Wednesday, December 12, 2012

All About the Holidays!

Most readers of the New Testament study the great stories of Jesus through the lens of western culture. But how well can we really understand this Jewish teacher if we don't understand his context? In this series of books, Gary Burge uses his extensive knowledge of the first century world and the Middle East to offer insights not available to the average person. Each book will develop important cultural themes and wrap them around well-known New Testament passages. And the result will be insights rarely gained elsewhere. In this fourth volume of the Ancient Context, Ancient Faith series, Dr. Burge explores six different Jewish festivals as they were celebrated in the first century and examines how Jesus used the imagery of the festivals to unveil his own mission. Discover the Jewish Sabbath, Passover, Tabernacles, and Hanukkah as Jesus knew them.

I am a mix of two traditions.
From Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama.
How lucky am I?

Holiday time at Sadie's house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa's arrival.

Selina Alko's joyous celebration of blended families will make the perfect holiday gift for the many Americans who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. 

A colourfully decorated Christmas tree, lit with twinkling lights, provokes awe and delight. We understand the lighted tree as a central symbol of the Christmas season, but what are the roots of the tradition? Who first thought to bedeck a tree, to bring it inside? How and where did the local activity grow into a widespread tradition, and how has the Christmas tree traveled across time and continents?

Bernd Brunner's brief history - enriched by a selection of delightful and unusual historical illustrations - spans many centuries and cultures to illuminate the mysteries of the Christmas tree and its enduring hold on the human imagination. Tracing various European traditions from the Middle Ages forward, Brunner finds that only in the nineteenth century did Christmas trees become common in European family homes. In North America, the imported custom soon fascinated, though some found the tree not quite compatible with a Puritan mindset.

Brunner (author of Moon, Bears and The Ocean at Home) explores how the Christmas tree entered mainstream American culture and how in recent times it has become globally popular. He introduces Jacqueline Kennedy's Nutcracker Tree in the White House, trees used to celebrate the New Year in Turkey, and the world's most expensive Christmas tree, erected in Abu Dhabi. The author also considers the place of the artificial tree and the ecological dimensions of the Christmas tree trade. A book rich with anecdote and insight, Inventing the Christmas Tree will enchant a wide audience.

Quality family togetherness—everyone wants it, but it seems increasingly harder to achieve. In a world run by cell phones, computers, and virtual networking, the comfort of human connection grows more important— and rarer— all the time. In a guide newly updated for the next generation, family expert Meg Cox offers a solution. Family rituals provide a sense of home and identity that kids and parents both need. From holidays and birthdays to bed times, meal times, pets, and even chores, The Book of New Family Traditions spotlights hundred of ways to bring the fun and ritual back to family life.

We call her the "Official Storyteller of Christmas"—but Debbie Macomber is more than that. She's someone who loves the holiday and all its traditions. Now she shares more than one hundred of her favorite recipes to help you enjoy this most joyous of seasons. You'll also find easy-to-follow instructions for crafts, decorations and gift wrapping—everything you need to create a beautiful and festive holiday.

What makes this cookbook unique is Debbie's personal memories and observations. Join her as she reminisces about traditions past and present, and discover the craft ideas she herself uses. As she says, "The holidays are about being with others. They're about celebrating and sustaining our personal community of family and friends."

In this beautifully illustrated book, she shows you how to serve a memorable meal, whether it's a sit-down Christmas dinner for a crowd, entertaining a group of friends at an open house or tea, or spending time with your children or grandchildren baking cookies and making gifts.

Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukkah, and Lemony Snicket is an alleged children’s author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. A particularly irate latke is the star of The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, but many other holiday icons appear and even speak: flashing colored lights, cane-shaped candy, a pine tree. Santa Claus is briefly discussed as well. The ending is happy, at least for some. People who are interested in any or all of these things will find this book so enjoyable it will feel as though Hanukkah were being celebrated for several years, rather than eight nights.

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