Friday, December 9, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: THE MOST SPECTACULAR TREE by Shirley Crowder

Each Christmas as I unwrap the ornaments and decorations, years of memories flood my mind. I remember countless family and friends with whom I have shared Christmas—in Nigeria, West Africa, and in the States.

When it is time to decorate, I lay out all the ornaments in color groups so I can see each one. Next I put the lights on the tree (even though the tree I have now is pre-lit, I add a bunch of colored lights).

Then I begin the several night process of putting the ornaments on the tree in the way that my big brother Tim taught me. Admittedly there are times since his death that I have fussed at him as I decorated my tree. The reason I fuss is because it wasn’t enough for Tim that I have a few lights and a few ornaments on my tree, HIS little sister had to have the most spectacular tree of all!

So, a tree must be decorated so that from whatever angle or height you look you see ornaments. Seeing all the way through to the trunk is a huge no-no! As you can imagine it takes a lot of ornaments of all kinds: fancy, handmade, expensive, cheap, old, new, pretty, not so pretty, big, little—you name it!! A tree just looks skimpy if I don’t decorate it the way big brother taught me!

After putting the last (well, maybe the last) ornament on the tree, I sit down and soak up the beauty of the lights and the ornaments while one of my favorite Christmas music boxes plays “Joy to the World.”

I reflect upon my life, God’s grace and mercy to me, and how the Lord has blessed me throughout the years. I think of the tree as representing my life. The white lights represent The Light of the World (Jesus) Who came to this earth to redeem me. The colored lights represent all the experiences that have given depth and meaning to my life, some bright and cheerful, others darker and more somber. The ornaments represent the many different family and friends who have added color and dimension to my life through shared worship, laughter, fun, sorrow, encouragement and comfort.

I thank the Lord for the rich blessings of family and friends!! And I am thankful for my family and friends, and for the wonderful ways each one has enriched my life!!

About the Author:

Born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries, Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is conducted in and through myriad ministry opportunities. She is a biblical counselor and co-host of "Think on These Things" a Birmingham, Alabama, radio/TV program for women. Shirley is commissioned by and serves on the national Advisory Team for, The Addiction Connection. You can learn more about Shirley at her author page on our Write Integrity website

And before you go, enjoy Shirley's favorite recipe for an easy version of fudge!

Recipe for Jeannie’s Microwave Fudge:

3 cups of Chocolate chips
1 can (14oz) of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
4 TBS butter (at room temperature)
1 TSP vanilla extract
¼ TSP salt
8x8 pan, line with aluminum foil, spray foil with Pam.


Put chocolate chips, condensed milk and butter in microwave safe bowl. Heat for 1 minute (note: if butter is very cold you may need to cook an additional 30 seconds. DO NOT OVERCOOK.) Mix all ingredients until well blended. Add vanilla & salt. Continue stirring until thoroughly mixed. Pour into pan and refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours. Cut into squares or triangles.


Best served room temperature.

12 Books of Christmas: 

Shirley's written a companion Bible study guide for our yesterday's book, PRAYER: IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU by Harriet Michael. Available in early January, you can win your own copy of both books, along with 10 other books (US residents only) by commenting below and leaving your email address for us to add to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) Here's a question you can answer: Do you have ornaments that, even though they aren't the best or nicest, you just can't release?

1 comment:

Mrs. Mary Shaw said...

I love hearing the stories of your family memories, Shirley. Keep story-telling, and keep "speaking the truth in love." P.S. Can't wait to try your Mom's easy fudge!