Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Clement C. Moore " Did You Know?"

In looking at many different Christmas sites reguarding the Christmas Holidays and traditions reminded me of one of my favorite Christmas Authors , Clement Moore. I found so many different  things I did not know about him. I thought I would share my finding here with everyone.

As you may remember he wrote the poem " A Visit From St. Nick" This was  one of my girls favorites that I had to read to them every year. I still enjoy reading it over during the Holidays.

But did you know???? 

Clement Moore was born July 15, 1779.  He was a very wealthy man, one of the most wealthy in New York. He was also very well educated. He was a graduate of Columbia College (1798), where he earned both his B.A.. and his M.A.. In 1820 , he helped Trinity Church organize a new parrish church, St. Lukes in the Fields and the following year he was made professor of Biblical learning at the General Theological Seminary in New York, a position he helds until 1850. The ground of the saeninary were a gift from him to them.

Moore opposed the ablition of slavery and owned many slaves during his lifetime.

Moore's estate, Chelsea, was one of the largest on the west side of Manhatten Island. above Houston Street , where the developed city ended. It was the property of Maj. Thomas Clark, Clement's maternal grandfather. The house was named for a hospital in London which served Veterans of War. It was inherited by Maj. Clark's daughter  Charity, mother of Clement.

Clement Clarke Moore married Catharine Elizabeth Taylor (19) in 1813. He was 34 at the time of his marriage. Catharine died in 1830.
This is the story as to the writting of the poem.
On Christmas Eve 1822, Reverend Clement Moore’s wife was roasting turkeys for distribution to the poor of the local parish, a yearly tradition discovered that she was short one turkey, she asked Moore to venture into the snowy streets to obtain another. He called for his sleigh and coachman, and drove “downtown” to Jefferson Market, which is now the Bowery section of New York City, to buy the needed turkey. Moore composed the poem while riding in his sleigh; his ears obviously full of the jingle of sleigh bells. He returned with the turkey and the new Christmas poem. After dinner that evening, Moore read the new verses to his family, to the evident delight of his children. Some months afterwards, Moore’s children told a visiting friend of their father’s wonderful Christmas verses. A Miss Butler copied the poem into her album and the next December, probably unaware of Moore’s intention to keep his poem private, she sent a copy to the Troy Sentinel. It was published there anonymously on December 23, 1823, under the editor’s title " A Visit From St. Nicholas". Moore’s authorship remained a secret until 1837,. when he allowed his name to be used when the poem was anthologized in " The New York Book of Poetry". Later, it was included in Moore’s "Poems" (New York. 1844).
Clement Moore passed away July 10, 1863 at his summer home in New Port, Rhode Island  just a few days shy of his 84th birthday, and is burried in Trinity Church Cemetary in Manhatten, New York.
 Here is the most favorite Christmas Poem of small Children. 
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap
When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night

I hope that you have enjoyed this  bit of information.


Friday, April 15, 2011

The Christmas Nail

I think so many times the true meaning of Christmas gets shoved to the backburner in our lifes. There are just so many wonderful true Christmas crafts and traditions that over the years have been set aside. I myself can not imagine growing up without a Nativity as the center of my Christmas decorating. And I do not have just one, but have one in each room of my home including a large one in the bathroom setting on top of the storage cabinet . It sits in front of a half 2 foot wall tree sparkling with white lights.

One craft I have done to keep the  true meaning of Christmas in our hearts is to make a Christmas Nail.
It is a very simple project and one that carries what I believe is the "Reason For The Season"

All you need is a large spike nail or if you can find  a railroad spike.  Tie on a pretty red  ribbon and  I tied a length of fishing line on the top to hang with. This nail will hang on your tree.

In my travels  around the web I have found so many ideas and sayings but wanted to share this particuliar poem. It would be beautiful printed out on some pretty  scrapping paper and framed..  I have even seen it printed and a small Christmas Nail added to the poem in the frame. It would make a beautiful gift  to give  for the Holidays.

Here is the poem......

                                                            The Christmas Nail
It's Christmas  time at our house
And we're putting up our tree.
I wish I could find some simple way
to remember Christ's gift to me.
Some little sign or symbol
to show friends stopping by,
The Little Babe was born one day
but He really came to die.
Some symbol of his nail-pierced hands,
the blood he shed for you and me.
What if I hung a simple nail
on my shining Christmas tree?
A crimson bow tied round the nail
as His bloods flowed down so free,
to save each person from their sin
and redeem us for eternity.
I know it was His love for us
that held him to the tree,
But when I see the simple nail
I know he died for me.

Author unkown

I love the symbolism of this Christmas nail. The saying is, "The Christmas Nail is to be hung on a sturdy branch, a branch near the trunk. It is hung with the thought: The Christmas tree but foreshadows the Christ tree which only He could decorate for us by offering us salvation through His crucifixion."

This is another  poem type that you could print out on a smal business type card and just add to the ribbon on the nail.

"This naill reminds me that:
The Greatest Gift of All was
never laid beneath a
Christmas tree or presented
on bended knee-
but hung upon a lonely tree,
the Gift of Life for All to see".

May the Christmas spirit be with you thoughout the year.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Story of the Candy Cane

Look at the Candy Cane,
What do you see?
Stripes that are red
Like the blood shed for me.

White is for my savior,
Who is sinless and pure!
"J" is for Jesus my Lord,
 That is for sure.

Turn it around
And a staff you will see,
Jesus my Shepherd
Was born for me.

Author Unknown

There are many stories that seem to go along with the candy cane. Many are true and many are false. This  confection has long been a part of out Christmas Celebrations. The caney cane may just be one of the most easily recognized of the Christmas symbols. The origin and symbolisin of the humble candy cane is somewhat of a mystery. It seems to have been simply been created as a sweet treat for children. The symbolic attributes were given in later years.  All stories seem to agree that the candy started out as a straight white stick of candy. It was tied to the Christmas tree branches along with other treats and trinkets.

Christmas Cards before 1900 show plain white canes on the tree while  striped canes appear in the early 20th century.

The strongest connection one has found to make the connection between the origin of the candy cane and the Christian symbol  is that someone took the existing form of the straight stick of candy and produced the bent version to pass out to children in church to ensure good behavior.

Another story tells that a candy maker wanted to produce a candy representing his Christian faith. He incorporated symbols of the birth, ministry and death of Jesus into the candy. He began with a pure white hard candy to represent the Virgin Birth, hard to represent the solid rock, and firmness to represent the promise of God. He made it in the shape of a "J" top represent Jesus. It also represents the staff of the Good Shepherd.

Thinking that the candy was a bit too plain he stained it with stripes. He used three small red stripes to represent the scourging Jesus recieved , by which we are healed. The large red stripe represents the blood shed  by Jesus on the cross to give us eternal life.

Today  we very seldon see a Christmas tree  without the adornment of candy canes. I knowe all my grandchildren love coming and always will ask. Can I have a candy cane from the tree?

One of the largest candy companies producing the candy cane is the Spangler  Company of Bryan Ohio. They also are the producers of Dum Dum Suckers. Spangler Co. produces 2.7 million candy canes a day. Not only do they produce the traditional peppermint but also the  Jelly Belly, Sour Punches, Smarties, Shrek, Cinnabon, and Dum Dum Flavored ones.

Now days  people are even crafting with candy canes for the Christmas Season.

Jazz up a large candle by hot gluing on unwrapped candy canes. Tie a pretty  red bow around the it and set on a pretty candle holder. What a easy craft and pretty also.

I hope you have enjoyed this little bit of Candy Cane information and come Christmas time  look at the candy cane in a new light.

Here is a beautiful floral arrangment for the Christmas  Holiday which uses Candy Canes.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Legend of the Poinsettia and More

Maria was a young girl who lived on a poor family farm in a small village of Mexico. It was the custom of the village to glorify the Christmas sseason with special events to celebrate the birthday of the Christ Child , Jesus. Every one helped in the preparations for the celebration.. Children even helped to make gifts for the Christ Child.

Maria wanted to make a special gift. She had helped her mother weave so she went to the loom to make the Christst child a specail blanket. She was not very experienced and the yarns beca,me a tangled mess. Maria was broken hearted.

Christmas Eve came and the villagers gathered around the chuch for the birthday celebration.

All except for Maria, who hid in the shadows, watching with tears in her eyes as the procession to the church Nativity started.
"I don’t have a gift for the Baby Jesus," she sniffled softly. "I tried and tried to make something beautiful, but instead I ruined it."

Suddenly, Maria heard a voice. She looked up and saw only a bright star in the sky; it seemed to hover and shine over the village church. Was it this star that spoke to her?

"Maria," she heard the voice again, "The baby Jesus will love whatever you give because it comes from your heart. Love is what makes any gift special."

With that, Maria stepped out from the shadows. Nearby she noticed some tall green weeds. She rushed over and quickly filled her arms with the weeds, covering them with her manto. Then she ran swiftly to the church.
By the time she arrived, the candles were ablaze and the children were singing as they walked down the aisle carrying their gifts to the Christ Child.

Padre Francesco placed the figure of the baby Jesus in the manger, with the children’s gifts all around it.

Sudenly Maria realized that everyone was wearing such beautiful clothing and she was so poorly dressed . She became very scared and tried to hide behind a giant pillar . but she was too slow. Padre Francesco saw her.

Maria , hurry bring your gift.

Maria was terrified and wondered if she should run away or go forward.

The Padre saw her apprehension and coaxed her more gently, "Maria, come up here and see the Baby Jesus. There is space left for one more gift."

Before thinking Maria quicly walked forward. Padre Francesco stepped down from the altar and walked with Maria to the Christmas crèche. Maria bowed her head and said a prayer then opened her manto and let the weeds tumble out.

Voices gasped, "Look! Look at those glorious flowers!"

Maria's love had turned the weeds to beautiful red flowers.

Today the most loved of the Christmas Flowers are the poinsettia. There are  over 70 million poinsettia plants  sold over the Christmas Season. Poinsettias make up a total of 1/3 of the flowering plants sold in America. That is an amazing statistic considering most are sold in just one 6 week period of the year.

Dr. Joel Roberts-Poinsett, the US Ambassador to Mexico from 1825 to 1829, is credited with bringing the first Poinsettia to the United States.

Did you know that Decemer 12th is National Poinsettia Day? It has been celebrated since the mid 1800's and is in honor of  Dr. Poinsettia who passed away on December 12th 1851.

Big Springs , Texas is known as the Lighted Poinsettia Capital. Comanche Trail Festival first began, the dam at the big spring had 4 huge poinsettias made of construction rebar welded together in the shape of a poinsettia flower each having 5 leaves. The  leaves were decorated in red lights.The flowers were an incredible site to anyone entering Big Springs from the north. Over the years aditional flowers were added until there were a total of 11 flowers on the dam and countless more throughout Comanche Trail Park, thus making it the Christmas Poinsettia Capital.

I hope that  you have enjoyed this tradition of Christmas.