When God Gives You a Present (and He gives the best gifts!) | alyssajhoward.com

When God Gives You a Present (and He gives the best gifts!)

To say that gift giving is a big part of Christmas is an understatement, to say the least. Our modern culture is all about the holiday shopping season, and I must admit that buying Christmas presents is something I truly enjoy. Historically speaking, the giving of gifts during the month of December actually pre-dates Christmas itself. Slowly as Christmas traditions began to take shape, gift giving became a major holiday tradition. For many Christians, we give gifts in order to honor the gifts given to Jesus by the magi. We are also remembering the best gift of all, one that was given to all of mankind… the presence of our King and Savior.
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When You Are in Need of a Christmas Miracle | alyssajhoward.com

When You Are in Need of a Christmas Miracle

For many of us, Christmas is one of the best times of the year. But for others, it can be one of the hardest. The holiday season has a way of bringing up emotions in a way that nothing else can. We can feel joy, love, peace, and contentment… or we can feel great sadness, loneliness, stress, and unrest. The term Christmas miracle is often used this time of year. It’s a phrase used to define a miraculous event that is so amazingly spectacular it could have only happened at Christmas. Are you in need of a miracle this holiday season? Continue Reading

10 Ways to Be Like Mary (not Martha) this Holiday Season | alyssajhoward.com

10 Ways to Be Like Mary (not Martha) this Holiday Season

For a holiday that speaks of “peace on earth,” Christmas has a way of being anything but peaceful. We shop ’til we drop, decorate and clean, prepare for guests, attend multiple holiday festivities, and bake until we can bake no more. As a wife and mom, I get it. We want to make Christmas special for our loved ones and give our children memories to last a lifetime. So we make to-do lists and shopping lists a mile long and brace ourselves for the craziness. We know this isn’t God’s best for us. He longs for us to focus on Him and not stress about the things of this world. So how do we be like Mary and choose to sit at our Savior’s feet when it comes to a holiday designed for a detail-oriented Martha?

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Do We Really Know What Happened the Night Jesus Was Born? | alyssajhoward.com

Do We Really Know What Happened the Night Jesus Was Born?

We have three nativity scenes in our home during Christmas time. Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, a shepherd, a sheep, a donkey, an angel, and perhaps even three wise men. These characters are often depicted in a stable of some kind. It’s a scene we all know and love – baby Jesus in a manger because there was no room for Him at the inn.

But how much of our story stems from the Biblical account and how much of it was birthed in tradition? Continue Reading

Why My Christian Family Chooses to Embrace Santa Claus | alyssajhoward.com

Why My Christian Family Chooses to Embrace Santa Claus

I never believed in Santa Claus. Sure, my mom would occasionally write “from Santa” on a few of our gifts, but it was always done in fun. I never once believed the gift was actually from the big guy himself. Do I feel deprived of a magical childhood Christmas? Not one bit. In fact, I somewhat enjoyed knowing that my gifts came from people I loved, rather than some jolly man who found a way to shimmy down my non-existent chimney. Continue Reading

Peace on Earth: 3 Ways to Choose Peace This Holiday Season | alyssajhoward.com

Peace on Earth: 3 Ways to Choose Peace This Holiday Season

I absolutely love the holiday season. We get to celebrate, drink hot chocolate, decorate, shop ’til we drop, and spend time with family and friends. And did I mention Christmas carols? With so much to enjoy, it’s easy to take it all for granted. This season can be the “most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be the most stressful. Peace on earth, goodwill to men. I was thinking about this common phrase we sing around Christmas time, and I couldn’t shake it from my mind. Continue Reading

The Night King Jesus Was Born | alyssajhoward.com

The Night King Jesus Was Born

This Christmas, I have had the privilege of explaining the birth of King Jesus to my daughters in a way I’ve never been able to before. They are finally old enough to understand that Christmas is the day we choose to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. It has been special for me to say the least.

My favorite part, however, has been teaching them some of my favorite Christmas carols. I still sing to each of my girls before bed, and over the last few weeks we’ve added “Away in the Manger,” “Silent Night,” and “Joy to the World” to our nightly rotation. As an adult, I’ve been singing these songs for nearly three decades; but they have been given new life in my heart as I teach them to my girls for the first time. Continue Reading

Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress? 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas | alyssajhoward.com

Holiday Joy or Holiday Stress: 4 Practical Ways to Choose Joy This Christmas

Christmas is quickly approaching and life is getting busier… and much more stressful. As the mom of two little ones, I fully understand how crazy life can be around the holidays. There is so much to remember! I have a mental checklist of things to do that seems to be growing every day rather than shrinking. Needless to say, my holiday joy has turned into holiday stress. It’s exhausting, to say the least! Continue Reading

3 Reasons Why Holidays and Celebrations Are Important

The holiday season has officially arrived! Christmas music is everywhere, decorations are being hung, celebrations are being planned, and the weather is as unpredictable as ever (and very cold!)

This particular holiday season gives me great joy. My girls are finally old enough to really understand what’s happening – especially my oldest. She is so excited to be a part of everything from decorating the Christmas tree to watching Christmas movies. And both of my girls shout for joy when they see Christmas lights on the neighbors’ houses! Yes indeed, this year will be the best Christmas yet for the young Howard family. Continue Reading