1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
On Christmas Eve during our childhood, we participated in a Children’s Christmas Program at our church. The verses above were read by each child in turn and we all sang Christmas carols. My favorite is still “In a Little Stable” sung by the under pre-K group. After the program as we were exiting the church, the elders would hand us each a brown paper bag with oranges, apples, nuts, and Wrigley’s little gums. The gum and apples we could manage on our own, but sometimes we had to ask for help to peel the orange, and especially to crack the nuts!
We all then gathered for our Christmas Eve party at my dad’s mother’s home (Mamaw Koop) then later as we expanded family-wise we gathered at our house, for Christmas Tamales, Egg Nog, and other fun party foods. Then there would come a knock at the door followed by “Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas!” Santa was making the rounds through our family community. After the visit we would retire to open gifts from under “The Tree.” I remember early on the ‘adults’ played the “White Elephant Game” and there was always lots of hoots, hollars, and laughter! The children would watch for a while then hurry off to play with our new things.
On Christmas Day we would sing more Christmas Carols at church then go for the big Christmas Dinner at one of the grandmas’ or at our house. Always tasty treats…Christmas tree cookies with little silver balls, very yummy fudge, divinity, and Grandma Wiede’s World’s Best Cookies, which are now succeeded by Mom’s Ranger Cookies. Such good memories from a wonderful childhood. We are blessed. ~Lesley
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