See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us.’“
Last year, my mom gave me a beautiful nativity set. It was the one I helped her put up in our home for many years, so I was very happy to have it for my house now. My children were so excited to help me get out all the pieces and set it up in our home and my toddler son’s favorite part was baby Jesus in the manger. He would carry it around with him and play with it. At night, he asked my husband and me if he could take baby Jesus to his room because he wanted to sleep with him.
After the Christmas season was over, we packed up the nativity set, including the baby Jesus figurine. Different times throughout this past year, my son would see the nativity box in our garage and ask if we could get it out so he could play with baby Jesus.
As I was thinking about my son’s love for the baby Jesus figurine in the nativity set, it reminded me of how thankful I am for God’s constant presence! What a blessing it is that we don’t have to wait each year to get out the nativity set for Jesus to be with us. In Matthew 1:23 it says, “See, the virgin will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will name Him Immanuel, which is translated ‘God is with us.’“ For the people in that day, this was a foreign concept to them. Only certain high priests were allowed into the “Holy of Holies” to be in God’s presence. However, because of Jesus’s birth all those years ago, we now have constant access to Him because of the salvation offered to us through His death and resurrection. He became our “great high priest” (Hebrews 4:14).
When we confess our sins and believe that Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead three days later in total victory over our sin, we become children of God and then have the Holy Spirit in dwelling within us. We have the power and presence of God always with us. May we never take this for granted. Because of Jesus coming as a baby and ultimately shedding His blood for our sins, we can now, “Approach the throne of grace with boldness” (Hebrews 4:16a), as children of God. This Christmas season, may the celebration of Jesus’s birth be a reminder to us of His love and salvation, that allows us to always be in His presence, not just at Christmastime.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.