minutes from the downtown area.
The Nature Sanctuary consists of two distinct areas with Swan Lake and its surrounding marshy lowlands which provides good habitat for many birds and small animals such as muskrat, river otter and mink and the rocky, oak-forested highlands of Christmas Hill with its majestic view from the hilltop and the meadows blooming with a sea of wildflowers in the springtime.
The lake was formed when the last glacier receded 12,000 years ago but Swan Lake’s current status is due to much more recent events just a few decades ago.
Up until the 1970’s the area was a dumping ground for a mixture of raw sewage, farm waste and chemicals from a local winery.
But due to the cleanup which began in the 70's the area is a rich habitat for a variety of wildlife.


All children think
Christmas just happens
But parents work tirelessly
To bring it about
Months in the planning
Putting things away
Things to add to a special day
Shopping and wrapping
Dressing and decking
Super market shopping
The prices heart stopping
Journeying from shop to shop
For the latest must have toy
All made worth while
To see a face lit with joy


Christmas Pie is not as the name might suggest a Christmas delicacy but is in fact an entertainment originating from the tradition of the mummers play’s and is performed in the church.
It has evolved over many years and now includes poetry and prose, religious readings, short sketches and seasonal music to become very much like the Christingle services.


Well worn festive tunes
Blare out
Hapless faces
Stare out
Faces strained
Bemused, Confused
Lists gripped tight
Pens ticking or deleting
Then onward
Loaded trolleys
Wildly steering
Zig zagging
Aisle to aisle
Every item
Must be had
Gin for her
Beer for dad
Chocs and cakes
Chops and steaks
Turkey, stuffing
Nuts and fruit
Frozen this
Prepacked that
Pop and juice
Something’s loose
Everything ticked
On the tight gripped list
Nothing missed
Merry Christmas wished
Hundreds of pounds
Of Christmas bought
The festivities can begin
Relax in the knowledge
The shops will only be shut
For twenty four hours


The name "Santa Claus" is derived from the good Bishop "Saint Nicholas," patron saint of beggars and thieves and in the middle Ages, thieves were known as "clerks of St. Nicholas."


Despite the general awfulness of the Christmas song there are however always exceptions to the rule and I have a short list of personal favorites.
Without exception all my choices not only include the song but the best performer of that song and so in no particular order here is my eighth selection.

“That’ll Be Christmas” written and performed by Thea Gilmore-

Rain falling and a chance of snow
Jonah Louie on the radio
French beer and mistletoe
That'll be Christmas

Cars queueing on the edge of town
Afternoon with the blinds pulled down
It's just the way the deal goes round
That'll be Christmas

I was going to head for high ground
Just forget it all
But the line's busy I can't make that call
Oh no.

Join the others in the bar by ten
Peace and goodwill to men
Me missing you again
That'll be Christmas

A tired waiter in a stupid hat
Muddy boots on the welcome mat
You just can't say no to that

Hot wine and a Christmas tree
The Sound of Music and the family
Faith hope and gluttony
That'll be Christmas

There's a choir of angels
A choir of soaks
And there's drunk relations telling dirty jokes
Oh no

So I'll join the others in the bar by ten
Peace and goodwill to men
Me missing you again
That'll be Christmas

It's gonna be me missing you again
That'll be Christmas
That'll be Christmas
That'll be Christmas


Our Christmas fare
Tables heaving
Cupboards overflowing
Contrasts starkly
With our foreign brothers
With meager bowls
Of meal or rice
How would they react?
To our gluttony

The homeless survive
On handouts
Of soup and bread
Or half eaten burgers
Discarded in bins
Sleeping in doorways
Or In cardboard boxes
With news paper bedding

Should we feel guilt?
For having more than they
For our good fortune
No we shouldn’t
But we should not forget them
We should spare a thought
For the less fortunate
And be charitable
A kind word or deed
Celebrate Christmas
By Christ’s rules


On December 21, 1068 Apollo 8 was launched with Frank Borman as the commander, James A. Lovell, the command module pilot and
William A. Anders the lunar module pilot.
After establishing Earth orbit Apollo 8 was set on a trajectory toward the moon.
On Christmas Eve Apollo 8 began orbiting the moon during the lunar orbits Broadcasts were made back to earth and Christmas greeting were exchanged.
After completing ten lunar orbits they left the moon being and headed back towards earth.
They returned safely to Earth on 27th December 1968.


Heralding the special day
As sweet undisturbed the cherubs lay
Early as Christmas day is dawning
The birds sing out on Christmas morning
Halleluiah, halleluiah cheer
Christ the savior’s day is here
And as awakes every little dear
One by one the lights appear
Yellow light piercing the darkness
Like stars populating heavens blackness
Until every house across the land is lit
To make a constellation to quite befit
A celebration across the earth
To celebrate the Christ Childs birth
Then with giggles and boisterous shout
The whirlwind kinder sets about
The present sack with great delight
Throwing paper to the left and right
And when they see the gifts inside
They’re open mouthed and wide eyed
Then peace restored after the early rout
The church bells call, the bells ring out
Good morning they seem to say
Merry Christmas on this special day
With purposeful step and a happy heart
We make our way to play our part
To give hearty praise and uplift
Rejoicing at the first Christmas gift


Enjoy your Christmas day in peace
Avoid any kind of quarrel or wrangle
Chill out, relax and enjoy the day
And don’t get your tinsel in a tangle


Meet the kids was a TV program in the 1960’s broadcast live from a Children’s hospital on Christmas morning.
It was hosted by well-known comedian Lesley Crowther who went from bed to handing out presents and chatting to the sick children.
He would also do lighthearted interviews with various members of staff but the show was principally about the children.
The whole show lasted little more than half an hour and it would normally end with a choir of nurses singing carols around the Christmas tree.
It was Heartwarming stuff but probably deemed to be to twee for sophisticated 21st century audiences.


The Massachusetts General Court ordered a fine of five shillings for anyone who observed the day of Christmas


The snow softly falls on Christmas Eve
Excitement abounds for they who believe
Children’s faces gaze out from the light
Searching for Santa in the snowy night
Then off to bed skipping across the floor
After milk and cookies are left by the door
Snuggled under covers they say “night mum”
And think happy thoughts of the day to come
They lie too excited to sleep in their beds
But sleep they do then they dream instead
Dreams of Santa Claus and presents galore
Dreams of toys and sweets and so much more
Then they awake in the early morning gloom
Squeals of delight coming from their rooms
And so another Christmas day has come
A day of love and laughter and above all fun


The Scandinavian’s are among many who claim to the Yule log tradition as their own.
Because of dark cold winters traditions concerned with warmth and light abounded.
Yuletide which means "the turning of the sun" was celebrated at the winter solstice and has long been a time of extreme importance to the Scandinavians.
Originally the Yule log was a whole tree carefully selected and with great ceremony was brought into the house.
One end was placed in the hearth and the rest of the tree stuck out into the room and was slowly fed into the fire timed to perfection to last the entire Yuletide season.


About ten years ago an Ambulance responded to a call in a restaurant in Warwickshire after a 56 year old man was reported to have suffered a heart attack.
When the paramedic arrived they assumed the man was a customer and quickly set to work and revived the man and took him to the hospital.
When the man duly recovered it transpired that he was not a customer at the restaurant but the owner and to show his gratitude he invited a group of thirty hospital and ambulance staff to his restaurant for a grand meal.


If you want the great gift giver
To come on his sleigh and deliver
Then remember this simple rhyme
And recall it at Christmas time
“If in Santa you do not believe
Christmas gifts you will not receive”

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