Christmas: Hope Realized
Today’s special guest is Phee Paradise, who celebrates Christmas in South Carolina with her husband, children, grandchildren, cat and bird. The rest of the year she writes, teaches public speaking, and volunteers at church. She loves God’s Word and you can read her meditations by clicking here. Phee also contributes her short stories at Faithwriters. Phee took part in the Write Integrity Press Christmas novella contest, and her entry was chosen. Phee joined the Write Integrity Press family with her chapter, which is included in A Ruby Christmas.
Christmas and Hanukkah coincided the year I invited a Jewish student to spend the holiday with us. She brought a tin menorah and placed it on the window sill in the living room. The whole family gathered around when she lit the candles and said a Hebrew prayer. Then she bundled up with us and went to the candlelight Christmas Eve service.
In the morning, the kids knew they couldn’t wake their father and me before 8:00, but a college student wasn’t quite an adult. Santa had brought her a stocking, too, so they dragged her down to see what was in it. When we came downstairs, they were playing dreidel on the cover of a Christmas record. The kids’ new friend was winning all the chocolate from their stockings.
It was fun to share our different traditions and to compare and contrast them. Both holidays, as we understood them, were about hope. The difference is that in the birth of the Messiah she didn’t recognize, we saw our hope realized. Our friend has not yet recognized that truth. But we still love her and pray for her. And our hope extends to the next generation. Last summer, when she came to visit with her children, my grandchildren told them about Jesus.
We are blessed to share a common heritage with our Jewish friends, but we should remember to pray that they will come to know that Jesus is their Messiah, too.
Ruby Joy Buckner, cowgirl, has never left the Lone Star State, but at her father’s request, she takes her faithful canine companion and travels the world in search of Nativity pieces. As Ruby collects the pieces, she also collects a few unexpected surprises, including an awareness of the beauty in other cultures, and quite a menagerie of new friends, thanks in part to Yippee Ti Yi Yo who charms everyone they meet.
Ruby’s budding awareness of life outside Texas opens her eyes to a world of whimsy, and the Nativity pieces she collects are unusual. Will her father approve her eclectic collection … and the changes that travel brought to Ruby’s life?
Phee’s chapter of A Ruby Christmas is posted on the Write Integrity Press blog. We hope you’ll also take part in our Altered Photo Contest. Check out the unaltered photos posted each day on the Write Integrity Press blog and then visit that day’s author’s website (Today you’ll visit Phee’s website) for a look at the altered photo. Keep a list because on December 13, we’ll ask you to send in your list. Those with the most correct answers will be eligible for a drawing. The prize? A bundle of all of our books in PRINT and DIGITAL (for giving and/or keeping) formats. The winner will be announced Tuesday, December 17, but rest assured, the books will be shipped in time for Christmas. (Continental U.S. Residents only for print books. If an international winner is chosen, they may receive two sets of digital books for gift giving).
Last year’s Write Integrity Press novella: The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt is also available on Kindle.
Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.
In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.
Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.
Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.