True Meaning of Christmas

May 3, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Kathy Carlton Willis –

What is the true meaning of Christmas? Why is it that Christmas somehow brings cheer? I think it is important to ponder the meaning of Christmas to reveal the special powers of this special holiday.

Is the meaning of Christmas found in all of the decorations? Houses and city streets are brightly decorated. The beauty and splendor of it all brings cheer to the heart, but it isn’t the true meaning of Christmas.

Maybe the meaning of Christmas is found in being with family. Certainly the holiday isn’t the same when you are apart from the ones you love the most. As much as we enjoy being with family for the holidays, the meaning of Christmas isn’t wrapped up in celebrating Christmas with our relatives.

Is the true meaning of Christmas found in gift giving? Shoppers spend hard-earned money to buy just the right gifts for their loved ones. Children can’t wait to flip through catalogs to make out their Christmas wish lists. Adults have learned it isn’t so much about receiving gifts, but about seeing eyes light up when someone you care for opens the gift you handpicked for them. But Christmas isn’t about gift giving either. Even if no one gave a single gift, Christmas would still exist.

The true meaning of Christmas is all about Who we celebrate. It’s actually a big birthday party in honor of the only One ever born to change our eternal destinations. Not only can Christ change where we go when we die, He changes who we are from the inside out, a real rebirth for us. We give gifts because the wise men came bearing gifts when they came to meet the Christ-child. We hang lights because the stars lit the sky on that nativity so long ago. And we long to be with family just like Mary longed to be with her cousin Elizabeth when she found out she was bearing the Holy One.

Everything we do to celebrate the Christmas season is all well and good as long as we remember why we celebrate in the first place. How important is the gift of Christ to you? Have you come to Him, just as you are, much like the shepherds and wise men, to allow Him to make a difference in your life?

“Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” (John 4:29 NLT).

Today’s devotional is by Kathy Carlton Willis, Christ-servant, wife to Russ, editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Kathy’s tagline captures her essence—Light & Lively: His Reflection/Her Laughter. Schedule Kathy for a speaking event or contact her firm for promotional assistance. KCWC gets jazzed shining the light on God’s writers and speakers.

Nostalgic Christmas

By Kathy Carlton Willis –

Every year, around Christmastime, I become nostalgic. My entire adult life I’ve lived away from my childhood home. One of the ways I turn my homesickness into a holiday celebration is to enjoy fond memories.

A few years ago my high school class held its 25th class reunion. I was unable to attend, but felt connected through e-mail. Exchanging photos made me feel like I was there with them. Yes, faces and figures have changed, but they possess the same essence they had when we walked the line for graduation.

I wonder how many of my classmates actually dreaded the reunion? Women who have experienced weight gain like me are often hesitant to attend their class reunions. They assume everyone else has stayed the same and they are the only ones who have changed. But life happens to all of us, as worries mature our once-taunt skin and gravity changes our waistline into a wasteland. Some of the late bloomers look more gorgeous today than ever before, but the rest of us just look…well…older.

My schoolmates have let go of their cliques and we’re united by our childhood memories. Those things that make us different don’t divide us, but make us unique and interesting. No longer do we look for cookie-cutter friends. Now, a few years later, we are networking on facebook for even more updates and connections.

As Christians, we can learn from this example. It’s tempting to only fellowship with a certain group who share the same beliefs and interests, much like school-kid cliques. We should let down our guard and find a common bond and embrace friendship with more believers. Just like my classmates connect through our memories, Christ-followers can share a common bond in the One who saved them. If we are all following Jesus, won’t we find ourselves on the same path? Let’s all fellowship on that journey. What better Christmas present to give our Lord, than for Him to see His children enjoying each other’s company.

AUTHOR QUOTE: Allow yourself to become homesick this holiday. If you follow the star of Bethlehem, you will find your way Home again.

“Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!” (Matthew 2:9B The Message)

Today’s devotional is by Kathy Carlton Willis, Christ-servant, wife to Russ, editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Kathy’s tagline captures her essence—Light & Lively: His Reflection/Her Laughter. Schedule Kathy for a speaking event or contact her firm for promotional assistance. KCWC gets jazzed shining the light on God’s writers and speakers.

Remedial Nativity

May 1, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Kathy Carlton Willis –

One Sunday, I taught a lesson to my Junior High class I entitled, “Remedial Nativity.” Of course, my first order of business was answering their question, “What does remedial mean?” I thought for sure they would know—so I explained it was a sort of beginner or refresher course. Just the basics. We started by looking up the word “nativity” in the Bible. The teens were surprised to learn it just means birthday. So I asked them what was different about this birthday. They were right on target when they gave the following answers: Jesus was born God in a human body. He came to be our substitute on the cross. He was perfect. We needed Him to come to patch things up between us and God the Father. He grew up to be King.

We read through Luke 1 and 2 to set the scene and evaluated what it must have been like to be greeted by an angel. To use the words of a teenager, “Mary must have freaked out!” When they found out Mary was possibly their age, they immediately formed a connection with her. They were amazed at her maturity and spirituality. Even in this age of permissiveness, the teens admitted they would have told the angel to pick someone else. They would fear the ridicule of their friends and family. I explained that all Jewish girls prayed to be the mother of the Christ child. It was the biggest honor imaginable. Honor or not, it was also filled with potential problems.

We looked at the scenario through the eyes of Joseph, and then through the eyes of her parents and other friends. We discussed the culture of the time. One student brought up the fact that Mary came into Bethlehem on the back of a donkey. I explained that this showed the tender side of Joseph because many men would have made the women walk the journey while they rode the distance. To use another of their expressions, “that’s messed up!”

Of course the lesson wasn’t complete until another teen sat confused by the facts and asked, “Where does Santa fit in to all of this?” I’ll save that for another lesson!

AUTHOR QUOTE: Christmas—Keep It Simple, Saints.

“This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18 NLT).

Today’s devotional is by Kathy Carlton Willis, Christ-servant, wife to Russ, editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Kathy’s tagline captures her essence—Light & Lively: His Reflection/Her Laughter. Schedule Kathy for a speaking event or contact her firm for promotional assistance. KCWC gets jazzed shining the light on God’s writers and speakers.

Christmas Angels

April 30, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Humorous

By Kathy Carlton Willis –

As a child, I longed to be the angel in our church Christmas play. Everyone said Mary was the coveted role, but I disagreed. Mary had to wear pregnancy belly covered by a drab gown. She endured a bumpy camel ride, hung out with the stinky animals in the stable. (At least she bore Jesus in a stable home!) She had few lines. In contrast, the angels wore glittery costumes complete with wings. They got to fly and sing. They had a recurring role in the play. And they were the ones who delivered the good news!

Let’s think about how the folks in biblical times responded to the visitation of angels.

First, Gabriel visited Zacharias. Through his story we learn God breathes hope into the stale air of impossible situations. Does anything seem hopeless to you today? God is the expert at taking impossible situations and turning them into blessed possibilities.

Second, Gabriel visited Mary. Mary’s was a response of faith. Even though Mary couldn’t understand everything, she willingly trusted God. If we walk with God, there will be times He asks us to do the incredible. Even though we don’t know the end result we need to step out in faith.

Third, An angel visited Joseph. That night an angel told Joseph he would need to be faithful to Mary regarding this suspicious pregnancy. Joseph obeyed, and brought Mary home to be his wife, trusting her word. And with that decision he became the earthly father of the Son of God.

Fourth, the angels visited the shepherds. Theirs was a response of praise. These weren’t ordinary shepherds. In that time unblemished lambs were sacrificed in the temple as sin offerings. The temple authorities kept this flock in the hills surrounding Bethlehem. It’s fitting that the news of the One who would be a sacrifice for all was announced to those who tended these sacrificial sheep.

What is your reaction to learning of Jesus? Like Zacharias, do you entertain doubts? Are you speechless or dumbfounded when it comes to the things of the Lord? Perhaps, like Mary, your reaction to the news of Jesus is true worship and humility. Maybe you are obedient to God’s direction in your life, like Joseph. Or perhaps, you come to God with fear and trembling, willing to follow, like the shepherds.

AUTHOR QUOTE: However you come to Jesus, this Christmas season, come to Him!

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’” (Luke 2:13-14 NKJV).

Today’s devotional is by Kathy Carlton Willis, Christ-servant, wife to Russ, editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Kathy’s tagline captures her essence—Light & Lively: His Reflection/Her Laughter. Schedule Kathy for a speaking event or contact her firm for promotional assistance. KCWC gets jazzed shining the light on God’s writers and speakers.

Christmas Carols

April 29, 2019 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Kathy Carlton Willis –

I don’t know about you, but for me, Christmas celebrations would not be complete without music. I love hearing Christmas songs in stores while shopping. The music uplifts me and it feels like I’m floating on air—transported to a different time and place without problems and trials.

At home I dig out all of my Christmas music. They include Windham Hill and Manheim Steamroller. I also have a peppy “Christmas on the Border” CD featuring Texas Blues, Hot Country, and Mexican Salsa-style Christmas tunes! And of course I have many of my favorite artists’ Christmas albums.

Churches also celebrate this sacred holiday with music. Most of our services have Christmas hymns and Christmas specials. Our children perform Christmas musicals. Children, music, and Christmastime—all of my favorite things!

I find myself humming Christmas tunes throughout the season and longing for an opportunity to join a group in Christmas caroling. I started caroling as a Girl Scout in third grade, and have caroled in some fashion almost every year since then.

Christmas music was a part of that very first Christmas. The angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” I can’t even imagine what it was like to hear the angelic choir as they sang. But we can sing a different kind of song than the angels. The angels knew the Christ-child as the Son of God who dwelled in heaven prior to His earthly birth. But we can know the Son of God as our personal Savior, something the angels will never know.

Don’t you think that gives all of us something to sing about? Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

PRAYER: Author of Christmas, sing Your songs into my heart that I might sing Your songs to others this holiday season and throughout the coming year.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14 KJV).

Today’s devotional is by Kathy Carlton Willis, Christ-servant, wife to Russ, editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. Kathy Carlton Willis Communications encompasses her many passions. Kathy’s tagline captures her essence—Light & Lively: His Reflection/Her Laughter. Schedule Kathy for a speaking event or contact her firm for promotional assistance. KCWC gets jazzed shining the light on God’s writers and speakers.

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