The Season of New Beginnings: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman (interested in her last Devotional Diva post? Here it is!) I specifically placed Agnes’ “Best Christmas Ever” post last in the guest portion of our Diva Christmas Series. It heavily relates to my post, which will be coming up next as the final installment. I guess the way Agnes describes Christmas as a “New Beginning” is precisely the way I feel about Christmas and why I love it so much. I really related! I hope you can too.

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8


A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

The Season of New Beginnings

My friends, Christmas for me symbolizes a season of new beginning. A new beginning when all hope is lost and suddenly, God shows up in the situation and changes all things around for our good.

I recall the Christmas season of 2011 during a trip to England and Paris – this was not just an ordinary trip, it was a trip with my husband celebrating our honeymoon. As cold and challenging as the trip was (because we got pick pocketed in Paris) it was a trip that embodied for me Hope and Joy. Why? I am glad you asked. After many years of being divorced, I had lost hope of ever meeting someone who shares my values and is interested in journeying through life with me for better and for worse. However, through series of divine intervention, the God of new beginning showed up and gave me my own new beginning in marriage. I know He will do the same for you too in Jesus Name. Amen.

Reflecting on this personal new beginning, I realized that God already gave us a new beginning when He sent his son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship (Galatians 4:4-5).

In this season, our new beginning is:

* Personal: Whatever our needs are – be it marital, financial, career, relationship, emotional, business, family and so on, the God of new beginning is available to meet us at the point of our need. Ours’s is to believe by faith that

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

And then walk in the spirit of expectation that one day, the story is going to change. Such was my case (even when I was faced with unbelief sometimes) that my marital situation would ever change.

* Spiritual – God is calling us into a personal relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ, so that we can do life with Him in wisdom, knowledge and understanding and above all be partakers of the hope of eternity. This new beginning is far important than the hyped consumerism synonymous to Christmas that often leaves us with the feeling of emptiness, financial debt and depression once the season is over. Think about it –

“What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” Mark 8:36.

Christ follower, I pray for you that in this season, God will give you a new beginning in every area of your life – physical, spiritual and emotional in Jesus Name. Amen. If you are currently not a Christ follower, come and experience a new beginning with Jesus today.

All glory to God!


Agnes Amos-Coleman

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 Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success; God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals

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The Christmas My PawPaw Knew Christ: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Lyndsie Suttle. We are nearing the end of our Diva Christmas Series for 2018! Here is Day 8. I hope you are as inspired by Lyndsie’s “Best Christmas Ever” as I was!!

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7


A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!


The Christmas My PawPaw Knew Christ

Christmas was always a special time in my family growing up. My granny had six grandkids, and she was crazy about all of us. She had four sons, so she was thrilled when her first four grandchildren were girls. She spoiled us all rotten.

Papaw was a bit of a different story. I wouldn’t call him a miser, but he has always been thrifty, and he thought my granny was too generous with her money. He worked hard his whole life, and saved every spare cent he had. Papaw was a wonderful man, and when it came to his grandchildren, he’d do just about anything for us. I never thought he didn’t love me, but we all knew that when it came to gifts, Gran was the giver.

Christmas was Gran’s time. We gave our wish lists to her. She shopped and bought the presents. She did all the wrapping. She made all the food. Papaw sat back and watched it all—and sometimes groused about how much it cost.

You see, my papaw didn’t know Jesus.

My granny came to know Christ just a short time after she was married. She always took her four boys to church, and prayed that one day her husband would join them. But it wasn’t until many years later, when I was eleven years old, that he accepted Jesus as his Savior.

I’ll never forget that first Christmas after he was saved. He was determined to make it about more than just eating a lot of great food and opening gifts.

He wanted us to have a wonderful time to remember. He set up games like a game show. My sweet white-haired granny wore a pink feather boa around her neck—she was his Vanna.

We had a talent show and answered silly quiz questions to win prizes. They were all hilariously tacky. I remember that I won a prize called “The Big Cheese.” It was an old picture of Papaw from the 80s. I think there was a five dollar bill included so that it didn’t feel like a bum prize! Some of us sang songs, or quoted Scripture verses or poems.

He wrote little poems about each of us. He didn’t tell us who it was about, but everyone had to guess who he was describing. I can’t remember all the words, but I remember that mine mentioned that I was the tallest out of all my cousins. When your poem was read, you were allowed to choose a present to open, or choose a present for someone else to open. That way, we all saw one another open gifts. It was a major change from previous years when everyone wildly opened gifts all at once.

That Christmas happened twenty years ago. I’ve had a lot a great Christmases since then. But it still sticks out in my mind as one of the best ever. There was so much laughter and fun. I can close my eyes right now and remember how it felt to be gathered there with my aunt, uncles, cousins and siblings. I can still see Gran flipping her feather boa over her shoulder as she asked us if we wanted to keep our prize or trade for something better. (Yes, we mixed our game shows up a bit.)

My papaw changed that Christmas. He didn’t just sit and watch us. He joined in and played and laughed, and brought us together as a family. When he came to know Jesus, his whole life changed, and our Christmas changed, too.

It’s amazing to me that two thousand years after His birth, Jesus is still changing lives, and making people happier and free. I hope that we can all find that true joy of Christmas, this year and every year, as we remember that knowing Jesus makes the best Christmas.


Lyndsie is a Christian, wife and stay-at-home mom to two boys. If she has spare time, you can find her reading a good book, baking cookies or sewing a quilt. She lives in the South Carolina Lowcountry, where she writes about motherhood, Jesus, and life in a camper. You can find her at NotJustaSAHM.com.

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For Such is the Kingdom of Heaven: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Sheila Ingle. If you read last year’s Diva Christmas Series, you might remember her! Her contribution to last year’s “Short and Sweet” series is available to read here.

You might not love Christmas and always see it as “the most wonderful time of the year.” Or, maybe this year in particular is hard for your family. This is Sheila’s story of such a Christmas, even though it is her “Best Christmas Ever.”

Want to catch up on our “Best Christmas Ever” series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3,Day 4, Day 5, Day 6


A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!


For Such is the Kingdom of Heaven

2009 was a difficult year for our family. Mother died in March from Alzheimer’s complications, and my dad died on December 6, 2009. And besides those losses, my brother’s cancer, after a thirty- year remission returned. We were reeling from the challenges and losses.

The joy of the Christmas season, without our usual family get-togethers was permanently changed; I couldn’t get myself together. It was unknown territory that I didn’t want to walk.

To add to my thoughts were my cousin’s words to me about my now being the matriarch, the thoughts of being head of our family gave me pause.

At age 61, I wasn’t ready for that mantle of responsibility. Yes, I was the oldest daughter and oldest grandchild. Lady Violet Crawley, the Dowager Duchess of Grantham, is a clear matriarch, but my claim was more of a family storyteller.

So began new talks about Christmas with the final decision being we would travel to Charleston to be with my brother and his family. I made too many lists and finally just packed, not really paying attention.

It didn’t feel like Christmas, and I didn’t feel like Christmas.

My husband John was coughing to beat the band, but had no fever. I drove, and he slept in between coughing fits. Our son drove his motorcycle. By the time we arrived, John was running a fever. After a detour to a pharmacy, I settled him in bed. Yes, I was a bit addled by this point in wondering what was next. I was about to find out.

It was time to meet my family for the children’s Christmas Eve service at Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church. Scott (our son) drove. Because we had left about five minutes too late, he picked up a little speed. The next thing we knew there was a siren and red lights behind us.

There was little conversation after we pulled over. I hesitated on telling him we were headed to church, because the policeman didn’t sound interested. Yes, there was a $75 fine for an early Christmas present to Isle of Palms, and yes, I paid it later.

Truly I was numb.

The smell of fresh greenery and the lights of many candles greeted us. Children in Biblical costumes, and adults herding them milled around the porch. As the piano and organ played, Oh, Come All Ye Faithful, we joined our family. Singing with the rest of the congregation, we watched the children march down the aisle.

Some had typical props, like a stuffed lamb, a staff, a crooked crown or two. Some were barefoot; a few stumbled over their long tunics or pulled on the rope around their waists. But most were smiling, and I started to smile, too.

As we sat down, the Angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus. His bellowing “Behold” brought laughter to the audience. One of the wise men poked another with his elbow; the response of “Don’t do that!” was appropriate. There were more giggles, and I giggled, too. Then one of the angels got tired and plopped down. It was like a steam roller, as all the little angels plopped down. One scooted down a couple of steps to the bottom. It took a volunteer to help her back in place.

There were fingers in noses, hands over faces, snickering, scratching, and pointing. Mary kept covering and uncovering Baby Jesus. Joseph was bored and looked for ways of escape. A halo fell off, and everyone tried to help pick it up. Chaos ruled that part of the stage for a few minutes. Some rocked back-and-forth; others checked out the balcony. And as the children found

their parents and grandparents, there was a slew of pointing and waving.

I laughed and enjoyed every minute of the Nativity. The innocence of children being children was charming. It completely changed my focus. No longer was I swimming in the doldrums, I was smiling with my face and my heart. Despite my grief and loss, a group of children reminded of my very real joy.

The last song we sang, as the children processioned out, was Joy to the World. And it was a joyful sound celebrating Jesus’ birthday, and my voice blended with the others as my “heart prepared Him room.”

Merry Christmas!


South Carolinian Sheila Ingle is the author of five books about unknown heroines who lived in SC. She blends history and fiction to create memorable women. You can read more about her at sheilaingle.com, @sheilaingle, Facebook Sheila Ingle Author.

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The Most Magical Christmas I Never Wanted: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Abigail Heath. I said in an email to Abigail, “Everyone has such different favorite Christmases but they all make so much sense as to why they’re the writer’s best ever.” I thought it was worth remarking here, too. Here’s Day 6 of Diva Christmas, “The Best Christmas Ever!”

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5


A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!


The Most Magical Christmas I Never Wanted

“Gather ‘round, everyone! I have an announcement I want to make!” My dear friend wrangled a ragtag group of my friends and family into her living room. All of us sipped steaming mugs of cider and waited expectantly for her proclamation. I looked over at my dad, the reason we were all gathered on this cold December day. He looked thinner than he had even just a couple months ago, battle-weary from fighting the invisible scourge that had wrapped itself around his organs. Even so, his eyes radiated the same joy that had captured my heart since I was a little girl.

a christmas devotional

“Lindy, we would like to bless your family with the gift of togetherness this Christmas.” My friend, with tears in her eyes, went on to explain that this mishmash of people gathered before me had pooled money to fund a Christmas retreat for my family. I smiled as I watched my dad take in the generosity that was being poured out on him. I looked across the room at my younger brother and sister, still just teenagers, and my eyes misted over. Cancer had weighed on us all, and it felt like this gift would pull us to the surface for a breath of air.

We didn’t know it then, although maybe we suspected it deep in our hearts, but that was the last Christmas we would have together. In that little cottage retreat where my family laughed, played board games, and shared dreams and memories with each other, I experienced the fleeting gift of togetherness. I remember snuggling into my dad and wishing that this magic we were experiencing, the simple brilliance of sitting in a room together, would last forever.

When I reflect back on that most magical Christmas I never wanted, I think of Mary cradling a newborn Jesus. I can almost picture her smoothing the brow of the little bundle in her arms, kissing his cheeks as she took in the wonder of the new life that had unexpectedly burst forth from her own body. Did she have any idea of the journey that would unfold? This babe, God putting on skin and breaking into a shattered world, would only snuggle into the cradle of her arms for the briefest of moments. Before too long, he would leave her arms and open his own to a broken and dying world. She couldn’t have known, but for a breath of time she cradled him close.

Togetherness.

It’s really what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? Incarnation. The God of the Universe putting on skin and becoming human so he could be with us. I soaked in the magic of togetherness with my dad for the last time that Christmas. There was nothing particularly spectacular about those days. No trip across the ocean to a foreign land. No Disney World excursion. It didn’t matter, though. We were together, and I know now that togetherness is the most magical gift of all.


Abigail is sometimes a nurse, often an explorer of faith and mission, and always a student. You can find her sharing reflections on her quest to mine beauty from brokenness at www.whenrainydayscome.blogspot.com and on Instagram @abigailsu.

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Hope in Giving: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by contributor Maria Drayton (her last post can be read here.) Here’s Day 5 of the Diva Christmas Series, “The Best Christmas Ever!” I like Maria’s take here on the theme because it involves two Christmases! 

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4


A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!


Hope in Giving

It was at an all-time high, the Mega Millions. So much so that it had created a buzz around my job and everywhere for that matter. It was the largest it had ever gotten and lines were long everywhere to get a ticket. Even at my job, a lottery pool had been created and everyone added their contribution. It wasn’t just the money that I saw but it was hope. It was hope that had been created. Hope, even if for a moment. It was the anticipation, the excitement, and the thrill of the possibility of winning something. The odds were 1 out of 353 million people but yet everyone that purchased a ticket had hope. Though it lasted for a short time it was a nice change. It was nice to see everyone buzzing with joy all over a possibility. Christmas time creates a similar hope (especially if you have children).

a christmas devotional

Hope in the time of the year that brings out the best in people, gift-giving, charitable donations, decorations, good food, family, etc. But Jesus died so that we could have hope every day, all year, even in the face of adversity. He died so that we can live, every day not just some days.

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is, I get another opportunity to give. I love to go shopping for others. I wait for the day they will open the gift that I meticulously picked out with only them in mind. Last year, I decided to give this same joy to my son. This hadn’t been the first year we had donated gifts, but this was the first year that I towed him along to do the shopping.

At first he wasn’t thrilled about shopping for other teens with their list in hand for things that he also wanted. But as we strode in the aisles at the first store, his posture began to change and he became more interactive. As I perused the lists he began selecting items he thought they would like. By the time we got to the last store not only had he picked all the gifts but I noticed the change in him. “That was fun!” He carefully reflected on our way home. I responded, “Yeah, its fun to give gifts to other people.” Not only did he enjoy his time but wanted to do it again this year. There is joy in giving.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:38)

I used to think it was better to be on the receiving end of a gift but life has taught me that it’s definitely better to give than to receive. This year will be the Best Christmas ever not because of what I will get but what I decide to give.

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)

No matter where you are in life, no matter what the season is, give. We’ve already received the ultimate gift, everlasting life.

“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)

Heavenly Father, Thank you for all you are to me. You are the ultimate gift and I am thankful for all you’ve done for and through me. Let me be reminded that it is better to give than to receive during this holiday season and throughout the year. I’ve already received the best gift ever, You. In Jesus name, I pray.


Maria Drayton

Maria Drayton, originally from Seattle, Washington is a graduate of Washington State University and has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism through the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. Maria currently resides in Deptford, New Jersey with her husband and son. With a passion for the Lord, she desires to bring a young, fresh, new look into intimacy with the Lord. Purchase Maria’s newly released book, “The King and I: Steps for Living in Today’s World Through Intimacy with the Lord” on her website: www.mariadrayton.com !

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The Last Christmas with my Dad: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by veteran Diva Heather Ream (want to read her last post? Read it here). Welcome to the 4th post of our 2018 Diva Christmas Series, “The Best Christmas Ever.” There was such a good mixture of stories submitted this year, and I tried to balance lighter and heavier posts throughout this series — this one is definitely heavier. Please be encouraged today by Heather’s Best Christmas Ever.


A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2, Day 3




My 6th grade year of middle school had been a remarkable one. I was 11 and felt as though I was experiencing the world for the first time. Thanks to some special teachers who were gracious with their time and attention, I learned that there were problems to be solved outside my tiny, blue-collar corner of Tennessee, and that one day, I might grow up and help to fix things.

As I gained confidence in my capabilities, my introverted nature diminished. I had an opinion now, a voice – and I used it as often and as loudly as any pre-teen is wont to do. I was especially ready for our extended family’s Christmas celebration.

Two gatherings were held: a party on Christmas Eve, followed by an early supper on Christmas Day. My grandmother’s house would be filled to capacity by dozens of family members and a table groaning with delicious Southern cuisine. Late on Christmas Eve, we would open presents, and soon Mammaw’s blue carpet would be covered with a rainbow of ripped wrapping paper. Sometimes an aunt or uncle, forgetting to buy ahead but feeling generous, would press a folded bill into my hand, filling me with delight.

My uncles and cousins would set up instruments and speakers and play old Ventures and Elvis tunes. Simultaneously, conversations would overflow from every room in the house, increasingly loud laughter punctuating most sentences. Every member of my clever, extroverted family was their most sunny and attractive at Christmas time, and I drawn to the sheer brightness of them.

I couldn’t wait to go to Mammaw’s house and show off the new, “sophisticated,” 6th-grade Heather. I was shocked when Daddy said, “Why don’t we stay here and celebrate, just the 4 of us?”

Immediately, I began to cry. We had never not gone to Mammaw’s house for Christmas. The mere thought of it upset me greatly, especially since I was so eager to show off. My mama and daddy tried to reason with me, but I could not be consoled.

After almost an hour of my tears, Daddy bent down in front of the couch and took my hands in his. His gentle brown eyes were sad and resigned. He looked as though he understood that he would experience many, many more adolescent outbursts in the years to come, and that each one would try his patience.

“We’ll go to Mammaw’s house, Heather Pooh,” he said.

I had a wonderful time at Mammaw’s house that year. It seems like we had more family at that celebration than any other I can recall. I remember vividly that Daddy ate a sandwich made with pumpernickel bread. He was the only one of us who liked it.

We were stunned when he passed away 6 days later.

He died suddenly at home in the early morning hours of December 30, 1989, a mere 144 hours after sacrificing his own happiness for the sake of his daughter’s.

Our Lord is so good and so faithful – although I suffered a terrible amount of guilt over that fact for years, He began to heal me as I matured in my own Christian walk. I came to understand that what my daddy did was leave me with a singularly important memory – an incredible, indelible example of sacrificial love.

Despite the loss, despite the pain, this remains my favorite Christmas.

Daddy modeled what I, as a believer, am called to do. His choice that night caused an influential and long-lasting chain reaction in my life. I believe what our Bible teaches about Heaven – that because I believe that Jesus hung on the cross in my place, I will one day see my daddy again, and I will one day meet our Lord. My daddy believed the same. He no longer has to believe because now he knows!

Perhaps Daddy will meet me one day as the gates to my eternal home swing open, and I can thank him for the best Christmas present he ever gave me. Perhaps I will slip my hand into his, as I did in 1989, and together, we will go thank our Lord for the best Christmas present He gave us, as well.


Heather Ream is an emerging writer from Knoxville, Tennessee. The Lord blessed her with an incredible husband, Ben, and a joyful desire to serve others in her community. You can follow her East Tennessee adventures at www.runningtowardthefire.blogspot.com.

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The Ultimate Gift: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Missy Eversole. I so hope you’re enjoying the Diva Christmas Series this year. Everyone has such an interesting take on the theme, “The Best Christmas Ever.” Here is Missy’s story!


A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

Want to catch up on the series? Day 1, Day 2

a christmas devotional

The Ultimate Gift

The aroma of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls filled our small ranch house on that Christmas Day in 1983. The tradition established by my mother was an easy breakfast to fix after the pre-dawn awaking of her children. By the time the rolls were in the oven, the sun was up, the gifts were all opened, and the excess of crinkled up wrapping paper was strewn across the living room floor.

This particular Christmas was different in that the anticipation of getting the one gift that I was hoping for had dissipated. I knew that the chance of me getting the hottest Christmas gift that year was slim to none. The toy had been sold out in stores for months, and to add to that, my father had just been laid off from work. I regretted even putting the toy on my Christmas list, but I prayed that a miracle would happen, and it would be under the tree.

As we sat engrossed in our new toys, my mother broke the silence, looked at me and said, “I think Santa left something in the closet for you!”

The closet? Why would my parents put a gift in the closet? At this point in my childhood, I was old enough to know the truth about Santa, but my five-year-old younger brother was still a believer of the jolly old man in every sense.

After seeing the confused look on my face, my mother said again, “I think you need to look in the closet, Missy.” There was no hesitation this time! I ran over to the bi-fold doors with eager anticipation. As soon as I saw the shape of it, I knew what it was! It was THE gift that I had been asking for! Taking it in my hands, I ran over to my mom and gave her a big hug.

“You don’t even know what it is!” she exclaimed.

I eagerly tore the wrapping paper off to reveal Petunia Marie. She was a preemie with a bald head, a toothless grin, and such a pleasant smell! I held her in my arms and looked at her

adoption papers. I was holding the most coveted and sought-after gift of the year, the Cabbage Patch Kid doll.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, my parents had gone without some vital necessities to save up the money to get me that one treasured gift on my list. As a parent myself now, I can empathize with my parents for wanting their children to have the best Christmas ever, only to realize that it may not be a reality due to circumstances beyond their control. For my parents to sacrifice as much as they did for that one gift, was beyond my comprehension as a child.

While I am humbled and thankful for my parents sacrifice that Christmas, the greatest gift in the form of the ultimate sacrifice came from the Lord, Himself.

The Bible says in Isaiah 9:6,

“For to us a child is born,

to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

On that first Christmas Day, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, and Savior, humbly stepped down from His throne and became human. He gave us the ultimate gift of all: His life.

Much like the joy of seeing our own children squeal with delight over getting that one present they asked for on Christmas morning, can you imagine the joy it brings to the Lord when His beloved children accept His Son, Jesus, as their Lord and Savior?

Christmas is a time to reflect back on memories of the past while having the expectancy of future Christmases. My mother is no longer with us, but I will never forget how she was just as excited as I was on that Christmas morning in 1983. It was indeed the best Christmas ever!


Missy Eversole is a writer from central Illinois. She is the wife of 18 years to Craig and mom to two teenage boys, Grant and Connor. She writes about her faith and family weekly on her blog: www.missyeversole.com. She is living proof that after being nudged by the Lord numerous times to further His kingdom, He will eventually shove you into doing it. When she is not cheering her boys on from the stands, she enjoys Bible journaling, reading, and anything Chick-Fil-A.

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The Red Sled: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by contributor June Titus (See her last post right here). It’s the second entry in our 5th Annual Diva Christmas Series with the theme, “The Best Christmas Ever.” Miss the last post? Catch up here with Day 1

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!


The Red Sled

Seven-year-old girls have different Christmas priorities than their mature self. Back in 1944 it would be the same: different circumstances.

The country’s economy didn’t lend to fancy presents. The country was crawling out of the Great Depression, and America was at war. Although many fathers were serving overseas, mine was a farmer, needed on the Homefront. Much was rationed, but we raise our own food. We had it better than most.

Christmas gifts were not extravagant. My parents worked very hard make our Christmas enjoyable: tree, big meal, a few modest gifts, goodies in our stockings. Grandmother would give a box of candy. A friend in the city would send something. I didn’t want knit stuff or a book. I wanted a sled!

My brother and my sister had their own sleds, but I had a beat-up sled that had been brother’s. I didn’t want an old sled with a bad nick in one of the runners. I just wanted A RED SLED OF MY OWN!

The steep hill behind the barn was just right for sledding if I had my own new sled with smooth runners.

I dutifully got ready for Christmas: drew a picture of our house to give my parents; learned my lines for the school’s Christmas play; practiced my part for the Sunday school program.

Then I spied out Mother’s closet, even when I knew it was wrong. I just wanted to see if there was a big package that looked like a sled. But . . . The only thing with my name of it felt like a book. I didn’t want a book! I pouted.

Daddy and my brother cut and brought a real Christmas tree inside. We all decorated it. Beautiful! I especially liked the red lights . . . like the sled I wanted! But there wouldn’t be a sled. I knew it!

Hah! Search the farm for evidence of a sled. Just maybe. I had already looked inside. Now, I searched the barn, the shop, the hen houses. No sled. This was the worst Christmas ever.

a christmas devotional

Christmas morning. No snow. Well, no sled; who needs snow? I ran downstairs in my night gown and looked. Just one glimpse told me that there were only two small presents for me. But, my stocking was bulging, so I knew there would at least be candy.

A working farm means breakfast before presents. The men, up since before daylight working with the cows and other animals, would be starved.

Then presents. I don’t know what my brother and sister received, but mine was a book and a winter hat Mother made.

I said, “Thank you,” and smiled to mask my disappointment. That looked like the only Christmas for me.

And then Daddy said, “Thought there was another present.”

“No! That’s all.” Mother said.

“Uh Oh!” he laughed and sent my brother to the back porch. In a minute he was back with a . . . well, you guessed it: a beautiful red sled!

Big smile! A beautiful, bright red sled of my own!

There’s more to the story. I went outside and checked where we kept the sleds to make a spot for mine. My heart plummeted. The ugly little sled was gone. I realized that my beautiful red sled was old one I hated. I ran into the house and looked at my sled under the tree. On examination I saw the nick had been sanded in an attempt to smooth it. Just an old sled made new.

Mother was in the kitchen making dinner. Oh, what a grouch I was!

“Mother! It’s the OLD sled!” Well, you can imagine my little tirade.

Mother stopped what she was doing and sat down, taking me in her arms. With tears in her eyes, she loved on me as she talked.

She didn’t fuss about lack of money, or that I should be glad to have what other children would love to have. Instead she told me about being made new.

“June, your sled is just like people. You see, when Jesus comes into a person’s heart, that old heart is changed. Yes, it’s the same person, but Jesus gives that person a clean heart.”

It was not until I was much older and faith in Jesus as my Savior was born in me, I finally knew of the best present of all. He came to earth that very first Christmas to give me Eternal life . . . the BEST Christmas ever.

I am still me, including all the NICKS of my old self, but I am a new person in Jesus.

June Titus
Image courtesy of June Titus

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

June Windle Bare

June W. Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.

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Christmas Joy and Waiting: A Christmas Devotional

christmas devotional

Christmas Joy and Waiting

Editor’s Note: This is a guest Christmas devotional by Monica Braun (a veteran Diva!). I’m pleased as punch to open the 5th annual Diva Christmas Series with Monica’s post. Since we are expecting a little one in January, I totally cried after reading! 

A little background info on our Diva Christmas Series: Every year I’ve been editor, I like to celebrate the Christmas season with a special series and theme. This is year 5!! This year’s theme is “The Best Christmas Ever” and I think you’ll enjoy the wide variety of posts everyone submitted! It was a pleasure reading them as they were submitted, and taking in everyone’s Best Christmases Ever. Submissions are closed, but if you’d like to read more about the series, here is my post announcing the series!

Without further ado…

Christmas brings so much joy…and waiting.


As children, we wait on Christmas Eve for Santa Claus to bring us gifts which we open on Christmas morning. As adults, we wait for Black Friday to arrive in order to get the best deals for Christmas shopping. We wait for our packages to arrive on our doorstep after we order gifts on Cyber Monday.  
Most importantly, Advent is a time of waiting for the most joyous gift of all, the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary and Joseph waited for the child Jesus to be born that beautiful and fateful night. I wonder what Mary was thinking as she waited to give birth to the Son of God. I sometimes contemplate this mystery. 
I, too, waited for my first child, Daniel, to be born in December. In fact, I waited my whole life for him. I would often lay in bed and wonder if I was ever going to meet the right man to marry so I could have children. I was aware of this space that was missing from my life. I longed for it with all my heart. 
I often wondered what God’s will was for my life. For many years, it was a mystery to me. 
And then, one Christmas season, I met my husband. We fell in love in downtown Chicago under the Christmas lights and falling snow. It was picturesque and perfect.
We got married, and then I waited to get pregnant.
And then I waited some more. We waited 9 months for the birth, to be exact. 
Every day I waited with anticipation to meet my baby. I prepared by creating a baby registry, celebrating with a baby shower, and decorating the nursery soft hues of yellow and white. And then we waited some more. 
And then finally, one frigid and beautiful night in December, he made his debut. My water broke at midnight on my due date and we drove to the hospital through gusts of wind and on icy roads. My excitement grew along with the pains of my contractions. 21 hours later I received the greatest gift I could have ever received. 
When the nurse lied him on my chest, I immediately felt a shower of love wash over me. I peered down at his tiny frame as he struggled to open his eyes.


The snow fell outside in the darkness and I bundled him close to me. We kept each other warm.  It was love in its purest and most joyous form. 
Jesus called Him by name: Isaiah 43:1.

And I knew that I was predestined to be his mama…“You knit me together in my mother’s womb” 

Psalm 139:13.

That space that once left me empty had now been filled.
Jesus taught us how to love when he was born to a virgin in a manger to save us from sin.  And He continued to teach me how to love with an effervescent, unconditional love when I gave birth to my son and I became a mother for the first time.  This love is a great mystery to me.  I navigate the lessons of it with the most overwhelming, all-consuming love I have ever felt. 
Now, as another Christmas season approaches, I will not be asking for any Christmas gifts because I have my little boy to celebrate with.
This Christmas, he will sit on my lap as we open Christmas gifts under the tree, and my heart will swell with love and gratitude to God, who is love itself.  
And then he will help his baby sister open her gifts.
With a little patience and faith, Christmas brings miracles. 
And true love.


Monica Braun has a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University and a master’s in education from Aquinas College. She teaches High School English in Racine, Wisconsin, and is an aspiring writer. She has one son and is expecting another! She is a follower of Jesus Christ. 

Monica’s blog:https://monicabraunblog.wordpress.com/

Facebook: @embracingjesus
Twitter: @monicambraun 

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A Song in My Heart


Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor June Titus. See her last post, What to Wear, for more encouragement!

A SONG IN MY HEART

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those fortunate people who have a melody constantly playing in my brain. Sometimes it is the same one for days on end; sometimes it is a tune my head makes up as it goes; sometimes it gets downright annoying, especially when I can’t connect the tune to the words or a title. Mostly, it is enjoyable.

Music has always been a part of my life since I was a tiny child. I could carry a tune by the time I was two or three and could harmonize at age five.

Music, too, has been a balm for me in trying times, bringing comfort to my hurting heart, producing needed tears when I needed to grieve, and lifting my spirits when work seemed overwhelming. Song lives in me and I am thankful.

I call to remembrance my song in the night;
I meditate within my heart,
And my spirit makes diligent search.

Psalm 77:6 (NKJV)

Recently a dear friend has been going through yet another heartache in her life. She, too, loves music and sings beautifully in the church choir. She quietly goes along in these difficult days with their important decisions, yet when it comes to singing in the choir, she is there. I can see the tell-tale concerns etched on her face, yet when the music begins, and she sings, her entire face lights up with the joy and praise in the anthem. The beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ is in her face.

I spoke to her later and told her how encouraged I was seeing her singing when I knew what she is going through in her personal life. She told me how difficult it was to sing that Sunday, although it was a simple song. It was not the choral arrangement that was so difficult; it was the words, Oh when I am alone, give me Jesus.” 

My friend knows from experience she is not alone in this struggle; Jesus is there, guiding, listening, healing.

What is it about music that can fill our hearts with joy, peace, courage, and hope? Psychology explains it in part—what the Bible has been saying for thousands of years—that chemicals are released in the brain for different emotional reactions. Soothing music will alleviate depression; pleasant music can help someone do a difficult task. Music can speed healing, increase creativity; improve memory; help us fall asleep. There are negative effects of music as well, such as: too loud, irregular beats, disharmony, and repetitive patterns. The result can be anywhere from learning disabilities and behavioral problems to anger and boredom—among others.

“Music absorbs our conscious and sub-conscious mind and directs those thought either in spiritual or unspiritual directions.”

If music itself has an emotional impact on us, how much more do the words of the music touch us in communing the attributes of Jesus to our soul. Those musical strains that run through my head, so long as they relate to meaningful words, might do me some good. My friend is working through her difficulties singing the lovely music along with the deep meaning of the words, and she is given courage, being blessed, and blessing others.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

Psalm 28: 7


June Windle Bare

June W. Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “all About Women,’ a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.

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