“If you turn left here, we will get there more quickly.” 

“No, I drive this all the time, this way is quicker.”

“I just drove this yesterday, and it is quicker if you turn left.” 

Voice inflections change. Eyes roll. The mood of the trip just changed.

“You never reached out to me.”

“I reached out first, last time. I was waiting for you this time.”

“What a joke! You never reach out to me first. I always have to be the one to initiate.”

Words get harsher. The sound of pain makes its way through the conversation. 

“About ten years ago we went and visited Uncle Joe.”

“That was not ten years ago. It was only eight.”

“It was ten years! I remember cuz it was close to his 70th birthday.”

Argument ensues. Tension grows. 

What is it about us and our great need to be “RIGHT”? Even to the point we are willing to argue about topics that add no value to our daily lives. To the point that often times, we don’t even remember the topic of the initial argument. Years ago, my husband and I went to a marriage retreat, and speaker, Tom Harmon, gave this wise advice: “Give up the RIGHT to be RIGHT.”

What? You mean when I am RIGHT, I can just let “it” go and allow the other person to be RIGHT? Yes, it is possible. And it is a valuable tool to use in a marriage, as well as in any other relationship. When we relinquish this RIGHT, we are sacrificing self by putting the other person’s needs first. Because to be honest, many (I realize there are exceptions) of the arguments we have, are not worth battling over. They are not worth damaging the relationship. They are not worth hurting the other person. They are not worth the journey down the long ugly road. They are not worth damaging any children within earshot.

Perhaps turning left was quicker, but did the argument add value to the relationship? Maybe the other person didn’t reach out last time; are we prepared to lose the relationship over who is RIGHT. And maybe it was only eight years ago since we visited Uncle Joe, but wasn’t the goal of the conversation to set up a time to go visit him again?

I’m certainly not going to say it’s easy to relinquish the RIGHT to be RIGHT. My husband will testify to the fact that I don’t find it easy; in fact, he is much better at it than I. But I will continue to remind myself that it’s not about who is RIGHT. It’s about loving and honoring the other person, and investing in the building of relationships. 


Let no corrupt talk come from your mouths, but only that which is used to build others up. Eph 4:29

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, Matthew 7:12

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

If you would like to receive notice when Misty posts a blog, you can subscribe to her website, and follow her on Instagram @mistydawncramer and Facebook, Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker. She would love to connect with you!  

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As the last vehicle drives out of the driveway, I can’t help it; tears slowly form in my eyes, and then stream down my cheeks. My hubby wraps his arms around me, knowing that the evening will be difficult. And that even the days ahead will leave their mark, as some sadness makes its way through our home. I am pretty predictable this time of year. Whether I was sending my kids off to kindergarten, college, or even now, back to their own homes after a wonderful summer together, I just don’t deal well with the good-byes and the TRANSITION that comes with those good-byes. I like to hold on very tightly to the wonderful times that the summer brought. I still want to enjoy the laughs around the bonfire; the swims at the pond; the sounds of the guitar playing in the bedroom; the banging of furniture during wrestling matches. All of it; I want to keep it coming. I don’t want to say good-bye; and I don’t want to begin the TRANSITION. 

And yet, as I speak those things to my husband. As I share with God, once again this year, my lack of zeal for TRANSITIONING from summer to fall, I am reminded of the importance, and yes, even the joy to be found in the TRANSITION. Oh, what I would miss out on in my life if there weren’t TRANSITIONS. Oh, how I would miss seeing God work in the lives of my family, if they didn’t TRANSITION from one chapter to the next. God, you are so good, to allow us the opportunity to grow, to TRANSITION from one chapter to the next. You are so good, to allow us to create memories in one chapter, and then build anticipation for what the next chapter may look like. You are so good to allow us to take all that we learn, the good decisions and the bad, and to carry those lessons into the next chapter. Thank you, Lord, for walking with me through these times of TRANSITION, for allowing me to shed my tears, but for also reminding me of the growth and the opportunities that come with the new chapters you have for each one of us.

I pray this week, that as you move from summer to fall. As you TRANSITION from one season to another, that you feel His presence each step of the way. I pray that whether you struggled as you dropped off your kindergartener, are going through difficult evenings not having your college student at home, or any other TRANSITION you may be dealing with, that you are reminded of the faithful God we serve. That you are reminded that He has prepared a plan for us, and for our loved ones. A plan that includes this TRANSITION. A plan that includes a beautiful new chapter. May we each be reminded that without turning the page to the new chapter, we will leave the remainder of the story untold. And it's a good story. Let’s take the leap and turn that page, even if we need to leave a tear-soaked page behind.

There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the sun. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Transitions in life, can offer opportunities for discovery. Robbie Shell

Sometimes, God brings times of transition to create transformation. Lynn Cowell

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

If you would like to receive notice when Misty posts a blog, you can subscribe to her website, and follow her on Instagram @mistydawncramer and Facebook, Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker. She would love to connect with you!  

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“Time to pray!” My voice would echo down our hallway and then down into the basement, as I would attempt to gather our sons for our evening prayer time. Soon all five boys would make their way to the living room, sometimes pushing one another for a specific chair, other times snuggling with each other on the couch, while the little ones piled on their big brother’s laps. Upon getting settled, it would get figured out who would pray first, and then the process of all seven us praying would begin. The first would pray, and when they would finish, instead of saying “amen” they would say, “pass it on to….” and say someone else’s name. It was a little game in the midst of our prayers, I suppose. With a fifteen-year age spread between the oldest  and youngest brother, this “game” brought joy into our prayer time, as the little ones would sometimes forget who had prayed and call on someone who had already prayed. With some laughter and “He already prayed!” a new name would be called. 

Prayer is one of those pieces in my relationship with Jesus that I don’t begin to understand. I have studied it. I have read books about it. I know there are between 300-700 times in the bible where prayer is mentioned (depending on version of bible). And yet, it still mystifies me. I am far from understanding why some of my prayers are answered in the way I desire, and others are still being laid before Him, as I wait for His response. I am far from knowing why one person receives healing and another doesn’t.  I have more questions than answers, and yet, I do know this; I know I serve a God who has provided prayer as a means for intimate communication with God, Himself! I know that because of His death and resurrection, I have a Holy Spirit who resides within me, and can intercede on my behalf when I don’t even know the words to pray. I know I serve a Savior who is available 24/7 for me to speak to Him. Isn’t that cool! Perhaps the most important reminder for me, is that I serve a God who instructs me to pray. Prayer isn’t intended to be an optional part of my faith; it is to be a cornerstone of my relationship with my God. How can I build a stronger and deeper relationship with my Savior, if I don’t spend time communicating with Him? I can’t; it is impossible to build a relationship with someone if we don’t speak with one another. 

Although I don’t understand every aspect of prayer, I do know it is my lifeline in my relationship with my God. It’s as an important piece of my relationship with Him, as breathing is to living. I pray today that you take some time, sit in His presence, and have a conversation with Him. It’s alright if you don’t know where to start. Just start talking, sharing with Him your thoughts about your day, your dreams, your concerns, your gratitude. He’s listening, and He will meet you right where you are today. The quote below by Max Lucado is a beautiful way of describing this teaching. (Let me know if you have questions about how to get started on your relationship with Jesus and your prayer time.)

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6-7

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. Colossians 4:2

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. Jeremiah 29:12

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference." - Max Lucado

"True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make it a habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice." - Billy Graham

If you would like to receive notice when Misty posts a blog, you can subscribe to her website, and follow her on Instagram @mistydawncramer and Facebook, Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker. She would love to connect with you!  

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Our family had just finished up a delicious meal with my parents. In fact, my mom had brought over most of the meal, so to me it was extra delicious; I didn’t have to cook.

Throughout dinner, there was one dish that was being avoided. It wasn’t because it didn’t taste good; I tried it and it was yummy. But the appearance of the mushy broccoli mixed with cheese was not very enticing. By the end of dinner, that particular dish had become the joke of the meal. Thankfully, my mom took it all in good humor. As my Dad prepared to take their dishes home, he grabbed that one and began piling the other dishes right on top of the broccoli dish. Apparently, he had no plans to eat the leftover broccoli the next day. As we all laughed at this funny demise of the broccoli, my son caught this picture of my Dad carrying said broccoli out of the house. His face tells it all. 

My Dad is someone who is filled with joy. He’s filled with the kind of joy that creates lightness, laughter, and love. The kind that someone holds when they are having a fun day or holding a great conversation. It’s part of his personality and attitude that we all admire and love. He’s a cheerful man! 

He’s also someone who is filled with the kind of joy that fills him even during difficult times. This is the kind of joy our family saw in my Dad as he battled cancer over the years. It’s the kind of joy that floods my Dad’s soul throughout all circumstances, not just the happy ones. The kind of joy that comes because of a relationship with Jesus. The kind of joy the bible speaks about when it says, “the joy of the Lord is my strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) or “consider it pure joy my brothers when you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2).  

This second type of joy doesn’t happen as easily. This second type of joy may be more difficult for us to see. This second type of joy often comes through tears rather than laughter. Through challenge rather than cheer. Yet, this second type of joy, is the biblical joy that does indeed give us strength. Does indeed produce perseverance, as James goes on to say. This type of joy, comes from knowing that we serve a God who has provided hope in the midst of all situations. A God who has provided a way for us to experience life abundantly on this earth, pain and all, as well as provided us with an eternal destination with Him when we finish our time on this earth. Now that’s something that should bring joy to each of one of us! I hope you will be filled with this type of joy today, and every day. And also remember to enjoy some of the laughter of the “broccoli joy” too, because the bible also tells us in Proverbs that “a joyful heart is good medicine”, and we can all use some medicine like that. 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.  John 16:24


If you would like to receive notice when Misty posts a blog, you can subscribe to her website, and follow her on Instagram @mistydawncramer and Facebook, Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker. She would love to connect with you!  

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When I look out my living room window to the west, I have the gift of being able to VIEW the waves of Lake Huron crashing the shoreline of our yard, or watching a beautiful sunset in the evening. And when I look out my window to the east, I have the gift of being able to VIEW my parent’s gorgeous pond and yard, lined with a fence row of trees, flower gardens accenting the grassy areas, manicured beautifully by my parents. And yet, even with these most spectacular VIEWS, there is one that is even more special, more precious, exceedingly more beautiful than any VIEW Lake Huron, the sunsets, or the pond can provide for me. It is the VIEW of my parents walking across the yard. 

If you look at the picture above, you will see my parents, walking from their home to ours. Sometimes it’s to pick me up for a walk around the neighborhood. Other times it’s them coming over for dinner. Or perhaps it’s the journey over for nothing other than taking time to have a tea and sit together. Seeing them walk over brings a smile to my face, and then hearing them say, “have time for a tea?” is one of the biggest blessings of having them next door. 

There can be many beautiful VIEWS, images, that become imprinted into our minds. Sometimes from a childhood memory. Or the birth of our child. Times when the clock seems to stop, and we see God’s hand in something remarkable. Moments in time that become etched into our hearts and minds, as we seek to hold onto them for a lifetime. 

My prayer today with our Wednesday’s Word, VIEW, is that we ask God to show us some VIEWS that He would like to have embedded in our hearts and minds. Perhaps there are some VIEWS that we take for granted, ones that we rush past without notice. Ones that God is asking us to see, to pause and VIEW the beauty in them. A child running to us with arms open wide. A spouse seated at the table reading the Word of God. Someone laughing. Someone helping a person in need. Or parents, walking across the yard, to sit and have a cup of tea. 

What types of moments will you allow God to place in your heart and mind today? Comment below if you, like me, have a special moment embedded into your heart and mind. I’d love to hear about it. 

One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. To beyond the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple. Psalm 27:4


If you would like to receive notice when Misty posts a blog, you can subscribe to her website, and follow her on Instagram @mistydawncramer and Facebook, Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker. She would love to connect with you!  

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It didn’t take long for me to dread my physical therapy appointments. After my car accident, I went through a couple shoulder surgeries. The real pain came from the therapy and exercises, following the surgeries. I remember all too well, attempting to climb my fingers up the wall, working intensely to make it even to waist height. The pain radiated through my arm, from finger tips to shoulder blades. Tears streamed down my face. Teeth clenched. One more crawl. One more inch. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. It was exhausting, painful. And yet, every day, I went at it again.

What keeps us moving forward through painful experiences? What keeps us “SOLDERING ON”?  In my example, the reward for moving forward was the truth in knowing that if I didn’t, progress wouldn’t be made. My shoulder would lock in place, with the inability to move higher; my arm would be of little use with no mobility and no strength. How did I know this? I trusted what the doctor said was needed; and I carried out his plan faithfully, SOLDIERING ON through the pain. 

Physical pain certainly isn’t the only type of pain we experience. Often times, our emotional pain is much greater than our physical pain. Emotional pain grabs ahold of our hearts, pulling at it in ways that make us feel as if our chest is literally going to rip apart. The tears stream down our faces. Our teeth clench. We wonder if we can crawl even one more inch. What will keep us SOLDIERING ON through that type of pain? Trust in a mighty God; one who says that He is walking with us and that He will not leave us, regardless of how difficult and painful the journey may get. One who tells us there is always hope, for He Himself, is hope. 

Are you having difficulty today SOLDIERING ON? Is there a pain deep within your soul that is keeping you paralyzed? Are there relationships in your family that are causing you to grieve? Is your marriage in a place that has you wondering how you will manage to climb from the pit it seems to have spiraled into? Are the bills piled up on the desk, bank account low, leaving your heart rapidly pounding, as you gasp for air to reach your lungs? Are you wondering how to climb out of bed this morning, as the agony of a deep loss in your life has you captive? 

My dear friend, I see you. I have grieved for family to the point of being physically sick. I have had anxiety overtake me while paying bills. I have caught my breath by breathing into a paper bag after my cancer diagnosis. I have wondered how to get out of bed, how to function, after the loss of a family member. I see you; my heart cries with you, and I am sorry for what you are experiencing. I promise you, even in your darkest moments, there is a God who sees you. Who wants to meet you in your pit of pain. Who wants to help you climb out of that pit, carrying you if necessary. He wants to walk with you, speak to your heart, grieve with you, and help you stand once again. Will you trust Him? 

Perhaps you don’t know what trusting God looks like. If that is you, please reach out to me; I would love to share Jesus with you. Need prayer? I would be honored to pray for you; please message me with your request. Together, we will see God at work; I just know it. 

Below are some scriptures to help us all continue to SOLDIER ON during our difficult times:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 1 Chronicles 16:11

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:4

If you would like to receive notice when Misty posts a blog, you can subscribe to her website, and follow her on Instagram @mistydawncramer and Facebook, Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker. She would love to connect with you!  

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The scream made its way from the church parking lot into the building, where I was packing up the last items of the night and preparing to lock the door behind me. It was a scream of pain, and one I recognized as my our middle son’s. I dropped my things, handed my youngest child off to someone standing nearby, and bolted outside. There I found one son screaming in pain, as his older brother looked on with tears in flowing down his cheeks, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”
The van door had been accidentally closed on his fingers, and it was evident by the scene, who had done the closing. I quickly climbed in the van to find that we needed to go to the hospital for stitches.
After finding other people to care for the remaining brothers, my husband drove us while I sat in the backseat with our son. His screaming continued, as his injured hand laid in his lap, the other gripping mine.
Suddenly the screaming stopped, “Mom, Taylor said he was sorry. And he asked me to forgive him. I will always forgive him. Cuz he’s my brother.” As abruptly as the screaming stopped, it began again. Yet, this six year old child, had paused just long enough for God to use him to teach us all a lesson on forgiveness.
I pray today that we are all aware that we have a Savior who forgives us, always, no need for details. No need for explanation. No need for begging. He just forgives us when we ask. Plain and simple. Because He loves us. Because we are His children. It’s as if He hung from the cross, writhing in pain, paused, and said, “Father, I will always forgive them, because they are my children.”
Let us not take for granted the love the Father has lavished on us. Let us embrace this love, ask for His forgiveness, and praise Him for giving them to us, unconditionally.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. And that is what we are. 1 John 3:1
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us from our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Misty Cramer is an author and speaker. I you enjoy her writing, you may subscribe at for her newsletter and devotions, as well as follow her on Facebook at Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker, and Instagram @mistydawncramer. Pictures are Misty’s five sons.

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I remember, at 18 years old, walking into Meijer with my boyfriend, and swearing I could hear our hearts beating out of our chests, as we walked hand in hand to the aisle with the pregnancy tests. I remember the next morning, before the sun was up, before any of his roommates awoke, taking the pregnancy test in his dorm room. And I remember the panic we felt, as we watched the pregnancy test turn to positive.

My world shifted that day. All the future plans that I had made for my life, suddenly felt as if they were snatched out of my tightly held grip. I was lost. 

My story comes upon me more vividly this week, as it holds the great celebration of the birthday of my oldest son. The memories of placing my hands on my tummy and saying, “Don’t you worry little one. We’re going to be alright,” come flashing to the forefront of my mind. Although the words seem confident, they were spoken simultaneously, with these words crying from soul, “Lord, what am I going to do? What is next?” 

Even in the midst of what I saw as an unknown plan for the future of myself and my baby, I also knew I served a faithful God. I knew there were to be difficult conversations with parents ahead. Painful decisions to be made regarding my relationship with my boyfriend, and challenges as to how I would proceed with my education.  I also knew, however, that I served a faithful God. A God who would forgive me, who would love me. One who would pick me up right where I was, in that painful and confused state. And I knew He would hold me. Comfort me. And give me the direction and strength I needed to move forward. 

I’m not sure what situation you find yourself in today, but I want to remind you, that the same faithful God who walked with me, is available to walk with you. We serve a God who is in the midst of your situation. Who has a desire to hold you when you need it, comforting you in your pain. Who forgives you, if your situation involves mistakes you were responsible for. Who will not desert you, but will instead walk with you, directing your next steps of the journey. No one cares more about you or your situation than the God who created you and loves you. He is faithful and He will not leave your side. Will you choose to trust Him today with your situation? 

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:4

God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9

Written by: Misty Cramer. Misty and her husband Todd have been married for 38 years, and have five sons, the oldest of course, is the baby from the story above.  With a busy household of seven, God continued his faithfulness. He provided during the ups and downs faced when being married and pregnant at 18 years old. And He also faithfully provided opportunities for Todd and Misty to later enter into full-time ministry. They currently have been serving in youth, family, and marriage ministry for over 25 years. Their story can be heard in part on the following podcast, “Divorce Ain’t Happening”:

Misty is available to speak at your next ladies event, and her and Todd would find it a privilege to speak at your next marriage retreat. For more information on booking, you may head to You will also find Misty on Facebook: Misty Cramer, Author & Speaker and on Instagram @mistydawncramer. 


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Christmas over 2000 years ago. The changes are evident, yet the reason behind the season remains consistent, today and forever. 

As we hustle around, jumping into our cars, preparing to take trips to the big cities for shopping, Mary and Joseph hopped on the back of a donkey and prepared for a big trip to Bethlehem.  As we drive around the mall parking lot searching for the nearest vacant spot, Mary and Joseph searched the town of Bethlehem for a vacant room to give birth to Jesus.  As we gather together in a warm house filled with the smells of our favorite holiday dishes, the family of Jesus gathered in a crowded stable filled with the smells of nearby animals.  And as we look to map quest for directions to grandma’s house, the wise men looked to the sky for a star that would lead them to the King. 
Oh, how times have changed since the birth of our Jesus.  But I am reminded of one fact that has not changed over the years.  That fact is that in the stable that special night in Bethlehem, all those years ago, a holy infant was born.  And word of this holy infant spread throughout the lands.  The angels sang praises and shepherds came to worship Him.  When the people came to see this little bundle wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, they could sit and stare in awe at the miracle that was unfolding about them.  This was no ordinary baby.  This baby was fulfilling the prophecies they had heard about.  This baby had come to save the world.
As a Christian, as someone who loves Jesus with all her heart, I am compelled to share with others the miracle that happened that day.  You see, although it has been many years since Jesus was born, the miracle of His birth still needs to be shared with people.  Just as people walked the earth all those years ago, searching to catch a glimpse of this baby, this boy, this man named Jesus, we also have people all around us searching for that relationship with this one man named Jesus. 
I love the words that Jesus’ mother, Mary, spoke when the angels delivered the news that she was going to give birth to the son of God.  She said, “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have said.” 
What faith this young woman had!  Was she scared?  Probably.  Was she nervous about giving birth to God’s Son?  I would guess so.  Was she unsure of what the future held?  Sure.  But was she obedient and willing to do as God asked her to do?  Definitely, yes. 
That’s what I want to be like! Will some people think I’m strange for believing in the birth of Jesus?  Probably.  Will some people want to walk away from me when I try telling them that the Savior of the world was born in a stable 2000 years ago?  I would guess so.  Will some people smile politely and say this religious stuff isn’t for them?  Sure.  But will it be worth it when even one person comes to realize that the real reason behind the Christmas season is to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the world?  Definitely, yes.
I am going to pray that as we go about this holiday season, we ask God for the boldness to share with people about our relationship with Jesus.  That He will give us all we need to give people the real meaning behind the holiday season.  That we share the real story about the first Christmas just as it is recorded in the bible in Luke 2.  People searched for Him all those years ago.  And people are continuing to search for the love and peace that He offers.  May God bless you as you spread the word of the true meaning of this Christmas season!

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"What's the real meaning of Christmas?", a frustrated Charlie Brown asks his friend Linus.

Let's take a journey through some of our family traditions and see if we can help Charlie Brown find the "real" meaning of Christmas. 
Every December our family begins the many traditions that we have done since I was a child.  There is the cutting and decorating of the tree.   The special shopping trip with just mom and daughters.  The trip to Toys R Us with the kids.  The giving of hints to dad as to what he should go buy mom.  And the list goes on.  Then Christmas Eve arrives.  Every Christmas Eve, three generations of my family head to church. As we sit together, sing the Christmas carols, and read the scripture, we can’t help but feel blessed and thankful for the celebration we are here to recognize.   The birth of Jesus.  It seems that although the year that has gone by wasn’t always an easy road; there is peace here. Peace in knowing we have a Savior who loves us through our triumphs and through our struggles.  Peace in knowing that we are surrounded by family.  Family who also loves us through those triumphs and struggles.
But our Christmas Eve doesn’t end there.  As we sing the closing song by candlelight, we are enjoying the moment, but also greatly anticipating what’s to come.
Christmas Eve continues as we arrive at Grandpa and Grandma’s house.  The little ones are excited about the opportunity to open their one traditional Christmas Eve gift.  All other gifts must wait for morning. (I won’t mislead you.  I get excited about that Christmas Eve gift too!) As the children study the gifts, the older children and adults scurry around the house to find as many Bibles as they can.  Then the home is calm.  Well as calm as it gets with 20 excited people.  As everyone here knows, tradition has its order tonight and the gifts are last.  First, it is time to take turns reading the Christmas story from the Bible.  Grandpa assigns verses to everyone and even the early readers give their try at sounding out the words to this precious story of the birth of Jesus. After Jesus is born, the shepherds have come to worship, and the wise men visit, we close our Bibles and sense we are on our way to finding the real meaning of Christmas.
For some reason Grandma’s part of the night makes us all pretty nervous, especially those new comers to the family like the sons in law.  Grandma begins, “Everyone put your name on two slips of paper and put them in the bowl.  Now pass the bowl around and pick out two different names.”  By now the sons in law are sweating a little.
Grandma continues, “We’ll take turns going around to each person.  When we get to the person who’s name you have on your slip you must share with the group something you really love, appreciate, or admire about that person.”  Whew!  Now those sons in law are really sweating…especially the ones who chose the mother in law's name!
As we go around the circle it isn’t long before tears fill our eyes as we share with one another from our hearts what it is that we love about one another.  The words may be from a four-year-old to his daddy.  “I like it when my daddy wrestles me.”  They may be spoken from a father to his son in law.  “Thank you for loving my daughter for being the husband you are to her and the daddy you are to my grandchildren.”  From a husband to his wife. “I appreciate your support through this difficult year.  I love you.” Regardless of the words, they are sincere.  They are full of love.  Yes, even the ones from the sons in law.  I do have to confess.  We do love watching them squirm their first year of sharing. 
After that evening, I can say, “Well Charlie Brown, I found the real meaning of Christmas.”  And it centers around one little word, love.  It all began because of the love our Heavenly Father had for us when he sent His Son to earth as a precious baby boy.  This season, as I celebrate the love He has given me, I will try to share some love with those around me.  I’ll start right now.  I pray you will be blessed this Christmas Season.  May you find the love of Jesus.  When you do, wrap it up in your heart and be ready to give it away to someone you see who needs to receive this most special gift.   And I guarantee that love will be the one gift that you’ll be happy to have returned!

I hope you enjoyed the revisiting of a Christmas Eve spent with our family. The above was actually written and published in the Bay City Times in 2003. That's quite a few years ago!  My youngest children have gone from the youngest in the group, to having cousins and nieces taking that position. My older children have gone from teenagers to married men, bringing their spouses to the group. Since that time, we have also had many other changes. Toys R Us has closed, so that tradition has disappeared. We have gone from a real tree to a fake one, so our Christmas tromping through the snow has also disappeared. And yet, there is a part that is far from disappearing. In fact, it is growing. It is the Christmas Eve tradition explained above. We no longer have three generations heading to church; instead we have four. We no longer have 20 people joining in on the sharing at the grandparents, instead we have about 30. There are a couple new "in-laws" this year, so we still do look forward to seeing them squirm a little during the sharing time.  So, as much has changed, much has also remained the same. And so it is with the Word of God. His story never changes. May we continue to put Jesus and then our families, at the forefront this Christmas Season. Let us continue to allow the "real" meaning of Christmas shine through.

God Bless each of you this Christmas Season. May the light of Jesus shine forth within your homes, and your hearts. 

To receive more of Misty's Devotions,, directly to your inbox, you may sign up here: This month, you will also receive a free Christmas Kindness Calendar, Christmas Word Search, and Christmas To-Do List. 


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