A Nostalgic Christmas

Photo by VinnyCiro taken from Pixabay.com

Photo by VinnyCiro taken from Pixabay.com

First, to all my lovely and faithful readers: Merry Christmas! Some of you have been with me since way back in 2009, long before I signed my first book contract. Thanks for standing beside and behind me! I’m soaking up every drop of your support. 🙂 And I’m so very thankful for you!

I hope you will be spending time with people you care about, and I hope you’ll have lots of lazy, coffee-saturated mornings. I plan to!

Last week, I talked about the hard that, for many, can come with Christmas. Today I want to talk about the nostalgic. About the beautiful and heartwarming. I love snow. I love carols. I love the smells and sounds of Christmas, and the chance to celebrate what God did for us through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Today’s guest, a sweet woman who diligently serves Christ from within her nursing home bedroom, manages to capture the wonderful and nostalgic of this holy time in every one of her Christmas novellas.

A Nostalgic Christmas by Darlene Franklin

When I wrote my first Christmas novella in 2008, I wondered how people could come up with new ideas for the hundreds that flood the stores. That story, Dressed in Scarlet from the collection Snowbound Colorado Christmas, took place during the worst-ever blizzard in Denver’s history, and I used a verse from the Bible that included snow: “She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed in scarlet.” I had a vision of a lady making hats and mittens from red long johns, and the story was born. I couldn’t imagine another snow story.

Seven Christmas novellas later, I can’t wait to write another one. I already know the theme for my 2016 entry and I even have a crazy idea to write a Christian fantasy where Santa Claus is real. Not sure how I’d make it work.

Multiply that excitement by the hundreds of other books and movies, and we get a sense of the season inspires us.

The Bible says God has created everything I can see or imagine.

ID-100376502

Photo by Prawny taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Even here at the nursing home, Christmas comes calling. A group of carolers stood outside our room, singing in four-part harmony. Christmas greens cover the nursing home. Lights twinkle up and down the halls. Christmas cards sit on my desk, and I’m reading a novella collection with eight Christmas stories. My son has already given me my first gift. My granddaughter showed off her lovely colored picture of Santa’s face, which was chosen as prettiest in the class.

Even my on-going study of Isaiah shouts of Christmas, with his many references to the coming Savior.

What do I feel? Love, joy, peace—even hope, my middle name.

Those are some of the things I can hear, see, touch, smell, and taste.

But God is also the creator of what I can imagine—a rich heiress and a poor Italian mechanic; a single mom and a vet; a retired Marine and a post office employee; a preacher’s daughter and a miner’s store owner; an apple orchard farmer and a scientist. The stories I write are also God’s creation—stemming from the imagination He gave me. I pray that people who read my stories also discover love, joy, peace, and hope.

Even our gift-giving, our imagination of what our loved ones want, comes from God—who of course gave us the greatest gift of all.

Thank God for all you can see and imagine at this Christmas season

***

Let’s talk about this! What are some of your favorite Christmasy things or events? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below and get entered into the drawing to win a free book! Darlene is doing a giveaway of Christmas Mail Order Brides, which includes her novella Jacob’s Christmas Dream. *Give-away open to those in the continental US and is contingent upon a minimum of five comments left on today’s post. 

FINAL MOA vol 1Christmas Mail Order Brides: A dying town populated by miners eager to settle down. . .but not a single marriageable woman lives in Angel Vale, Wyoming. The women of Merville, Maine, have lost too many men to the Civil War and to the sea. When the Ladies Aid Society receives the request for mail order brides, eleven matches are made. Enjoy the first six novellas in the collection by Darlene Franklin, Susan Page Davis, Cynthia Hickey, Brandi Boddie, Jennifer AlLee, and Teresa Ives Lilly.

Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to jan 21 15fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.

Website and blog

Facebook

Amazon author page

A Fish Out of Water, I mean, A Siberian Husky in the South

Before I introduce you to today’s devo, I’m going to route you over to Reflections. Elaine Cooper, author of The Road To Deer Run, shared a very touching story with us today, one that for me was like a heart-exposing microscope. I don’t want to sound callus, or belittle the intense pain she went through, but I do want to point to a deeper truth. There is one reason and one reason alone that Elaine and her husband were able to stand–because Christ held them together. I have seen tragedy hit both the Christian and non. From my experience, without Christ, humans become increasingly angry, cynical and bitter as they age. While the Christians I know become increasingly joyful and loving. I cannot speak outside of my personal experience, but year after year, life after life, this is what I’ve seen.

Now to jump off my heart-wrenching soap box (because that is how I feel watching the non-believers around me spiral into increased anger and distrust, knowing the way to the ladder, but being powerless to take that step for them), let me introduce you, once again, to Sheila Hollinghead. The following article was first posted on Sheila Hollinghead’s blog, Clearing Skies.

*                          *                              *

Here in south Alabama, almost everyone loved the snow we received Friday. After all, it had been seventeen years since our last real accumulation of snow. So when huge flakes fluttered from the sky, we pulled out gloves, scarves and thick coats for the grandkids. Outside, the eight-month-old reached to touch the snow and looked at me in amazement when he felt its coldness. His brother and sister threw snowballs and built snowmen while I drank in the happy sight.

No one was more excited about the falling snow than our Siberian Husky, Satchel. He pulled against his chain, eager to join in the fun. We released him and a new-found energy, some secret connection between his snowy-white fur and the snow flakes, had him frolicking, prancing and jumping in excitement. His face broke out into a dog smile. We joined in his fun, laughing at his display of pure, unbridled joy.

But inside I felt a little sad. He is a Siberian Husky, made for the snow, for the cold, and he relished in it. Yet he lived here, in the south with our hot, muggy summers, so far away from his true home.

Yet can’t the same be said of us? “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.” We were made for heaven and unbridled joy awaits us there. This world with its disappointments, sorrows, pains and tears is to us like the hot, muggy south is to Satchel. But one day Jesus will say, “Enter in, faithful servant” and we will be happiness personified, like Satchel in the snow.

Sheila has a B.S. in biology from Alabama’s Troy University and did post-graduate work at Auburn University and Columbus College. At Southern Junior High in Columbus, Georgia, she taught middle-school science for five years. After moving to Opp, Alabama, she continued teaching science and math for fourteen more years at Fleeta Junior High. In 1995 she retired and has since devoted much of her time to the study of the Bible and to her writing. Her blog is the inspirational Clearing Skies.

As always, if you loved today’s devotion, fb share it, tweet it, or leave a comment. (Apparently my “like” button isn’t working. I’d try to fix it, but I’m off to meet my mentor. grin.)