Monday, December 3, 2018

Waiting in expectation--Myra Johnson is here to celebrate Christmas!



By Myra Johnson

Hello, Seekerville! Hard to believe almost a whole year has gone by since my retirement from the blog! This has definitely been a year of change and adjustment. My “One Word” for 2018 was NEW, and I chose two focus verses:
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19, NIV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV)


Waiting to see what new thing God has in store for our lives can be both scary and exhilarating! His plans may not always match up with what we would have chosen for ourselves, but we can rest in full confidence that God desires only our highest good.

The season of Advent is a time of watching and waiting in hope and expectation of God’s promises fulfilled. In the Lutheran worship tradition, on each of the four Sundays before Christmas, we light a candle in the Advent wreath and sing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” adding one more verse each Sunday. Instead of the familiar Christmas carols they’ve been playing on the radio since before Thanksgiving, the hymns we sing during Advent all speak of our anticipation of Christ’s coming. Then at our Christmas Eve candlelight services, the sanctuary echoes with many favorite Christmas carols in a joyous celebration of music and praise!

This Advent season, as you reflect on the Lord’s promises and anticipate His coming again in glory, may you know the peace and joy that comes from faithfully waiting in Christ.

What does the season of Advent mean to you? Are there any special traditions you follow at this time of year?

If you haven’t read my latest Love Inspired romance, Hill Country Reunion, let me know in the comments if you’d like to be included in the drawing. I have three copies up for grabs!
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If you’d like to learn more about Advent, here are some resources:





Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. She’s currently at work on a new Love Inspired mini-series, Hill Country Haven, with returning characters from Her Hill Country Cowboy and Hill Country Reunion. The first book in the series, The Rancher’s Redemption, is slated for a May 2019 release.

Myra is a three-time Maggie Awards finalist, two-time finalist for the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards, winner of Christian Retailing’s Best for historical fiction, and winner in the Inspirational category of the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Awards. Originally from Texas but currently residing in the beautiful Carolinas, Myra and her husband love the climate and scenery, but they may never get used to the pulled pork Carolinians call “barbecue”! The Johnsons share their home with two very pampered rescue dogs who don’t always understand the meaning of “Mom’s trying to write.” They’ve also inherited the cute little cat (complete with attitude) their daughter and family had to leave behind when they moved overseas.









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50 comments:

  1. Myra, we're so glad to see you on the blog again! I love the traditions you've shared. Our have been very similar. I love this season of hope and expectation!

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    1. Man, I wish Blogger would let us edit comments. Typo alert. :) Speaking of traditions... Ours have been very similar.

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    2. I agree, Blogger should let us edit!!! Silly blogger!

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    3. It's nice to be back, Missy--thanks for the warm welcome!

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    4. I make a lot of typos. When I catch one I usually go back and apologize or say "oops," and then people tell me they didn't notice. Sigh. All that apologizing for nothing.

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    5. LOL, Kathy! That's true. I should have just ignored it. :)

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  2. Good to see you back, Myra! We don't do a typical Advent. Our church is doing Light the World where each day we choose a way to be a light to others--in our world, our community, our family, our faith. It makes the Christmas season much more meaningful.

    I haven't read your latest book, and I'd love a chance to win a copy! It sounds wonderful!

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    1. Hi, Winnie! Your Light the World tradition sounds lovely--and so needed in these crazy times we live in. Doing something nice for someone else, even if it's just an encouraging word and smile in the Walmart checkout line, can be a real blessing for both giver and receiver.

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  3. Advent always involves activities for the children at our church. My older children have fond memories of daily Bible readings, sticker collections, hanging tree ornaments. Please enter me in the drawing!

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    1. I agree, this is a wonderful time of year to teach children about Jesus, Advent, and the true meaning of Christmas. We always had Advent calendars for our kids, the ones where you open a new window each day of December and find a special Bible passage or a symbolic picture, plus sometimes a sweet treat!

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  4. Thank you for the sweet reminder. I haven't read your latest book.

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  5. Myra, so nice to see you again and what a lovely post. I love the quaint traditions and soulfulness of Advent. It helps me to focus on the weak and the lowly... to think of that baby, born to the poor. Oh, be still my heart!

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    1. Hi, Ruthy, and thank you! When I was first worshiping in the Lutheran tradition with Project Guy in the early years of our marriage, I didn't understand the delay in singing all the familiar Christmas carols. But over the years I've come to appreciate this time of waiting and expectation. It brings a much deeper meaning to the season.

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  6. Myra, this was SO good, my friend, and SO dead-on! A timely reminder for all of us of waiting on the Lord.

    I wish you and Seekerville a happy, healthy, and holy holiday season!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. Hi, Julie! Wishing you and yours the best blessings of Advent and Christmas, too!

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  7. Myra so good to have you on the blog again.

    I'd love a copy of your latest book.

    I'm behind on everything all ready. Hopefully I will catch up soon. I usually like to put together a 100 piece Christmas puzzle. I love to bake a goodie each day, and it usually takes a couple weeks to put all the ornaments on the tree. I have two advent calendars.

    This year I am kind of teary with the loss of my parents, but determined to still enjoy the memories of them and the joys of the holiday season.

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    1. Wilani, I'm with you on the "missing parents" thing. Mine have been gone for a while, but I still miss them at Christmas. This year I lost THREE extended-family members, including one who was like a sister to me, and it's going to be hard but I guess we'll close ranks and get through it. Somebody once told me when you lose someone, you lose a little bit at a time and I have found that to be true.

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    2. Wilani and KayBee, I understand so well how hard it is to miss loved ones during the holidays. Our family has also experienced several losses just since September, and it's been hard for me to generate much Christmas spirit this year. I'm so grateful for our church family and the many ways of finding touches of joy through worship, music, and the kindness of others.

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    3. I'm adjusting to another holiday without my dad. Thanksgiving was tough, but I was so busy I managed not to get too sad until after it was over. However, Christmas may be tougher. When we were younger, he was the one who was always really into Christmas. He grew up so poor that they never had much Christmas (unless someone brought charitable gifts like canned food, etc). So he was always excited to provide Christmas for us. He sometimes even made us gifts--a leather coin purse, a spoon bracelet (remember those?). :)

      As I'm facing this first Christmas without him, I'll be thinking of you out there who are also struggling with losses. I think we can remember them well by carrying on with our family traditions (and creating new ones).

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    4. What sweet memories of your dad, Missy! Sending hugs!

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    5. I am there with those of you celebrating Christmas without a parent as this is the first Christmas without my mom. My main focus I think is to help my dad get through this season as it will be so hard for him.

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    6. So sorry for your loss, Sandy. I know your presence will be a comfort to your dad this Christmas. Holidays are always the hardest at times like these.

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  8. Myra, it is good to hear from you. Enjoyed meeting you at ACFW, and our chat. I agree about Advent. It should be distinct from "Christmas," especially in the church.
    My church is going through an Advent devotional titled, "The Thrill of Hope." There's nothing in it about trees, decorations, cookies or even gifts, but pure Advent. Pure hope. Pure longing.
    I do get a little fried when merchants advertise "Advent" calendars that are anything but, but I've also noticed some of them are changing to "Countdown to Christmas." So there's that. The world is separating itself into a secular "Christmas," a Christian's Christmas, and Advent.
    In my church we're talking not only about His first coming, but His triumphant return. Which puts a different spin on things.
    I am so happy Seekerville's open six days a week this month. I had to scoot in and out yesterday, so I'm pleased I can stay on longer today.
    AND I have a "praise"! I've been rewriting my Genesis story for a couple of agent requests (it's amazing how much work a piece still needs AFTER it wins a contest, but whatever). I was really stuck on a plot point, and have been praying on it since before Thanksgiving. And the Lord gave me an answer! It's not usually this specific, but then I'm not usually this specifically stuck. He is SO GOOD! Praise His Holy Name.
    Back later,
    Kathy Bailey
    Rejoicing in New Hampshire

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    1. Oh, yes, Kathy, it was lovely to spend that time with you at ACFW, and congratulations on the agent requests!!! I've also experienced those lightbulb moments that could only come from God. He always come through at the perfect time!

      Oh, and the whole secularized and commercialized Christmas thing. I admit to DVR-ing most of the Hallmark Christmas movies, and they do bring a measure of fun and a romantic escape from the everyday. But so seldom does Christ enter the story! Our worship is also focusing on Advent as preparation for Christ's return. You're right--a much different and much needed spin on things!

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    2. Kathy, I'm glad you got your answer!

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    3. Kathy, I love those AHA! God-moments! Go you!!!

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  9. Hi Myra - Great to see you back in Seekerville. Waiting is such a hard season. Thank you for the encouragement. Can't wait for our new book to come out. Putting it on the top of my TBR pile!

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    1. Hi, Cindy! Alas, waiting is an unavoidable fact of life in the writing biz. But when we trust in God's timing, the wait is always worth it!

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  10. Myra, ahhhhhhh! So wonderful to "see" you here today! I can't wait for your new series!

    For me, the Advent season is always a time of quiet reflection. I am still in awe that Christ would come to Earth in human form as a mere baby, knowing the road before Him. A time of unparalleled, poignant joy. How blessed we are!

    Thank you for modeling the sweet spirit of Jesus! xo

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    1. Thank you, Cindy! I'm especially enjoying the quiet of Advent this year. There may be a lot of Christmas activity going on all around us, but with all the past few months have brought our way, I'm trying to keep my focus where it needs to be and remember the holy gift of Jesus.

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  11. Myra's links are fixed! So if you tried them earlier, please try again. :)

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  12. What a lovely post about Advent. We also have an advent wreath at church and each year we sign up to light it as a family during one of the weeks of Advent. Haven't done one at home because I can just see my three-year-old climbing on the table & removing all the candles "just to look at them, Mom". We'll do one at home once the kiddos are a little bigger.

    We have an Advent storybook set that is filled with 25 little books, each telling a small portion of the nativity story. We read one each night during bedtime prayers.

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    1. Hi, Beth! That sounds like a lovely storybook for the Advent season! I know you're making special memories with your little ones.

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  13. Hi Myra. So good to see you back here again. I have not read your latest book so please put me in the drawing. Our church does the Advent candles each week as well. I grew up doing the Advent with the candles at home and have continued the tradition in my own family.

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    1. Hi, Sandy! Thanks for welcoming me back. Seekerville will always be a special place for me. Nice that you continue the Advent candle tradition at home with your family.

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  14. I love the Advent season. Growing up, our church didn't celebrate Advent with the wreath and candles, so as an adult, I was curious. Our church has a lovely Advent celebration, lighting the candles, singing, anticipating and celebrating. :) It's my most favoritest time of the year!

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    1. I learned about Advent as an adult, too, Erica. The tradition brings a much deeper meaning to the Christmas season. I love the whole concept of stepping away from all the busyness to wait in expectation.

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  15. Myra! SO good to "see" you in Seekerville again!

    I love that your church sings an additional verse of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" each week of advent. That's one of my favorite Christmas songs--as you'll see in my Thursday post this week. :)

    Things can get so crazy this time of year, so I love a quiet pause for worshipful traditions. Reflection. For thinking back over the events of 2,000 years ago--and looking forward to Christ's return.

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    1. I'll be looking forward to your post, Glynna! Last Sunday, as we lit the first candle, we sang "Light one candle to wait for Messiah..." It's a melody evocative of those ancient times, and there's a new verse for each Sunday in Advent. Then the opening hymn was "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," all verses.

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  16. Hi Myra:

    Welcome Back.

    Hope you're getting a chance to ride horses back there with them easterners. I just love seeing horses on your new release covers because I know the story will resonate with authenticity. I already have your "Hill Country Reunion". I favor stories with "Reunion" or "Redemption" in the title. Always great themes. You and Tina have this down pat.

    All in all, it looks like you're running strong. (Would GQ insist on 'strongly'?) I Feel sorry for all the new Seeker friends who have never met the Grammar Queen. I fear she is needed more than ever. :(

    Have a great stay!

    Vince

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    1. Hi, Vince! Nope, haven't been on a horse in years. I have to enjoy them vicariously through my story characters.

      And GQ hasn't retired, just relocated. You can find her lecturing regularly over at my author website!

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  17. We light our advent candles with our young children and read scripture with them. Its pretty special when they start to remember from year to year the verses and can tell us the real reason we celebrate. Please enter me in your draw. (Lee-Ann B)

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    1. Hi, Lee-Ann! So wonderful to teach our children early on the true meaning of Christmas. Glad you're carrying on that tradition in your family!

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  18. Hi Myra. I grew up in a Christian home but our church didn't really have an organised Advent observation. I have often done children's sermons to impress on them the importance of preparing our hearts for Christmas! I haven't read your latest Love Inspired romance, Hill Country Reunion, and would love to win a copy.
    Merry Christmas!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi, Connie! Thanks for stopping in! How wonderful that you're involved in leading children's sermons. Little minds are so open to hearing the story of Jesus, and what a lovely opportunity to teach them about the true meaning of Christmas!

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  19. Hi Myra! It's been a while since I've visited Seekerville as well, but this looks like a good time to come during the Christmas season :-) Celebrating Jesus's birth with fellow believers is always special!

    I've never celebrated any type of Advent tradition at our house or church. But I always enjoy our Christmas Eve service where we gather to sing the old hymns, have a short sermon based on the scripture account of Jesus's birth and then wish each person a Merry Christmas. I've also attended candle-light services in years past. It's such a special time of year no matter what we do, isn't it?

    I have a copy of Hill Country Reunion so no need to toss my name in the hat. :-)

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    1. Lovely to "see" you in Seekerville again, Trixi! You have always been such a treasured supporter of Christian authors!

      I love Christmas Eve candlelight services, when the lights are dimmed and everyone lifts a candle high during the singing of "Silent Night." Project Guy and I are usually up front singing with the choir, so we get a bird's-eye view of the congregation and all those beautiful glowing lights!

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  20. Your blog is Owsome. This is very nice and informative blog. Happy New Year Dubai 2019. Keep it up. Thanks

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