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Countdown to Christmas 2012 - Day 1

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Add some holiday cheer to your day with the Countdown to Christmas. Each day features a Christmas carol, gift ideas, a Bible verse and devotional, a recipe to try and the holiday TV schedule for the day. There are even extra goodies thrown in here and there!

Merry Christmas (or, as they say in Argentina, Feliz Navidad!)

Bible Verse of the Day

Christmas Heart
David Freund / Getty Images

2 Peter 1:3-4 (NIV1984)

    3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Christmas is a commercial enterprise rivaled by no other holiday. Our culture has made it about "stuff" - gifts, parties, decorations and all of the trimmings that make it shine. For Christians, we know that there is so much more to the season than all of that. We know that it is a celebration of the birth of a Savior. God gives us that knowledge and plants it deep in our hearts so that no matter how frazzled the world around us may get with the midnight madness sales, the office parties and the mall Santas, we keep Jesus as the reason for the season.

Christmas Carol of the Day - "La Nativité Ouverture" - Michael Milton

Michael Milton - When Heaven Came Down
Bethesda/Music for Missions

From the album, When Heaven Came Down

Sharing Christmas

Michael Milton, the man behind the Christmas Carol of the Day is also the CEO and Chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary. His latest book, Silent No More, was released in September. Michael shares some of his Christmas favorites ...

  • Favorite Christmas carol - My favorite Christmas carol is "Once in Royal David's City" as I love to hear it sung as the opening, traditional processional for Christmas Eve services. It was written by Cecil Alexander, an Anglican bishop's wife, who wrote hymns for children.

  • Favorite Christmas TV special and/or movie - No doubt about it: It's a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. The story is timeless and Jimmy Stewart's character reminds us of the young man with big dreams who comes to see that the greatest gifts of life are usually those that have always been right in front of us.

  • Favorite Christmas goodie - Some kind of pink, fluffy stuff that my wife makes every year. We simply call it the "pink, fluffy stuff!" The holiday treat has cottage cheese, pineapple, and something that makes it pink! Not sure what that is. The recipe is strictly TOP SECRET. My son and I usually finish it off within a day.

  • Favorite Christmas tradition - Christmas Eve Communion and going to eat afterwards. As a minister, I love preaching about the Incarnation, when God became Man, and seeing the families coming out to honor Christ. I love to see the children squirming, as they anticipate going back home to open that first gift, and the older folks coming to visit their children and grandchildren, and the sense of grace and peace that pervades it all. The carols and the liturgy leads us, finally, not to the Manger, but to the Cross, as we eat the bread and drink the Cup and we leave, church bells ringing, reminded of why Jesus was born: to die for our sins.

  • Christmas memory that stands out the most - I will always remember the Christmas when I planted our first church in Kansas City. Our little congregation had no building of our own, and my wife and I found a Benedictine Abbey that was used as a home for unwed, expectant mothers. It was called, "The Light House." Our little congregation gathered for Christmas Eve Communion Services, and to our joy, we were joined by these young women, many of whom had chosen life over abortion, who had chosen the gift of adoption to a family that was waiting for their dream come true in a child. I will never forget how that night, our congregation and those young girls became one as we all bowed before the Savior who came as a baby, the adopted son of Joseph, and who came to offer new life to all who would turn to Him, and adopt us into His family. What love. What joy. What a perfect Christmas Eve. That was my first Christmas Eve as a pastor. And I still think of that, preach and write and sing and compose out of that experience today.

Free Song of the Day

Allegro Classical Fall 2011 Sampler
Allegro

The free download of the day (courtesy of Amazon.com) comes to us from my favorite ballet, The Nutcracker. "Tchaikovsky: The Nutcracker Suite, Op. 71A - 10 Waltz Of The Flowers" is 6 minutes and 45 seconds of classical bliss, especially when performed by Yuri Simonov and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Gift Idea of the Day

WOW Gospel 2012
Verity

WOW Gospel 2012 is a wonderful gift for Christian music fans that like an urban/R&B sound. Featuring 30 songs, this double CD set serves up over 2 hours of music from Gospel greats like Marvin Sapp, Deitrick Haddon, 21:03 and Ricky Dillard & New G.

WOW Gospel 2012 Track List:

Disc 1
  1. Before I Die - Kirk Franklin
  2. Walking - Mary Mary
  3. In the Middle - Isaac Carree
  4. He Has His Hands On You - Marvin Sapp
  5. Well Done - Deitrick Haddon
  6. Put It On The Altar - Jessica Reedy
  7. Back To You - Dorinda Clark-Cole
  8. Sweeter - Kim Burrell
  9. Incredible - 21:03
  10. Love God Love People - Israel Houghton
  11. Boasting - Lecrae featuring Anthony Evans
  12. He Lives - Fred Hammond
  13. Encore - James Fortune & FIYA
  14. Believe - Jennifer Hudson
  15. God Is Great - Ricky Dillard & New G
Disc 2
  1. You Are - Kierra Sheard
  2. YRM (Your Righteous Mind) - Donald Lawrence & Company featuring Dorinda Clark Cole
  3. Chasing After You - Vashawn Mitchell
  4. I Need Your Glory - Earnest Pugh
  5. Bless The Lord - Myron Butler
  6. Trust Me - Richard Smallwood With Vision
  7. I Choose To Worship - Wess Morgan
  8. The Blood Will Never Loose It's Power - Smokie Norful
  9. Speechless - Anita Wilson
  10. Blessings - John P. Kee featuring Rance Allen
  11. Excellent - Martha Munizzi
  12. It's All God - Soul Seekers featuring Marvin Winans
  13. Make Me New - Together We Stand Community Choir featuring Mali Music
  14. Let The Church Say Amen - Andrae Crouch featuring Marvin Winans
  15. Heaven - forever Jones

Family Movie of the Day

A Christmas Kiss
Marvista

A Christmas Kiss (2011)

Wendy Walton (played by Laura Breckenridge) has never been lucky in love. When she meets and falls for a handsome stranger (played by Brendan Fehr) on an elevator during the Christmas season, she thinks he may be "the one." That is, of course, before she finds out that he's her mean boss's socialite boyfriend.

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Holiday Tip of the Day

Popsicle Soap
Erin Huffstetler - About.com Guide to Frugal Living

Erin Huffstetler, our Guide to Frugal Living, has some wonderful suggestions for gifts you can make for kids that are both ingenious and inexpensive to make.

Recipe of the Day

Turkey Club
Kimberley Eggleston, About.com Guide to Low Calorie Cooking

December 1st falls on a Saturday this year, which is perfect because everyone will be home to help get the decorations down and start getting the house ready. To start the season off right, I'm planning on making lunch that is filling, healthy, and tasty, all while still being low in calories. I figure that despite my best intentions, there will be splurging on sweets so a good healthy, low-cal start will be great.

Christmas TV - December 1, 2012

The Family Man
Universal Pictures

ABC Family

  • Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas
  • Richie Rich's Christmas Wish
  • A Dennis the Menace Christmas
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
  • The Family Man
  • Jack Frost (1998)
  • Elf
  • Snowglobe

FOX

  • The Santa Clause 2

Hallmark

  • Lucky Christmas
  • Naughty or Nice
  • Hitched for the Holidays
  • Debbie Macomber's Call Me Mrs. Miracle
  • A Bride for Christmas
  • All I Want for Christmas

HGTV

  • Holiday Kitchen Takeover

Lifetime

  • Love at the Christmas Table

NBC

  • It's A Wonderful Life

The Learning Channel

  • Extreme Christmas Trees
  • My Crazy Obsession: Christmas Collection

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