Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Martha: She left the world of the English for the old order Mennonite church. Martha explains the difference between her old Christmas, and the one now.

Martha and Joseph are old order Mennonites who live on a farm in New York state with their family, and like the Amish use horse and buggy when traveling.

Thank you for welcoming me back to Amish Stories to tell you about my difference in Christmas from before I became an Old Order Mennonite with my current Christmas. Now that I look back, I see Christmas so different. Before I became Old Order Mennonite I think it was more important with all the gifts- decorating the house- Christmas Trees- and Christmas lights and more. I think the religious celebration got behind me even though we went to church. I can remember sitting in church one Christmas wondering what my parents had gotten me for Christmas instead of thinking that the Lord had given us His only son to come live on this earth and die for us on the cross.

Now my life is more centered on Jesus birth, life, death and resurrection. Oh, we make cookies, fudge, breads, etc. just like people in both worlds. But, Joseph and I, don't have stacks of Christmas presents for everyone. We give one or two presents per person-most of them are handmade or is  at least a useful item. No more do I spend weeks shopping in stores looking for presents. We sometimes buy some presents from a stores such as clothes, shoes, and useful items. Presents to Joseph, our children, Joseph's family and mine are unwrapped, but for my family and other non-Old Order Mennonite friends we give presents to-are wrapped. We believe it is a waste of money to wrap Christmas presents, but on the other hand, if my parents and others want their presents wrapped-we will do it. Many of the gifts we give to outsiders are baked goods, jelly, apple butter or alike.

Also as Old Order Mennonite we give more donations to charities than I did before. Many of the charities I give to are Mennonite based-I know people who volunteer for or have gone on missions to these charities. We give to charities all year around but I believe more so at Christmas Time. I still get envelopes from charities from the outside world that I never gave to. Getting envelopes from places I never heard of and wonder if they are really there. Some of the charities that I gave to before I became Mennonite-I still do because I know they are real charities and do good work.

There is a ladies group that Jean and I belong to that I believe Jean is going to tell about. Us Mennonite ladies draw the name of another Mennonite that lives locally. Throughout the year we pray for them, send them cards, write them notes, etc. We don't reveal who we are until we have our annual Christmas Party which was held at our house last year. When I first became Old Order Mennonite I was afraid to draw a name because I didn't know who I would get and what I would send being my first time. When it came for me to draw-I drew Jean's name. She also drew my name. I still think that was arranged, lol.  We both still draw names and we have never gotten each others again!

Throughout all the Christmas Season we read about Jesus' coming in the Bible. Our way is more of why we celebrate Christmas than presents, decorations or the others. On Christmas Eve Joseph reads the Bible about Jesus' birth. We fast from Christmas Eve dinner until Christmas dinner. Many times we sing Christmas hymns and go caroling. Sometimes we get in the buggy and drive around to see our neighbors Christmas lights. Also we attend meeting (church) on Christmas Day. My parents attend midnight Mass at their church and come to Christmas meeting at our church.

It is hard for my parents to go along with our ways. As my parents get upset that we don't have Christmas decorations, we do have permission to get a tree and put it up on the day before Christmas Eve. It has clear lights on it with no decorations except a star at the top. We wrap presents to my parents and put them under the tree. When they come, we plug in the tree otherwise it is off. The 27th of December-the tree comes down. My parents stay to exchange gifts, then they leave to go to dinner with whichever of my brother or sister is having Christmas Dinner. The rest of my family could come to our house-but they don't on Christmas. They do on Easter and Thanksgiving, but not on Christmas-I guess our ways are so different.

My whole Christmas is different from when I was out in the world. Christmas means so much more for me now than it did before. My thoughts and prayers are on Jesus than are on the outside world. Joseph and I try to impress this on our children. I don't think of what I am going to get for Christmas during meeting anymore. My thoughts are on my Savior.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season,


 Christmas Butter Cookies: 1 cup soft butter 1/2 cup brown, packed 2 1/4 cups flour, sifted Cream butter until it resembles whipped cream and slowly add the sugar, beating well. Add flour gradually and blend thoroughly. Wrap in waxed paper and chill for several hours. Knead dough slightly on floured board, form into a smooth ball. Roll to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Place on un-greased cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes. When cold decorate with butter icing, candied fruits, etc. Enjoy both recipes. Jean   

Snow Pudding : Take one pint of water, one cup of sugar, two tablespoons of cornstarch, beat whites of two eggs and add just before removing the mixture from the stove when it begins to thicken. The topping is made by combining one cup of milk, a half cup of sugar, and one teaspoon of cornstarch and the yokes of the two eggs.

From Martha and Joseph and family we would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a joyous new years and happy holidays.


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard