Change and A Fresh Start

By Jennifer Hallmark

I hope you had a Merry Christmas, my friends, and are looking forward to a Happy New Year, a fresh start in 2018. We’ve so enjoyed spending time with you in 2017 as we talked about writing, life, family, and everything else. The last five years have been a blessing to me and each member of our Crew.

Next year, our blog will see new and exciting changes. We’ll be more focused with a specific audience in mind. And we’ll have a new name. The Crew is hard at work in order to get everything ready in time for the new year. Want to know more? Then don’t miss our January 1st post for all the details.

I love the last week of the year. For me, it’s a chance to take a breath, put away Christmas decorations, and finish 2017 strong. Here are steps you can take to help move from Christmas into the New Year that I found in Jack Hayford’s book Come and Behold Him...

  • Fast and pray- seek God. Remember. Renew.
  • Read a meaningful (to you) book of the Bible.
  • Redecorate the house for the New Year. It is very important to start the New Year fresh and alive!
  • Send thank you notes and letters.
  • Summarize and organize-write a list of things that you were not able to accomplish in 2017- check off any that are not important and set a few goals for 2018.

These small steps help me focus on what lies ahead. Thank you again for spending time at our blog and we hope to see you often in the future.

Remember: Don’t miss January 1st

Click to tweet:  The last week of the year is a chance to take a breath, put away Christmas decorations, and finish 2017 strong. Here are steps you can take to help move from Christmas into the #NewYear #2018

Christmas in Our Hearts

by Betty Owens

The wonderful thing about Christmas is…it’s the only one. (Adapted from the Tigger song).

Yes, there’s only one Christmas, and it comes once a year. I hear some of you shouting, “hallelujah!”

For many of us, the hectic Christmas season can be overwhelming, especially lately, when it seems to last the entire final quarter of the year. However, it’s still a magical, joyous time.

Christmas is one of those seasons that’s new every year–no matter how many traditions you carry over from previous years, there’s always something that’s new and precious.I tend to associate memories with sounds and aromas. Sounds, like the bells of a nearby church tolling seasonal tunes, send me back to my childhood home in San Diego, near the mission at Balboa. Aromas, like molasses cookies baking in the oven, mixed with the fresh scent of pine from the Christmas tree remind me of home. With the visual of old-fashioned Christmas bulbs reflected off shiny glass ornaments—I can almost hear the crackle of excitement in the air, as memories come rushing in.

I didn’t grow up in an overly religious home, so I didn’t always associate Christmas with church services and worship. But, we sang the beautiful carols and hymns I came to love and cherish. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Come All Ye Faithful, are a few of my favorites.

As a young teen, after I accepted a friend’s invitation to join her church’s Christmas choir, I was hooked. Something began to change in my heart, making room for the Savior, and the story of His birth.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.~John 1:14 NIV

Christmas took on a new and special meaning, so much deeper and more satisfying than the beloved fairy tale story of St. Nicholas. [Click to tweet]

We’ve had some wonderful posts this December, as our crew members have shared their hearts and warmed ours with beautiful moments, and priceless memories. Taken as a whole, these messages combine to relate the true meaning behind Christmas, and confirm our beliefs in the One born on that first Christmas Eve. I’ve linked them here, if you’d like to re-read them.

December: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Micki Clark’s Christmas Traditions

A Glimpse of Christ

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

‘Twas the Night before Christmas

What Christmas Means to Me

Now, it’s your turn. What’s your all-time favorite Christmas memory or tradition? What sets your heart aglow as the day approaches? We welcome you to join the conversation. You’re the reason we write, and we love to hear from you.

From our homes to yours, may you have a wonderful, blessed holiday season!

The Writing Prompts Crew

A Glimpse of Christ

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (our theme this month). In pondering the idea for this post,  I thought to share a few of my favorite things during this joyous season.

Mantle Lantern JohnsonTo me, nothing says Christmas like lights. During this time of year the darkest streets come to life with the flip of a switch.

There are lights in every room in my house whether it’s a strand of lights or a single candle. The light never fails to pierce the darkness and set my heart aglow.

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Tasty treats are another must at our house. They’re treasured more than the gifts beneath the tree. If you came for a visit, you would find wedding cookies, magic cookie bars, blondies, pralines, German chocolate pie, German chocolate cake, and divinity. And of course, I would offer tea, coffee, or milk.

Christmas candy sample

The psalmist wrote, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him” (Psalm 34:8).

Christmas tree 2015 Johnson

And then, there’s the tree. The tree reminds me of several things. The manger which held the Christ child was made of wood. When he became a man, he worked as a carpenter. And finally, he hung on a tree to bring the gift of salvation to a lost world.

Again, Jesus said, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

My Christmas tree holds hand-picked ornaments. The first one was given to me by my mother-in-love the year I married her son. And when my children were born, she chose an ornament for them. It’s a tradition we have kept. Each year when I decorate the tree, I’m reminded of God’s faithfulness and His blessing throughout the year.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Philippians 1:3).

No matter the activity, we can catch a glimpse of Christ if we seek to find Him. Until next year. From my house to yours, Merry Christmas, my friend!

What traditions remind you of the Christ child?

No matter the activity, we can catch a glimpse of Christ if we seek to find Him. #Christmas #hope @inspiredprompts https://wp.me/p2YFil-3jg

December: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

By Jennifer Hallmark

Wow. Christmas will arrive in twenty-four days. The physical signs are all around us. Even without a calendar, I’d know because there are things I love and a few I don’t even like about this season that I don’t see at any other time of year.

What makes me happy?

  • Shopping. I like trying to find a special gift to make friends and family smile.
  • Decorations. I enjoy decorating my house, driving around looking at adorned houses, even the way the stores and shops show all their festive colors of the season.
  • Contemplation and prayer. I take time to remember the reason for the season and pray, especially for the less fortunate.
  • Enjoying school days off with the grandbabies. I love spend the night fun and Christmas movie watching.

What makes me less than happy?

  • The traffic. Everyone is out and in a hurry.
  • The endless commercials on television. I tend to use the ‘mute’ button a lot these days.
  • The long lines. Though I tend to be fairly even-tempered, the stores test even my patience level.

I love the holidays. Not so much the hustle and bustle, but the joy and Small Acts of Kindness that surround this time of year. People give, care, and share more during the season of love.

Click to tweet: Christmas. People give, care, and share more during the season of love. #Christmas @InspiredPrompt

One of my favorite events in the holiday season is our Once Upon a Christmas giveaway. This is the third year and the prizes are better than ever for three blessed winners. Make sure you go to Rafflecopter and enter today. Contest ends December 13th.

$25 Barnes & Noble gift card

$25 Subway gift card

$25 Starbucks gift card

Jewelry

And six books:

A Perfect Fit by Karen Jurgens (e-book)

The Whisper of the Palms by Harriet E. Michael (paperback)

The Tilting Leaves of Autumn by Robin E. Mason (paperback, signed)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game (paperback)

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women (hardback)

The Reason by William Sirls (Paperback or e-book)