Tag Archives: Christmas

gold stars on a blue background

Believing good news

Luke 2, NIV 

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,

“Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

 

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

figures in a nativity scene with a bright start in the sky

 

The origins of Handel’s Messiah

 

We usually associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel composed it to be performed at Easter.
“Handel got the lyrics from a preacher named Charles Jennens, who wrote out the whole piece as a collage of Bible verses designed to tell a story about the Messiah.
In some cases Jennens copied verses from the King James Version of the Bible directly, and in other cases he abridged or modified the wording of the Bible verses somewhat to fit into something that could be set to music and sung.
He also decided to change the “point of view” in a couple of places. Rather than quoting Jesus’ words about himself directly, for instance, he made a few changes so that the singers are singing about Jesus rather than portraying the role of Jesus.”
quoted from wheatwilliams.com

 

 

In these Advent posts, I am sharing  verses from the physician Luke , sung in Part 1 of Messiah.

 

 

 

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FAITH HOPE LOVE in block letters

Weekend Words-

sharing words of faith, hope, and love

(1Corinthians 13:13)

 

 

Also for Advent

Bringing good newsan angel figurine

Announcing good news 

 

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person holding a lit candle

Finding Holiday Joy Amid the Grief

 

 

Although this season brings  fun and festivities, many of our friendsgroup of lanterns

find it hard to feel joyful when their hearts are heavy with grief.

 

 

 

 

Whether from a  recent loss, or  one many years ago, grieving for the loved ones who won’t be here to celebrate with us can dampen our holiday spirit and  lead to depression. 

  • I think of my friend  who has lost both a sister and a son this year.
  • I remember my friends who tragically lost their teen aged daughter in a car wreck just a few days before Christmas many years ago.
  • I consider my medical colleague who is battling cancer.
  • My heart aches for my friends who lost a young aunt to an undiagnosed medical condition which suddenly proved fatal .
  • And my husband and I  still grieve the loss of our parents and siblings at Christmas even after many years.

 

As one friend wrote-

“This is my second Christmas without my husband.  It has been tough, but also a reminder that God is the god of all comfort. That works for me. And… it is a reminder to pray comfort to anyone who has faced a loss of a loved one including precious pets. Loss from any source needs a comforting friend.”

If you know someone who needs a “comforting friend”,  please take the time to reach out to them so they know someone cares and they are not alone.

Here is advice from Nancy Guthrie on

What to say to grieving people. 

“Honestly, the most painful thing is when you’ve had a loss and someone around you—because of the awkwardness — never acknowledges it. That’s what hurts the most.”

xmas house

On the Harvard Health Blog, Dr. Anthony Komaroff  advises on 

Coping with grief and loss during the holidays

 “Grief is not a tidy, orderly process, and there is no right way to grieve. Every person—and every family—does it differently. This can cause emotions to collide and overlap, especially during the holiday season when the emphasis is on rebirth and renewal.”

My family and I wish all of you health and wholeness in

body, mind and spirit.

man and woman in front of the Alamo at Christmas

My husband and I at the Alamo in San Antonio Texas at Christmas

 

More holiday tips from Watercress Words at these links-

How to anticipate and relieve holiday stress

Healthy holiday eating made easy

 

And please consider my affiliates and advertisers for your holiday gifts, your support helps  fund this blog and increase its value to you. Thank you!

a bright star in the sky with pine trees

Announcing good news

Luke 2, NIV 

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

 But the angel said to them,

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

"For unto us a son is given"

Lightstock.com, an affiliate link 

 

 

The origins of Handel’s Messiah

“Charles Jennens (1700-1773) was a wealthy English landowner and friend of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). A patron of the arts, and skilled in music, literature, and the Bible, he collaborated with Handel on some of his musical compositions.

Jennens gave Handel the lyrics to Messiah, verses primarily from Isaiah, Psalms, Paul’s letters, and Revelation.

Messiah tells the story of the advent of Christ, His victory over sin and death, His defeat of His enemies, victorious return, establishment of His kingdom on the earth, and the believer’s victory over death through His resurrection.”

(quote from Handel’s Messiah at doctrine.org)

In these Advent posts, I am sharing  verses from the physician Luke , sung in Part 1 of Messiah.

 

 

 

Please share this post and follow Watercress Words for more 

"faith, hope, love"

Weekend Words-

sharing words of faith, hope, and love

(1Corinthians 13:13)

 

 

Also for Advent

Bringing good newsan angel figurine

an angel figurine

Bringing good news

Luke chapter 2, New Living Translation 

The Shepherds and Angels

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.
shepherds raising arms to the sky

Shepherds drawing by Bill Hart

“Don’t be afraid!” he said.                                         the letters JOY painted on a white board
“I bring you good news that will bring    
great joy to all people.”

 

 

 

 

The late Bill Hart was a professional artist. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was part of the force which invaded  and liberated  France in 1944. You can read Bill’s story at this link. 

 

These verses from Luke in the Bible are sung in Handel’s Messiah musical. We usually associate  Messiah with Christmas, but Handel intended it to be performed at Easter.
 “Handel got the lyrics from a preacher named Charles Jennens, who wrote out the whole piece as a collage of Bible verses designed to tell a story about the Messiah.”
quoted from wheatwilliams.com
According to the Bible, Luke was a physician. George Handel’s father, Georg, was a barber-surgeon.
Thank you for considering  the affiliate links  and advertisers that support this blog.

 Please share this post and follow Watercress Words for more 

"faith, hope, love"

Weekend Words-

sharing words of faith, hope, and love

(1Corinthians 13:13)

 

 

 

How to anticipate and relieve holiday stress

Halloween has barely come and gone, if that long, before magazine articles, television programs , retail advertisements, and radio music  tell us that this is

“the most wonderful time of the year.” 

That is until the extra work of shopping, cooking, decorating, wrapping, planning and entertaining makes it the least wonderful time.

snowflakes making a Christmas tree

While we  welcome celebrating with family and friends, those encounters can create emotional tension and strain. When we feel  sad that loved ones can’t be with us, either through distance or death,  the season can become the worst of the year.

By anticipating these events and feelings, we can prepare ourselves for the physical and emotional stress of the holiday season, and find a way to enjoy the festivities with “hearts all a glowing.”

These  resources offer  sound advice for confronting  and conquering holiday challenges.

Writer Bruce Y. Lee takes a lighthearted but serious look at the holiday season and suggests music may help us cope better in

 How To Reduce And Deal With Holiday Stress

Twelve Days of Christmas”: Keep perspective and if the Holidays are tough for you, remember that the Holiday season is temporary and will pass. Try not to take yourself and things too seriously. Just make sure you maintain healthy habits and avoid behaviors that will lead to health problems (such as gaining weight) beyond the holiday season.”

colorful wrapped packages

Consider this advice from WebMD before going 

Home for the Holidays 

“Don’t worry about how things should be. Most people have less than perfect holiday gatherings — they have family tension, melancholy, and dry turkey too. If you have negative feelings, don’t try to deny them. Remember that there’s nothing wrong or shameful or unusual about feeling down during the holidays.

a cute snowman

31 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas from Woman’s Day

#23 Know when to say no.

Can’t say no? Then keep your gatherings small and intimate. Get together with a few of your closest friends or relatives for the holidays. Choose to throw the big blowout parties at another time of the year, when you and your guests will have fewer commitments competing for your precious time.”

glowing cancles

 A Simple Christmas: A Faith-filled Guide to a Meaningful And Stress-free Christmas (Spirit of Simple Living) A Simple Christmas book cover

by Sharon Hanby-Robie

“The secret to a happy holiday is learning to collaborate and to create a plan that is uniquely yours with a goal to experience more serenity, more joy, and more opportunities to nurture the souls of those you love.

But, most important, it is to remember the greatest gift ever given, the gift of the Christ Child. Take time to simply sit and ponder this amazing miracle. ”

a nativity arrangement of the manger

And in his blog post

Choose Holiday Traditions That Serve You

Joshua Becker reminds us that

“Traditions should draw our attention to the underlying reason for the season.

Traditions should not detract from the season, they should elevate it.”

Here are the 5 key points I find in these references.

Which ones speak to you?

5 keys to manage holiday stress before it manages you 

  1. Set realistic expectations for yourself and others.
  2. Anticipate stressful situations, places, and people.
  3. Plan and prepare carefully, but stay flexible for the unexpected.
  4. Keep your  health maintenance routine- healthy eating, exercise, adequate sleep.
  5. Remember what is most important about the season-family, friends, faith.

Please let me know how your holiday season turns out this year.

Thanks to Pixabay for the Christmas photos used in this post.

I would love for you to share this  information  on your social media pages.

And follow Watercress Words for more information, instruction, and inspiration to help you explore the HEART of HEALTH .

 

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Christmas Day

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Luke chapter 1

28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”

38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Mary’s Song

46 And Mary said:

“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.”

Christian tradition holds that St. Luke, the writer of this gospel, was a physician. Perhaps that’s why this Bible book speaks so much about Christ’s compassion and concern for the sick, the poor, widows, orphans, the abused and oppressed. He tells the stories of the lost (prodigal) son and the good Samaritan.

This video shows Mark Lowry as a serious and talented singer. However, he is also a gifted comedienne. He attributes his love and talent for humor to his childhood diagnosis of ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Rather than try to suppress it, he developed it into an asset to entertain and bless others.

Please visit December 26 through 30

as I review the top 5 most viewed posts on this blog in 2016.

“Tis the season to…

Do we celebrate more special events and holidays the last six weeks of the year than the rest of the year combined? It feels that way to me.  We have the three major holidays-

Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day

 

Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve have become mini holidays too.

And this year, since Christmas and New Year’s Day are on Sunday, Monday will be a holiday for many people.

(I know you’re going to thank me for not mentioning Black Friday.)

beautiful large Christmas tree

Christmas at the Chicago Museum of  Science and Industry

 

Some observe the special celebrations of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

 

In the United States, we observe December 7 as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, the day in 1941 the United States entered World War II.  That event changed our country forever, and created my generation, the post-war  Baby Boomers.

The USS Arizona Memorial

Pearl Harbor Memorial to the USS Arizona

On December 17 , 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made their  famous flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, ushering in the age of air travel, another historical turning point.

 

 

The shortest day of the year occurs on December 21, the winter solstice and first day of winter in the northern hemisphere.

 

light snow on trees and ground

 

 

And I suspect there are other special holidays and events observed too.

Besides holidays, other matters demand our time and attention during this season also.

College students face the end of a semester by studying for finals and finishing term papers and projects.

Renewal notices for subscriptions, licenses, and memberships show up in our mailboxes or inboxes.

Charities offer us one final opportunity to make  tax-deductible donations.

Patients call their doctor’s, dentist’s or optometrist’s office for that last chance to use medical insurance before the new (and probably higher) deductible kicks in or use medical spending accounts.

 

red gift boxes

Christmas birthdays can be messy too.

 

And in the middle of all this, I celebrate my birthday.

 

Having a  birthday close to Christmas makes both occasions rather messy for you and your family. As my friend ,whose birthday is on New Year’s Day, wrote, “You feel like you get cheated on your Christmas/birthday gifts.”  But  there are perks.

Your neighbors remind you your birthday is coming by hanging lights on their houses and turning them on every evening. (My husband claims that’s not the real reason. He doesn’t believe in Santa Claus either.)

You can go to a holiday party and pretend it’s for you.

You can listen to Christmas music on your birthday without seeming weird.

Your husband may hire a limousine to drive you around town looking at holiday lights displays. (No joke.)

boy and woman with birthday cakes

Celebrating a long ago birthday with my son. I don’t know why I had two birthday cakes.

 

Thank goodness, so far, no one else in my immediate family has chosen to be born or married this month. (Although I was delighted to learn  recently that two  distant cousins also have December birthdays.)

But the best part of any birthday, no matter when you observe it, is reflecting on your life, both the successes and failures, the joys and sorrows, and remembering and reflecting on the people and events that brought you to where you are now.

Birth and death comprise this journey  we call life. Long ago I recognized that we physicians do not ultimately “save lives” or “prevent death”, but we can sometimes impact the time and circumstances.

A Bible book,  Ecclesiastes chapter 3 addresses the extremes of life in this passage which is often read at funerals or memorials-

For everything there is a season, and a time for

every matter under heaven:

2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

 

This year I have  celebrated with friends who welcomed new babies into their families. I watched a friend face a disabling illness and death with the same faith, courage, enthusiasm, dignity and humor that he had lived life. I have mourned with his family and others who have lost loved ones this year.

Some people dread birthdays, but I believe  they are  a blessing; I am grateful for another year of life and hope to use whatever time I have left productively.  I agree with Oliver Wendell Holmes, who is quoted as saying,

“To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old.” (quote found at Growing Bolder)

Buzz Aldrin, one of the Apollo 11 astronauts and second human to step on the moon’s surface , recently made a trek to the South Pole. He is still healthy and active- at 86 years old. (Unfortunately, he had to be evacuated emergently due to developing high altitude sickness.)

A woman made the news recently by celebrating  her 103rd birthday. As was her routine, she spent the day  at a senior citizen center- as a volunteer!

Next month, January 15, our country observes the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I doubt my birthday will ever be named a holiday, but I hope something I do in life will leave this world a little better.

A birthday creates a new beginning  and so does a new year.  Perhaps we can all use the New Year’s Day holiday  to remember, reflect, renew and recharge our hearts and minds for another season  of life.

 

find hidden opportunities hidden in each new day

 

 

 

Yes, ’tis the season-Merry Christmas, Happy New Year-

and happy birthday, whenever yours may be.

 

dessert with a lit candle in the middle

I hope your favorite restaurant gives you a complimentary dessert on your birthday.

 

 

 

 

Please join me December 26 through December 30 as we review this blog’s

top 5 most viewed posts from 2016.

All views from now until then count so even I don’t know definitely which they will be.