“The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David.”
In December, there was always Christmas music playing in our home. My Mom loved listening to her Perry Como, Andy Williams, and Burl Ives Christmas albums on the family stereo. When music wasn’t playing on the turntable, Mom would be singing “Up on the Rooftop,” or “Here Comes Santa Clause.” Remembering her singing is one of my favorite Christmas memories.
At church we sang Christmas carols, but my favorite time would be the Christmas Eve service and singing Silent Night.
My grandparents and Aunt always visited for Christmas and we attended the service together. It would end with the lighting of small white candles held in the hands of attendees as we all sang Silent Night.
I would stand beside my aunt as the familiar carol began and I would hear her sweet singing voice. As the song progressed my aunt would harmonize with the melody and my heart would swell with joy because it was my favorite holiday, spent with those I loved. As the song came to a close, we would blow out our candles and exit the church in silence, walking down the sidewalk lit by luminaries. It was a special time.
In 1816, the words to the carol we now know as Silent Night were written by an Austrian priest by the name of Joseph Mohr. Two years later, Franz Gruber, the church’s organist, put music to Mohr’s poem and the song, “Stille Nacht” was born. The two men performed the song, accompanied by guitar, for the first time during a Christmas midnight mass at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria.
As the story goes, an organ repairman, Karl Mauracher, was called to repair the organ at St. Nicholas. (The organ being in disrepair was perhaps the reason the song was first sung with guitar accompaniment.) The repairman heard the song and took it back to his hometown of Tyrol, where he shared it with a group of singing sisters, known as the Strassers. The Strasser sisters began singing the song in their performances as they traveled. The carol soon became popular in German-speaking countries. As Germans immigrated to the United States, they brought the song with them. The song was first performed in the U.S. in New York’s Central Park by another singing group of sisters, the Rainer family, in 1839.
It would be hard for me to imagine Christmas without this familiar carol. Growing up in my family’s home, I would always sneak away from the rest of the family at some point on Christmas Eve before it was time for bed. I would go and sit in silence and look at our pretty Christmas tree, all lit up, the only lights in the room. When I married and had a family of my own, I continued this little tradition. Just a few quiet moments, silently looking at the Christmas tree lights, thinking about God’s goodness and Him sending His son, Jesus, all those years ago. He rent the heavens and love’s pure light came down on a silent or maybe even a not-so-silent night, just for you and me. Christ the Savior is born, Christ the Savior is born!
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, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. 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.