TO MY READERS:
As a contributing author to the first Pearl Girl's book, Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace, I look forward to sharing this series of devotional thoughts. Written by a group of accomplished authors as a countdown to Christmas, I pray you will enjoy the pearls of wisdom that these women have shared. Consider it my gift to you this holiday season!
Merry Christmas with love, ~Cindy
12 Pearls of Christmas blogging series!
We've gathered several of today's most beloved authors to share their Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom"! Please follow along beginning tomorrow (Wednesday the 14th) through Christmas day as Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Rachel Hauck, Sandy Ralya, Sibella Giorello, Susan May Warren and more, share their heartfelt stories of how God has touched their life during this most wonderful time of the year.
AND of course there is a giveaway! Beginning tomorrow you and all your friends can enter to win a PEARL NECKLACE and EARRINGS valued at $450! The winner will be announced on New Year's Day! Pearls - a tangible reminder of God's grace to us all.
Just a quick note from Margaret McSweeney (Pearl Girls) before the series begins on the 14th ...
As I write this, I imagine that we are sitting at my kitchen table and chatting over a cup of coffee while familiar Christmas carols celebrate the Season. My twelve year old Chihuahua, Pongo, barks for a pinch of pound cake while my Shih Tzu, Lilly, patiently sits by the chair and waits for a crumb to fall.
My name is not Martha Stewart, and I will never receive a neighborhood beautification award. Just look at my front stoop. Yes, my never-had-time-to-carve-the-pumpkin-that-now-suffers-from-frostbite slouches next to the front door which is decorated with a Christmas wreath. I plan to roll this large orange ornament to the garbage pile tomorrow. For now, however, I will pretend that my front stoop is a contemplative modern art exhibit capturing the essence of contrast.
Actually, I love the concept of juxtaposition – placing things together that don’t seem to belong together, yet somehow ultimately make sense being paired. A personal example for me this season is the phrase: “comfort and joy.” Having just completed my manuscript for New Hope Publishers about the aftermath of grief, I fully understand the contrast of those two words. How can comfort bring joy? How can one find joy in loss?
Perhaps, dear reader, you have experienced loss this year – loss of a loved one, loss of friendship, loss of health, loss of financial security, loss of trust, loss of love, or loss of direction. Even with the best intent, words of encouragement shared by others can somehow seem insufficient to address an inconsolable loss. A spoken word cannot fully restore joy to a broken heart; however the Word can. And that’s the bottom line message of Christmas! God gave us the most amazing gift: His Son - the Word of God, the Holy Comforter.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
You are not alone this Christmas, dear friend. Juxtaposed to the unexpected grit in life is the gift of God’s grace wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. This year I purposely placed a pearl in the Nativity scene as a metaphoric reminder. When we place our grit into the hands of the Lord, His grace transforms our pain into a pearl.
“Joy to the world!”
Thank you so very much for sharing the JOY of the Season with us this year.
Margaret McSweeney lives with her husband, David and two teenage daughters in the Chicago suburbs. She is the founder and director of Pearl Girls. For more information please visit www.pearlgirls.info. Margaret is fast at work on several fiction manuscripts. Her book Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace was written to help fund the Pearl Girl Charities. She is also the host of weekly radio show, Kitchen Chat. Connect with Margaret on Facebook or Twitter.