What Christmas Means to Me

By Betty Boyd

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Christmas has been called the most wonderful time of the year and I do believe that it is. I bought a porcelain Nativity scene many years ago and I keep it out all year. This Nativity keeps the meaning of Christmas in my mind all year. The coming of our Lord is the true meaning for Christmas. I really like Advent which helps prepare me for His coming. Advent is a time when one prepares spiritually for the coming of the birth of Christ.

While I wait during the days leading up to Christmas, I practice with the choir all the traditional songs for the midnight Mass which I take part. This preparation allows me to feel more in tune with our Lord’s birth. There is a true link within these songs that makes me feel that all this hustle and bustle is worth it.

I truly look forward to the midnight Mass. Our church is fully decorated, and the pews filled with parishioners ready to celebrate the true significance the season has to offer. I sing my heart out to honor the birth of our Savior. Once the Mass is over, I feel a little disappointed, but I know that this was my present to our Lord, just like the magi.

Life has many expectations, for me, as I wait for the Lord. He is coming soon and Christmas is one way for all of us to celebrate the anticipation of His birth.

Merry Christmas!

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‘Twas the Night before Christmas

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the world, the people continued as they always had with no idea of the event—the advent—that would happen the next day. In the streets of Jerusalem, the people did not think they needed a new king. They served Caesar and he was the most powerful man on earth. The people didn’t think they needed a savior. They obeyed the Roman laws and were not in trouble that they needed saving from, as far as they knew. And the people in Jerusalem and elsewhere could have cared less what was happening in an obscure little town called Bethlehem.

But what happened in that little town the next day changed the trajectory of history… and changed the lives of so many throughout the years, including you and me. Except for that event, we wouldn’t be celebrating the Christmas season today. But more importantly, we would not be looking forward to spending eternity in heaven with God.

For in that obscure place, the next day, Jesus, God’s own Son, came into the world as a tiny baby. A tiny, helpless baby who looked just like any other baby with ten little toes and ten little fingers, and needed a mother and father to take care of him.

No, most of the people living at that time didn’t realize the magnificent event that occurred in that little town of Bethlehem.

But the ancient prophet, Micah knew what a special place Bethlehem was going to be in history. He foretold it so many years earlier when he said in Micah 5:2, “But you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Click to Tweet:  Twas the night before #Christmas @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt: Write about something you are too busy to notice this Christmas.

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Grand Prize Winners of Our Once Upon a Christmas Giveaway III


Wow. Christmas is truly just around the corner. I still have shopping to do, blog posts to write, and cookies to bake. Not to mention parties to attend and family get-togethers, well, to get together. But let’s take a moment to pause and let y’all know who won our Once Upon A Christmas Giveaway III.

 

Once Upon a Christmas Giveaway

We offered three sets of prizes for our grand prize winners.

First giveaway prize package – $25 Barnes and Noble gift card, Books Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women (hardback) and The Reason by William Sirls (paperback)

Second giveaway prize package– $25 Starbucks gift card, Books The Tilting Leaves of Autumn by Robin E. Mason (signed paperback) and Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game (paperback)

Third giveaway prize package – $25 Subway gift card, jewelry, Books A Perfect Fit by Karen Jurgens (ebook) and The Whisper of the Palms by Harriet E. Michael (paperback)

Now the moment you are all waiting for:

drum rollWe are happy to announce three big winners:

(1)First giveaway- Laura Zimmerman

(2)Second giveaway-Sonnetta Jones

(3)Third giveaway-Sum Dietzel

Congratulations to all our winners! We’ll be getting in touch with you soon so we can send those gifts to you. A big thank you to everyone that entered. It was by far our best contest yet…

Stay tuned to all the big changes ahead in 2018…And don’t forget our weekly 3 Questions Wednesday interviews.

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3 Questions Wednesday with Harriet E. Michael

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday!

As one of our contributors, Harriet Michael provides insightful posts, revealing her background in writing devotionals. But how will she answer our three questions? Read on–

What inspires you?

Harriet:  So many things inspire me—a good book, an encouraging speech, a great song, nature. But I think most of all, I am inspired by people who have overcome obstacles in their lives. I know many such people, some are even family members. Their stories of making it through tough times or overcoming tragedy, handicaps, hardships, trauma, or struggles both outward and inward and going on to become active, functioning people who contribute to society really uplifts me. It also makes me question what am I (who has overcome far less) contributing to the world around me?

Thought-provoking answer, Harriet. It’s as though you see past the surface into the hearts of those around you. Empathy like that is a true gift.

So, you’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Harriet:  Yellow. As a child and through my teenage and early adult years I would have told you pink or rose because these are the colors I liked in clothes. These days even my clothing choices have changed, and I go for the brighter colors. But I never wear yellow. It looks awful on me, frankly. It makes my olive complexion turn a bit sallow. And yet, I have learned that it’s my favorite color. Yellow makes me feel sunny and warm. I use variations of it on my walls at home. It’s funny, I can walk into two rooms that are nearly the same color—a neutral off white—and tell immediately if it’s a gray-based white, which sort of calms me but also bothers me a little, almost making me feel sad, or if it’s a yellow-based white, which lifts my spirits and makes me feel happy.

Yellow is the color of happiness, wisdom, and imagination. What a great color for you, even if you can’t actually wear it. 🙂

Final Question–As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Harriet: I wanted to be a teacher. I used to play school all the time. I sat my stuffed animals and dolls in rows and stood in front of them writing things on my imaginary chalk board. I did not become a teacher, though.

I come from a medical family—my dad’s a doctor, my mother and both sisters are nurses. I worked in the hospital as a nurses’ aid the summer after high school, because it was an easy job to get with my connections. I liked it and decided to major in nursing. I worked as a nurse for several years but stopped when my youngest was born over 20 years ago and stayed home with him. When he was in kindergarten, I wanted to work part-time again, and applied to substitute teach at his Christian school. I have been doing that ever since and I love it! When I started writing a little less than 10 years ago, I discovered what I really love! So, these days I work a couple days a week in the classroom and write the other days and I’m as happy as a clam. I have finally discovered what I really want to be!

Well, you eventually got back to what you wanted to be as a child, and you have time to devote to writing. Happiness in your vocation is priceless!

Click to Tweet: Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet Michael is a writer, gardener, and substitute teacher, but how will she answer our 3 questions? #InspiredPrompt #interview


Readers–If this book seems familiar, it’s because the co-author,  Shirley Crowder, was interviewed here last Wednesday.  Harriet and Shirley first met as children in Nigeria. Here’s more information about the book:

Glimpses of Prayer – a devotional

God is looking for prayer warriors. • Start each day meditating on prayers in the Bible. • Strengthen your relationship with God through prayer. We have two primary means of communicating with God—the Bible and prayer. But what is prayer, really? This book of 50 devotions will help you look at many facets of prayer. Each devotion is centered around prayer and focuses on verses from the Old Testament and the New Testament that speak about prayer. We pray the Holy Spirit would work through these devotions to help you gain a better understanding of prayer and to ignite or deepen your passion to know Him better, resulting in you experiencing a richer more powerful prayer life.God is looking for prayer warriors. • Start each day meditating on prayers in the Bible. • Strengthen your relationship with God through prayer.

We have two primary means of communicating with God—the Bible and prayer. But what is prayer, really? This book of 50 devotions will help you look at many facets of prayer. Each devotion is centered around prayer and focuses on verses from the Old Testament and the New Testament that speak about prayer.

We pray the Holy Spirit would work through these devotions to help you gain a better understanding of prayer and to ignite or deepen your passion to know Him better, resulting in you experiencing a richer more powerful prayer life.

Buy the Book at Amazon


Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet Michael is a writer, gardener, substitute teacher, wife of over 36 years, mother of four, and grandmother of two.

She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she now has over a hundred and fifty published articles and devotions. Her work has appeared in publications by Lifeway, Focus on the Family, David C. Cook Company, Bethany House, Standard Publishing Company, Judson Press, and more.

Harriet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Louisville Christian Writers. She has authored two nonfiction books and is working on more—both nonfiction and fiction.

Follow her on:

Website: www.harrietemichael.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/harrietmichaelauthor

Blog: www.whatHehasdoneformysoul.blogspot.com


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It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas – The Reason for the Season

Our first snowfall this year was on Halloween. My grandson was so excited he danced around the small front yard yelling at the top of his lungs in unashamed joy, “Santa Claus is coming soon.” We then explained that we needed to celebrate Thanksgiving first, before we celebrate Christmas.

I learned from a veteran Walmart employee that the holiday shopping season has been dubbed “the season of rudeness”, and it gets worse the closer it gets to Christmas. Makes you wonder what in the world is wrong with people?

Then I hear stories about a secret Santa who pays the balance on a layaway for a hard working single mom. A police officer who pulls over an unsuspecting motorist who is wondering what traffic infraction caused the red lights in the rear view mirror, only to be given a gift card, or wrapped package instead of  a ticket.

I see barrels everywhere for toy donations, and they are filled with dolls, trucks, and board games. Let us not forget those brave souls who stand out in the cold to ring a bell next to a shiny red kettle. All to make spirits bright for someone in need.

Christmas begins in the heart. Love is the reason for the season. Our greatest gift chose to come down from heaven, to be born in a barn, and raised in a humble home. Sometimes I forget that Jesus is the reason for the season, and I remind myself that all that commercial stuff makes people crazy. Sure, we all want to watch the kids open presents and see that look of surprise and joy. This is what makes gift giving so much fun!

Take away all the pretty lights, ugly sweaters and Aunt Margie’s fruitcake, and what you have left is still worth celebrating.

God gave us a wonderful gift we can celebrate everyday, all year round. I choose to focus on the real reason for Christmas. How about you? [Click to Tweet]