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{} *This Christmas Has 12 Days*


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Good morning HeartTouchers subscribers...

Before we get to today's story I would like to ask that all of you pray for a family that lost their fourteen-year-old daughter this past week. Rachel was a freshman player in our basketball program and she passed away early Friday morning from complications with asthma. Keep her family and friends in your prayers this week...

From my family to yours,


This Christmas Has 12 Days

By Janet Seever

Twinkling lights on the Christmas tree reflected off the red, green and blue ornaments, while candles waited to be lit. Outside a few snowflakes drifted down as the gray Sunday afternoon sky darkened. Night comes early in mid-December.

Although it was less than two weeks before Christmas, I found it difficult to be in a festive mood. I went through the motions of  putting up a few decorations around the house, but my heart wasn't in it this year.

Our family was going through one of the most difficult years of our lives with major health issues, a serious work-related problem for my husband, and difficulties with our teenage son. Some decisions we needed to make in the months ahead could alter the direction of our lives for years to come.  

Yes, Christmas was coming. I knew I should be focusing on the birth of Christ. As a Christian, I should be remembering God's goodness and His blessings, but my focus was often on the overwhelming problems we were experiencing.  I often felt numb.

"Mom, I wish we could spend Christmas with Grandpa and Grandma in Minnesota. I miss them, and all of my aunts and uncles and cousins," said Rachel, 15, as she sat on the floor, wrapping a small package for one of her friends.
A wave of homesickness swept through me. Because of the distance, we had spent far too many Christmases away from our family.

"I know you'd like to spend Christmas in Minnesota, Rachel. So would I."  I looked up from the notes I was writing on my printed Christmas letters. "But Minnesota is 1,200 miles from Calgary. You remember how hard it was to drive in that snowstorm two years ago. And then the temperature dropped to -30 degrees on the way back."
"I remember. Tim and I almost froze our feet when the heater didn't work well."

We had concluded driving home for Christmas was too risky. Buying airline tickets for four people was totally out of the question financially--ever. No one was coming over for Christmas either; I just didn't have the energy to invite anyone. We would be spending Christmas alone.

My thoughts were jolted back to the present when the doorbell rang. It was now dark outside.

"Rachel, will you please get the door?"  

By the time she got up off the floor, the doorbell had stopped ringing.

As she opened the door, her voice registered surprise. "Mom, there's a box with presents on the doorstep ... and nobody is out here!"

I walked to the door and helped her bring in the box. Who could have left it?

The box contained numerous packages wrapped in bright Christmas paper. Each had a typewritten tag: Open Dec. 15, Open Dec.16. There were a total of 12 -- the "12 Days of Christmas." The first day, Dec. 14, was attached to a turkey wrapped in the plastic in which it had come from the store --so we wouldn't miss the fact that it needed to be put into the freezer immediately and put it under the tree by mistake!

Today's tag read: Our LOVE is given anonymously, So enjoy fun with your family, But don't tell anyone please.  

Now we were really mystified.  Thankful, I put the turkey in the freezer and the rest of the gifts under the tree.

After that, we would gather each day as a family, open one more tag, read the clever little note inside, and then try to guess what the package held. It became a game to us. Even our son joined us on occasion. As the days slipped by, we discovered potatoes, sweet potatoes, a package of marshmallows, cranberries, packages of gelatin, pickles, olives, cans of green beans, corn, mints, ginger ale and nuts. Together the packages made a complete Christmas dinner for four people. We opened the 12th package on December 25.

As we opened each anonymous package, we realized someone was thinking of us, loving us, wishing us a wonderful Christmas. Someone who wished to remain anonymous.

As it turned out, a family from work gave us an invitation for Christmas dinner a few days before Christmas. We ended up celebrating New Year's Day with the goodies which our benefactor had lovingly given us. We were blessed and so thankful to be loved!

In the following years, the Lord helped us unravel the knot of difficulties one by one--many were inter-related. The life-altering decision never had to be made; health issues were diagnosed and treated, a solution was found for the serious work-related problem, and our son outgrew his rebellious teen years. Now, four years later, our nightmare year seems like a distant memory. We've gone through a time of healing as a family.
You're probably wondering if we ever found out who gave us the anonymous Christmas gift. We never did. At first I wanted to know, but later it became unimportant. Now I realize knowing would spoil things. That gift was given out of love with no strings attached, with nothing we could do to deserve it or to pay the person back. It came when we needed a reminder that we were loved. I still have the little tags folded in a page of my journal. What a wonderful memory!

 To me, that 12-day gift is like God's Gift at Christmas; with no strings attached, not something we could earn or deserve. Love freely given with no thought of return?that's what Christmas is all about.
Janet Seever 2001

Write Janet and let her know your thoughts on her story!

Living in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband and two adult children, Janet Seever writes for Word Alive magazine. She has had a variety of articles and short stories published in magazines and on Internet, including a number on HeartTouchers. You can find more of Janet's writing at:


Thought For The Day:

"Death is not a period but a comma in the story of life." --Amos J. Farver

Verse for the Day:

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." John 1:25, 26

Kid's Thought For The Day:

"It's hard not to like someone who likes you."

Parent's Thought For The Day

"Marriage -- as its veterans know well -- is the continuous process of getting used to things you hadn't expected." --Tom Mullen

Writer's Thought For The Day:

"The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them." --Raymond Chandler

Coach's Thought For The Day

"Things turn out the best for those who make the best out of the way things turn out."

Deep Thought For The Day:

"People will believe anything if you whisper it."



Hi Everyone,
I want to thank all of you who interceded for my Mum. Her toe has healed completely. The nail has still not grown completely but it is in the process.
Thank you again. God is Good.


Original prayer request from Jacqueline:

Mr. Powers, everyone on the list,
I too have an urgent prayer request. My Mum is a diabetic. She's been one for more than 20 years. She suffered a heart attack on 01st Feb. 2000 and has been on insulin jabs since.
About a month ago, after returning from her morning walk, she found her right big toe bleeding. It turned out it was because of an in-grown nail. The doctor removed the nail and gave her a round of anti-biotics. Her wound seemed to have healed and even the "new" nail was beginning to appear. But last night, she revealed that that toe was hurting quite badly (must have been going on for some time). Her doctor said it was due to infection. He cleaned it, re-dressed it and has put her on another round of anti-biotics.
If you don't already know, diabetics have a risk of hurting their extremities (fingers/toes - especially toes) which would ultimately have to be amputated.

Please, please pray that this would be the case for my Mum (Carmel Lukose). Please pray for her COMPLETE healing.
Thank you, everyone.


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"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20

Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business

Dear Michael,

I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever! Love, Trisha Silverhill, AL

Let me make you a video from your photos! Check out my video production business by visiting:


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The copyrights to the stories that appear in are owned by the authors and are used with their permission. We refuse to run stories without the author's permission and contact info listed after the story. We also refuse to publish stories listed as "author unknown." (All of which violates Copyright Law and the rights of the authors.) This e-mail may be forwarded in its entirety, but please do not cut and paste the stories to be used elsewhere unless you have contacted and been given permission by the individual writer. Thank you so much for honoring the rights of those writers who graciously share their stories with us!


Reading Books, Changing Lives!

For those of you who would like to purchase the books from the bookstore via your credit card, you can now do so!

You can now order a number of different autographed best-selling inspirational books for the same price you would get them in the store, the shipping to you is paid for, and you are helping change the lives of teenagers and those they come in contact with! And best of all, every penny from the book sales are going to youth ministry!


A number of people have written to us asking what an EBook is, since our book is being offered in both print and EBook versions. An EBook is a book that can be downloaded and read right on your computer. The advantage of ordering the EBook is that is costs less, $8.95 (No other charges), as compared to $14.95 + shipping and handling for the print book. Plus you can download the EBook and begin reading the stories in a few minutes! EBooks are read via Acrobat Reader, which is software that most of you already have on your computer. And if for some reason you don't, it can be downloaded free of charge at the web site. So for those of you who don't want to wait for the print book to be delivered, check out this web site to order the EBook version of Straight From the Heart "A Celebration of Life."
Transfer your photographs or old home videos over to DVD or MP4 files! Give the gift that will touch your family's heart and soul.

You can join the 15,000 followers on his Facebook Nature Photography by clicking on the link above!

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