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"... And she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7)
Can you imagine being there to witness the birth of Jesus, first-hand? What a story, right? A young virgin, pregnant with the Son of God, travels miles and miles on a donkey only to end up delivering the Savior of the world in a stinky stable. But, despite the strange circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth, that single event changed the world in the most magnificent way. I envy those Shepherds, who were able to literally see the manger scene play out before their very eyes.
These days, churches and children's ministries all around the world reenact the birth of Christ every December, giving us a small but likely distorted glimpse of how the exact events occurred. It probably wasn't quite as glamorous as it's portrayed today, but what a joy to reflect on God's love for us and the lengths He went to in order to demonstrate that love.
Many movies and television specials do their best to depict the Christmas spirit that originated in that stable. Not quite as exciting as the real Christmas episode, but it's a fun way to celebrate this beautiful and miraculous season.
Be sure to check out the Out of the Mouths of FaithWriters section at the end of this newsletter to see which holiday movies and specials our members enjoy most.
AND THE PAGE TURNER WINNER IS….
The wait is finally over. It's time to announce the winner in the fourth annual FaithWriters.com/Finesse Writing and Editing Service 2010 PAGE TURNER Contest. This contest is open to all FaithWriters Platinum 500 members. It alternates each year between fiction and non-fiction and this year the focus was non-fiction. A total of 39 entries were received before the October 31st deadline.
Deb Porter, Page Turner coordinator and Finesse Writing and Editing Service Page Turner sponsor, says, "The standard of entries, overall, was very good, covering a broad range of topics. It is exciting to see so much talent being used for God's glory. Each entry comprised of a synopsis, outlining the planned book, together with the first chapter of the manuscript. Judging was based on how well each entry worked in a number of key areas, including creativity, freshness, craftsmanship and, most importantly, page turning power and potential for publication."
With that, we are thrilled to announce the grand prize winner in this year's Page Turner Contest….
SHAUNA SOUKOREFF DOLAN for her entry, The Price of Freedom
Shauna receives free editing of her manuscript (up to 300 pages), $800 in cash, a press release to announce her win to the world, free publicity and marketing of her book on all FaithWriters' sites for 12 months after publication, a press release to promote her book when it is published, and a special "Page Turner Champion" award plaque.
There are also two Highly Commended runners up, who each receive an award plaque and half-price editing on their completed manuscript. And they are:
DEBBIE ROOME for her entry, Christchurch Earthquake 2010
CAROL SLIDER for her entry, Music, Tradition and the Church
Congrats to all three of these talented ladies! We wish you much success with these page turning manuscripts!
For the rest of you, don't forget…entries open for the 2011 Page Turner Contest on January 1. The focus will return to fiction, so start outlining, plotting, and brainstorming now. Stay tuned for details, to be posted on FaithWriters.com (also in the newsletter and on the FaithWriters blog) next month.
Not eligible for the Page Turner? No problem! Upgrade your account to the Platinum level and receive more than a dozen great benefits, including Page Turner access. Visit this link for more information: http://www.faithwriters.com/fw-500-more.php
To view past Page Turner winners, click here: http://www.faithwriters.com/page-turner-archives.php
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF FAITHWRITERS
Last month, members were asked the following question:
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHRISTMAS OR HOLIDAY SPECIAL (Movie or on Television)?
The two specials that came out on top were A Charlie Brown Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life. Here are a few of the responses received:
"Absolutely hands down "A Charlie Brown Christmas"! The scene where Linus shares the REAL Christmas story still captures me, and the ending of "Hark, the Herald" still makes me cry with joy!" – Beth Tilson
"My all-time favorite Christmas movie is "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart. It is such a good reminder that God is in control, love is powerful, and every person matters." – Kay Landers
"My favorite Christmas movie stars Jimmy Stewart (and no, it's not "A Wonderful Life"). In 1980 he starred in a made-for-TV movie called "Mr. Krueger's Christmas." It's about a lonely widower who, not only directs the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in his imagination, but visits Jesus on Christmas Eve and tells the Lord Him how He helped him when his wife died. " - Lollie Hofer
"I'm a medical anomaly whenever I watch my favorite Christmas movie, "The Polar Express." My eyes bulge as I watch the train skid along the cracked ice, and my heart races up the hill with the locomotive, until my blood pressure begins to normalize upon it's timely arrival in Santa's Village." – Norma Jean
"In 'How the Grinch Stole Christmas,' Dr. Seuss gives us a great visual of the repentant heart. Who can forget the Grinch's heart growing from "two sizes too small" to exploding out of his chest? What a wonderful tool to use with children when describing how much more blessed it is to give than to receive (or to take)." - Jeff Hand
"'Amahl and the Night Visitors' by Gian Carlo Menotti stand out as my favorite Christmas special because its enchanting blend of music, song, understated humor and insight into human desperation takes you back into a time when miracles were a sign of God's presence in everyday life. The concluding scene, with the healed Amahl leading the three visitors to Bethlehem, portrays without preaching the sublime truth that "A little child shall lead them" in faith." - Richard S. Barnett
"My favorite Christmas Movie is 'A Christmas Story'. It reminds me of my childhood. I didn't always get what I wanted for Christmas, but being with my family was the most important thing. My Dad died on Dec. 9 2009 and last Christmas was just not the same. I know he is with us in spirit and I know this Christmas will be good." - Shirley Smothers
And now for the January question (two questions, actually):
DID YOU STICK TO YOUR NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS LAST YEAR? WHAT IS ONE GOAL YOU REACHED IN 2010?
Send your 1 or 2-sentence answer to firstname.lastname@example.org. Then check back in January to see if your response was selected to appear.
WE, AT FAITHWRITERS.COM, WISH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY A WONDERFUL AND BLESSED CHRISTMAS FILLED WITH PEACE, HOPE, AND LOTS OF LOVE…