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"…but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. The Shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorifying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child…" – Luke 2: 19, 20 (NIV)
Mary treasured the events of Jesus' birth in her heart and thought them often. The Shepherds praised and glorified on that very first Christmas. In the years that followed, I wonder how they celebrated Jesus' birthday. Maybe they threw a huge party. Maybe they celebrated quietly.
So how do you celebrate Jesus' birthday? What are your family traditions for the holidays? The main thing, of course, is that we keep Jesus at the center. Everything else that comes with Christmas isn't necessarily bad, but keeping our eyes and hearts focused on the reason for the season is what's most important.
With that in mind, be sure to read the Out of the Mouths of Faithwriters section at the bottom of this newsletter to learn the favorite Christmas traditions of some of your fellow FaithWriters.
HERE'S ANOTHER REASON TO CELEBRATE…
THE PAGE TURNER WINNER HAS BEEN DETERMINED! According to the Page Turner coordinator, the judges had their work cut out for them. The overall standard was excellent and competition was fierce. All entries were judged anonymously, the authors names removed before the actual files were opened, read, and rated. There were 44 total entries, which were then narrowed down to six. These six entries went to a final round of judging (still anonymously, of course) where one winner and two runners up were determined.
So, without further ado, this year's Page Turner champion is…
LYNDA SCHAB for her entry, Dead Weight!
Be sure to congratulate Lynda on the FaithWriters forums http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=50 or by sending her a private message. Lynda takes home a prize package that includes free editing of her entire manuscript, free publicity, press releases, a beautiful award plaque, and a fabulous cash prize! WOW!
Also to be congratulated are the two highly commended runners up, who will each receive an award plaque and half-price editing on their manuscripts :
SHELLEY LEDFORS for her entry, Dominion
LISA MIKITARIAN for her entry, Hundred Pocket Mirage
ONCE AGAIN, LET'S GIVE A CONGRATULATORY SHOUT-OUT TO ALL THE WINNERS!
Watch for information about the 2010 Page Turner Contest to be announced in January. The focus will switch to non-fiction, so if you've got an idea or have started a non-fiction book, you'll want to get in on next year's Page Turner contest. In the meantime, to learn the basics of how the Page Turner works, visit the contest page here: http://www.faithwriters.com/page-turner.php
Did you know that the Page Turner contest was exclusively created for FaithWriters 500 members? So if you haven't yet signed up for the 500, what are you waiting for? The Page Turner is only one of many wonderful perks that come with your membership! For complete details about joining the 500, click here: http://www.faithwriters.com/myaccount/donations-from-members.php
SPEAKING OF THE 500…
Why not put a 500 membership on your wish list this year? Or give the writer on your list the gift that keeps on giving all year long! Another option is to donate a one-year 500 membership to a FaithWriters member who desperately wants to join but is unable, due to tough economic times or present difficult financial circumstances. Your gift of $10 per month (or $120 per year) will do much more than provide the benefits of a 500 membership. It will touch the heart and life of a fellow Christian writer in an extra special way. Payment accepted by credit card or PayPal. For details on sponsoring a member, visit this page: http://www.faithwriters.com/myaccount/FaithWriters500/fw500-sponsor.php
OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF FAITHWRITERS
So of course, this month's question focuses on an aspect of Christmas. In the November newsletter, I asked members to send me their answer to this question:
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FAMILY CHRISTMAS TRADITION?
Here are just a few of the heartwarming answers:
"When my children were little, they were always in such a hurry to get to their Christmas gifts that they didn't want to eat breakfast, so we told them they could have cookies and hot chocolate for breakfast. While maybe not the most nutritious meal, at least they ate something, and ever since then, that's our traditional Christmas breakfast." - Martha Holubec
"My favorite Christmas tradition is piling the whole family into the car and going to look at outdoor Christmas lights on houses. We bring our best Christmas cd's and sing along as we ride along, taking in the beautiful sights." - Laurie Neumann
"Music is such a wonderful part of my Christmas memories and traditions, I begin playing Christmas music November 1st! I view the old holiday classic "Young at Heart" with Doris Day & Frank Sinatra each year, brings back to mind times I watched it with my mother."- Pam Ford Davis
"For more years than I count we have painted our front windows for Christmas. When my children were little they helped me paint the windows and now my grandchildren do the honors. (The amazing thing is I'm not a good artist but every year the Lord blesses me with the ability to draw the pictures on the window.)" - Lollie Hofer
"Our family tradition is to give gifts to the orphans, a week before Christmas. We do it without them knowing it but love to sit along with them and watch their eyes light up as they open their gifts." - Victor Jasti
Here is the JANUARY question:
WHAT IS ONE GOAL (ONLY 1!) YOU HOPE TO REACH BY THE END OF 2010?
Email your 1 to 2 sentence answer to: FaithWriters.firstname.lastname@example.org. Then check back next month to see if your answer was selected to appear in the newsletter.
WE, AT FAITHWRITERS, WANT TO WISH YOU A SEASON FILLED WITH JOY AND PEACE. AND MAY YOU EXPERIENCE THE TRUE WONDER OF GOD'S LOVE.