Sermons

Summary: The theme is final preparations. This worship experience will focus on the excitement and stress of the final week before the big event. Mary and Joseph had to make a long journey to Bethlehem. We have last-minute shopping and dinner plans to make. And in

The Crandles are not as bad as we thought. They have decided to have a Merry Christmas by putting forth the effort to get along and enjoy each other. What about you? How are your Christmas plans coming? Are you getting excited? Or, is worry and fear getting a grip on you?

As you travel “Over the river and through the woods”, how are you preparing to arrive at Grandma’s house? If you’re Grandma, how are you preparing for everyone to arrive at your house?

The song, "Over the River and Through the Wood" was written by Lydia Maria Child in 1844. It was originally written as a children’s poem entitled A Boy’s Thanksgiving. (For more info on Child and the poem, go to http://womenshistory.about.com/library/etext/bl_lmch_a.htm)

Read/Sing the poem

Over the river, and through the wood,

to Grandfather’s house we go;

the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh

through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,

to Grandfather’s house away!

We would not stop for doll or top,

for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood-

oh, how the wind does blow!

It stings the toes and bites the nose,

as over the ground we go.

Over the river, and through the wood.

with a clear blue winter sky,

The dogs do bark and the children hark,

as we go jingling by.

Over the river, and through the wood,

to have a first-rate play.

Hear the bells ring, "Ting a ling ding!"

Hurray for Thanskgiving Day!

Over the river, and through the wood-

no matter for winds that blow;

Or if we get the sleigh upset

into a bank of snow.

Over the river, and through the wood,

to see little John and Ann;

We will kiss them all, and play snowball

and stay as long as we can.

Over the river, and through the wood,

trot fast my dapple gray!

Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!

For ’tis Thanksgiving Day.

Over the river, and through the wood

and straight through the barnyard gate.

We seem to go extremely slow-

it is so hard to wait!

Over the river, and through the wood-

Old Jowler hears our bells;

He shakes his paw with a loud bow-wow,

and thus the news he tells.

Over the river, and through the wood-

when Grandmother sees us come,

She will say, "O, dear, the children are here,

bring pie for everyone."

Over the river, and through the wood-

now Grandmothers cap I spy!

Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?

Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

The holidays were always exciting at Grandma’s. All the family would come, so there would lots of kids to play with. We would play football, cowboy and Indians, and tag, and hide-and-seek. One of my favorite places to hide was in the potato house. It also made a great fort. Christmas was fun because all the kids would bring a new toy they got that morning. Occasionally, we’d share, but not until Mom or Dad made us.

There were always lots of goodies to eat. Grandma would spend a couple of weeks preparing for us to arrive. She would make pies and Christmas candy. My aunts would bring goodies, too. A couple of my aunts would look for a tree, cut it, and help Grandma set it up and decorate it. When we gathered for Thanksgiving, all the kids would draw names, so as we arrived on Christmas on day, the gifts would be placed under the tree. Grandma and Granddaddy had 8 kids, 6 son-in-laws, 2 daughter-in-laws, and 20 grandkids, so the floor around the tree would be covered with gifts.

I always looked forward to Christmas at Grandma’s, except for one person, my cousin, Andy. For the most part, Andy was good boy, but when he wanted to, he could really mean. Looking back on our times of playing, I realize now that he would just get overly excited and get too rough. But at the time, I just thought he was mean kid. But, we all survived and we had fun.

Now that I’m grown and have three sons of my own, my concerns and fears at Christmas are different. Am I making Christmas memorable for them? When will Christmas be over so we slow down? Will they have fond memories of Christmas at their grandparents? I wish there was more money to buy them more gifts.

As you travel “over the river and through the woods” to Christmas, what are the rivers and woods that you must cross?

Some of you will travel through the woods of Distance.

When Lisa was pregnant with Adam, we decided to that once we had children, we would spend Christmas morning at our home. We know it would be important to establish some traditions of our own. We want our family to enjoy Christmas as a family, but we also want to spend time with our extended family.

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