Tag: christmas

Old Saint Nick Loves Jesus: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

Old Saint Nick Loves Jesus: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

Old Saint Nick Loves Jesus

Ready or not, the holiday season is upon us once again. Costco is in full swing mode, every aisle filled with all you need for “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Yes, I am writing this the day after Halloween, but who’s paying attention to that? Although it is the most wonderful time of the year and I absolutely LOVE Christmas, there once was a time I dreaded it.

A few years back, while standing in the checkout line at a local grocery store, a kind woman asked my three-year-old sons, “What is Santa bringing you this year?” They simply stared at her, dumbfounded by her question. I scrabbled to bridge the awkward silence, “We haven’t really talked about that yet, have we, boys?” It was a true statement – we hadn’t talked about Santa yet.

Faith that Grows at Christmas: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

Faith that Grows at Christmas: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

There was a lady in my Sunday school class years ago whose ex-husband was in jail and she was severely struggling financially to provide for her two sons. I saw Melinda wrestle with her faith to trust God to take care of them.

Cotton Mill Christmas: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

Cotton Mill Christmas: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

[Editor’s Note: This is a Christmas guest post by Sheila Ingle. This one is a bit of Southern Christmas nostalgia! I love all the variety this year’s writers came up with for the Short and Sweet series — the only requirements were that the Christmas devotionals be Christmas-y and under 400 words! If you’d like to take a look what’s been published so far, here are links for day 1.day 2.day 3.day 4.day 5.day 6.day 7. day 8.day 9.]

A Cotton Mill Village Christmas

     There was always a Christmas program at the cotton mill school. Children memorized parts of the Christmas story from Luke, stood in a row, and recited it, verse by verse. They learned carols, and some sang solos. The school presented its program during the week of Christmas during school hours. If parents weren’t working the first shift, they attended, sat in uncomfortable straight back chairs, and beamed at their children’s performance.

In the home, Christmas trees were decorated with lead icicles and small snowflakes that the mothers crocheted. Strings of popcorn and berries were woven around the limbs. The cut trees were either a small pine or holly found in the woods and nailed to a wooden base.

At a Christmas gathering, the mill gave out Christmas bags to the children; for some families, this was the only gift their children received. The company filled the bags with a variety of fruit, candy, nuts, peanuts, dolls, and yo yos. Folks who were unable to come to the party received home delivery.

Families also received a turkey at Thanksgiving and a ham for Christmas. Wives baked chocolate and coconut pies to celebrate the holidays.

Mill families lived a hard life. It took the adults and children both working to make ends meet. Christmas didn’t erase this hard life, but for a day, they were forgotten.

Bill Shephard writes about what he bought for his family in 1935 with money he earned by cutting down and splitting wood for a neighbor.

     My Christmas earnings now totaled ninety cents! If I didn’t earn another penny, I could purchase a gift for every family member and have some left for myself, ant that is exactly what I did! A small tea-set for my sister cost a dime. A pretty box of ladies’ handkerchiefs for Mom cost another dime. A necktie for Dad, which he never wore, and a pair of socks for each of my brothers cost ten cents each. I still had forty cents left for myself I purchased a box of ten rolls of caps for the cap-pistol I knew I would get from Santa, and six boxes of firecrackers, along with two boxes of sparklers. I still had a nickel left with which to buy a large bag of p-nut brittle for me.

Mr. Shephard learned early how to stretch a dollar; all mill workers did.

Read more about the lives of eight women, who brought their Appalachian traditions, butter molds, and iron skillets to the cotton mills in Sheila’s book, Tales of a Cosmic Possum.

Sheila Ingle is a retired educator and author of five books about unknown South Carolina heroines. As a community volunteer, she teaches women’s Bible studies, serves on two local boards, and is a member of three lineage societies.

Faith in What We Cannot See: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

Faith in What We Cannot See: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

My three-year-old climbs in bed with us and asks for chocolate milk when she gets up in the morning. Same thing every day. But one morning, I couldn’t find a clean cup. I chose instead to use one from the night before that had water in it. I rinsed it, poured the milk, poured the syrup, shook it all around and headed back upstairs. As I arrived, she asked, like she does every morning, “Did you shake it???” I told her I did and climbed back in bed with her. But instead of taking the cup and drinking, this is what went down.

The True Star: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

The True Star: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

The morning air had already begun to get brisk and now it stayed darker for longer in the morning.  Daylight savings was just around the corner. The leaves displaying their multitude of shades as they drop lightly from the trees, car windows covered in the morning dew, not yet winter but knowing it’s right around the corner. I had only stopped to get bug spray but as I stood in the checkout line I remembered, “I need to get Christmas lights!” 

Our Immanuel: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

Our Immanuel: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

[Editor’s Note: This is a Christmas guest post by Agnes Amos. I hope these Short and Sweet Diva Christmas devotionals are blessing you this season! If you missed any, here is day 1. day 2. day 3. day 4. day 5. day 6. and more information about this year’s Diva Christmas series.

The Baby in the Manger – Our Immanuel

My friends, Christmas for me once meant the warm feeling of smelling and drinking peppermint tea; cocoa; gifts under the tree; the lights and the gigantic tree in the malls and of course the hyped consumerism that goes with it.  Over the years, this meaning changed when I met people from all walks of life sharing how lonely this season has become for various reasons. The change for me was three-fold:

 

  1. The season reaffirms the presence of Immanuel (which means “God with us”) (Matthew 1:23). I don’t know about you but I find this reassuring in a world where we all sometimes feel lonely and alone. The Lord himself, is saying He will be with us. He will neither fail us nor abandon us and all we need to do is reach out to Him.

 

  1. It is the season for serving others – reflecting on what I can do for others rather than what they can do for me; checking in on the less privileged, lonely and alone folks in our community – showing them the love of Jesus by helping and serving them.

 

  1. It is the season to give generously – Christians ought to be the most generous people on earth because of what Christ has given us.

 

Christ follower, rethink the meaning of this joyful season – experience Immanuel; serve others and give generously.  If you are currently not a Christ follower, ask Jesus to come into your life this season and you will experience His presence.

 

All glory to God!

 

Agnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP).She is the author of The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals 

Our Finest Christmas Tree: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

Our Finest Christmas Tree: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

When I first got married, there was an intense debate over the proper Christmas décor for our new home together. My husband insisted on Santa Claus, while I was equally adamant that snowmen were the way to go. Finally, we decided Christmas décor wasn’t worth our marriage, and we compromised by decorating with Christmas trees.

He Came to Save! Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

He Came to Save! Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

The smell of pine, the dropping temperatures that freeze your nose, peppermint fudge and lattes to dazzle your senses. Lights everywhere, carols you’ve heard a million times being played through every shopping mall, family traditions, and a baby in the manger. It’s Christmas.

Blessed and Highly Favored? Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

Blessed and Highly Favored? Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

[Editor’s Note: This is a Christmas guest post by Brittney Robinson. Welcome to week two of Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals! Here is Day 1. Day 2 and Day 3 if you’d like to get caught up, as well as more info about the series. All devotionals are under 400 words so you can whip right through them while still connecting with the Lord during this busy season!]

Blessed and Highly Favored?

Luke 1:28 “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

Naturally, we want the Christmas story to be a happy one. It’s our tendency to romanticize events even in the Bible, but sometimes the most significant stories are filled with pain, disappointments, tragedy and grief. Mary’s story within the Christmas story is one that has always fascinated me in that way. If I could talk to her, I’d love to hear her take. Not the commercialized, glamorized story we may tell. I mean the story that is less celebrated. The complex, complicated and contradictory experiences. I can only imagine what Mary would say. For now, here is my take,

I have often found conflict in myself as I looked at other people’s life (not a good idea) and looked at my own then wondered “Am I blessed? Does God favor me?” In observing other people, I thought they were blessed because of things like a career, a courtship, good health, happiness and simply things going just right. I thought to myself, this is what it means to be blessed and highly favored.

Mary’s story helps me to see that blessing isn’t always where the happiest person is or where there is no complication, and favor doesn’t necessarily make things easy. I have experienced those times too, but there is another side to the coin. There is a side where blessing and favor hurt. There are parts of the story where things are painful and seems unfair. In Mary’s life the initial declaration of being “blessed and highly favored” proved to be a test of her faith. How many times, I wonder, did she have to recall those words and choose to believe them when she didn’t feel them?

When there was no room in the inn.

When she and Joseph lost Jesus.

When the Romans tortured and crucified Jesus.

The purpose of God’s declaration of blessing and favor is not to look like it’s all going well. It is to be tested. Every word from God has the purpose of perfecting our faith. If you find yourself this Christmas in a place where blessing doesn’t feel like blessing and favor hasn’t exactly made things easy, remember Mary. I believe she would tell us the trial of our faith is worth it in the end.

 

brittney robinsonBrittney is a self-acclaimed “multipotentialite”. Her endeavors range from being an ASL and Deaf Culture student and advocate to writing devotionals to binge watching British TV series with her mom. She values living life to her own rhythm and encourages others to find their rhythm as well.

What CHRISTmas Means to Me: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

What CHRISTmas Means to Me: Short and Sweet Christmas Devotionals

When I was younger, my family never celebrated Christmas. The only reason I wanted to celebrate Christmas at home was I wanted presents/gifts, since all the Christmas movies I saw showed Santa Claus as source of presents.