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Countdown to Christmas 2012 - Day 4

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Fruitcake has never been one of my favorite holiday treats but this year, a fruit bread is going to be something special and different!

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 the Maltese language, IL-Milied It-tajjeb!)

Bible Verse of the Day

Sheep
Chris Jackson / Getty Images

John 10:15-17 (ESVUK)

    15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.

Can you imagine living your life, all the while knowing that you would be laying it down for people who may not honor (or even believe) your sacrifice? During Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Savior, knowing that He died for our sins in the end. That rude person at the mall that elbows you to get to the sale rack first? He died for her. The guy at work that always gets drunk and obnoxious at the company Christmas party? He died for him too. The stranger who frowns at you when you say "Merry Christmas" and insists on the generic "Happy Holidays" instead? Yep, Jesus laid down His life for those folks too. As much as they may annoy you, don't let them take Christ out of Christmas for you - not even for one moment.

Christmas Carol of the Day

Jason Gray - Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding Joy
Centricity Music

"O Little Town of Bethlehem" - Jason Gray from the album, Christmas Stories: Repeat the Sounding

Sharing Christmas

Jason Gray
Centricity Records

Jason Gray, the man behind the Christmas Carol of the Day, shares some of his Christmas favorites ...

  • Favorite Christmas carol - "Joy To The World!" I was grateful to get to record it on my Christmas record and it's one of my favorite tracks that we got to do.

  • Favorite Christmas TV special and/or movie - It's a toss-up between Elf and A Muppet's Christmas Carol.

  • Favorite Christmas goodie - Anything my wife makes! :-)

  • Favorite Christmas tradition - My wife instituted a tradition called "Christmas Adam" that is my favorite. Christmas Adam comes before Christmas Eve and is the day that we observe Christmas as a family before getting pulled in every other direction. We exchange our gifts to each other, watch a Christmas movie, eat cookies, and sleep in front of the Christmas tree.

  • Christmas memory that stands out the most - From my childhood, one of the moments I remember best is when, after I thought all the gifts were opened, my dad led me to my bedroom where he had suspended the Millennium Falcon, an X-Wing Fighter and a Tie-Fighter from my ceiling with fishing line recreating an epic battle scene. While it was really cool, what I understand now all these years later is that it meant so much to me because my dad had obviously entered my joy over these things with me and was obviously as excited as I was about it.

Free Song of the Day

Holidays Rule
Hear Music

The free download of the day (courtesy of Amazon.com) is The Shins version of the Paul McCartney tune, "Wonderful Christmastime" found on the Starbucks compilation, Holidays Rule.

Family Movie of the Day

A Hobo's Christmas
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment

A Hobo's Christmas (1987)

Barnard Hughes plays a hobo who ends up in his hometown of Salt Lake City at Christmas time. He tracks down his son (played by Gerald McRaney) to mend fences and become a part of a family again. McRaney doesn't like the idea quite as much as Hughes.

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Gift Idea of the Day

Kutless - Believer
BEC Recordings

Believer gives listeners 13 songs with each one offering something wonderful. This is a wonderful gift for rock and pop worship fans or anyone who likes Kutless.

Believer Track List:

  1. If It Ends Today
  2. Carry On
  3. All Yours
  4. Even If
  5. Hero
  6. Identity
  7. Need
  8. Come Back Home
  9. This Is Love
  10. Gravity
  11. I'm With You
  12. Believer
  13. Carry Me to the Cross

Holiday Tip of the Day

Formal dinner
Stuart Dee / Getty Images

If you've been invited to a formal dinner this holiday season and aren't sure about the etiquette for using all of those forks and spoons, never fear! Debby Mayne, our Guide to Etiquette, shares gives you all of the ins and outs.

Recipe of the Day

Lithuanian Vaisiu Pyragas
Barbara Rolek, About.com Guide to Eastern European Food

When I was a child, fruitcake was never one of my favorites. It may have been because there were candied fruits in there (I hadn't yet acquired a taste for them) or it could have been for every shot of rum my grandma put in, my grandpa put in two! As I got older, I got brave enough to try various recipes and it was hit or miss. Or, at least it was, and then I found Barbara Rolek's recipe for Lithuanian Vaisiu Pyragas (Lithuanian Fruit Bread). This is, by far, the best incarnation of a fruit cake type recipe that I've found. The texture is different and the dried fruits, rather than candied, make it just sweet enough without sugar overload.

Christmas TV - December 4, 2012

Jack Frost
Warner Home Video

ABC Family

  • Rudolph's Shiny New Year
  • Mickey's Christmas Carol
  • Winnie the Pooh & Christmas Too
  • Jack Frost (1979)
  • Frosty's Winter Wonderland
  • Elf
  • Fred Claus
  • Frosty's Winter Wonderland

CBS

  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Hallmark

  • The Dog Who Saved Christmas
  • Farewell Mr. Kringle

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