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Sean and Anna Annette Kasper's Newsletter - Christmas, 2003
This year you are listening to another one of Anna's favorite Christmas carols...O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Our Holiday Plans

     The Thanksgiving holiday was spent at home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Anna's sister Linda and her husband Bob came for the holiday and invited several of their friends. It was a feast of a Thanksgiving meal! Lots of delicious food and lots of dirty dishes! *g* We put up the Christmas tree and decorated it and the house the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Sean and Anna will be spending the Christmas holiday in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where we will celebrate this most joyous holiday with Anna's sister Linda and her husband Bob, her brother Bob and his wife Lesley, many nieces and nephews including Elizabeth, Joel, Sylvia and her husband Adam and their kids and Jessy who is visiting from Norway with her husband Ingvar and their new baby daughter which was born in the end of October. Here's a picture of the proud parents and the new baby. We are hoping for a white Christmas! Our New Year's Eve plans are still undecided, but we will be home in Las Vegas for the holiday.

Our plump, black and white, big kitty Socks turned 13 years old this past year and is my older fur-kid. Our calico Sammie will be 3 years old in February. We adore our furry beasts! They both send out "Meowy Christmas" wishes! They have great fun trying to catch the Koi in the pond in the backyard and the few fish we have in an aquarium in the living room.

The Year In Review

With the help of Sean's parents we were able to move into a house in early June of this year. A lovely, quaint three bedroom, 2 bath house with French doors throughout, vaulted ceilings, kitchen nook and a dinning room, 2 car garage and a lovely yard. The yard has roses, many pine trees, two almond trees, a lemon tree, a peach tree, and a Koi pond. We were able to enjoy delicious peaches and tasty almonds from our trees in our first months in our home. Anna is receiving a digital camera for Christmas from Sean. So, hopefully pictures of the house will be forthcoming in the future.

Our son Ryan came to stay with us for some weeks this past summer and we also had lovely visits from Mom and Dad Kasper, Grandma Gloria and her charming new husband George. Linda and her husband Bob also came for a visit numerous times in the past months, and we also had a nice visit from Liz and Fred earlier in the year. Now that we have a guestroom, we'd like to have even more visitors!

Sean started a new job in October with the construction company BRAVO. He is on their cement crew. It's hard work, but he is learning new things and seems to be enjoying it. Sean also bought himself a used dirt bike. Riding is a long-time hobby of his since he was a teenager. He's a garage man and spends many hours out there in what I think is almost his favorite room in the house!

As most of you already know, in late October of last year, I was hit in the back of the head in a freak accident at work and received a concussion and a really bad neck sprain. I ended up suffering from post-concussion syndrome in the first months of this year. Now I am left with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. They've sent me to all kinds of physical therapy, various treatments and numerous doctors and nothing has helped. So, I am now scheduled for surgery this coming January 5th where they are going to do a first rib resection on the left (removal of the first rib) in the hopes that it will relieve some of my symptoms. I ask for prayers from friends and family members that the surgery goes well and that I heal quickly and that it's a success. (Update: I became ill with a severe sinus infection and the surgery was cancelled, and will be rescheduled for sometime in the end of January).

I also have my own private miracle that I am praying for now and asking to happen in the coming New Year and I would appreciate others that may feel drawn by God to pray for me and with me for a miracle to join me in this petition. I would be grateful for the prayer support of my family and friends. If it's God's will and the miracle should happen, I will include a praise of thanksgiving and details in next year's Christmas Newsletter.

Anna has also completed most of the manuscript for a non-fiction book to be published next year entitled Sisters in Spirit: Healing for Birth Mothers. The writing of this book has been and is a healing for me, but also very wrenching emotionally. I will update everyone on the progress of this project in the coming months. If your curious about the bridefriends graphic, it's all about women having a passion for Christ. We are all handmaids and brides of the Lord.

My Christmas trivia for everyone this year is The Magi.....also known as The Three Wisemen:

The Magi - (The word coming from the Greek "Magos" our English word magic derives from this word). The Magi might have came from the Mesopotamian or Arabian area, but probably from the rising Parthain Empire (centered around the current nations of Iran and Afghanistan), which basically encompassed the old Mede, Persian, and Babylonian empires. Many see Isaiah 60:3,6 to read as the prophecy of the coming Wisemen recorded in the New Testament.

They met with King Herod at Jerusalem upon the disappearance of the star to inquire of the birth of the King of the Jews. This troubled Herod (See Matthew 2:3).

When they found the child Jesus in a house they fell down and worshipped him and presented him with gifts. Being warned in a dream by God not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another way.

The Bible does not say that there were three wisemen, it only lists that three gifts were given. So, it is really unknown how many wisemen visited Jesus. In the 6th century was the first recorded mention of the Magi as 3 Kings and being named; Balthasar or Balthazar - 40 year old King of Ethiopia bringing Myrrh and Melchoir - 40 year old King of Arabia bringing gold, Caspar or Gaspar- 20 year old King of Tarsus bringing frankincense.

They're usually depicted with Balthasar in red with gold from Asia, Melchior in green with myrrh from Europe, and Caspar in blue with incense from Africa. The Kings' bodies were supposedly found and taken to Constantinople in the 3rd or 5th century and then taken to Milan after the 1st Crusade and currently are in a Cathedral in Cologne, Germany.

A little about their gifts.....

Gifts - The gold, frankincense and myrrh [Matthew 2:11] were all very valuable at the time of Christ's birth.

Gold then like now, was a very precious metal.

Frankincense (olibanum), puts off a strong fragrance when burned and was used in various rituals of the time, it was used in worship and was sprinkled on a offering. It is a product of a tree native from southern Arabia into India, with a yellow aromatic gum resin.

Myrrh was used as a beauty treatment, perfume in certain ceremonial rites, as anointing oil, embalming of the dead and when mixed with wine it would act as a painkiller and it has a spicy fragrance. It is from a bush native to Arabia into Africa, and is a whitish or yellowish or reddish-brown gum resin. Recent research has shown promising results that Myrrh might be used in cancer treatment.

Some say these gifts are significant and that the gold shows Jesus as royalty, frankincense shows the Deity of Jesus, and Myrrh depicts his coming, suffering and death.

Although many nativity scenes include the Magi, it is thought that the wisemen did not visit Jesus and presents the gifts until after his presentation at the Temple.

The Magi's visit to Jesus is commemorated on the feast of the Epiphany (Twelfth Night or January 6). On January 6th, four great events in the life of Christ are celebrated - the visit of the Magi (Epiphany); Christ's baptism in the river Jordan by John (Theophany); the miracle at Cana where Jesus changed water into wine (Bethany); and the feeding of the 5000 men along with their wives and children with five loaves of bread (Phagiphany).

At one time Epiphany was celebrated in much the same way as Christmas is now. Even today, in some countries, the wise men or their camels bear Christmas gifts for the children each year. In the Czech Republic, the initials of the magi's names are written over the entranceways of houses to celebrate Epiphany.

Kids Corner

Our son Ryan will soon turn 14 years old. He likes school and has excellent grades and is on the honor roll. He is currently in 8th grade and attends Lemon Grove Middle School. He still enjoys playing PlayStation2 and Gameboy games. He enjoys playing sports and is a football fan and recently received a football from The Chargers signed by the whole team! He wants a computer for Christmas. He will be spending the Christmas holiday this year with his grandparents at their vacation home in Washington State. He will be coming back for a visit soon and he wants to go to Rachel, Nevada which is known for the "Little Alien Cafe" and is near the now infamous Area 51.

For those wondering about my son Derek. Although, I haven't seen him in two years, I did talk with him recently. He will be 17 on January 6th. He is attending Poway High School and is a Jr. (in the 11th grade). He still has his red truck but is thinking of selling it. This year he attended his Jr. Prom with his then girlfriend Amanda. He is now 6' tall and still growing! I will be calling him on his birthday and I hope to see him in the next year. If you'd like to see recent pictures of Derek, please email me and I will be happy to share them with any interested friends or family members.