Keep Writing for the King

Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance. Now Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.”

And Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her.
Genesis 29:16-20 NKJV

Have you ever felt like the unwanted on or the unattractive one? Leah did. By birth, she was Rachel’s older sister, and by her father’s trickery and deceit, she was Jacob’s first wife. Can you imagine what she must have felt like when Jacob looked at her and realized she wasn’t Rachel, the one he was deeply in love with and had worked seven years for? I’m sure the rejection she felt stung to the bone.

God loved Leah and had a plan and destiny for her life. She bore Jacob six sons and one daughter. Levi was one of the boys born to Leah and Jacob. The priestly tribe came from this lineage. Judah was another son born to Leah and Jacob. King David came from the lineage of Judah—and so did Jesus Christ.

cropped-write5.jpgYour Father has a plan for you, too. You might feel others can write better and are having more success in their writing endeavors than you. Stay faithful. Keep writing. Don’t compare yourself with someone else. Be authentic. Be transparent. Be the one God created you to be. God has a destiny for you and your writing. You never know where He will send your stories. Keep writing for the King.


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by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com 

8 Sources of Inspiration

Birth of IDEA. Concept background.Because of my eclectic interests, I rarely encounter writer’s block, but I do love the fact that inspiration for our writing is all around us.

Here are eight sources you may or may not have considered:

Conversation

Whether you are involved in a conversation or simply happen to overhear it, a word or a phrase may stick with you. Jot it down in that ever-present notebook . . . you know, the one you carry at all times.

Dreams

You know that long-lasting joy or heaviness that can hang over you when you wake up from a dream—even if you don’t remember the details? Try to evoke strong emotion in your readers that will stick with them long after they forget your words.

And, of course, a scene or spoken phrase from a dream may also act as inspiration for your writing.

Thoughts while Drifting Off

You know those moments when your thoughts take flight? Those thoughts are not quite linear and may head off on bizarre tangents. Why not let yourself drift for a while and then record some of your thoughts in the notebook you keep by your bed.

Old Photos

I love old photos, even if I have no personal connection with the subjects. Thumb through some old black and white pics and see what stories begin to stir in you.

New Photos

Even if you don’t consider yourself a photographer, grab your camera (or your smartphone) and head out for a photo walk. Just snap away . . . anything that captures your attention. When you get home, go through the pictures and see what ideas come to mind. Life is different when seen through the lens.

Online Memes

You may love them or find them exceedingly annoying, but take a look at the pictures people post online that include an inspirational, funny, or sarcastic saying. One or more of them may jump off the page at you and stir your creativity.

Days Gone By

Ever been standing in a store and heard a song that took you back to your youth? Ever seen children at the park and thought, “Hey, I used to play that when I was growing up”? Take a walk down memory lane and see what inspiration presents itself.

Favorite Movie or Book Characters

It is commonly referred to as fan fiction—and you have to be especially careful about copyright restrictions if you plan to publish it—but it can be a lot of fun basing a story on one of your favorite characters. If nothing else, it will give you practice writing fiction and that’s a very good thing.

Where do you get inspiration when the well seems dry? We’d love to hear from you.


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by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist 

 

 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com 

The Power of the Written Word

The day before what would have been my maternal grandmother’s 100th birthday, I spotted an old letter crammed in the back of a dresser drawer.

Senior writes a testament“Wow! This letter is over 30 years old,” I gasped when I saw the postmark. “And it’s from Grandma!”

I plucked the three-page letter from the tattered envelope and began reading. Immediately tears trickled down my cheeks.

                Dear little Dixie,
                I love you more than you’ll ever know . . . 

Discovering Grandma’s letter reminded me of the power of the written word, whether a simple note or professional manuscript. Our words have power to impact the reader and keep memories alive.

Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking every time we write, it has to be something profound, but I’ve discovered more often God uses the everyday experiences of life to minister to others.

I want to share a piece I wrote about my paternal grandmother’s death. I never dreamed my “common” experience of losing a grandmother would resonate in the souls of so many, but it did, and I have had numerous requests for reprints.

Never underestimate “your” story. God may just use it to heal the brokenhearted and your words could touch a generation your eyes may never see. Keep writing.

_____________

Mable

The move from a spacious home to a small, one-bedroom apartment was devastating to Grandma Eleanor. Devastating, but necessary, because of a terminal inflammatory breast cancer diagnosis.

In her apartment complex, other women who were experiencing the same pain she was—terminal illness, limited income, loss of spouse to death or a nursing home—surrounded her. A remnant of these women formed a weekly Bible study. Grandma became a faithful member. This band of women became kindred spirits as they prayed for one another and comforted one another from God’s Word.

It became apparent by fall Grandma would not be with us much longer. Her spirit was strong, but her body grew weaker. The Sunday before Thanksgiving, she had to be hospitalized. The cancer had metastasized to her lungs and colon.

Word spread quickly among her little Bible study group that Eleanor was dying. Some had seen the ambulance take her away. Loving cards and concerned phone calls began pouring in.

Wednesday morning a knock came to her Hospice room.

“Mable, how did you get here?” Grandma asked.

“Took a cab, Eleanor. I just had to.” Mable tiptoed to Grandma’s bedside with a brown grocery sack in her arms. “It’s cold outside, but it was warm in the cab!”

“Oh Mable, you shouldn’t have come out in this bitter cold.”

“I had to, Eleanor! Christmas is coming. I wanted you to have your Christmas card and the gift I made for you! It’s all right here in my bag.” Mable rummaged through her grocery sack, pulled out a bright red envelope, and tore it open. “Let me read it to you.”

Mable cleared her throat and continued,

               “What can I give Him poor as I am?
                If I were a shepherd, I’d give Him a lamb.
If I were a wise man, I’d do my part,
I know what I’ll give Him,
All of my heart!”

Tears glistened in Grandma’s eyes. “Thank you, Mable.”

“That’s not all, Eleanor. There’s more! Christmas is coming! I just wanted you to have your Christmas present a little early this year.” Mable pulled out a small package topped with a recycled bow.

Grandma was too weak to open her gift. Mable handed it to me. I gently tore the paper off the box and opened the lid. Peering back at me was a teddy bear holding a lacy parasol.

“Yep, it’s true, Eleanor! Christmas is coming, and I just had to give you your present a little early this year.” Mable reached for Grandma’s hand.

“Mable, thank you for being my friend this past year. You tell our little group good-bye for me. Thank them for all their prayers. Tell them I’ll be spending Christmas with Jesus this year.”

Tears trickled down Mable’s face and fell on her quivering lips.

“I love you, Eleanor!”

“And I love you!” Grandma replied.

Mable collapsed in my arms and wept.

After Mable left, I stood beside Grandma’s deathbed. I placed the little teddy bear on the table. I realized Grandma’s “home-going” would be soon. I looked at the teddy bear holding the lacy parasol and reread Mable’s Christmas card, “What can I give Him poor as I am?”

I realized that I had just witnessed these verses lived out before my eyes. A loving friend with meager means had given her very best. She even celebrated Christmas before Thanksgiving knowing my Grandmother wouldn’t live to see Christmas this side of heaven.

I closed my eyes and silently thanked God for giving me such a wonderful grandmother, and for giving my grandmother such a wonderful friend.

Grandma went home to be with Jesus two days after Mable’s visit. She did just what she said she would. She celebrated Christmas with Jesus!


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by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter

 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com 

Fear of the Blank Page

Notebook and penThere you sit, pen in hand, a brand new notebook on the desk in front of you.

The page is so clean, so smooth, so pristine.

You take a deep breath and lift your hand.

But no . . .

What if you make a mistake? What if the ideas won’t come? What if they come but then branch off in a hundred different directions?

What if the spark inside you fizzles and dies as soon as you put pen to paper?

But . . .

What if it doesn’t?

What if that spark fuels a raging fire and the first blazing word is just the beginning of a sentence filled with warmth and light . . . a paragraph . . . an entire book?

You’ll never know until you face your fear.

Here are a half dozen ways to overcome:

  1. Copy your favorite writing-related quote on the first page of your notebook. When you need inspiration, consider it your secret weapon.
  2. Hand off the task of filling that first page. Allow your child to draw a picture or write a poem. Ask each member of your writers’ group to list their #1 writing goal. Find a picture in a magazine that stirs your imagination and stick it on the page. (Okay, so in this case you’ve actually done the work, but you didn’t have to think of anything profound to say. [grin])
  3. Open the closest book at random. Copy the first two-syllable word you see onto the top of the page. Use it as the spring board for a five-minute freewriting session. And now the page is full—and perhaps you’ve gained inspiration for Page 2 and beyond.
  4. Close your eyes and imagine yourself protecting a frightened child. Look all around. Take note of every sight, every sound, every smell. Now, open your eyes and write about it in great detail.
  5. Put on some music that gets your blood pumping and write—just write.

And if that first page is bad—really bad?

  1. Well, there’s always Page 2.

Have you ever experienced fear of the blank page? What did you do to overcome it?


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by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist 

 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com 


 

Living Centers

Recently I read the story of Dorcas and it ministered to my heart in a fresh way.

There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room. But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, “Please come as soon as possible!” Acts 9:36-38 NLT

Dorcas was one of those rare souls with a servant’s heart. The Bible tells us she was always showing love to someone or helping the poor.  We’d probably find Dorcas comforting a bereaved family or sewing a coat for a needy child.  When she died, her friends were devastated and sent an urgent request to Peter. “Get here as soon as you can!”

Peter came and a miracle happened. Dorcas was raised from the dead.

I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t experienced “dead” places in their lives.  Their dreams have died or hopes have been dashed. Those parched places make the simplest tasks difficult.  A spiritual drought can wreak havoc on a soul.

But after a while the brook dried up. (I Kings 17:7 NLT)

living-water1There is only one place we can go to find a refreshing drink in our dry times. We should run to the feet of Jesus and spend time in His presence. He is our Restorer and gives us Living Water. He loves to revive withered spirits and resurrect “lifeless” souls.

And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm,
and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm. (Joel 2:25 KJV)

If you are experiencing a “dead” place in your life, don’t despair. Raise your shield of faith and speak life to those “dead” places. Give a word of encouragement and hope to those who are walking through the valley of the shadow of death. As you do, the Holy Spirit will pour life into your own soul. Only when we are fully alive in Christ can we fulfill His plan and purpose for our lives.

A young couple renovated a building that had been a funeral home in a small Iowa city. Several ministries set up offices at the newly refurbished location. When asked what the new structure would be called, the husband smiled and replied, “The Living Center.”

As Christians, we believe in the resurrection, don’t we? Let’s be “living centers” for Jesus.


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by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter

 


Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com

Eight Ways to Improve Your Craft

mm_words_smAre you a newbie or an experienced writer? Do you write fiction or nonfiction? Full-length manuscripts or short stories? Poetry or prose? Articles or blog posts?

No matter what you write or how experienced you are, there is always more to learn. Here are eight ways to improve your craft.

Follow Writers and Authors on Facebook and Twitter

I offer this advice with a grain of salt. It is easy to spend so much time on the social networks that you neglect your own writing. However, it is a great way to learn what other writers are up to, what books and blog posts they have published recently, and how you might want to engage your own readers when the time comes.

Read Blogs

Of course it makes sense to read blogs on the craft of writing, but it is also a great idea to read blogs posted by writers whose style you enjoy and/or who write about things that interest you. Reading posts that are well written can help as you seek to develop your own skills.

Reference Books and Market Guides

There are countless skills development books available.

I also advise buying one or more style guides, such as The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style, The Chicago Manual of Style, and/or The Associated Press Stylebook.

Market guides are invaluable. Writer’s Digest publishes a wide variety every year.

“It is easy to go overboard when stocking your bookshelves,” says she who has done so both with physical books and ebooks.

My number one suggestion would be ask fellow writers for suggestions, read reviews, and purchase one book on each topic that interests you. After reading a book, you may want to repeat the process to buy another on the same topic.

Attend Conferences

Attending a writers’ conference can be intimidating, but it can be an amazing experience for many reasons. Here are just a few of those reasons:

  • Learn from keynote, seminar, and continuing class speakers
  • Rub shoulders with published authors
  • Meet editors, publishers, and agents (and possibly interest them in your project)
  • Make new friends
  • Go home supercharged to write

Submit According to Guidelines

Take the time to read the submission guidelines carefully—and follow them. A sure sign that you’re an amateur is to disregard these guidelines. Remember to behave professionally. It will go a long way.

Enter Writing Contests

If you don’t know where to start, simply type “Writing Contests” into your search engine. Some are free to enter. Others have an entry fee. The prizes offered are usually comparable to the fee. While it costs $30.00 to enter the Writer’s Digest contests, the prizes are well worth it.

On the other hand, contests with substantial prizes also attract many gifted writers. Your work really has to shine.

That said, there are many benefits to entering writing contests: working to specifications, meeting a deadline, following submission guidelines, to name a few. And who knows, you might win a prize and that will fuel your enthusiasm to continue writing and entering contests and/or submitting your work to paying markets.

Write, Just Write

Never, ever, ever think you have to know it all (or even know more than you do now) before you write regularly. Writing is a classic case of learning by doing. Schedule time to write and keep your appointment. Ideally, do so every day.

team.stephanie_120x140_2015Stephanie Nickel, CES Editor/Writer/Coach

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com

Write On!

I will never forget a little poem I learned many years ago.

Two natures lie within my breast.
One is foul and one is blessed.
One I love and one I hate.
The one I feed will dominate.

At the first reading of this thought-provoking poem, we could think of many fleshly desires we might feed on that would take us for a walk down the darker side of life, but I want to visit with those of you who feel called to write in small and big ways, but insecurity and fear of failure have kept you from wielding your pen for Jesus.

Satan will make a punching bag out of anyone who will entertain his lies. Here are a few of his tormenting thoughts that can hinder you from writing for the Lord.

  • Who do you think you are? You can’t write. You have no education.
  • Nobody wants to hear what you have to say.
  • Stop dreaming. God will never allow your dreams to come true.

fear-3If we “feed” these negative thoughts, they will dominate and we will never write for the Lord.

I would like to take the time to dispel some of Satan’s myths.

Who do you think you are? You can’t write. You have no education.

“I am a child of the living God.”  The Bible doesn’t say we have to be proficient in writing to share what the Lord has done for us. Most of the disciples were uneducated and unlearned men, but Jesus chose them and used them to turn the world upside down.

Nobody wants to hear what you have to say.

Satan is the one who doesn’t want to hear what you have to share. He doesn’t want to hear  how the Lord has touched your life. He is the one who wants to give you a fatal case of “lockjaw.” Jesus wants you to “go and tell” what He has done for you so others can come to know Him too.

Stop dreaming. God will never allow your dreams to come true.

It’s true that sometimes our dreams can be full of selfish ambition. God has His ways of giving us a reality check when that happens, but there are other times when, like Joseph, God births a dream inside us. He has a divine plan and purpose for those dreams to come true. Don’t be afraid to dream big for Jesus.

There are numerous ways we can write for the Lord. We don’t have to write a novel or text book. Let’s look at some of the ways God could use us.

  • Are you a Deborah with a gift of wisdom for counseling? Share your wisdom in a blog, short story, or letter to a friend.
  • Maybe God has raised you up like Daniel and He wants to have you take a firm stand and write letters to the editor of your local newspaper or politicians. Let God use your words so right can win over might!
  • Are you like Mary and Martha with a gift of organization or hospitality? Share your recipes and creative ideas with others. Simple tips can help make life better for others.
  • Are you a David with songs welling up in your heart? Keep a journal of those songs. Share them at a nursing home or with your church. Your song can minister to a hurting soul.

May we never forget that God gave a “little” Jesus to a hurting world. Let’s give a “little” Jesus to someone today. Your story can make life sweeter for someone in a bitter trial.  In Jesus’s name we write on!


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by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter 

 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com

Give Poetry a Chance

poetry-in-garden-web11Each year I participate in OctPoWriMo (October Poetry Writing Month). Participants write 31 poems in 31 days.

The wonderful thing about poetry is that in a few words, one can paint a picture and share his or her heart.

This post is by no means a scholarly look at poetry, but below I have listed four different types of poems and given an example of each.

Even if just for yourself, why not jump off the precipice and give poetry writing a shot. Who knows? You may just find yourself soaring.

Story Poem

Choose a subject or an event that is especially important to you. Capture the highlights and write them as a poem. Create line breaks for emphasis. Don’t worry about punctuation; sometimes it’s best to leave it out altogether. See which you think works best.

Help Them Soar

When they’re wandering in the valley,

Walk with them.

When they’re struggling up the mountain path,

Let your presence strengthen them.

When they stumble,

Offer them your hand.

When their eyes fill with tears,

Let yours be the shoulder they cry on.

When they need a listening ear,

Remember you have two.

When they need a word of encouragement,

Make it sincere and succinct.

When they’re victorious,

Cheer the loudest.

If they’re standing on the precipice ready to soar,

Offer to tandem jump with them.

If they’re looking for God – and even if they’re not,

Point them heavenward.

Haiku

A haiku has three brief lines, the first and third have five syllables, the second has seven.

New Day

New day lies ahead

Opportunities abound

Time to jump right in

Cinquain

Poetry is about self-expression. (My favorite season is autumn, as you’ll realize from the poem below.) Many times, a few carefully chosen words can hold a great deal of meaning. There are five lines in a cinquain. The first and fifth lines have two syllables, the second four, the third six, and the fourth eight.

Autumn Leaves

Leaves fall

Are blown around

Begging to be played in

Fill the air with wond’rous fragrance

Autumn

Rhyming Poem

When writing this kind of poem, there is more to be considered than what pairs of rhyming words you will use. It’s also important to include a steady metre, something that is easy to read and flows well. The best way to determine if you’ve done so is to read the poem aloud. If you falter over a line or a certain section, you may want to spend more time on it.

A rhyming poem with a sing-song lilt has a more playful feel. It is a fun choice if you’re writing about lighthearted subject matter. You can write a serious rhyming poem, but take care that it does not come off as frivolous.

Flitting Thoughts

My mind does flit

From thing to thing

Tugged about

As on a string.

I must do this

I must do that

And then I stop

To chit and chat.

Oh, read this blog

No, over here

Laugh for joy

Shed a tear.

I should read

And I should write

Or clean the house

It’s such a sight!

Make a call

Or maybe two

It’s some of what

I have to do.

But what works best

I’ve always found

Is take a breath

And calm the sound.

The voices calling

In my head

Must keep silent

As I’ve said.

I will focus

On one task

And get it done

How? you ask.

I’ll make my list

From a to z (zed)

In this way

I’ll clear my head.

by Stephanie Nickel , CES Editor, Writer, Coach, and Critique Specialist

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com

Devotional Writing

Devotional LetterpressI’ve had many beginning writers ask me to give examples of some of the devotions I’ve written. So today’s blog will be dedicated to the subject of devotional writing.

When submitting a devotional piece, be sure to always follow submission guidelines! Most times the guidelines require a Scripture at the beginning of the devotional and a prayer at the end.

The Holy Spirit is always busy teaching us, so a lesson you learned in an everyday situation can soon become your next devotional. Here is one of my pieces. I hope it ministers to someone today.

 Sins of the Spirit

The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in.
Luke 15:28 NLT

 Lord, today I was hurt and angry. When the one who hurt me extended friendship, I responded coolly. I felt justified. After what she blurted out, I had a right to treat her that way. After all Your Word does teach the principle of “sowing and reaping.” She will reap what she’s sown with her unkind words! Right?

And You know, Lord, Your Word warns us about pride. She just oozes with her uppity ways. I haven’t done anything to deserve her cruel comments. In the long run, distancing myself will teach her a valuable lesson! Her behavior is unacceptable. I refuse to reward such dysfunction. After all, her attitude doesn’t bring honor to You. I certainly don’t want to enable her. I’ve settled it once and for all. I am right. No doubt about it. There is no need in discussing it further. I am positively . . . positively . . . positively miserable! Why am I in such unrest, Lord? How is it possible that I can I be right and yet be so wrong?

In the depths of my soul, I discern “I” am part of the problem. I open my Bible and read:

The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in.
Luke 15:28 NLT

 The Holy Spirit gives me a much needed diagnosis: “You are suffering from sins of the spirit.”

This is a spiritual malady that can render me powerless to love my friend. Many times manifestations can be masked and difficult to detect, but only for a short time. Eventually, everyone will notice my loveless heart. If I’m not given a biblical antidote of love and humility, the disease can spread to vital organs of my soul.

Have you ever been plagued with sins of the spirit?

Symptoms include

• Polite coolness when friendship is available

• Consumed with proving your point

• Touchiness, sensitivity

• Needing to persuade others to embrace your point of view

• Loving your opinions more than you love people

Forgive me, Lord. I’ll right my wrong. Life is too short for me to nurse this grudge. Help me not to be like the older brother and refuse a relationship. Help me respond in a way that brings glory and honor to You.


by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter 

Please visit our websites: Christian Editing ServicesCreating Christian Books for KidsPray for Ministries around the World, and Find Christian Links 

Questions? Email karen@ChristianEditingServices.com

 

The First Thanksgiving

In an old television commercial, Taco Bell told their customers, “Think outside the bun.”

When we write, we have to “think outside the box.” Editors love to hear a familiar story told in an “outside the box” sort of way.

In this week’s blog I’ve included one of my most requested holiday pieces. The most humorous part about this piece is that it can be used for Thanks giving or Christmas because it’s written “outside the box.”

I hope you enjoy The First Thanksgiving.

 _________

nativity sceneTens of thousands of angels stood wing to wing peering through the portals of heaven. Hallelujahs rang down the golden streets. Today was the day King El Shaddai would fulfill His promise. Prince Emmanuel would be born on Earth. The prophets had foretold of His coming for centuries, and all the citizens of the Celestial City were celebrating the birth of the newborn Prince.

The Cherub Choir filled Bethlehem’s sky and sang to some poor shepherds tending to their sheep. the soprano voice of Greta, the tiniest angel in heaven, warbled loudly, “Glory to God in the highest!”

Kylie, Greta’s best angel-friend, chimed in, “Peace on Earth! Good will toward men!”

Greta and Kylie flew to the humble stable and peeked inside. They smiled when they saw Mary and Joseph hovering over the Baby Jesus. A tear fell from Mary’s eye as she buried her head in Joseph’s chest and cried, “My heart is bursting with gratitude, Joseph!”

“Oh, Mary, I am filled with such appreciation of Jehovah’s provision for us too.”

A knock on the stable door interrupted the young couple. Kylie and Greta cranked their tiny necks so they could get a better view of the visitors. Kylie’s heart fluttered more than her wings. “Look,  those are the same shepherds we sang to on Bethlehem’s hillside. They have come to see newborn Prince and are worshipping Him.”

The seasoned shepherd lifted his staff and hands in praise. “Our hearts are overflowing with thanksgiving today because of this unspeakable gift King El Shaddai has given us.”

Three wise men entered the room with expensive gifts and knelt before the tiny King.

“We honor You today, oh little One. Blessed be the Name of Jehovah! For He has kept His promises and He has blessed us with bountiful blessings this day.”

Greta whispered to Kylie, “Wow! We thought there was celebration in heaven when Prince Emmanuel was born, but I can see humans are even more excited than we are!”

Kylie nodded her head in agreement! “Yeah! I don’t know much about planet Earth, but I can tell you this. Human beings will be sure to make this day a holiday for the rest of Earth’s existence! There’s no doubt in my mind.”

Greta’s forehead wrinkled. “Kylie, what do you think they will call this holiday?”

Kylie hesitated, and then replied, “Well, let’s see! They say they are full of gratitude, appreciation, thanksgiving, and bountiful blessings! Oh, I think it’s pretty simple to figure out what they will name this holiday!”

“What’s that?” Greta inquired.

“Thanksgiving!” Kylie beamed.

“You are so smart, Kylie. I hope when I get a little older, I’ll be as smart as you.”

Kylie flapped her wings and blushed. “Awww shucks, Greta! All I had to do was look and listen to what they were all saying about Prince Emmanuel.”

“Kylie!” Greta squealed, “Do you realize we are seeing history in the making with our very own angel-eyes? And we’ll be able to go back to the Cherub Choir and tell them we saw it.”

“Saw what?”

“The first Thanksgiving!” Greta’s voice grew louder. “We saw the first Thanksgiving!”

Kylie crowed, “There’s no other name for it! Human beings should be full of “THANKSGIVING” for King El Shaddai’s magnificent Gift.”


by Dixie Phillips, CES Editor, Writing Coach, Award-Winning Children’s Author and Songwriter 

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