Monday, December 19, 2011

This week on Jean : . An old order Mennonite Christmas part 2. Jeans final post for the year!



Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

  Merry Christmas and happy holidays from Jean and David and family, and we wish everyone a very healthy new year to come. We will see everyone back here on Amish Stories on January 3 2012. 


During the Christmas Season the Old Order Mennonite arrange to make Christmas Food Baskets to people in our area who might need extra food during this time. We help people throughout the year as we find out about them, and at  Christmas we try to make the meal and day a little better for them. Also, if we know they need other items like clothes, money, washer or dryer, or other items we get it for them. Our deacons send someone around to collect money to help others. The deacons do like they do for people in our meetings (church). They bring a bag around and we put in it what we want.

 Unless we write a check no one knows how much we put in there. It is between God and us. This money is used on any person who needs our help outsiders or Mennonite. Also we buy gifts for some people that don't have relatives or they live far away and won't be here for Christmas. We have one family of a lady whose husband passed (died) and her children. She is not Mennonite but she needs our help. She did not come to us, but we heard about her and wanted to help her. She is just one of the people we will help this year. We will pack everything up and deliver them. The look on their face when they receive these items are our reward. God has been generous to us so we help others. That does not mean we are rich, but God has been good in His ways to us, we must share.

On Christmas Eve we adults start fast from dinner on Christmas Eve until Christmas dinner the next day. The young folks do not have to do the fast. Many of the young people age 15 and older go caroling. Even though Michael is not 15, the young folk have invited him to come along and we have agreed that he can go. Usually a married couple or two go along to chaperon. We have gone chaperon with some of the young folks in past years. As some of the farm houses out here are a ways apart they sometimes go in a group of buggies or someone gets their flat bed buggy out and takes them all at once. After their goings from house to house singing they end up at one of their homes for coco and cookies. There they usually do more singing and then go home.

Also I Christmas Eve, I make as many of the foods for the Christmas Dinner I "can" ahead of time so they are ready for Christmas day. On Christmas Day I try to do as little cooking as possible. To us Christmas is like on Sunday-we do only what chores we have to. Christmas is a holy day to us. Before the children go to bed, David, reads the about the Birth of Jesus in the Bible. He briefly explains is that what Christmas is all about.

Christmas Day, we get up and go to meeting (church) service. The sermons are on the Birth of Jesus and also the Crucifixion. Jesus only came for us-He gave His Life for our sins by dying on the cross. After meeting we go home and receive our Christmas gifts. All the gifts we give and receive for Christmas are items we can use. One item we are giving Michael is a German / English Bible so he can see the Bible quotes at sermon and to learn our language. This Bible has German on one side and English on the other. I have some hats coming for David that he needs badly. We do buy more than one gift, but we don't by stacks of gifts for each other.

At Christmas Dinner, this year, we are just having David, Baby David, Susan, Michael and myself at Michael's request. He has never had a Christmas and wants just a small Christmas. Christmas Day is the day for just immediate family. We would have had our parents and my grandparents, but Michael asked small - this year he is getting it. December 26th is what we calls second Christmas because that is the day we visit family and friends. There is another dinner that day-this one at my parents. If there are presents to exchange we do it that day. On this day, we also only do necessary chores. We spend the day just chatting or if the weather is like it is now the children will be playing outside. If there is snow, they will be sledding or skiing near by. We stay close as a  family on this day.

On December 27th, we will go back to doing chores, but during reading the bible and prayer we go through verses of Jesus. We again thank not only for the gifts we have received but the friends, relatives, good and not so good times we have received. Also, we pray for our friends and relatives that need prayer as we do all year. It is not our way to remember Jesus just at Christmas but all year throughout.

I hope my telling you of our way at Christmas will help you enjoy yours Christmas.

David got a call today from the ambulance crew wanting him to ride with the ambulance because they had a patient who spoke our language. They said they would pick him up. Well they picked up the patient first and she wanted a woman instead of man so I was asked to go. When I got in the ambulance there was the Amish wife of the young couple we had sold the property to and helped build their house. The ambulance attendant in the back was also a woman. The Amish lady was in labor and on the way to the hospital. I did translate what she was saying to the attendant. When we go to the hospital she wouldn't let go of my arm so I went in with her and stayed with her. Her husband arrived with a driver.

If you remember before Hurricane Irene, David's Grandmother, had told the lady that the doctor was wrong-she was not having one baby, but twins. David's Grandmother was right-they had twins. When David and I went into see them they said they wished David's Grandmother hadn't passed and was here to see their babies. They had a boy and girl. The little boy came first and a little girl came next. They named the little girl Sylvia Mary, after David's Grandmother - she was right there were two. Their little boy they named Eli John after the little boys grandfathers. Because of their size (3 1/2 lbs and 3lbs) the hospital want to keep the babies for a couple of days just to make sure they are all right.

The couple had asked David to make them the crib for the one child when she was with child, which he did. This evening David is working on a second crib for them. He wants to get it done before the babies come home. Ladies Amish and Old Order Mennonite are ready to clean the house, make sure they have enough dippers, baby clothes, etc tomorrow. We are also cooking up food for their freezer so they will have food to eat when she and the babies get home. The Father's parents are the people we sold the lot next to so they are here to help, but we are still working a schedule for ladies to come and help. Men are working a schedule to milk the cows, feed the animals, and more. On the way to the hospital she said she was working on a quilt for the baby so we will be seeing if we can finish that for her and do another for her other baby. With many people and many fingers these make for light work.

The Amish lady spoke English but many times when Mennonite or Amish are in pain, ill, etc. we speak the language we use most. You sometimes don't think to speak English to an ambulance person. So sometimes they need someone to translate like I had to today. After the ladies children came and she had rested-she was speaking English to the nurses and doctors. David , some of the Mennonite and Amish are having classes for our ambulance and fire department to teach them our language. With the Old Order Mennonite and Amish moving into our area it is becoming a necessity.

Hope you all have a very Merry, Prayerful and Joyous Christmas.

Be With God,



3 C mashed sweet potatoes

1/2 c. sugar

2 eggs, well beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 c milk

1/2 c melted butter

Mix all ingredients together. Pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle topping over mixture.


1/2 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. flour

2 1/2 tbsp melted butter

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.


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