Articles specific to the Christmas holiday.

an illustration of Jesus' bed of hay beneath the star of Bethlehem, the start of the everlasting presence of God

Celebrating Immanuel: The Everlasting Presence of God

The presence of God upon the earth did not begin with Jesus’ birth. Like fingertips brushing a page of braille, we can trace the presence of God from the very beginning. God, walking in the Garden in the cool of the night. God, speaking to Moses through a fiery bush. God, leading His people by cloud and by fire. God, abiding in the nomadic wilderness Tabernacle. God, speaking His words through the prophets. Present, yet not fully seen. Immanuel: God With Us That is, until Immanuel arrived through the cries of childbirth; a baby, whose tiny fingers and chocolate eyes were a marvel. God with us, come to abide in our sin-choked world. Turning the tide, Jesus’ arrival opened a way for […]

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Mary, a Woman of Honor, Grit and Grace

Mary: A Woman of Honor, Grit, and Grace

Honor is the respect, trust, and confidence given to a person, earned by the character exhibited through the life they lived—the outgrowth of living a life of grace. Not easily gained nor easily bestowed. There is one lady that exhibited these qualities in life, one that holds a place of honor in every Christmas Nativity. Sitting calmly aside an infant in a manger placed in a stable filled with animals, I’m not really sure today’s depiction is realistic. If you had birthed a baby in essentially a barn, amidst straw and animals, you probably would not be perfectly coiffed. Joyous but weary, not only from the long trip you made nine months pregnant abreast a donkey, but also suffering through a natural

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Instagram Envy During the Holidays: Beware of the Pitfall

Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words; other times, they are total liars. So before we fall victim to Instagram envy during the holidays, let’s look at things a little more realistically. Yes, photos can capture the most beautiful moments in one’s life. Sometimes they are spontaneous, and sometimes they are planned with color-coordinated outfits and contoured faces. I’m reminded of how wildly popular the mall-based Glamor Shots used to be before selfies and filters made that business obsolete. One year I was gifted this experience and now have too many photos of myself in a Blossom-style denim vest and floral floppy hat. (For those of you who weren’t stylistically influenced by this 90s sitcom character, you dodged a bullet.) My point

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God's Christmas gifts: new life (part 1)

What God Wants to Give Us for Christmas: New Life (Part 1)

​​Christmas is days away and I am so excited about sharing this special day with my husband and family. The year started as the previous. A time of anticipation, yet each day filled with the comfortable routine of the past. Until a burning pain in my chest turned my normal into a test of trust.  I had felt the pain before and knew I needed to get to the hospital. Physicians quickly realized the stent placed to repair a blockage in my heart had failed. Surgery was required.  I kissed my husband, climbed onto the gurney, and was whisked away to the surgical suite. Life Is a Gift! Several hours later, I woke to the chirping and pinging of machines. One was

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There's Hope for the Holidays After Divorce

There’s Hope for the Holidays After Divorce

That Christmas, the first one without my kids, the first one that I had to pack them up after opening gifts and send them off to visit their father, is one I will always remember. Especially the moment I sat on a wooden chair in a dimly lit hallway with the phone to my ear. Handly holidays after divorce wasn’t something I had ever expected. I was perched between a family gathering in the next room and my kid’s laughter funneling through the receiver. I couldn’t understand how I ended up here, the place of shattered dreams, of holiday disillusionment. It was as if I held the blueprint for a magical, memorable Christmas, but was unable to build anything tangible from it.

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How One Secret Santa Saved the Day

How One Secret Santa Saved the Day

I was sitting in the parking lot of the grocery store waiting for the hour I could visit my daughter in the hospital when I got the second call. I recognized the number from a voicemail I had received the day before, so I answered the phone. A man said, in a very low, gruff voice, this secret Santa said, “Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas! You have a package under the Courtyard at Sherman Oaks sign.” Then he abruptly hung up. I was annoyed. I was angry. I was in the midst of the most devastating time of my life and this freak was prank calling me. My eight-year-old daughter was across the street in the inpatient psychiatry unit at UCLA medical

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10 Women Share Christmas Memories that Will Warm Your Heart

10 Women Share Christmas Memories That Will Warm Your Heart

Each Christmas usually arrives with the same lineup of gifts: the big-ticket item you really wanted, some poorly constructed but heartfelt crafts made by your children (macaroni ornaments, anyone?) and the random pairs of socks that someone decided you needed. But occasionally, there’s that one gift you never forget. It might have made you laugh or even cry, but whether you still physically have it or not, it’s never left your mind. Some of Grit and Grace Life‘s staff and writers share their favorite Christmas memories and gifts: When I was 18, I had my first “real” boyfriend. I worked at the mall at the time, and I remember he came in to say hi and then went off to shop. A

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Being an Adult Child of Divorce—at the Holidays

Being an Adult Child of Divorce—at the Holidays

As an adult child of divorce, there are many tricky dynamics and raw emotions that are bound to arise. Now, throw in a heaping dose of family togetherness, eye-to-eye conversations around the dinner table, and memories from the past that tend to creep in this time of year and it can make for an interesting scene. It’s a club I never anticipated being a member of, but I am learning not just to survive this time of year, but to find new ways to cherish it and embrace it even more. Here are some of the things I have slowly learned when it comes to divorce. What you need to know as an adult child of divorce (especially at the holidays) 1.

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Making Peace Not War With the Elf on the Shelf

To the Mom Who Loathes Elf on the Shelf

I want to have a very serious conversation with you today, friends. I want to talk about something I hate with the passion of 10,000 blazing suns. Something that is, for all intents and purposes, supposed to bring joy to the hearts of children everywhere. A newfound holiday tradition that should be yet another joyous addition to our Christmas repertoire. But I hate it. And I’m going to go ahead and go out on a limb and say that parents everywhere are with me on this one. I hate that blasted Elf on the Shelf. I hate him. I get the concept. It was birthed from a stroke of mom genius that morphed into marketing brilliance and has since become a parenting nightmare.

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grandma hugging her son in front of a Christmas tree

It Really Is the Thought That Counts—My Grandma’s Gifts Proved It

Sometimes something isn’t special while it’s happening. It isn’t a memory or has no significance until much later in your life. My grandma’s gifts are a prime example of that. As the holidays approach and things in our families change over the years, I have been reflecting a lot on holidays past and what I want to share with my children and what I hope they will share with theirs. In recent years, our family has changed the way it looks. My brother and I have lost our parents, while my husband and I have had our twins. Boy, have they made the holidays magical, and nothing says magic like children at Christmas. Another change in our family was that our grandma

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How to See Christ in the Christmas Chaos

How to See Christ in the Christmas Chaos

I was having one of those “discussions” with myself the other day, the kind where you are mediating an internal debate. There is no one else privy to the conversation; it is merely you talking to you. I’m one of those people whose facial expressions coincide with the dialogue taking place in their head. So, I’m sure that on this particular day, anyone watching me push my shopping cart would have wondered if I was having an emotional breakdown as I went from scowling to nodding my head to grinning slightly and then back to scowling. Why Do We Put Up with the Christmas Chaos? My thoughts went something like this: I am so tired of the insanity of this time of

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7 Unique Holiday Traditions to Share With Your Family

One of the very best things about the holidays is not the calorie-heavy, “guilt-free” food intake, the gifts, the family gatherings, or even the “you have outdone yourself” decorating. It’s the holiday traditions you create for your family and then repeat each year, ensuring lasting memories in the hearts of all you love. Looking to start some family traditions? Here are a few to get you started: 1. Fill a jar from Thanksgiving to January 1 with special notes for each family member. Write one note a week to tell them something about them you treasure. On January 1, each member takes the notes written to them to begin the new year knowing their worth. 2. Decorate your tree with ornaments purchased from

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How to Create Christmas Magic as a Boy Mom

Here’s How to Create Christmas Magic as a Boy Mom

Several years ago I got this message from Mandy, one of my favorite boy moms: “Am I seriously the only boy mom who has dreams of decorating together at Christmas only to be faced with three boys totally not interested? Just needing some female sympathy.” Well, here’s your sympathy, Mandy. Glad to oblige. It’s hard to sympathize these days, when almost all of my memories of our four-boy-house-Christmas are sweeter than a Leo’s peppermint stick, the kind in the blue tin that my grandmother kept on her coffee table from early November until late January. That’s what the years have done, made me a sentimental amnesiac. But I also feel that lightly singed sensation of having survived something. So I thought it

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Celebrating Advent as a Family

This Is My Favorite Family Tradition: Celebrating Advent

For children and adults, the anticipation of the holidays is always exciting. Much of the joy the season brings is in the waiting and anticipation of Christmas morning. Advent is the season leading up to Christmas morning. “Advent” is defined as “the arrival of a notable thing, person, or event” or “the coming or second coming of Christ.” It’s in the waiting that we can find hope and joy. This is metaphorical for any time or circumstance in our life, but a tangible example is the way that we wait and prepare for Christmas.  I want to create a great sense of anticipation for something beautiful in our home. With so much pain in the world, it fills me with hope to

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10 Life Lessons From Christmas Classics That Will Make You Think

Being an English teacher, I always look for the meaning behind the words. A song is not just a song, and a movie isn’t just a movie; it’s a script dripping with images and symbols to represent something deeper and is written to reveal something tender to the heart of the author. It drives my husband and students crazy! “Why can’t the wall just be yellow,” they might ask about a story. Nope. For me, there is always a reason. Even the authors of the most anticipated Christmas classics had a goal, a purpose. We can learn a thing or two from these 10 Christmas classics! The Santa Claus: A story of forgiveness and second chances. Divorced dad, Scott, has custody of

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The Holidays and My Martha Heart

It happened again. I sat down at the Thanksgiving table. A table ringed with these gifts: a husband, our children, their wives, and their children. They are my motives. They are why I schemed and shopped and cooked and baked (a chocolate-iced zebra birthday cake the shape of Africa … you know, the shape of above-and-beyond love). They are why I hauled it all from our house, along with flowers and wine and pretty little napkins. Today, at the table with this loud, fun family of ours, is the prequel to the next celebration, the one that means exponentially more cooking and baking and hauling and shopping and scheming. Today is the tugboat for that freighter called Christmas that sails into our

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brunette woman in front of a christmas tree holding the perfect gift

22 Gift Ideas for Every Woman In Your Life

Giving the perfect gift isn’t always an easy endeavor, we know. Usually, the best gifts for women are ones that meet us where we’re at in life and help make our days easier, smoother, or just more comfortable. That’s why we asked our team of writers to give us ideas for things they would love to receive based on their current season of life. So, check out the ideas we’ve curated below to find something that makes the lady you cherish feel cherished! Merry Christmas from us to you! For the Active Woman This sports bag has room for everything she needs to rock her workout. Filled with pockets (every woman needs more pockets), this duffle has space for it all. Shoes,

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