Operation Christmas Star: How to Help Destroy Darkness at Christmas
2022 presented extra challenges for our nation's heroes and their families. This compounds with how depression, suicidal thoughts, and overall post-traumatic stress symptoms can surge at this time of year. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that we offer encouragement and sincere thanks to them this Christmas. Please read on to learn more about how you can encourage veterans and military families this Christmas.
This year, Gold Star families are especially on our hearts. Please join us in this important mission we've named Operation: Christmas Star (for Gold Star families). Read on to learn how you can easily do your part.
Yes, 2022 challenged all Americans to one extent or another. Yet it has also included blessings. One thing is for sure: 2022 pointed to the fact that this world needs a Savior. And His Name is Jesus Christ. This Christmas, may we all look to Jesus for true hope. As we continue to reflect on this most memorable year, let us reflect His love and light to those dwelling in darkness.
"You make my lamp bright. The Lord my God lights my darkness" (Psalm 18:28).
Shared with hearts full of God’s love for you all,Carrie Stoelting and Stacie Stoelting HudzinskiSisters and founders of Unite the USA
P.S. For some lighter Christmas material, this edition of Unite the USA also includes a special Christmas section including our annual feature of Christmas recipes by former First Ladies. Try them out and learn about the First Ladies with the kids in your life! :)
Virtual Parade for Heroes
So many military families are separated from one another this Christmas season and New Year's. And Gold Star families will celebrate another Christmas and New Year's without their loved ones.
Many heroes wrestling with post-traumatic stress do not like being in crowds. Many heroes also suffer from injury-related and/or age-related mobility issues. Therefore, we are hosting another Virtual Parade for Heroes this upcoming Christmas season and New Year's so that every hero can be honored.
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, 2023 to email@example.com. The virtual parade will then be published in early 2023 in an online musical video virtual parade and you will be notified of its publication by e-mail.
This year's Virtual Parade for Heroes will have a special emphasis honoring heroes killed in action as an extra way to support Gold Star families. If your loved one was killed in action, please let us know when you e-mail us.
We are grateful for this opportunity to give credit where credit is due! Join us! God bless you,Carrie and Stacie
Upcoming Media Appearances
Newsmax this Friday, December 23 at 9:15 AM CST
FOX News this Saturday, December 24 at 11:50 AM CST
Stacie and Carrie on Newsmax
Operation Christmas Star
A Christmas Outreach for Gold Star Families
Gold Star families deserve extra love and care at this time of year. This Christmas, we are honoring Gold Star families in a new way. If you know of a Gold Star family and want to do something, let us help make it easy for you to do it.
Free of charge, we are sending special star ornaments made from olive wood from Bethlehem to each Gold Star family brought to our attention. All you need to do to get involved is to send the information about the Gold Star Family in your life. Please e-mail us Gold Star family names and mailing addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or, if you have lost a son, daughter, mom, dad, brother or sister, please contact us directly.
Will you join us in reaching out to these most deserving, precious families?
Other ways to get involved include the following: Pray for the project. Share about it on social media. Let your church friends know about it.
We hope and literally pray that the ornaments will remind each Gold Star family member that many people love them, pray for them, and remember their profound, incalculable sacrifice. May we all remember the words of the Lord: "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
Featured Bible Verse
Unite the USA's
Featured Veteran of the Month: John Baker
Christmas Desserts from First Ladies
Sugar Icing (recipe follows) (optional)3 large egg whites at room temperature1 1/2 cups sugar2 tablespoons rose water or orange-flower water
DirectionsCombine the currants, orange and lemon peels, and citron in a large bowl. Add 1/2 cup of the Madeira, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for at least 3 hours, or as long as overnight. Stir the remainder of the Madeira together with the brandy, cover, and set aside. When ready to bake the cake, preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Drain the fruits in a large strainer set over a bowl, stirring occasionally to extract as much of the Madeira as possible. Add the strained Madeira to the set-aside Madeira and brandy. Combine 1/4 cup of the flour with the fruit, and mix well. Add the almonds, and set aside. Sift the remaining flour with the nutmeg and mace. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until it is light. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating for several minutes after adding each ingredient. Whisk the egg yolks until they are light and smooth, and add them to the butter and sugar. Continue to beat for several minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Alternately add the spiced flour, 1/2 cup at a time, and the Madeira and brandy, beating until smooth.In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to form stiff peaks. By hand, gently fold them into the batter, combining lightly until well blended. By hand, fold in the fruit in thirds, mixing until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the cake on a wire rack to cool in the pan for 20 minutes. If serving the cake plain, turn it out of the pan to cool completely. If finishing it with icing, turn the warm cake out of the pan onto a baking sheet, and proceed with the icing. To ice the cake, spread Sugar Icing generously onto the surface, piling it high and swirling it around the top and sides. Set in the turned-off warm oven and let sit for at least 3 hours, or until the cake is cool and the icing has hardened. The icing will crumble when the cake is sliced. Directions for Sugar IcingIn the bowl of an electric mixer, start beating the egg whites on low speed, gradually adding 2 tablespoons of the sugar. After about 3 minutes, or when they just begin to form soft peaks, increase the speed to high and continue adding the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until all the sugar is incorporated and the egg whites form soft peaks.Add the rose water, and continue beating to form stiff peaks. Use immediately to ice the cake.
½ cup butter1 tablespoon sugar2 egg yolks7/8 cup milk, or 1 cup buttermilk1 cup plus 1 tbsp. of sifted cake flour1 pinch salt2 stiff beaten egg whites4 teaspoon. baking powder
Directions1. Cream butter and sugar, add egg yolks. Beat. Add flour and milk alternately. When ready to bake fold in egg whites, and add baking powder. The mixture should be thick and fluffy.
2. Cook in a waffle iron and serve with hot maple syrup and melted butter
Ingredients1 cup sugar2 cups butter, at room temperature1 teaspoon vanilla extract1/2 tablespoon lemon rind grated2 eggs6 cups cake flour
DirectionsCream together sugar and butter in an electric mixer. When fluffy, add vanilla and lemon rind. Blend well. Add eggs, one at a time; mix well. Remove from mixer. Add cake flour; blend with a heavy mixing spoon. Chill dough in refrigerator 1 hour or overnight.
Roll dough to 1/8" thickness and cut out with cookie cutters. Bake in preheated 375 degrees F oven until brown, about 7-8 minutes.
Ingredients5 large egg yolks¾ cup clover honey2 cups whole milk2 vanilla beans, split in half lengthwise¼ cup cold heavy cream
DirectionsPlace the egg yolks and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer.Using a whisk, whip the mixture on high speed until increased in volume and pale yellow and fluffy.Place the milk in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla beans, place the seeds and beans into the milk.Place the saucepan on medium heat and bring to a boil.With the mixer running, dribble the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture.When all the milk has been added, place the mixture into a saucepan on medium heat.Stir the mixture constantly until it has thickened slightly and has started to bubble around the edge.Immediately pour the mixture through a very fine sieve.Allow the mixture to cool to lukewarm.Chill the mixture in the freezer for 3 hours.
Ingredients2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened1 cup firmly packed brown sugar1 cup granulated sugar2 large egg2 teaspoons vanilla extract1 (12 ounces) bag semisweet chocolate chips, preferably Valrhona2 cups quick-cooking oats (not instant)
DirectionsHeat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt onto waxed paper. Set aside.Beat together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl until fluffy. Stir in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets.Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.