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Christmas Is For Love

Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide-eyed innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.

Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister's son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn't been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt's anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.

As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, "Did you really miss me?"

I explained how he had been my best helper. "I was making you a surprise," he whispered confidentially. "It's for Christmas." With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn't stay after school any more after that.

Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. "I have your present," he said timidly when I looked up. "I hope you like it." He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.

"Its beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?" I asked opening the top to look inside. "

"Oh you can't see what's in it," He replied, "and you can't touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you're all alone."

I gazed into the empty box. "What is it Mark," I asked gently, "that will make me feel so good?" "It's love," he whispered softly, "and mother always said it's best when you give it away." And he turned and quietly left the room.

So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.

The Gospel To All Of The World

How To Be Saved

Decorating On A Budget

Christmas On A Budget

Fake Checks Prevention

Brenda's, Hymns to Him Music Ministries (be sure to check out the music sample page)

Limbo

That Time Of Year

All I Need To Know I Learned From Santa

 

1. Encourage people to believe in you.

2. Always remember who's naughty and who's nice.

3. Don't pout.

4. It's as much fun to give as it is to receive.

5. Some days it's ok to feel a little chubby.

6. Make your presents known.

7. Always ask for a little bit more than what you really want.

8. Bright red can make anyone look good.

9. Wear a wide belt and no-one will notice how many pounds you've gained.

10. If you only show up once a year, everyone will think you're very important.

11. Whenever you're at a loss for words, say "HO, HO, HO!"

Yule Log

Ingredients

  • 60g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 90g caster sugar
  • 50 butter
  • 1 tablespoon extra caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

    Chocolate hazelnut cream filling
  • 125ml cream
  • 50 hazelnuts, toasted and finely chopped
  • 125g white chocolate

    Dark chocolate Topping
  • 125ml cream
  • Icing sugar
  • 125 dark chocolate

    Procedure

    Preheat oven to 180C
    Prepare a 30x35cm jelly roll pan by greasing it, lining bottom and sides with wax paper, and greasing wax paper.
    Mix the cocoa powder and flour together.
    Mix flour and cocoa powder.
    Using electric beaters, beat the eggs and sugar for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy and increased in volume.
    Sift the flour over the eggs and pour the butter around the edge of the bowl.
    fold in gently but thoroughly.
    Put pan into oven immediately. Bake for 12 minutes, just until cake is golden on top and tester comes out clean. Do not overbake.
    Remove from oven.
    Turn the jelly roll onto a clean towel previously covered with a little bit of extra caster sugar.
    Roll the jelly roll together with the towel and allow to cool.

    The filling

    Put chopped white chocolate with the cream to melt in a pan over previously boiled water. When the chocolate is soft stir until smooth.
    Repeat with the dark chocolate and the cream.
    Leave to cool until it has the consistancy of cream.
    Beat the white chocolate cream with electrics beaters until soft peaks form. Do not beat too much.
    Unroll the jelly roll, remove the towel and spread the fillings. leave 2 cm free fo fillings on the ends.
    Roll up again, without towel but using it to help roll.
    Cut off one end on the diagonal and place it alongside the log to form a 'Y'.
    Refrigerate for 1 hour to firm filling.
    Spread the dark chocolate all over the cake and run the tines of a fork to create a 'bark' effect.
    Keep cake refrigerated until serving; it is much easier to slice when cold and firm.
    Before serving, surround cake with some frsh leaves and dust with icing sugar.

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