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(Issue #48 -- O HOLY NIGHT -- December 2006)

Can you imagine what that night must have been like 2000 years ago? It was a night of sacrifice, love and Good News! A night of grace, mercy, and provision! This night was the night that God made Himself flesh, and dwelt among us... The night Heaven came to earth Ė and man could finally embrace redemption! O Holy Night! The night that Christ was born! May God bless us all this Christmas with just a glimpse into what a wonderful, miraculous night that truly was!

Merry Christmas!

In His Service,



By: Denise Imbody

Do not let the bah-humbugs of
Everyday disappointments steal your
Christmas joy for
Emanuel truly does
Mean God with us...
Believe He is with you with
Each breath you take and just
Rejoice in His love!



Do you have an opinion or thought that you'd like to share with JEM-Precious Stones readers? Well, here is your chance...if you'd just like to comment on the E-zine or if you have something on your mind about current events that you'd like to long as they are clean and family oriented and NOT against God and His Word...please feel free to share them with us, and we'll use them if we can.

Comment Submitted by: Denise Imbody
As Christians we should be excited about the fact that stores, and radio stations start promoting Christmas a bit earlier, but for some reason it tends to be the total opposite. I understand we shouldn't get caught up in the commercialism of it all--and let's face it that is the aim of the stores--but instead of getting upset about seeing the Christmas things out early, we should embrace it. We get all upset when folks do NOT want to say "Merry Christmas", yet when they put the Christmas things out early, we get upset--honestly it would seem that some can't win where we Christians are concerned.

Yes, it is true we need to stand firm--we've been way too quiet on way too many issues, that is why this country is heading in the direction it is heading in--but when we see the stores putting those Christmas things out whatever their reason we should get excited about it--as we should be celebrating Christmas all year anyway.

The past few years I've just seen so many Christians complaining about this that it has frustrated me, and I just needed to see if I could express my thoughts in a way that would encourage all of us to embrace, and be happy about Christmas being put out a little earlier--and not be upset and complain about it all.

The world is longing for Jesus whether they know it or when they all get a little bit more excited because Christmas is coming--again whether they know it or not--it's because of Jesus and how they long for Him. This is the time of year when we can talk about Jesus a bit more openly, and folks are more apt to listen.

So let's stop the madness of being cranky, and let's enjoy this and every Christmas season! :)



Happy birthday to all of you celebrating a birthday this is the most wonderful time of the year...and we are glad the Lord made you and pray you all have a blessed birthday! :)


By: Gwen Tweedy

He came for the hurting and He came for the blue,
He came for the broken and He came for you.
He came for the sinner and He came for the Saint,
He came for those who could pray and those who can't.
He came for the lost, He came for the found,
He came for those wearing a smile and He came for those wearing a frown.
He brings salvation, comfort and healing to everyone,
And I thank God for me too
He sent His only Son


By: Denise Imbody

Sometimes our finite minds tend to think that Jesus--our Savior--began His journey in the New Testament of the Bible, but if we take a little bit of time to stop what we are doing, and reflect what actually transpired so long ago on that VERY HOLY NIGHT, it baffles the mind a bit.

Take a walk through the Bible with me, and see the glory and amazement that we all love to read and hear about. All Passages have been taken from NIV...

Luke 2
6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Can you imagine a simple shepherd just hanging out and watching his sheep with his friends, and all of a sudden there is an angel to tell them some GOOD NEWS, then a whole multitude of angels appears with the one...I can only imagine the fear, and bewilderment they must have felt.

Then a little while later (not sure exactly when, but it is pretty clear that it is within 2 years of Jesus' birth--since if you keep reading in Matthew 2--the king wants to have all baby boys 2 years old and under killed), we read about the wise men can tell it's a while later, because the words "CHILD" and "HOUSE" are used instead of "BABY" and "MANGER" ...but let's read about it...

Matthew 2
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem
2 and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:
6 " 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
       are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
    for out of you will come a ruler
       who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.
8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.
10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Okay, now it gets really interesting...this little Baby Boy who grows up and becomes our Savior...He was here from the beginning of time as we know it...look at the next 2 Passages of Scripture with me...

John 1
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was with God in the beginning.
3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

Genesis 1
26 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

...our Savior..our Lord...He was here when the world and everything in it was created...isn't that mind boggling?!

He is THE WORD...He became human to dwell among us and bring His Light into the world so we can be saved! If this is NOT a TRUE WORD IN ACTION...then I don't know what is.

So, as we remember the time of the year that we choose to celebrate the Savior's Birth...let's remember that it is the birthday that He chose to come down here--leave Heaven and come down here--to live among us, and be the ultimate sacrifice for us so we can live if we believe..that's all we need to do..believe in Him!

O HOLY NIGHT! Happy Birthday Jesus!


By: Barbara Lea Campbell

Christmas is such an amazing time. The lights.. the sounds.. the smells.. the activity.. the presents.. the programs.. the parties.. so much to do, so much going on. And somewhere along the way we make a quick stop at Church or read Luke 2 and think we are celebrating the real reason for the season.

But do you stop and really truly think about Christmas? What it really is all about?

It really was a Holy Night all those years ago when our blessed Savior came to the world. The Holiest night of all time. And as we sing "the hopes and fears of all our years are met in Thee tonight." God came to earth. Can you grasp that? Let yourself. Stop and rid yourself of all the Christmas gaiety and just ponder the events of that night so long ago. Grasp the reality of it. Emmanuel.. God with US. Not an angel.. not a messenger.. not His assistant.. God Himself with us!

Let yourself be moved at this. Yes, the cross of Easter is important to our faith, but what would the cross be without the manger? If God had not chosen to come to us as a man, not even as a man to start with but as a child, the cross would be nothing.

Look into that manger. Can you see Him? A tiny baby... dark eyes, olive skin, dark hair. He is perfect, as all babies seem to be. He squirms and coos and cries when he is wet or hungry. He is innocent, tiny and totally helpless. Can you imagine that God chose to be all that?

And He is Holy. Yes, that babe in the manger is human, but He is also Divine. It truly baffles the mind if you try to analyze it and figure it all out. Don't! Just accept it on faith and know that it is Truth.

Enjoy your holidays, go to the parties and programs, eat all the good food, decorate, laugh, sing and more, but make sure you take time (each day would be great) to stop and think about the tiny baby in the manger and about that Holy Night so long ago.



Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
-- Ruth Ann Schabacker



My Testimony: By Barbara Lea Campbell

God gave us our memories so that we might have roses in December. - J. M. Barrie

When I was growing up, I loved the Christmas season. My grandmother loved to shop early and hide our gifts, all wrapped but in plain view! She would point them out to us, give us hints, encourage us to guess and long before Christmas arrived we knew what we were getting. My dad was like a big kid at Christmas. For those who know about love languages, his main one was gifts. He showed his love to others by giving them things and at Christmas he was able to shower us with love. I have no doubt his greatest thrills came as he watched the ones he adored open their gifts. There were certain foods that came only at Christmas time: my mom's Texas trash (huge containers of it that would last for weeks on end), my Mama Daisy's fruitcake cookies, spiced tea and so much more. My mother always wrote our name or some code on the packages in a hidden place before she placed them under the tree, so that we couldn't figure out which ones were ours and then shake them to death. I have memory upon memory of wonderful family times at Christmas. Laughing... playing... smiling... telling stories of days gone by... visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins... Christmas trees with colorful lights and a new ornament to add to our collection each year. It was a magical time. And in spite of all the festivities, my parents made sure we knew the truth of Christmas. We never lost sight of Jesus in the midst of the tinsel and wrapping paper.

In my early adult life Christmas changed for me. My Mama Rush spent several Christmases in the hospital for various health reasons. During her last Christmas season spent there, she went home to be with the Lord. This started a bit of a trend in my life. A few years later my Mama Daisy joined her and then my Papa Carl. And 10 years ago my sweet daddy got the best Christmas gift ever, he ushered in 1997 in the presence of Jesus. During those years, from 1983 to 1997 (and really beyond), Christmas lost its magic for me. It became a time of dread. I kept waiting to see who would leave me that year. I would go through the motions of decorating and singing and celebrating, but there was always a hidden anxiety.

But then something wonderful happened. I found myself sharing stories of my own and stories that I had heard as a child. Stories of my dad getting an orange and a dime in his sock, the holly tree my Papa Carl cut one year for his family's Christmas tree, my changing my mind at age 8 and decided there was a Santa (I wanted to make sure I got the gift I wanted that year). As these memories welled up in me, I felt a great sense of joy.

I know without a doubt all those I loved and lost at Christmas really aren't lost to me. They are with Jesus, just waiting until it is my time to join them. And I know that they would all expect me to celebrate Christ's birth and to enjoy my family at this time of year.

Just like the quote above says, God gave me my wonderful memories of Christmas so that I can have roses of remembrance in December.

***If you would like to share your testimony in an upcoming issue of JEM Precious Stones, please feel free to send it to If we use it, you will get full credit, but please know that due to the number of contributions, and other concerns, we may not be able to use all submissions.***



We really should be getting into Godís word, as much as we possibly can. We would like to encourage you with a challenge each month, to memorize a portion of Scripture. So, we will provide a passage, and hope that you will take the time to study it daily. If you are already doing this on your own, that is great--we just thought with prayer, and making it a bit easier for some folks, that we could help those who may not be doing this yet. All passages will be from the King James Version of the Bible. We do not mind other versions, and you can study it in whichever version you like. We have chosen KJV, because it is public domain. We pray that you will hide His word in your heart.

Matthew 2
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.


Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

This is a family favorite. My mother had used this recipe for as long as I can remember. It is soo good.. the bottom gets all crumbly crusty and there is a part in the middle that is a bit gooey. Too good! Nothing lo-cal or lo-fat about it! This is the real thing!

T's Cream Cheese Pound Cake

2 sticks margarine
1 stick butter
1 8 oz. block cream cheese
6 eggs
3 c. sugar
3 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla

Let margarine, butter, cream cheese and eggs come to room temperature. Cream margarine, butter, cream cheese until soft and fluffy. Add sugar and cream well. Add eggs.. one at a time, adding flour after each egg. Add vanilla.

Pour batter into a greased and floured bundt pan.

Put into a COLD oven and bake at 300-degrees F. for 1 1/2 hours.

Let cool in pan 10 - 15 minutes, then turn out onto plate.

About margarine and butter... it is best to have some real butter in there, but I have made it all using I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and it turns out fine.

Do you have an original recipe that you would like to share? Click here to submit it!


Submitted by: Stephanie Hurd

Hot apple cinnamon cider tastes especially great this time of year. It's easy to make too. Simply break up a few cinnamon sticks and place them in the filter section of your coffee pot. Pour apple cider instead of water into the coffee maker. Then run your coffee pot as directed, and in a few minutes you will smell and taste delicious hot apple cinnamon cider.

Now you may also be wondering if this taste will linger wen you want to change back to making a pot of coffee? Did you know it is recommended to clean your coffee maker at least once a month? This is a good time to do just that and accomplish two things at once. The best way to clean a coffee maker is to run it through using water and a little bit of vinegar. You will be amazed at just how clean it comes out with such little effort.

Do you have an original Quick Tip that you would like to share? Click here to submit it!


Submitted by: Barbara Lea Campbell

Recently several ladies in my weekly Bible study were taken ill... all with serious concerns. We wanted to encourage them and here is what we did..

Take index cards (we used colored ones) and hole punch them in the top left hand corner. Write verses..notes of encouragement.. quotes.. whatever you feel led to share... on each card. We had different people write on each card, but you could easily do them all yourself. Then string the cards onto a metal loop / ring. You could use a key ring or there is a hinged ring you can purchase in craft stores, craft sections or even office supply sections. It is metal and hinged in the center and pulls open easily.

This gift can easily be adapted to be more personal. If making for a holiday such as Valentine's Day, you could use Love Verses.. for your anniversary, romantic memories or things you love about your spouse... you could even use this to create household tips for someone starting out on their own or special recipes... maybe you know someone struggling with a situation such as depression, put verses that deal with that.... the possibilities go on and on!

One of the best things about this craft is its portability. The recipient can take it with them wherever they go.

***If you have an original recipe, quick tip, or craft, that you would like to share with us, please send it in with your first and last name, and your email address to If we use it, you will get full credit, but please know that due to the number of contributions, and other concerns, we will not be able to use all submissions.***


(A word of encouragement)
By: Marilyn Christine

When brother and I were kids back in the fifties Christmas was an exciting and magic time for us- our favorite part was putting up the Christmas tree. We did not set it up until the last few days before the December 24.

Daddy would go out into our grove of trees to find a tree. We had a lot of poplar trees and some that were spruce. Trees were needed on the farm as they not only served as a wind break but they were our source of heat. We did not cut down trees-unnecessarily or carelessly. They were too important to our way of life. All the trees had a job to do.

He never picked a perfect tree that would grow well and strong- He would find a small tree that was weak and perhaps only had a few branches on one side and a lot on the front side. The back side did not matter as it did not show when it was decorated. No matter what tree he found it was the most beautiful one in our eyes and when mother decorated the tree it increased in beauty. No matter how imperfect it was to others it was perfect to us. Daddy chose the imperfect tree knowing that we would love it. He knew that it was small and weak but still able to be used. When the tree was done bringing us Christmas joy we put it in our front yard. Then the rest of the winter it served as a bird feeder. In the fall when it had dried and shed its needles it was used for wood. That tree was useful until the end.

Jesus accepted me in my imperfect ways and loved me while I was still a sinner. He did not choose me for my perfections. To Him I was beautiful and worthy to be used. He did not throw me away because I was not perfect. He decorated me with his Love and Peace and Joy and Hope. I am useful . Maybe you feel weak and broken and of no use. God will not throw you away because you have challenges or problems. We can shine for Jesus even when our back is up against the wall.

"Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received." ~1 Peter 4:10

We can be thankful for whatever imperfections we have. We can perform, in the little things, as a faithful servant to God and others. We can be doers of God's word, not just hearers. Every day brings a new opportunity to be used.



In this section, you will find five questions each month. Scripture references will sometimes be provided, but other times you will have to seek out the answers. We pray this will help you to get to know God's Word more.

I thought we'd look at the Bible a bit more closely, as there are some things about the Christmas story that we do not know if they are true or not...and some things are definitely not true...let's take a look at God's Word to help us get the story a bit more straight. :)

1. True or False--Mary rode a donkey to Bethlehem?

2. True or False--the wise men visited Jesus at the stable, along with the shepherds?

3. True or False--there were exactly 3 wise men--no more, no less?

4. True or False--Mary had more children after Jesus?

5. True or False--We can read about Jesus' birth in all 4 Gospels?

Click here for the answers



In this section we will share, and recommend our favorite website, book, movie, or any other favorite things we can think of to share with you. These are all highly recommended.

CD of the Month: Holy Night
Recommended by: Kristina

Holy Night by Kevin Max

The new fad in Christian music lately has been to take old Christmas songs and put a new twist on them, modernizing them with new vocals and new instruments. Although some of these songs continue to be beautiful, too often the meaning of the words can be lost as you tap your foot to the newer sounding beat. This is why I am recommending Kevin Max's amazing Christmas album, Holy Night. Kevin Max, one-third of the platinum selling Christian band dctalk, went solo a few years back, and last winter surprised quite a few fans with this album. Kevin's voice is stunning as he sings the classics in a simple, almost haunting way, one that makes you pause and take notice of the words he is so passionately trying to get across. The album opens with "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" and closes with Kevin's version to "Joy to the World". In between are eleven additional songs that are perfect for reflecting on the meaning of this season, including "The First Noel", "Away in a Manger", and "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". I highly recommend this simple, beautiful Christmas album from Kevin Max, and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Movie of the Month: The Second Chance
Recommended by: Barbara Lea Campbell

The Second Chance is a great DVD for families with teens or older to watch. Now you might wonder why a Christian movie wouldn't be appropriate for younger children; it's because The Second Chance deals with serious subject matter in a serious way. It is all about getting out of our warm pews and pretty sanctuaries and serving the Lord where He wants and needs us.. no matter how unpleasant... dirty... dangerous and unsavory it is. Second Chance is a church that was started many years ago in the city, but over time the congregation and the pastor moved on to greener pastures.. mainly a large spread of land with a brand new building and lots of impressive programs. This new church is named The Rock.. but somewhere along the way, the members forget who the Rock is and what He stood for. Second Chance is still in place.. it still ministers to a dying community full of gangs, prostitutes and indigent people. And yes, The Rock supports them financially, but that is about as far as it goes. A few members come into the city once a year to do an emphasis on Second Chance and to shoot some promotional video.. they write a check.. and their good deed is done. Like it or not, many of us are the same way. We don't want to get our hands dirty or go into "that" part of town.

Michael W. Smith plays Ethan.. an associate pastor at the Rock, who's father started Second Chance. Ethan grew up there, but hasn't been "home" in a long time. Oh he has visited, had his picture taken, pleaded for money for them, but he really hasn't been involved, but he is about to be. He starts out going to learn and ends up being changed. He sees faith walked out... God in action... true service to others... and true from the heart worship. His eyes are opened to see all the bells and whistles at The Rock for what they are.. just show.

The Second Chance gives a glimpse into a world few of us travel.. and into our hearts. What are our motives for serving? Do we just do what we want and not what the Lord calls us to do? Remember Jesus told us that what we did unto the least of these, we did unto Him. Rent (or buy) The Second Chance.. watch it with your family.. and let God stir your heart to serve Him.

Note: This movie is rated PG. As stated earlier, it deals with some serious issues. There are scenes involving drugs, gangs and violence. Prostitution is talked about, but not displayed. And there is some language.

Web Site of the Month: MPix
Recommended by: Stephanie Hurd

Ever taken some great photos with your digital camera and then not sure what to do with them? Maybe you'd like your Christmas cards to feature your special pets, yet you don't wish to bring them to a studio. Perhaps you have a very natural pose of your children that wouldn't come across in a forced session at the photographer's. Do you home school, and never get the opportunity that comes from school photos? Are you long overdo in updating family and friends with a recent photo, but the cost is outrageous for a large package? might be the solution for you. Here you can upload your favorite digital pictures, make albums, order photo packages, Christmas cards and etc. Their web site is easy, and their products are very reasonable. And best of all, you get to be your very own photographer, in control of exactly what you want from your photos.

Just go to and give it a try. You are asked to join with a name and password, yet there are no fees involved to be a member. I found their customer service to be prompt and helpful as well.



In this section you might find a word search, An unscramble the words, OR any kind of word puzzle. We hope you will have fun with it! ‹

***This puzzler was featured in the December issue of 2003 of Precious Stones.***

Can you recognize these different characters, and objects of the Christmas season? Some are Biblical, and some are just fun characters we have come to know over the years...

1. I love the cold
not the heat.
Stick a certain hat on my head
and I hop to my feet!
Who am I?

2. The sky was black
The pasture quiet
until a song burst forth that night
We were afraid to behold this glorious sight?
Who are we?

3. The singing, the noise, the happy times
Christmas made me loose my mind!
I wanted to stop it
make it go away
but I found out Christmas was here to stay.
Who am I?

4. It looks so bright and
hot to the touch
but really it's shiny and cool
It lights up the night
and clears the way
for Santa and his crew.
What is it?

5. We traveled day and night
following a miraculous sight.
Some believe we were at the manger side
but we had too far to ride.
We arrived when the child was a tot
and presented him with the gifts we brought.
Who are we?

6. An angel came to see me
when I was just a girl
the message he presented
changed the entire world.
Who am I?

7. My light shone brighter than any other
Than anyone had ever seen before
And even though it took a while
I help lead them to the Holy Child
What am I?

8. I spoke to Joseph in a dream
Several times to warn
To keep the Holy One safe from harm
Since the time He was born
Who am I?

Click here for the answers


Please feel free to pass this along! If you would like to be added to the JEM-Precious Stones mailing list, send an e-mail to requesting to be added in the message field. If you are not a member of the JEM community, and you would like your name removed from this mailing list, please send a message to the above address, and request removal in the body of the e-mail.

Please e-mail us with any comments, suggestions, or feedback, at: We would love to hear from you! We would also love it if you would visit our JEM website, at: As we continue with this monthly E-zine, you will also find a link to past issues there.

May God bless and keep you throughout this month! May He smile upon you, and show You mercy all of your days--and may You find peace in Him, and through Him! In Jesus' name, Amen

Answers for this month's BIBLE QUIZ:

1. False--where it is possible that she could have, it does not specify that in the read more about this look in Matthew 1, or Luke 2.

2. False--Again the Bible makes it clear in Matthew 2, that the wise men visited the "child" not "infant" at His "house" and not "stable".

3. Again False--Matthew 2 tells us that there were wise men (which definitely indicates more than one), but that means there could have been anywhere from 2 to 100--we are not sure how many....the 3 comes from the 3 gifts that were presented to Jesus by the wise men--but because there were 3 gifts mentioned, does NOT mean that there were 3 wise men.

4. True--Mary had children with her husband Joseph, can read about this in Matthew 1:25, and Matthew 13 starting at Verse 54.

5. False--We can find the story about Jesus' birth in Matthew 1, and in Luke 2.

--Back to BIBLE QUIZ--



1. Frosty the Snowman

2. Shepherds

3. The Grinch

4. Rudolph's Nose

5. The Magi (Wise men)

6. Mary

7. the star

8. Gabriel