Monday, December 19, 2011

12 Days of Christmas Day 7

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!



Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved
writer's (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson,
Sibella Giorello and more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as
each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched a life during
this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun ... there's also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form}
and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450
value). Contest runs 12/14 - 12/25 and the winner will on 1/1. Contest is only
open to US and Canadian residents. You may enter once per day.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and
see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities
that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider
purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one
of the Pearl Girls products (all GREAT gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

***

The Snowflake Party
By Deborah Raney

The first snow of winter hasn’t fallen yet, but in our kitchen tonight we’re
doing a pretty good imitation. The whole family is circled around the huge old
oak table. The snip, snip, snip of scissors is background music as tiny scraps of
white paper float down, making our floor look like a giant brownie sprinkled
with powdered sugar.

Tonight has turned out to be the night for our annual Snowflake Party, a
tradition that began when our children were toddlers. There has never been
a date blocked out in red on our calendar, but one day we wake up and the
brisk autumn air has turned bitter cold. Naked tree branches trace their stark

calligraphy on a dull grey sky and we need a taste of the joyful promises of
Christmas and snow. It’s the perfect time for a party.

On such a day, one of the kids will fly in the back door, fresh home from
school, and declare “Hey, Mom! Tonight would be a good night for the
Snowflake Party!” First we round up every pair of scissors in the house. This
is one time when sharing is not a virtue. While the kids search for scissors, I
cut white paper into squares and fold them caddy-corner multiple times. The
resulting triangles are artfully arranged in a basket, awaiting the beginning of
the party.

Later, while the supper dishes dry on the counter, I recruit a volunteer to help
me stir up a big pot of hot cocoa. For the next hour it will warm on the back
burner, tantalizing us with its aroma.

Now the fun begins with careful cutting and snipping, shaping plain white
paper into intricate works of art. Each snowflake we create seems as unique and
spectacular as the genuine variety created by God himself. As each masterpiece
is unfolded, collective oohs and aahs go up.

When the last dregs of our creative juices are drained, Dad oversees the
vacuum patrol while I pour cocoa into generous mugs. We spread our
handiwork on the floor around us and sit, quietly admiring our work while we
dunk marshmallows and sip rich chocolate.

With empty mugs piled up in the sink, it’s time for the judging to begin. There
will be awards for ‘prettiest’, ‘most unusual’, and as many other categories as
we need for everyone to be a winner. Dad is the judge because he studied art in
college. He also usually wins one of the top prizes––because he studied art in
college.

Snowflakes deemed runners-up might be pasted in scrapbooks or hung on the
refrigerator. A few even “melt” into the trash that very night. But the winners
are taped proudly to the picture windows in the living room for passersby to
enjoy while they long for the day when genuine snowflakes will color the
world clean and white.

Our oldest daughter went away to college last September. She called just after
Thanksgiving to tell me that her dorm window was covered with snowflakes.
No, not the real thing, but the ones she remembers from her childhood––paper
ones that she spent an entire evening cutting and snipping while sipping hot

cocoa.

That’s the neat thing about traditions: They go with us no matter how far
from home we travel.

***
DEBORAH RANEY's first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide
Pictures film of the same title. Her books have since won the RITA Award,
ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers' Choice Award,
Silver Angel, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. After All, third in
her Hanover Falls Novels series will release next spring from Howard/Simon
& Schuster. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy small-town life in
Kansas. Their four children are grown now and having snowflake parties with
their own children––and they all live much too far away. Visit Deb on the web
at www.deborahraney.com.

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