Tag Archives: Christmas

What To Do When Jesus is Buried

During the month of December, a jolly light up Santa would always stand proudly on our front porch. He was there, smiling to the world, ready to herald the arrival of Christmas. But a few years ago, we decided to upgrade to the Holy Family.

We arranged Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus on the front lawn, tracked down our extension leads, and plugged them in. Beautiful!  The baby Jesus brought light to our neighborhood, which of course, is what Jesus always does.

My husband and I watched from the window as the children who lived in the street came to admire the display. It gave us a good feeling to advertise the true meaning of Christmas.

But one week, when the heavy snows came to Michigan, Continue reading

The Final Christmas Love Letters from God Giveaway!

The countdown to Christmas is in full swing. with just twenty days left and little lights twinkling everywhere.

My Facebook feed is full of folks sharing their newly decorated Christmas trees, and just to add to the magic of the season, it started snowing yesterday, at least here in Michigan. I woke up to this wonderful world of white right outside my window.

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Christmas is coming. Jesus is coming. That little baby, hope of the whole world, light of all life.. He is coming.

Christmas is simply the best time to begin making memories and establishing family traditions with our children.

At my final blog stop in the Christmas Love Letters from God tour, I’m sharing ideas for seven meaningful, memorable family activities to enjoy around the Christmas tree. Be sure to check out number seven… that’s my favorite one!

You’ll also be able to download your cute, cut-out Nativity scene, straight from the book, and, of course, enter the final Christmas Love Letters from God giveaway

If you live in the Grand Rapids area and you’d like any one of my six titles signed for a Christmas gift, please come to my Children’s Story-time at Baker Books on Thursday 15th Dec. 10.30-noon.

And here’s my favorite story from Christmas Love Letters from God!

Happy Christmas! (that’s what we say in England!)

The Big Surprise… and Christmas Love Letters Giveaway Number 7

I loved Christmas when I was a girl.

I remember when my mum discovered ‘catalogs’… the perfect, stress-free way to shop for Christmas for all eight of us. We would pore over the pages, and then she would order what we wanted.

One year was a big disappointment. It must only have been a few days before Christmas when she broke the devastating news to an expectant ten year old:

Glenys, I’m sorry, but your pogo stick didn’t arrive. You’ll have to choose something else.

I didn’t want anything else. I wanted a pogo stick so I could boing up and down the driveway to my heart’s content. I don’t even remember what I chose as an alternative.

But what I DO remember is coming downstairs that Christmas morning, waiting patiently outside the living room for all my siblings to line up, and then opening the door to see…

a POGO STICK!

It had arrived after all, and my dad had dutifully hidden it away in the back of his wardrobe so it wouldn’t be seen. (He’d also forgotten to tell my mum). How excited she must have been to be able to surprise me with that gift after all.

I was a happy little girl, and spent the next several months boinging away happily to my heart’s content, up and down the drive. It was the best surprise ever.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without surprises. A little baby, in a manger, who would grow up to be King of the Whole World… what could be more surprising than that?

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Traci Smith, a Presbyterian pastor in San Antonio, has a Christmas surprise for her two young sons. She wrapped up 25 books and beginning December 1st,  they’ll open one book a day until the 25th.

And can you guess which book they’ll save for last? It’s Christmas Love Letters from God. What a wonderful surprise for me to find that out!

Read her post and be sure to enter the Christmas Love Letters from God giveaway. You never know… you might win.

What a lovely surprise that would be!

Five Things I Never Imagined as a Children’s Author, and a Third Giveaway!

One of the most marvelous things about becoming an author is what happens next. And it’s marvelous because what might happen is totally unpredictable.

Time after time in this publishing journey, I have seen the principle of Ephesians 3:20 at work in my life. And don’t you just LOVE how The Message Bible puts it?

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

Oh, yes indeed! Here’s five things I never, ever, in my wildest or craziest of dreams, could possibly imagine happening:

  1. That when I sat down to pen the very first words of Love Letters from God, that book would one day become a series with its own brand.
  2. That I would walk in to a little British Primary school one May morning to see the walls literally covered with children’s love letters to God. IMG_2985
  3. That I would hear, time and time again, how adults have been impacted by these books, not just little ones. (Which I guess just goes to show that although my target audience is children, God’s target audience is the world.)
  4. That I would be able to dedicate Little Love Letters from God to my very first           granddaughter.
  5. That Christina Embree, a United Methodist Children’s Ministry Director in Kentucky would take Christmas Love Letters from God and work out the perfect way for families to use it to journey through Advent and into Epiphany together. (I am the author, and I have never thought of using the book in that way!)

I don’t know what your dreams are… for yourself, or your children, or your future, but what I DO know is this:

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!

There is nothing that our great God cannot do.

So keep believing! Let the wonderful, mysterious Holy Spirit keep working quietly and deeply within you.

Keep believing.

Read about using Christmas Love Letters for Advent and enter the GIVEAWAY.

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So Who Would You Like to Have Tea With?

How fun to participate in an interview with a fellow children’s author…. Denette Fretz, who wrote two wonderfully entertaining books called Pirates on the Farm and Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door.

Now, with titles like that, I wondered if she might begin our conversation with a fun question. And she did. Her interview began:

First, let’s get to know more about you. If you could have tea with any author, whom would you choose?

Ooh…I replied….that is a hard choice. Can I cheat and have tea with a family of authors?

So who do you think I chose? Here’s a clue…they’re British (of course).

To find out, head on over to Denette Fretz where you can also enter the third Christmas Love Letters from God giveaway.

But before you leave, let me share with you a wonderful little story from Kate, who won our last Christmas Love Letters from God giveaway. The winners are chosen at random, but I really love what she plans to do with her book. In her comment, Kate wrote:

Our church family has a special single mother with twin daughters who will be receiving this book on their doorstep (secretly!) on Christmas Eve in hopes that this book will be part of their Christmas Eve traditions.

I just love thinking about this…

that on Christmas Eve, there’ll be a secret present, all wrapped up in love, sitting quietly on someone’s doorstep, just waiting to surprise them on Christmas morning.

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It reminds me that each of us can do our part in delivering God’s love letter to the world, and sharing the wonderful story of Jesus with those who need to hear it…

the story behind the greatest gift of all.

Enter the Giveaway at Denette Fretz

Christmas Love Letters from God Blog Hop…and Eight Giveaways!

Here we go friends…. beginning this week I’m embarking on a virtual tour with my newest book, Christmas Love Letters from God.

glenys-with-christmas-ll-bookEach week leading up to Christmas, I’ll be featured on eight different blogs where I’ll be taking part in author interviews, sharing ideas for creating Christmas traditions, and hosting a book giveaway at every stop.

There’ll be book reviews, a chance for you to download your own DIY nativity cutout scene, and ideas for using Christmas Love Letters from God as an Advent or Christmas devotional.

I hope you’ll join us at our first stop today with Vanessa Myers, a United Methodist Children’s Ministry Director, who shares some surprising thoughts about the book.

Here’s the entire blog hop schedule:

OCTOBER

17th: Vanessa MyersChildren’s Ministry Director

24th: Denette FretzChildren’s Book Author

31st:  Christina Embree: Children and Family Ministries Director

NOVEMBER

7th:   Kelly AnnMom Blogger

14th: Laura SassiChildren’s Book Author

21st:  Jenn PorscheHomeschooling Mom

28th:  Traci Smith: Pastor

DECEMBER

5th: Noelle KirchnerPastor

Now head on over to Vanessa Myers…. you don’t want to miss reading what her young daughter wrote in her love letter to Jesus.. it is so precious! And don’t forget to enter the giveaway there too!

Christmas Love Letters Announcement!

Here’s Mary, jumping out of the pages of Christmas Love Letters from God to help me announce the two lucky winners of the giveaway! Do you see how excited she is?

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Out of the 43 people who entered, the winners are: Elizabeth Campbell, who said:

I think my favorite story will be Jesus Joy.

And Kate Robbins, who said:

I think Mary’s Song is going to be my favorite too!! I could listen to you read stories all day long!!

Thank you, Kate, for your kind words, and for everyone who entered.

If you didn’t win, don’t despair! Beginning October 17th, there’ll be eight chances to win the book.

Each week leading up to Christmas, I’ll be featured on eight different blogs as I hop on board a virtual tour. I’ll be taking part in author interviews, sharing ideas for creating Christmas traditions, offering a cute Nativity cut out scene, and hosting… giveaways!

And if you would like a signed, personalized copy as a special Christmas gift, please come and see me at one of my upcoming:

Events

Happy Christmas! (After all, it’s only 80 days away!)

Christmas Love Letters from God Giveaway!

I know you’ve only just put your shorts and summer tops away; I know the trees are only just starting to turn orange; I know your Christmas tree is still tucked away in that big box in the attic… but the publication date of Christmas Love Letters from God is almost here! Six short days from now, in fact!

So, to celebrate, we’re giving away two brand-new, hot-off-the-press copies. It’s your chance to cross a gift off your Christmas shopping list.

If you live in the USA and don’t have a PO box, you can enter. Just fill in the contact form below and tell me which of these seven stories contained in the book might be your favorite.

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My favorite is the one you’ll hear me read, right here…..

Pre-order Here

Enter the giveaway by completing the form below. (And if you want your name to be entered twice, share this post on Facebook or email to a friend, and just let me know in your comment.) I hope you win!

No Contest

So I plop to my knees in front of my living room window to pray. I’m in a sleepy state (nothing new.) My head is down. My eyes are closed.

For some reason, I open my eyes and I’m literally shocked by what I see. I jump up to grab my phone. I have to capture this. Right outside my window, like it was placed there just for me, is the most spectacular sunrise I have ever seen (except perhaps for the one I saw over Lake Galilee.)

I don’t live on a lake. I don’t live on a hillside. I don’t live in the country. I live in a little cul-de-sac in the city of Grand Rapids. When I look out of my window I see houses, and concrete. But that doesn’t stop an artist at work. The canvas being painted outside my window wakes me up, and I shout to my husband, and interrupt his prayer time too.

David, you’ve just got to see this.

And maybe it’s because I’m not a morning person, and maybe it’s because I haven’t seen that many sunrises, that I’m completely overtaken by the sheer beauty of the reds and pinks and purples and yellows, as they dance behind a silhouette of bare winter trees.

I take picture, after picture, after picture. And five minutes later, it’s gone.

When I look at my phone, I see my Christmas tree reflected in the glass.

And I hear God whisper,

You light your Christmas tree? Look how I light the morning sky.

No contest.

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Why We Should Look Up at the Stars

Picture the scene….

It’s night-time. A young boy is lying on his back in the fields, staring up into the darkness. Electricity hasn’t been invented yet, so the light display above his head is nothing less than spectacular. He gazes at a million twinkling stars. Some are huge, some are tiny. They make patterns against black, and the boy traces them with his finger. An enormous, white, round moon shines down. The boy squints and tries to make out the images he can see on its mysterious surface.

This is how the boy falls to sleep…it’s the same ritual for David night after night. It’s what caused him to ask the universal human question Who am I? It’s what would prompt him to pen these words:

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
 what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them? Psalm 8

And think about it… a tiny boy, under a myriad of stars, and the vastness in between. Wouldn’t you be prompted to ask that question too?

Who am I?

But the trouble is, I don’t fall asleep under the stars. I fall asleep in front of the TV. I don’t have time to contemplate the mysteries of mankind or the greatness of God, because I’m too busy contemplating the Christmas catalogs or the cyber specials.

But if I did have time, perhaps I’d find that I’m far from insignificant. As small as I am in the grand scheme of things, maybe I am part of something bigger… a tiny thread in a complex tapestry; a thin, invisible brush stroke on a colossal canvas; one inaudible note in a grand symphony; one single letter in God’s autobiography.

Maybe you are too.

And so I keep looking up, like David did long ago, like the magi who came from the east or the shepherds of Bethlehem. Because it’s always when we look up that we are led to God; that we realize how a far-away star can somehow connect us to the One who made it…

despite the vastness, or the darkness, or the emptiness in between.

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