Photo by imagerymajestic taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by imagerymajestic taken from freedigitalphotos.net

I’m becoming increasingly aware of how difficult the holidays can be for so very many of you. Some of you have lost loved ones, others feel disconnected from those they long most to connect with, and still others are completely overwhelmed by everything the holidays bring. Life is hard, and the hard doesn’t go away just because we add some mistletoe or stockings to our doorways and mantels.

And yet, what if we were to peel all that back? What if we were to step aside and consider what Christmas truly is all about. Not to sound cliche’, but it’s not about the tinsel or the gingerbread cookies. It’s about a tiny baby who came to our sin-ravished earth during an inconvenient and busy time, to a tired, shunned couple who couldn’t find a place amidst the hustle and bustle of Jerusalem to birth their firstborn. It’s about a baby who grew to be a man, filled with the fullness of God and all that entails, who then spread His arms out wide and offered up all He was so that you and I might live.

Christmas isn’t about the lights or the music or what we serve for Christmas dinner–it’s about redemption Christmasverseand delivery. It’s about Immanuel–God with us, through the beautiful and the hard.

Today fellow ACFW writer Carole Brown shares what Christmas means to her. Whether your holidays are merry and bright or hard and dark, I hope the truth in her devotion brings you peace.

This is December by Carole Brown

“I will cry unto the Lord in my trouble, and He shall deliver me.”

This is December. The month we celebrate our Lord’s birth, the Son who came to earth to be our Savior.

But He not only came to save but to be our deliverer. For some, this time of the year is not a joyous season. Hearts are heavy, bodies weary, minds confused.

  • Are any of you distressed?
  • In sorrow?
  • Worried?
  • Pressured?
  • Blue and lonely?

Of course, many are, and today’s world and news doesn’t make us any easier in our minds.

The first of the year, I had a phone call of the surprising, awkward and horrible deaths of my cousin and aunt. An ordinary death is hard enough, but one that shouldn’t have been, one caused by pride and shame and ignorance–that one haunted me for days. I felt sadness and depression that I couldn’t shake.

I knew after awhile that I needed to be rescued from the depression the enemy held over me. My husband encouraged and prayed. I pled with God to intervene. And slowly, slowly, He delivered me from the depression. How?TrustingGodquote

  • I trusted God would come through for me. Their deaths were in the past and I couldn’t do a thing about their sad deaths.
  • I had to do my part. Follow God’s leadings in how He wanted to work in this situation of my life, what He wanted me to learn and how to move forward.
  • Action and focus. I needed to put my thoughts and actions into a new way of thinking. Instead of thinking so much of what had happened to these two people, I had to begin concentrating on my life and what God wanted me to go forward with.

Use the lessons God gives us in life to be a stronger, more active Christian. Be bold with your faith as God leads. Stand firm on what you know God wants you to do.

***

CaroleAug14 (14) croppedCarole Brown not only has her award winning (2015 Winner of the USA Best Books Award, 2015 Small Publishers Book Award, RWA International Digital Award finalist, Clash of the Titles Laurel Awards finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now. Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Sabataged Christmas1 front cover3Sabotaged Christmas (an Appleton WV Romantic Mystery Book 1):

Toni DeLuca, the Italian owner of DeLuca Construction, finds herself confronted with doubts about her father and his possible deceptions–all because of the mysterious pink notes she’s receiving.

Relations with Perrin Douglas who has a troubled history—but the first man in years who’s interested her–is building to a peak. Yet Perrin‘s own personal problems and his doubts about women and God, keep getting in the way.

Gossip, a Spanish proposal, an inheritance, and a sabotaged construction business all converge to play a part in ruining Christmas for Toni’s employees. Will the mysterious person behind it all succeed in pulling off the biggest scam Appleton, West Virginia has ever seen?

Will this culprit destroy Toni’s last chance at happiness with the man of her dreams?

Buy it HERE!

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! I believe God is sovereign, attentive, and actively involved in our lives. I believe He truly does use all things for our good. But sometimes that good, along with the first or next step toward it, can be hard to see. Especially if we’re in a tough place or hurting. I loved Carole’s commitment to seek God, even when tragedy hit. What an example of fixing one’s thoughts on those things that are lovely, true, and worthy of respect. This Christmas, what can you fix your thoughts on? What might God be asking you to do, and will you obey? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook, because we can all learn from one another!

And tonight, visit Heart of the Matter Radio to hear my suggestions on how we can find calm and peace among the craziness of the holiday season.

Oh, and to my local friends, I’ve got two fun events you can join me at. First, my church is having a Christmas Coffee and craft. It’s going to be way fun, and it’s free, plus, we’ve got childcare! (Also free!) You can find out more and sign up HERE.

signingflyer-page-001Second, Sunday afternoon I’m doing a signing at one of my favorite bookstores–Barnes and Noble near the Omaha Oak View Mall. I’ll be there from 1-3pm. Stop in and say hi–and bring a friend!

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6 thoughts on “

  1. What an amazing posting. So glad for Carole Brown’s sharing her thoughts and feelings. This year will be the first year without my youngest sister who literally drank herself to death this summer at the age of 53. Remembering to look to God is the only way through. Thank you, Carole and Jennifer.

    • Oh, Robin, I am so very sorry. I can’t even imagine how much your heart hurts. 😦 😦 😦 And I love your statement: “God is the only way through”, and the hope contained in those words. May He hold you tight and ever closer this Christmas!

  2. Oh, Robin, how sad, but so glad you have God to see you thru this. We don’t ever understand the “why” but we can certainly understand and know that God loves us and wants us to come thru with victory. Blessings, and hugs!

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