Let us put by some hour of every day for holy things...

I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails.
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil, worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
I trust in Thee.
--Ann Kimmel

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail and the fields shall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold and there shall be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17-18

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Glad Christmas...Quiet Christmas

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2: 10-11

We are filled with joy and gratitude this morning for the gift of the Saviour, Jesus. We are especially thankful that He is not a Saviour afar off, but linked to our nature in the manner of His birth, in childhood, in humility, in love and sympathy. He who saw the light of day in the midst of the beasts of burden when first He threw the mantle of humanity over Himself, has lifted from us the burdens of sin and anxiety. In Him we are glad.

With all the angels who celebrated His nativity we add our voice of joy. With the humble who inquired what these things meant, we still search for the truth of the incarnation. Give joy this day to all people, we earnestly pray. Bless all children, the babes of the land. Be with the poor, and give to us all, and to all others, the spirit of good will and of charity. Bring peace to earth, a reception of the good tidings also. May the gifts of love manifest the spirit of Jesus, we ask in His name.  Amen.
(Rev. Robert W. Thompson, Pittsburg, Kansas. From God's Minute)

Good morning to all, and may I wish you all a glad Christmas!  Here at our house we're having a quiet, restful morning after the frolic of last night. Later today I'll prepare Christmas dinner (roast beef and Yorkshire pudding) but for now, I'm content to sip coffee, relax, and listen to music. I'm even going to read, in the middle of the day, instead of last thing at night--oh, luxury! I have a "new-to-me" book of Christmas poems and stories, The Light of Christmas edited by Frances Brentano and it has a trove of enticing tales I'm eager to begin.

The dogs made short work of the furry toys I made them, and I do mean short work! The filling was flying within seconds, so I guess it at some point I need to learn better techniques for dog toy construction. It was a very exciting five minutes for them, though, and now they're all contentedly chewing on on their sinewy "pizzle sticks". My husband, son, and I enjoyed the gifts in our stockings while sipping our traditional homemade eggnog and downing a pot of peppermint coffee. Round about dusk, we'll open our other gifts.

Eggnog comes but once a year, and boy, is it good! 
If you've never made or drunk homemade eggnog, it's a real treat, and the making of it on Christmas morning is a pleasant tradition.
My recipe is one I've altered from a colonial era recipe used by the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. While their recipe is quite potent and I've toned that aspect down significantly, there is liquor in it. If you wish to leave that ingredient out, you can still get a reasonably authentic flavor by adding a bit of brandy or rum flavoring.

The original recipe makes a massive amount, so I make half a batch and that more than suffices. (The half batch is the recipe shown below.) It's easy to make, but an electric mixer is definitely recommended, and you'll want a lot of bowls. (I can't imagine the work it was to make this before the days of electrical conveniences! One's arm would have ached for days!)

 Eggnog My Way

3/4 cup sugar, divided
6 eggs
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream
1 pint (2 cups) milk
1 cup brandy
1 tbsp. vanilla   

     Separate egg whites from yolks. Beat egg whites until stiff, adding 1/4 cup of sugar at the end. In a second bowl mix egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar and beat until thick and smooth. In a third bowl, whip the cream until stiff, adding the vanilla at the end. Now combine yolks, whites, cream, milk, and brandy together, folding carefully with a wire whisk. (Don't beat.)  Pour into a large glass punch bowl, sprinkle with nutmeg, and allow the rest briefly before serving. The eggnog will separate into layers of rich, brandy nog at the bottom and wonderful foamy, creamy richness at the top. Dip through to serve so you get a bit of both. 

(Be aware that this recipe features raw eggs, supposedly a no-no in today's health-conscious society. I've been cheerfully eating undercooked eggs all my life with no problem, and I've been making this eggnog for probably 25 years or more with no problem, but do be aware of the potential risk. Frankly, if you're really health-conscious you probably aren't into imbibing lovely butterfat-rich eggnog anyway, so maybe it's a moot point!)

Later today I'll try and post a lovely children's story for a family read-aloud. Meanwhile, may you enjoy your own special day, in your own special way. God bless and keep you!

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