"Peace on Earth" (Click on the Angel to see her face.)
Peace Now, Peace in the New Year & Peace for All Time!
"Let us not use bombs and guns to overcome the world. Let us use love and compassion. Peace begins with a smile--smile five times a day at someone you don't really want to smile at -- do it for peace."
-- Mother Teresa
"There's no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending."
-- Abraham Lincoln
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."
-- Jimi Hendrix
During the month of December there are many different celebrations and holiday greetings in many lands. To read more about them, visit The Holiday Spot
Just two of the yearly festivities enjoyed by the people of our world:
"Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration... and is one of the fastest-growing holidays in the history of the world. It began 30 years ago when graduate student Maulana Karenga, disturbed by the 1965 riots in Los Angeles' Watts area, decided that African-Americans needed an annual event to celebrate their differences...Not a religious holiday, Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. Two of Kwanzaa's fundamental activities are the 'ingathering of the people which reaffirms the bonds between them; and the special reverence for the Creator and creation which recognizes and reaffirms the bond of mutuality between the divine, social and the natural...'" For more about Kwanzaa, visit the official website here.
"Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, lasts for eight days and nights. This year Hanukkah, also spelled Chanukkah, began at sundown on December 4. The holiday originated when Judah the Maccabee and his followers reclaimed the temple in the village of Modi'in from Syrian King Antiochus IV. The temple was cleansed and prepared for rededication. The Hebrew word Hanukkah means "dedication." When the sacred temple Menorah (candelabra) was relit, there was only enough sacred oil to burn for one day. Yet, according to tradition, the oil miraculously lasted eight days until more purified oil could be found." For recipes, books, history and more, visit The Holiday Spot's Hanukkah pages.
"In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave 15 dollars a week to buy groceries. Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.
I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed, crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn or do anything. I had to have a job. Still no luck.
The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel. An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour and I could start that night.
I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal. That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers we all thanked our angels for finding Mommy a job.
And so I started at the Big Wheel. When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money-fully half of what I averaged every night. As the weeks went by, heating bills added another strain to my meager wages. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.
One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered. I made a deal with the owner of the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.
I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.
On Christmas Eve, the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and were dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.
When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning I hurried to the car. I was hoping the kids wouldn't wake up before I managed to get home and get the presents from the basement and place them under the tree. (We had cut down a small cedar tree by the side of the road down by the dump.) It was still dark and I couldn't see much, but there appeared to be some dark shadows in the car - or was that just a trick of the night? Something certainly looked different, but it was hard to tell what.
When I reached the car, I peered warily into one of the side windows. Then my jaw dropped in amazement. My old battered Chevy was full--full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's side door, scrambled inside and knelt in the front facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes: There were candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.
As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.
Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.
I BELIEVE IN ANGELS! They live next door, around the corner, work in your office, patrol your neighborhood, call you at midnight to hear you laugh and listen to you cry, teach your children, and you see them everyday without even knowing it! --- Barb Irwin --- Sent in by Karen McGriff --- Texas
THIS ANGEL STORY WAS SUBMITTED ON DEC. 3rd, and is one of the most remarkable and inspiring accounts we've ever read, but this is just part of it. Next month there will be more to come as the author very kindly kept answering my questions and adding amazing details! (A few years later we met this lady and her
son when we were visiting in Missouri.)
"Several years ago my two sons were in a hunting accident. At the time they were 10 and 12. The youngest was hit with a 357 bullet at 50 feet as the gun fell to the ground. We live 12 miles out of town and rushed him to the hospital where they operated and found that the bullet entered his body at the lower lobe of his left lung, then through his stomach, pulverizing his spleen, which sent the bullet back through his stomach, liver and exited out of his body between two ribs, just missing his spine. After surgery he was rushed to the nearest Children's Mercy Hospital. There he was placed in intensive care and every evening about dark a male nurse sat by his side as his personal nurse. This went on for over a week. For some reason every night when the nurse came on duty I felt a peace and calmness that I could not explain since my son was at death's door with tubes coming out of him in six places and a respirator to help him breathe. The nurse and I talked every evening until I was no longer allowed to sit by his side. Then I would retire to the waiting room and sleep in a chair for four hours until I was allowed back in the intensive care room.
"In two weeks my son was taken out of intensive care and placed in a private room and was able to breathe on his own. While walking through the lobby to meet my husband to show him where our son was, I saw the nurse and asked him if he would still be on duty that evening. He informed me that he was only called in for special assignments and his job was over. He also told me that my son would be fine soon and able to return home. I gave him a hug and asked him to stop by once in a while to visit. I never saw him again.
"Three months later we were at the hospital for a check up since my son had been home two weeks. It was time to remove the last drain tube and while we were there my son and I wanted to look up the nurse that sat with him so we could send him a card. I went to the human resource office and gave them the nurse's name and they came back telling me they had never had anyone work there by that name. This I could not believe so we went to the intensive care and found one of the nurses we knew and I asked her. She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face and smiled, telling me they did not have any nurses that just sat in the room with the children. She showed me the nurse's desk and explained that each nurse's desk took care of the three beds in front of their desk. The nurse's desk was only a couple feet from the end of the beds. The nurse explained she never saw a male nurse near my son the whole time he was there and she often heard me talking but just thought I was talking to my son, hoping that he could hear me in his coma state. She then smiled and told me that I was not the first person to see an angel in the intensive care unit.
"I truly believe that this angel was sent to watch over my son and to quiet my fears. I have prayed several times to thank my son's special angel for being there and helping him heal. Now my son is twenty years old and starting a family of his own. With having only 3/4 of one lung left and no spleen he is one of the healthiest people I have ever known. Doctors are amazed at how healthy he is living without a spleen. He has not encountered one thing a person normally does when living without a spleen. We attribute this to his special angel." -- S. Bogart
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CHRISTMAS TREE TRADITIONS
The decorated Christmas tree can be traced back to the ancient Romans who, during their winter festival, decorated trees with small pieces of metal during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture.
Christmas trees were sold in Alsace in 1531. Alsace was at that time a part of Germany. Today it is part of France. The trees were sold at local markets and were set up in homes undecorated. In the Ammer-schweier in Alsace there was an ordinance that stated no person "shall have for Christmas more than one bush of more than eight shoe lengths."
Sixteenth century folklore credited Martin Luther as being the first to decorate an indoor tree. After a walk through a forest of evergreens with shining stars overhead, Luther tried to describe the experience to his family and showed them by bringing a tree into their home and decorating it with candles. Some historians state that the first evidence of a lighted tree appeared more than a century after Martin Luther's death in 1546.
The oldest record of a decorated Christmas tree came from a 1605 diary found in Strasburg, France (Germany in 1605). The tree was decorated with paper roses, apples and candies.
In Austria & Germany during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the tops of evergreens were cut and hung upside down in a living room corner. They were decorated with apples, nuts and strips of red paper.
The first record of Christmas trees in America was for children in the German Moravian Church's settlement in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Christmas 1747. Actual trees were not decorated, but wooden pyramids covered with evergreen branches were decorated with candles.
The custom of the Christmas tree was introduced in the United States during the War of Independence by Hessian troops. An early account tells of a Christmas tree set up by American soldiers at Fort Dearborn, Illinois, the site of Chicago, in 1804. Most other early accounts in the United States were among the German settlers in eastern Pennsylvania.
In 1834, Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, was credited with bringing the first Christmas tree to Windsor Castle for the Royal Family. Some historians state that in actuality Queen Charlotte, Victoria's grandmother, recalled that a Christmas tree was in the Queen's lodge at Windsor on Christmas Day in 1800.
Charles Minnegrode introduced the custom of decorating trees in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1842.
By 1850, the Christmas tree had become fashionable in the eastern states. Until this time, it had been considered a quaint foreign custom.
Mark Carr brought trees from the Catskills to the streets of New York in 1851, and opened the first retail Christmas tree lot in the United States.
Franklin Pierce was the first president to introduce the Christmas tree to the White House in 1856 for a group of Washington Sunday School children. The first national Christmas Tree was lighted in the year 1923 on the White House lawn by President Calvin Coolidge.
Artist's Note: From our home to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah or a beautiful Kwanzaa - whatever celebration brings gladness to you and your families! Thank you for asking for this Angel Newsletter. It's been a pleasure to create it for you. Thanks also, very much, for all your lovely stories and comments. Now, we'll leave you with these inspiring words by Anton Chekov - words to remember as we look forward to a New Year of Peace:
"WE SHALL FIND PEACE. WE SHALL HEAR ANGELS. WE SHALL SEE THE SKY SPARKLING WITH DIAMONDS."
Angel Fine Art Newsletter design and art Copyright 2004-2005 by Lotus Wilkerson, except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprint only with permission from copyright holder. All trademarks are property of their respective owners.