1) Winter Landscapes – Thursday


A lunar eclipse over the minarets of the Horton Park mosque, Bradford.

A snow covered United Kingdom taken from a NASA satellite named Terra

2) Christmas Spirit At Its Best


David Pearson (l.), with his stepmother Susan Pearson (c.) and his mother Amanda Haddock, unpack gifts the family purchased for area children diagnosed with cancer.  David, who has been diagnosed with brain cancer, wanted his family to shop for gifts for others instead of for him.

Program Director Marsha DeHollander (r.) of Access of West Michigan, is briefed by United Church Outreach Ministries volunteer Joyce Start on the inventory of food in the pantry open to the needy Tuesday through Friday in Grand Forks, Mich.,

3) Some Different Christmas Traditions, via the Christian Science Monitor – http://tinyurl.com/285yzu7

a. Czech Republic and Slovakia

Christmas is a time in the Czech Republic and Slovakia for traditions that are reputed to shine a light on the year ahead.  Apples are cut crosswise, and if you can see a star in the core, the next year will be a good one. Women wondering how much longer they’ll remain unmarried can toss a shoe over their shoulder, and if the toe points at the door when it falls, marriage is in the near future. One tradition, which probably shouldn’t be tried at home, entails pouring molten lead into water and guessing the future based on the shapes in which it hardens.

b. Mexico

On each of the nine nights leading up to Christmas, Mexicans hold a posada, a procession and performance that re-creates Mary and Joseph’s search for a place to stay in Bethlehem. Participants form a procession in the streets that takes them to the door of an inn. The procession often involves caroling and candles, and ends in a party that often features pinatas and tamales.

3) The spirit of Christmas is alive and well, even at a shopping mall:

“On Nov.13 2010 unsuspecting shoppers got a big surprise while enjoying their lunch. Over 100 participants in this awesome Christmas Flash Mob”