Hope at Christmas
This Christmas, let’s enjoy the music and inspiration found in “White Christmas.” If we struggle to feel like celebrating Christmas, let’s remember the way that past generations in America fought the darkness and observed the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they kept hoping and working for a brighter future. And let’s take Irving Berlin’s lead and work hard to encourage patriotism and freedom. Let’s reach out to veterans, military families, and current servicemen and women this Christmas. (Read on for ideas to show them love and support this Christmas season.) Most of all, during such trying times, may we center our eyes and hearts on Jesus Christ. After all, Christmas is all about Jesus. May our hearts be filled with the hope of Christ this Christmas as we remember why He came. In the darkest of times, His light still shines! Let’s reflect His light and share His love this Christmas. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). God bless you,Carrie and Stacie Sisters and Cofounders
Christmas Virtual Parade for Heroes
To be included in our next Virtual Parade of Heroes, please e-mail us the hero’s name, picture, and service information by January 1, 2022 to firstname.lastname@example.org. The virtual parade will then be published in early 2022 in an online musical video virtual parade and you will be notified of its publication by e-mail.
It is a blessing to honor our nation's heroes. We are grateful for this opportunity to give credit where credit is due!God bless you,Carrie and Stacie
Featured Bible Verse
Unite the USA's
Featured Veteran of the Month: Paul Bucha
How to Bring Christmas to Our Military
I Believe In Christmas by Zig Ziglar
My sixth Christmas will always have great meaning to me. We celebrated the birth of Christ even in hard times because we believed in Christmas.
Unfortunately, over the years things have changed. The cheerful “Merry Christmas” of yesteryear has been replaced by the politically correct “Happy Holidays!” In the minds of many people we celebrate “holidays.” Not only is Christ not at the center of the celebration, He isn’t even considered to be the reason for the season!
If I seem upset about the changes that I see taking place in regard to Christmas, it is because I am! It’s not because an old tradition is being changed. No, I’m upset that the event that made it possible for me to have a life I could never have imagined is being hidden from view with decorations, wrapping paper, parties and political correctness!
You see, I believe it’s worth celebrating that Jesus came to earth—His birth signaled hope for all mankind. I believe that as He lived out a perfect life before God and mankind, He showed that He truly was God’s Son. And I believe that by giving His life up on a cross, He completely paid the penalty that my sins—and yours—deserve before a holy God. And it was made possible because of that first Christmas. How could I not believe in Christmas? Because Christ was born as a baby in a manger, that’s more than enough reason to celebrate Christmas for what it is—a joyful occasion. I’ve experienced forgiveness of my sins and have the assurance of eternity in Heaven! If you don’t know Jesus Christ, let me say that He tells us in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
How do you do that? First, understand that I’m talking about a relationship, not a religion.All the world’s major religions emphasize that you qualify for heaven by your good works—the things that you do. Such “religion” is spelled “d-o.” Christianity is spelled “d-o-n-e.” Christ already paid for our sins when He died on the cross. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). And He rose from the grave proving that the punishment for our sins was fully paid. Nothing we could ever “do” could qualify us for God’s forgiveness and reserve our place in heaven. That’s why Christ Himself said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him who he has sent” (John 6:29).
God forgives us, saves us from our sins, and gives us eternal life based on our belief in what Jesus did for us. Why? Because God is gracious beyond measure! The Bible says that it is “…by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works…” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Though “the wages of sin is death” [eternal separation from God], the greatest Christmas gift we could ever have is “the free gift of God…eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
With gift-giving like that from God, I don’t want to lose the significance of Christmas. I believe in Christmas!
I urge you to accept the greatest “Christmas gift” you’ll ever receive: If you’re convinced that God’s way is the only way to meaningful life now and eternal life in heaven, you can tell Him in words like these…“Dear God, I do believe Jesus died for me, and took the punishment my sins deserved. I want to receive Your free gift of salvation and eternal life. Thank You for making this possible!” Then join my family this year in celebrating Christmas like you’ve never celebrated it before!
Christmas at the White House
Ingredients3 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder1 tablespoon baking soda1 tablespoon ground cinnamon1 teaspoon salt1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature1 1/2 cups granulated sugar1 1/2 cups light-brown sugar, packed3 eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract3 cups semisweet chocolate chips3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats2 cups sweetened flake coconut2 cups chopped pecans
DirectionsPre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl. In 8-quart bowl, beat butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, 1 minute. Gradually beat in sugars to combine, 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans.
For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.
Bake in 350 degree F oven 17 to 20 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies to rack to cool.
IngredientsButter and flour for prepping the pan2 cups granulated sugar1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature3 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon baking powder1 cup whole milk, at room temperature1 cup (4 ounces) blanched almond slivers, very finely chopped1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract6 large egg whites, at room temperature1/2 teaspoon salt
Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350° F. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan with butter and flour. Shake out the excess flour, and set the pan aside.
Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Set the bowl aside.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, and sift 2 more times. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar in 3 additions, alternating with the milk. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and fold in the almonds and vanilla. Set the bowl aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites and salt with clean beaters on high speed until stiff peaks form, 4 to 5 minutes. Fold about a quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, just until combined. Fold the remaining whites into the batter, just until combined. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan, and place the pan in the oven.
Bake the cake until it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 57 to 62 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges, give the pan a gentle shake, and invert the cake onto the rack to cool, right side up, 1 hour. Slice and serve.
Ingredients1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup butter, divided3 milk chocolate candy bars (two 7 ounces, one 1.55 ounces), broken into pieces4 cups semisweet chocolate chips1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow creme1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk4-1/2 cups sugar2 cups chopped walnuts
DirectionsLine a 13-in. x 9-in. pan with foil and butter the foil with 1 tablespoon butter; set aside. In a large heat-proof bowl, combine the candy bars, chocolate chips and marshmallow creme; set aside.In a large heavy saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the milk, sugar and remaining butter. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 4-1/2 minutes. Pour over chocolate mixture; stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan. Cover and refrigerate until firm.Using foil, lift fudge out of pan; cut into 1-in. squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Ingredients2 cups flour1/2 teaspoon baking soda6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature1 cup confectioners' sugar2 large egg yolks plus 1 large egg white, preferably at room temperature2 tablespoons sour cream
DirectionsCombine flour and baking soda in a bowl or on a sheet of a waxed paper.
Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed until creamy and well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the egg yolks and white one at a time, beating on medium speed after each addition, until smooth and well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
On low speed, gradually beat in sour cream and the flour mixture, just until a soft dough forms with no trace of flour left. Divide in half.
Place one half between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper, rolling to an even thickness of 1/8 inch. Place on a baking sheet (with top and bottom papers) and refrigerate or freeze for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
Working quickly, remove the top sheet from one half of the chilled, rolled-out dough. Cut out as many stars as you can, transferring them to a baking sheet as you work (spacing the cookies 1 inch apart). Once the dough begins to soften and becomes hard to work with, pop it back in cold storage and use the second batch of firmed-up dough. Re-roll scraps, as needed. It’s also helpful to chill the cutouts on baking sheets that await oven time; baking them straight from cold storage.
Bake (middle rack) one sheet at a time; turn the sheet front to back after 5 minutes. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the stars are just beginning to brown on the edges. Watch closely; once the browning starts it goes fast.
Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack; cool the cookies completely (on the sheet) before serving or storing.
3 one-ounce semi-sweet chocolate baking squares3 one-ounce unsweetened chocolate squares1 1⁄2 cups unsalted butter6 eggs2 cups sugar2⁄3 cup flour1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt1 teaspoon baking powder1 teaspoon vanilla2 cups chopped pecans
DirectionsMelt chocolate and butter in top of double boiler; cool. Beat eggs and sugar until light. Add to chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients after blending, stir in vanilla and nuts. Bake in buttered/floured 9" x 13" pan 35 minutes at 350. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar.