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Countdown to Christmas 2012 - Day 3

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Steven Curtis Chapman has a new (and wonderful) Christmas album out and today's Carol of the Day comes from it. Not your traditional Christmas fare, this is a great original song.

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 Iceland, Gledileg Jol!)

1. Bible Verse of the Day

Forgive
Justin Lambert / Getty Images

Colossians 3:12-13 (NASB)

    12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

"I forgive you" is an thing thing to say in principle, but in application, sometimes it is hard. God forgave our sins, so isn't this the perfect time of the year to forgive those who have sinned against you?

2. Christmas Carol of the Day

Steven Curtis Chapman - Joy
Provident

"I Am Joseph (God Is With Us)" - Steven Curtis Chapman from the album, Joy

3. Sharing Christmas

Julie Elias
Julie Elias

Julie Elias, the singer/songwriter whose new CD, A Wild Rose, shares some of her Christmas favorites ...

  • Favorite Christmas carol - It may be a boring answer, but I love "O Holy Night." It's a beautiful song and certain versions are magnificent and astounding (see: Celine Dion) but it can also be done sweetly as a carol and to me is a staple of any Christmas service, concert or production.

  • Favorite Christmas TV special and/or movie - Christmas Vacation - I love laughing at Christmas and this is one my family watches together every year. Many families (including mine) have Clark Griswolds, who try so hard to make the perfect Christmas, but when things spiral out control you just really need to sit back, laugh and realize how perfect it is if all you have is a loving family. Movie-wise, Elf is a strong second place.

  • Favorite Christmas goodie - Nutmeg Cookie Logs. There is never a lack of Christmas cookies in my house and we have some cool recipes that we make every year, including some traditional Scandinavian and German ones. These cookie logs are my favorite; I have NEVER had them any other time of year so to me they are basically synonymous with Christmas. And I still love frosting them.

  • Favorite Christmas tradition - To this day, my sister and I WAIT on the steps to go into the living room Christmas morning. Did I mention we are both in our mid-20s? Yes. We still sit there patiently and wait for Mom and Dad to light the tree and make a fire in the fireplace. Even though we don't have the drive to unwrap a gazillion toys anymore, we still can't help but get a little impatient; finally last year my sister gave in and was like "I'm going in there!" and went in before the official "okay"...luckily, nobody was hurt.

  • Christmas memory that stands out the most - My holiday memories have ranged from snowy, cinnamon-roll-type mornings with my immediate family to massive gatherings on East coast beaches with upwards of 25 in the house. And I have loved every single one. However, it's usually been pretty exclusive to my own family, a day with each other. But one that I will never forget involved getting out of our comfort zone and extending the spirit of family beyond our own blood. My high school best friend's family was thrown into chaos with the sudden departure of their father from the family. This was a family that I grew up with and really were an extension of my own. Just like in my own family, Christmas for them had been years of amazing, special times together and knowing that theirs would be forever changed took so much of the joy out of the anticipation and excitement building through December. We had them over for Christmas yet what started as a truly sad and potentially dreadful day quickly became...Christmas. Board games, music, movies, an amazing dinner, way too much junk food...despite the notable absence of their dad, that joy was rekindled by the love we all shared for each other as friends and family. Inviting them over that day was an easy gesture for us, but meant so much to them during a time of heartbreak. It's a little thing, but spending this day together assured both of our families of how much we mean to one another and gave them the hope that even when things seem to go awry, there are those that will always be there to love you and watch over you, which I think is a great message to perpetuate throughout the Christmas season in any way you can.

4. Free Song of the Day

Ukulele Christmas
Razor & Tie Recordings

The free download of the day (courtesy of Amazon.com) is the fun "Deck The Halls" from Ukulele Christmas. Be different today and deck those halls with a ukulele background.

5. Family Movie of the Day

Miracle on 34th Street
Fox Home Entertainment

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

The classic, featuring Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood, Maureen O'Hara and John Payne, tells the story of Santa getting a job at Macy's in New York.

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6. Gift Idea of the Day

FFH - The Way We Worship
FFH 62Records

FFH's The Way We Worship is filled with soothing, acoustic music that will lead you to the cross.

The Way We Worship Track List:

  1. Come Thou Fount
  2. As For Me
  3. Be Still My Soul
  4. First Love
  5. Softly and Tenderly
  6. Always
  7. I'm Coming Home
  8. Jesus, Name Above All Names
  9. Glorious King
  10. What A Friend We Have In Jesus
  11. In The Garden
  12. Jesus Paid it All

7. Holiday Tip of the Day

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Applesauce Press

Esther Lombardi, our Guide to Classic Literature, shares the e-version of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas in its entirety.

8. Recipe of the Day

Special Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Diana Rattray, About.com Guide to Southern Food

The incredibly moist Special Sour Cream Coffee Cake blends two of my favorite flavors - chocolate and cinnamon - in the filling. The pecans are an added bonus!

9. Christmas TV - December 3, 2012

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Warner Bros.

ABC Family

  • 'Twas the Night Before Christmas
  • Rudolph's Shiny New Year
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Island of Misfit Toys
  • National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
  • Holiday in Handcuffs

Hallmark

  • Silver Bells
  • Mistletoe Over Manhattan

Lifetime

  • The Perfect Holiday

NBC

  • Blake Shelton's Not So Family Christmas

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