What CHRISTmas means to me…

Over the years I have discovered that Christmas is one of those things that means something a little different to everyone – even people who celebrate for essentially the same reason.

Obviously I cannot list all of those reasons because… well… 7.3 billion + people… But I’m going to list some of the general reasons. I have a point – I promise.

To some, Christmas is a very serious season – meant to be revered, solemn, quiet, still… Some of these people may decorate a tree, where others want nothing to do with trees because they feel so commercial.

To some, Christmas is all about the fun – meant for sleigh riding, snowball fights, ripping into wrapping paper and hanging out with friends. You’ll find that most of these people decorate a tree, bake tons of cookies, shop endlessly and watch every Christmas special they can. I did say most though… there are always exceptions.

To some, Christmas is just about family – baking together, making one of a kind gifts, doing a secret Santa drawing so you can really personalize and pour all your energy into that one perfect gift, and of course… traveling to visit family.

 

But where do I fall? What does Christmas mean to me?

Well, I am – like so many others – one of a kind.

I cherish CHRISTmas because of what the holiday originally stood for – the birth of our Lord and Savior; JESUS CHRIST! And there is reverence in holding this dear.

I value my family during this time – because without JESUS’ sacrifice and Saving Grace, would any of us be here now?

And of course, I focus on having fun with my family – because I believe it is what JESUS would want me to do this time of year… in reality… every time of year. JESUS blessed me with my two children – two little miracles all my own – and I intend to do everything I can to show them how rare and precious they are; not just to me but to their Heavenly Father as well.

We will watch Christmas specials that focus on all these things; A Charlie Brown Christmas, The Nativity Story, Christmas comes to Canaan, etc… because the most important thing about Christmas isn’t the tree… or the presents… or the food… or the movies you watch… or even the people you watch with… it’s remembering WHY all of that is important – because JESUS gave his LIFE to save us and HE deserves ALL THE PRAISE for blessing us this season and every other!

GOD BLESS YOU!

MERRY CHRISTmas!

Christmas 2015 Name

 

©Rachel L Miller 2015

Advertisements

With December, comes BIG NEWS for this author!!!

It’s almost time for Christmas!

Can you believe it?

As this season unfolds around us, we have so many things to be thankful for. I am thankful for family and friends, for being able to spend so much time with my family, not having to go work in an office or business away from home. I pray this is always the case.

I am also thankful for the reason this season exists . . .

Did you know that we serve such an amazing God, a loving God, and a forgiving God. As humans, we build things, write things, draw or shape things – and then when something goes wrong with it, we toss it away and start fresh.

I thank God that he did not simply discard his flawed creation – instead sending his son down to Earth as a babe so that He could walk among us and then one day . . . save us from our own flaws, our own weaknesses and frailty, our very humanity; which caused so many to reject Him and crucify Him. He knew all of these things ahead of time, but He still came.

And there is no better story than His!

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

~ Luke 2 (KJV)

 

Before you go, I have some exciting news…

Since the day I first created my fan page on Facebook, I have had messages, posts, and comments posted – asking me where my books can be bought… or when they will be available.

Of course, each one of these posts thrilled me because it showed me that readers were interested in what I had to say.

I watched as the number of “likes” on that page steadily climbed and I debated on whether or not I wanted to go with traditional publishing or if I should Indie publish.

Many of you know that I had a disheartening experience earlier this year with an agent… who told me my work was ready to sell, but ultimately decided not to represent me. I was hurt – and decided to throw in the towel (figuratively) for a bit… but I’m thankful to say that GOD is not finished with my work yet!

HE has much better plans for me…

Following HIS leading, I was moved to try again, and…

I am pleased to announce that I officially have an agent – a fantastic, talented, successful agent. And she believes in my work. We have met once and spoken twice over the phone and I am pleased to say that we get along famously!

DA DA DA…DA

I am now represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube agency! WHOO HOO!

Here I am, grinning as I prepare to sign the contract…

Here I am, signing the contract!

And here I am, being silly while I prepare to sign the contract! I love out-takes so much, I just had to share some with you!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I can’t imagine a better day! Well, except maybe the day Tamela calls to tell me she has a publisher who wants to work with me… or the day I sign that contract… maybe the day I get to hold the first copy of my book… or perhaps the day I see it in a book store…

You get the idea…

If you’re interested in keeping up with all of this, think about signing up for my NEWSLETTER! YAY!

Merry CHRISTmas to you and yours!

GOD Bless!

Lost in translation: Natural living, Going Green & … Xmas

 

Around this time of year we tend to hear a lot of arguing alongside the ringing of so many bells and it’s not hard to figure out why…

We have become lost – not necesarily lost as in we need to be saved – but lost in that we have lost sight of what is important, the big picture, the goal of our very lives.

We stress about “going green”.

But why?

Do we worry… honestly… that God – the God who “… made the stars also.” is unable to keep our planet from being destroyed? Do we truly believe that we have the power to destroy anything that God created – and has a very specific plan for?

Do we do it because we want to be good stewards?

The Bible charges us to be good stewards of what God has given us – so it follows that some of us might actually be recycling and trying to “save the planet” just because we are trying to be good stewards of this planet God has allowed us to live on temporarily.

But I think that most of us who feel a desperate need to “go green” (yes, even Christians) do so because they are following the crowd. They are doing what their parents did or what their friends are doing or what society has hammered away at them – telling them that it is their duty to the planet!

 

Before you get mad, please keep reading. I am not knocking the concept. It is a good thing to be a  good steward. And we should certainly teach our children to do everything they can to take proper care of the things God has entrusted to our care while on this Earth… but we do tend to take it a bit too far – not all of us, but certainly too many of us. We are lost… caught up in the tidal wave, swept along in the wake of environmentalism.

In the grand scheme of life, in the history of this tiny planet, this little 6,000 year old planet – we really won’t make much of a dent either way.

 

The same could be said of “living naturally”.

I read articles and cartoons and rants every day about the devastating effects of irradiation, pest controls and hormone therapy on the food we eat.

You can’t even buy regular honey at the store anymore without running the risk of getting honey made by bees that have been fed high fructose corn syrup. Now it’s not technically in the honey so they don’t have to tell you about it – but it is in the bee’s food so any mother who ever nursed her baby after having coffee or spicy food can tell you – it is in the honey!

But again – in our tiny blip of a life on this planet that is rapidly spinning through our vast Universe – does it really make such a tremendous impact? Is it truly more important than so many other things that can make for a better day-to-day life with our families?

 

And now… the thing that started this article in my mind – the great debate! CHRISTmas vs Xmas…

The person who wrote that article made the point that X in the original Greek actually symbolizes Christ. So technically speaking, when someone says “Xmas” – they’re really saying CHRISTmas… right?

Does it matter and… is that really the point?

Does it matter? Well let’s see…

If even one person thinks that you are saying Xmas to erase CHRIST from Christmas – then YES! It matters very much! You are presenting that person with the perspective that you don’t care to keep CHRIST in Christmas! In their mind, you are taking Christ out of Christmas!

No, we can’t really control other people’s perspective but we can do small things to help with the amount of confusion we may or may not cause in our own day to day journey.

And really, if you knew saying Xmas was going to keep even one person from being saved or having a blessed Christmas, would you ever allow the words to slip between your lips?

So is it really that point? Yes, I think it is very much the point.

Too many of us have lost sight of what the point is in this life!

We are not here to have as much fun as we can, collect the most stuff and make the most money!

We are here to be a light – a bright shining beacon for God! We are here to live out our lives – to the best of our ability – like Jesus’ life!

We are here to help show the other lost people – the ones who do need to be saved – the path, the way, the answer!

How can we do that if we look no different from the world we are trying so desperately to rise above?

How can we do that if we are lost ourselves?

 

The price of freedom…

 

If you’ve been paying attention to your News feed on Facebook or twitter lately, you’ve probably seen at least one post or pic about supporting our troops… but have you posted one yourself, liked one or shared one that one of your many patriotic friends shared or posted on their own?

Have you thought about how difficult it will be for so many of them this Christmas – many of them are a world away from their loved ones!

PRAY FOR THEM!

 

Have you shared the CHRISTmas story with your children, your family, your neighbors?

We watch a lot of Christmas movies this time of year and they’re not even all religious themed but even Charlie Brown Christmas talks about the “TRUE” meaning of Christmas!

Have you given of your money or your time to those less fortunate that you?

Even on a very tight budget, we make a point to give the kids change (whenever we have it) to drop into those little red buckets that seem to be outside of every store you walk into.

Have you made a list of all the things you are thankful for – as a family, as an individual…

As we get closer to Christmas, I am reminded of the myriad of things that I am grateful for!

  • I am grateful that I live in a free country – even if those freedoms are slowly being stripped away, we still have more than most!
  • I am grateful to live in a country where I am still allowed to worship CHRIST! That may not always be the case but it is now and I am thankful!
  • I am grateful that God saw fit to send his son to us as a wee babe and I am grateful that Jesus gave his own life for us on that wretched cross – HE paid the ultimate price so that we each would not have to!
  • I am grateful that Christian/Inspirational fiction is as popular as it is (and growing in popularity of late) – because it means there are plenty of GOOD books on the shelves for me and, more importantly, for my daughter to read!
  • I am grateful for the American soldier – Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army, the Coast Guard and ALERT! They fight every day at home and abroad so that we can sleep easy – knowing that they have our back!
  • And I am grateful to have such a wonderful family! My mother is the best thing that ever could have happened to me! She is a blessing I truly do not deserve! And my children are my life! They are my everything and I only hope one day that I can be half as wonderful a mother as my own!
  • I am grateful to serve a loving, forgiving, merciful GOD – who loves me enough to forgive me every time I mess up… which is usually a lot, and who only wants the best for me – even when I don’t listen to his words.

 

What are you grateful for this Christmas season?

What do you celebrate with your family?

Do you close your eyes and thank God for the avalanche of blessings that he heaps on you each and every day?

 

GOD BLESS YOU this Christmas season and in the year to come!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

© Rachel L. Miller 2014

Christmas for writers… (With a Cute Little Surprise For You!)

You would think that taking the Christmas season off from writing would make for being less busy… you would be wrong. If anything, it’s even more busy.

When you have writing to do, you make time to just sit…and work. But when you don’t have to find that time, there are suddenly a thousand more things that will crowd into your schedule and make you feel as if several days of to-do lists are attacking you at once.

The good news -I have found so many terrific Christmas gift ideas for writers (not that I’m getting any of them – but it’s fun to wish).

And in that vein, I’m writing a little cutesie “12 Days of Christmas” for Writers.

 

On the Twelfth day of Christmas, their family gave the writer – 

Twelve Days of “Vacation”

Eleven Pounds of Coffee

Ten Candy Bars

Nine New Notebooks

Eight Book Signings

Seven Starbucks Gift Cards

Six Packs of Paper

… Five sharpened pencils! …

Four clean erasers

Three Research Books

Two Memberships (to writer’s organizations)

And One Manuscript Critique!

 

 

Have a Very Merry Christmas! (writer or not)

 

 

© Rachel L. Miller 2014