Devotional

Merry Christmas

12/25/2021

Merry Christmas, sweet friends. I hope your day is filled with the joy that only our sweet Savior can bring. Love, Debbie

It came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.1

3 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

O Come Let Us Adore Him

12/24/2021

Friends, it’s our opportunity to come and adore Jesus.  Prophecy has been fulfilled. The Child was born. God’s Son was given to us. The government of the world rests on Him. Jesus is the Wonderful Counselor. He is the Mighty God. He is Eternal Father. He is Prince of Peace. Celebrate. Worship. Adore. I love you, sweet friends.

Copyright “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams

Holly

12/23/2021

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses… Acts 1:8

Mother loved decorating our home for Christmas, as you well know by now. In addition to placing candles and angels in each room, we placed holly boughs above each door. Today I look at holly with new eyes and a fresh appreciation for what it represents. The evergreen plant is a symbol of everlasting life in Christ. The prickly leaves remind us of the the crown of thorns placed on Jesus’s holy head. The red berries are reminders of Jesus’s blood shed for our sins. This Christmas season, let’s pray that the Holy Spirit open our hearts in a fresh way to all the Father did in giving giving us the babe Jesus, Savior or the world.

Copyright, “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams

Amaryllis

12/22/2021

The amaryllis is perhaps one of my favorite symbols of new life in Jesus. Why? It symbolizes the beauty of resting in Christ and living expectantly. As with many of the traditions I hold dear, this one, too, originates with my mother who bought a red amaryllis bulb at the beginning of the Christmas season.  My sister, Vicki, and I enthusiastically watched her bury the ugly brown bulb in a flower pot. Then, we helped her pat the soil around it.  As a young child, it was hard to believe that a beautiful red flower would emerge from the dead looking bulb.  Every day we would check the bulb searching for a sign of life.  Mother faithfully watered the plant and assured us, “It’ll grow.”  Finally the day would come. We’d discover a tiny green stem protruding from the bulb.  Then the stem would grow before our eyes, becoming taller and stronger each day until finally, pregnant with life, it bloomed. That which had been brown and lifeless emerged with red showy flowers.  It was only natural that I continued the tradition with our children and explained the spiritual significance of each stage of the plant.  First, in order to be who Christ intends us to be, we must identify with Him in His death.  Dying to ourselves includes burying ourselves in the Bible to learn His ways.  It means filling our dry souls with the daily flow of the Holy Spirit who is as living water within us. We must also rest in Christ and trust Him for our growth, knowing that as my mother assured us about the amaryllis, “It’ll grow,” so we will one day emerge in heaven in full bloom.  So will our Christian children.  Be assured, sweet friends, in times when there seems to be no activity and no growth, “God is causing the growth,” (1 Corinthians 3:6).

3 Days till CHRISTMAS!  Do you need a last minute gift? How about a donation in honor of that special someone who already has everything? We’ll let them know of your thoughtfulness and our ongoing mission to spread the Word and love of Jesus. In the “notes” or “comments” section, provide the name and address of the person you are honoring. We’ll take care of the rest. Thank you! And remember, your donation is tax-deductible. Questions? Email me: debbie@debbietaylorwilliams.com.

Copyright, “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams

The Christmas Poinsettia

12/21/2021

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses… Acts 1:8

Do you have Christmas traditions that you carry on that were a part of your childhood? Among the many that I have already shared, another is that of my mother decorating with poinsettias.  The poinsettia derives its name from Joel Robert Poinsett who brought the plant from Mexico to the United States in 1829.  Why do Christians like getting or giving poinsettias at Christmas? Their blood-red petals remind us of the blood Christ shed for our sins.  The green leaves remind us of the eternal life we have in Him.  The gold crowning center of the flower reminds us that Christ is the crowned King of heaven who reigns on high. The Poinsettia calls us to consider if Jesus is the crowning center of our life, if we worship and bow before Him, if we let Him reign over our thoughts, decisions, and behavior?  Just as I did not know about poinsettias until my mother introduced them to me, so we have friends and neighbors who do not know Jesus.  Why not give a poinsettia to an unsaved friend or family member and share the meaning of the poinsettia, the meaning of Christmas?

4 Days till CHRISTMAS!  Do you need a last minute gift? How about a donation in honor of that special someone who already has everything? We’ll let them know of your thoughtfulness and our ongoing mission to spread the Word and love of Jesus. In the “notes” or “comments” section of the donation page, provide the name and address of the person you are honoring. We’ll take care of the rest. Thank you! And remember, your donation is tax-deductible. Questions? Email us at hillcountryministries@gmail.com or debbie@debbietaylorwilliams.com. Blessings, friends!

Copyright, “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams

The Christmas Tree

12/20/2021

“Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter by the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14

A Christmas tree is often the centerpiece around which Christmas activity occurs. However, this Christmas, as we gather around the evergreen tree to sing carols or open presents, let’s turn our thoughts heavenward to the tree that stands at the centerpiece of our faith – the tree of life that stood in the Garden of Eden, the tree of life on which Jesus was crucified to secure our eternal salvation, the tree of life we will see in the New Jerusalem.

5 DAYS till CHRISTMAS!  Give a gift that will keep giving all year long. Prayers of My Heart JOURNAL – a place to renew thoughts, develop gratitude, record God’s answers to prayers, and record what God places on your heart. Get it on Amazon. Get it HERE.


Copyright, “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams

Ornaments

12/19/2021

You are the light of the world.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

Ornaments decorate Christmas trees and reflect the lights on trees. As we observe them hanging on the branches and reflecting the lights, they are a reminder of the need for us to hang close to Jesus so we reflect His light. Ornaments also reflect the personality of the one who bought them. Likewise, Christians who hang close to Jesus reflect His personality – His love, joy, peace, and kindness. When I was a child we would sometimes bring the box of tree ornaments into the family room but not take the time to hang them on the tree for several days.  Wrapped and cushioned they remained in the box, not adorning the tree, not reflecting the tree lights, not showing forth the personality of the one who purchased them.  May that not be said of us, sweet friends. Rather, may we each hang close to Jesus so we reflect His light and personality.

LOOKING for a LAST MINUTE GIFT?  Here it is: Prayers of My Heart JOURNAL to kick off 2022 with new thoughts, new optimism, fresh prayers, a place to record God’s answers, verses to memorize and encourage. Get it on Amazon. Get it from me

Copyright, “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams

The Christmas Wreath

12/18/2021

And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. John 10:28

The evergreen wreath is a perfect symbol of Christmas.  The evergreen leaves signify everlasting life.  The circle symbolizes eternal life with God through Jesus Christ. Have you adorned your home with a wreath? If so, let it be a reminder of God’s gift to you of never ending, eternal life. Let it be a reminder of the importance of sharing the good news of Jesus with others. Let it be a prompt to check and see if the eternal Holy Spirit is filling your spirit so your countenance reflects Christ’s grace and love. The Christmas wreath. More than a decoration. A reminder.

Blessings, friends, as the Christmas wreath reminds you of your eternal life and in that reminder, you are filled with joy.

LOOKING for a LAST MINUTE GIFT?  Here it is: Prayers of My Heart JOURNAL to kick off 2022 with new optimism and fresh prayers. A place to record God’s character traits, your prayers, His answers, and verses that encourage you. Get it on Amazon. Local? Reply to this email and you can get copies from me. Hurry!

Copyright, “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams

Musical Instruments

12/17/2021

Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members INSTRUMENTS of RIGHTEOUSNESS to God. Romans 6:12-13

Musical instruments play a key role in the Christmas season. While the secular world plays jingles, Christians use music to encourage and bless others by focusing on Jesus’ birth.  Decorating with angelic harps and trumpets reminds us to praise Christ our King, whose birth we celebrate. In addition, musical instruments remind us that Christians are God’s instruments.  We are instruments of His grace. We are instruments of His love.  In His hands, He can use us to herald people to His throne. With that in mind, dear friends, let us tune our hearts to God each morning.  Let us keep our thoughts and voices in harmony with Him.  Let us rest in the Master’s hands trusting Him to make all things beautiful in His time.

Copyright, “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams

The Christ Dove

12/16/2021

“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him.”Matthew 3:16

My mother loved birds and used them to decorate our home throughout the year.  At Christmas, doves found their way onto the boughs of the Christmas tree and served as a reminder of the Holy Spirit who rested on Jesus at His baptism. The Holy Spirit identified Jesus with God and empowered Christ. The Holy Spirit also rests on believers, identifies us with God, and empowers us to live for Christ. Bless you, sweet friends, as you think on the Holy Spirit who rests on Christ and rests on you this Christmas season.

Copyright, “Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas,” by Debbie Taylor Williams