The Best New Year’s Resolution

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV Oh, those pesky, challenging New Year’s resolutions—made with such determination and enthusiasm. The days are finally growing lighter again (we all want to be lighter again after holiday eating), and a new year seems a good time for a fresh start. So, we set our goals and do our dogged best to keep ’em. Sometimes we do. Sort of. Most of the time, though, we fall far short. This would be because we are human. Fallible. Prone to stick with old habits even when we don’t want to. So, do we give […] Read more »

Memories of a Wartime Christmas - by Sharon’s British Mum

Note from Sharon: My lovely mother wrote this beautiful memory for her church's newsletter this Christmas. When I saw it, especially the last lines, my eyes filled with glad tears, and I knew I needed to share it with all of you. Merry Christmas, dear ones! ... Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. —Isaiah 9:6c NIV My memories go back to around 1940, when I was six years old. The first sign of Christmas coming was my mother saving enough coupons in her ration book to buy ingredients for the traditional English fruit cake, rich with various fruits and a thick fancy frosting. Then we would prepare for the annual journey to visit my Grandmother. With no car, this meant going by bus to the train […] Read more »

Hanging On - Like My Christmas Elf

For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. —Isaiah 41:13 NIV ** Hidden away at the very back of our Christmas tree hangs an elf, his little hand clinging to a tree branch. He’s a scruffy fellow made of pipe cleaners and felt, and he’s not in tip-top condition, poor guy, grimy with age and discolored by countless hands touching him over the years. You see, I made him myself … in kindergarten. I know. I know. Why on earth is this guy still hanging around? My mother admired my little work of art way back when and faithfully displayed him every year. In fact, our family Christmas […] Read more »

Mary’s Peace - The Women of Christmas Series

“I am the Lord’s servant … may your word to me be fulfilled.” —Luke 1:38a NIV Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. —Luke 2:19 NIV It’s quite the amazing story. The life of a young girl, probably a teen, is upended when an angel appears and tells her she has been chosen to carry God in her womb. The One and Only God at one specific and only time in history plans to take on flesh and dwell on earth, beginning in this young girl’s womb. All her plans for a simple life vanish with the flash of the angel’s wings. And yet, her response is one of grace and peace: “I am the Lord’s servant … may your […] Read more »

Elizabeth’s Joy - The Women of Christmas Series

He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth. —Luke 1:14 NIV Imagine what must it have been like to live in an age when childlessness meant you were judged by many as a sinful woman. A time when having a fulfilling career in something other than motherhood was not an option. A time when every woman was a stay-at-home mother, and everywhere you went were babies, toddlers, and expectant mothers swarming about? It must have been brutally hard for the childless woman. For a few brief years, I experienced the ache of longing for children. Even in our culture, it was hard. I remember the baby shower I had to leave because I could not […] Read more »

Ruth’s Love - The Women of Christmas Series

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” —Ruth 1:16-17 ESV Once upon a time, a long time ago, a girl named Ruth married a guy from another country. Their countries were not on the best of terms, but she chose to marry him anyway. Perhaps she heard some feedback about that from her family. The Bible doesn’t say either way, but marry […] Read more »