Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Happy Christmas Be Yours, My Dears

Hello dear ones both near & far!!
I am so glad that you've come to visit, even briefly, at this busy old time of year.
Merry Christmas to you all, my friends!!

The new video for this season from the extraordinarily talented & enthusiastic cast at St Paul's in the City can be seen here below: (So clever!!)

I loved going to our local Farmer's market on Sunday & seeing all the dear familiar faces of our wonderful local growers. It is so good to chat with them all & thank them for their hard work & beautiful produce. I picked a few blackcurrants myself today & I was ever so mindful that such practises are very fiddly & time consuming, which made me glad & grateful all over again!
Wouldn't it be grand to be able to pop in to this delightful fairy market for sweet treats for our Christmas festivities!
I am quite sure the fairies would approve of the crimson jewels of the pomegranate, scattered amidst the dishes.
I would have thought an armful of holly might be a tad prickly, even for an angel.
I scrambled through a few brambles today myself, when I went hunting for some banana passionfruit as a Christmas gift for my dear friend Audrey; who lives just across the road. In her 80's now, she has told me of how her mother made great use of these strange fruit when they lived in Wanganui. They grow wild in our Havelock North hills, only I think I rather missed my timing as the fruit were only tiny & there were  mainly only flowers to be seen...but oh how beautiful they are! (I took Audrey a passion flower in a little vase & other fruit in lieu of the real thing).

I have just read, once more, the wonderful & heart-warming story of Two Babies in the Manger to my Phone News listeners. It is so worth taking the time to read.
It touches my heart deeply & always will.
 I intend to read it every year forever!

Two Babies in a Manger

"In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments, and a large orphanage. About one hundred boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. They relate the following story in their own words:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994. Time for our orphans to hear for the first time, the traditional story of Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger. Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude mangerEach child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city. Following the instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady threw away as she left Russia, were used for the baby's blankets. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States. The orphans were busy assembling their mangers as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about six years old and had finished his project.As I looked at the little boy's manger, I was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young child, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings very accurately, until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I don't have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldn't, because I didn't have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift. So I asked Jesus, 'If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?'"And Jesus told me, 'If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me.' So I got in the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me that I could stay with him—for always."As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him—FOR ALWAYS."
A Chicken Soup for the Soul story.

Very much love to you all.
Have a wonderful Christmas filled with peace & warmth, hugs & love..small or large.
 Let there be joy & good food, music & grateful hearts amongst us. 
Merry Christmas to you all!!
See you soon.



  1. Spending Christmas totally alone has been so painful.Your story of the two babies made me cry and cry but I loved it and will never forget this Christmas or your sweet tale of hope and love. Thank you. XO

  2. I've always wondered what happened to little Misha.
    Merry Christmas to you and yours; may God's blessings rest upon you heavily.

    1. Yes, I have often wondered that too Sandra..what happened to Misha in the following years? It really struck me this year, reading the story again, the impact of Misha's gift. Being a Russian orphan he was no doubt small & lean & perhaps not well clothed, his bedding would have been meagre & it was just before Christmas & the terrible deep cold of the Russian winter, so to Misha warmth, human touch, was the thing me most needed & related to best & therefore thought to offer Jesus...the baby needing comfort & warmth too. Thank you for your blessing my friend. Much love catherine x0x0x

  3. A beautiful heartfelt post Catherine - so lovely to read on Christmas Day. Heres wishing you all a most wonderful day too. I loved the passion flowers - stunning!!! And Oh that pomegranate, the colour is just gorgeous. I do love that story of Two Babes in a Manger. Hope your day is filled with love & cheer my dear friend across the Island. x0x

  4. I love Chicken Soup for the Soul books - first discovered in a thrift shop in Florida of all places! This story is one of my favourites. Blessings to you for a very happy Christmas and New Year. Betty

  5. Happy Christmas to you and Rob dear Catherine.

    Oh yes, how special that would be – a fairy market deep in the forest under the mushrooms.
    Two Babies in a Manger is a lovely tender story. I googled Phone News hoping to find a link to you telling the story – can you elaborate on this service for me please Catherine.

    We’ve had a relaxing Christmas day just the two of us and our son came up from Wellington.
    We will phone our daughter and family in France around nine. It's all about family.

    Wishing you peace and joy

    1. Hello Shane, I am glad that you have had a lovely Christmas day. My mother tells me that the rain didn't come to much in Auckland. How wonderful for you to talk to everyone in France...quite nice that it's the following day, kind of stretches the blessing out some more.
      Yes isn't the Two Baby story a tender one. I have mentioned the phone news before & didn't like to bore you all with the details again but it is a service that I have been a part of for the last 10 years. A telephone news service hosted here in Hawke's bay for the blind or those that can't hold a newspaper. The listeners can phone in at any time & hear recorded messages of births & deaths etc read from the newspaper. Strangely enough there isn't sufficient "good" news to be found in the Hawke's bay today so for the Inspirational section I tend to read Chicken soup stories & warble on a bit as well in between. I'm not too sure how many listeners we have but some times the "hits" are up around the 1400 mark for the month. Much love Catherine x0x0x

  6. Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

    I loved the pictures in your post. :) I would love to visit a fairy market!



So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! So sorry if you've tried to leave one & it hasn't worked. You are welcome to email me at sunshinevintage.nz instead, if you'd like to, much love Catherine♥

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