Two Reactions to Christ’s Coming

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Advent is a Latin word meaning coming. We use it at Christmas to show Christ’s first coming as a baby in a manger. When Christ came to Earth the first time, there were two reactions: joy and anger.

Joy: Christmas is all about joy. One of the most popular songs of the Christmas season is Joy to the World. Joy is a natural reaction to the coming of Christ.

The angels were joyful.

Luke 2:10-14 ESV And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,’Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’”

The shepherds were filled with joy.

Luke 2:20.ESV “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.”

The wise men had great joy.

Matthew 2:10-11 ESV “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”

Anger: Not everyone was filled with joy at Christ’s coming just as not everyone is joyful when Christ is offering to come into their lives today. some reacted in anger.

Herod tried to kill Him.

Matthew 2:16 ESV  “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.”

 The Pharisees did kill Him.

Matthew 12:14 NIV “But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.”

Then He rose again. It should not surprise us some react to Christ in anger and rage. It has always been that way, but the reason for the joy of the Christmas season is found in Isaiah 9.

Isaiah 9:2-3, 6-7 ESV

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon[d] his shoulder, and his name shall be calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

The Christ who came at Christmas as a baby wants to come into your life today with abundant joy.

I wish you a very Merry and Joyful Christmas this year!


My Top Ten Favorite Christmas Stories

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Stack of books and other presents in basket. Christmas decoratioby Tamera Lynn Kraft

After all the decorations are put up and the cookies are baked and the presents are wrapped than to sit down with a classic Christmas story that you remember from your childhood Christmases. Here are my top 10 favorite classic Christmas stories of all time.

10. Christmas Day In the Morning by Pearl S. Buck: A classic tale about how showing love to the people closet to us is the most important Christmas gift we could ever give. You can read it online at this link.

9. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg: This newer classic tells a story about a boy learning the importance of belief. Every year, hundreds of children are taking train rides across the country because of this story. A couple of years ago, I took the same train ride with my grandchildren. The first thing they did when the got home was too hand their bells on the Christmas tree.

8. The Little Match Stick Girl by Hans Christian Anderson: This is such a sad tear jerker about a poor little girl who gets to have the Christmas of her dreams. I remember the first time I read it as a young girl. The story stuck with me. To this day, I believe I am more charitable to those who have nothing partly because of this story. Don’t read it unless you have tissues handy.

7. The Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke: The wise man who didn’t make it to birth of Christ in time finds out why Jesus really came to Earth. I remember reading this in Junior High School and how it brought alive the Christmas story in my heart.

6. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss: Before the movie with Jim Carey and before the cartoon we watched every Christmas season, there was this great story book written by Dr. Seuss. “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” Who could ever forget this line from this classic story?

5. The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry: The best Christmas romance ever written. It shows how we sacrifice for the ones we love. I remember thinking when I first read this as a young girl that if I found a romance like this, I had found true love. Now that I’m an adult who has been married for many years, I’d have to say that I have found true love like this.

4. Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore: This original story about Santa Claus was a poem originally called A Visit from Saint Nicholas. It was originally printed in 1823 and has served to establish our modern version of Santa Claus. It also is the first time the eight reindeer were actually named. I doubt those same 8 reindeer are still living, but maybe their descendants were named similarly. Since Rudolf didn’t appear until a story book was written about him in 1939, obviously this happened before Rudolf saved the day.

3. The Tale of Three Trees by Author Unknown: This folklore story tells about three trees who served a great purpose. The first tree wanted to hold the greatest treasure in the world. The second tree wanted to be a strong ship for mighty kings. The third tree wanted to be the tallest tree in the forest. Each tree thought it’s wish didn’t come true, but in reality, each tree ended up fulfilling its purpose in a way it never imagined. Angela Hunt wrote a novel based on this story.

2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens: This story of repentance set at Christmas times is the best Christmas story other than the real story in the Bible. Scrooge is a mean stingy old man who is visited by three spirits where he learns the true meaning of Christmas. This story has been made into many movie adaptations, but the original novel is far better than any of them because it shows Scrooge’s redemption from the first visit. By the time the ghost of Christmas future visits, Scrooge is a changed man.


1. The Bible Nativity Story:  This is the story of Christmas. Without Christ being born in Bethlehem, this would be a very dark world.

(Luke 2:1-21)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

My 10 Favorite Christmas Things

Funny christmas companyby Tamera Lynn Kraft

I love Christmas. I love everything about it. It is my favorite time of the year, always has been. My family claims I remind them of Elf in the movie at this time of year. Embarrassingly, I see the resemblance. Here are 10 of my favorite Christmas things.

Christmas MoviesFavorite Christmas Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life

No contest here. I love old movies, WW2 era, sappy Christmas movies, and Jimmy Stewart. Put them all together, and you have this movie.

Stack of books and other presents in basket. Christmas decoratioFavorite Christmas Novel: The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I love Dickens, and I believe this is one of his best novels. The novel is so much better than all the movies.

Favorite Christmas Decoration: Christmas Putz


I used to consider my Santa collection my favorite, but when I started studying about the Moravians and how they include Nativities in their Christmas Villages, I started putting together a putz. I’m pretty happy with the way it’s turning out.

christmas-tree-2015Favorite Christmas Tree: Artificial lifelike Green with colored lights.

I love the real trees, but they play havoc on my allergies. So I settle for green trees that look like the real thing. I like the brightly colored lights more than the white lights.

Favorite Children’s Christmas Pageant: Santa Bowed at Christmas

I did this pageant with the children in my church when my daughter was about 11 years old. She played one of the starring roles. The play is a very special story about a department store Santa accepting Jesus in his heart and finding the real meaning of Christmas. What made it even more special was it was the year my husband got saved – and he played Santa in the play. When Santa bowed at the manger, there wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

Favorite Christmas Video: Social Media Christmas

Bring a lump to my throat every year. See for yourself.

Favorite Christmas Gift: A book of course.

Favorite Traditional Christmas Carol: Hark the Herald Angels Sing

A lot of great lines in this one including:

God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations, rise
Join the triumph of the skies

It changes every year.

Favorite Modern Christmas Rendition: Transiberian Orchestra’s Carol of the Bells

Favorite Christmas Scripture: Isaiah 9:2-3, 6-7

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned. You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.


What Would You Do…?

by Carole Brown

…if someone wanted to kill your baby? 61VMxm17AQL

  • Mary and Joseph fled.
  • In the Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, Cara is mad with grief and anger at the death of her oldest daughter. A tough read? Yes, but well worth seeing what happens to this sorrowing mother.


…if you had to give up your business in a hurry? Or face destruction?sabataged-christmas1-front-cover3

  • Joseph did. He and Mary had to flee to Egypt to escape the wrath of the King and begin again in his carpentry business.
  • In Sabotaged Christmas, Toni DeLuca must find the person casting doubt on her beloved father before her business is ruined and Christmas won’t be coming to Appleton, WV for her employees.


…if you were told you were having a baby, but you had no idea (at first) how it’d happened?front-cover1-w-apple-blossom

  • Mary did. She heard the angel’s proclamation, but told no one and kept everything hidden in her heart, pondering.
  • Starli Cameron was always told she couldn’t have a baby, but was it the truth? Only time would tell…after the struggles from the past vanished.


…if valuable items were given to you by kings?front-cover

  • Baby Jesus was visited by the three Magi and given precious gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
  • Caroline‘s friend, Andy, had valuable paintings, but Caroline disdained them. When one is stolen, she’s pushed into a mystery that proves how valuable paintings (and relationships) can be.  


…if you were suspicious of three foreign kings who visited you?WMITH Bk Cover small-Modified earrings

  • King Herod was, afraid that a new baby would take his place someday.
  • Tyrell Walker in With Music in Their Hearts had a reason to be suspicious of so many in the boarding house. After all, there was a foreign spy determined to wreck havoc to the U.S.


…if you were about to lose what you loved?A Flute In The Willows-2 Front cover

  • Mary and Joseph were. Baby Jesus was a precious gift from God. They were assigned a duty to raise him, and they would do anything to keep him safe.
  • Jerry and Josie thought they were losing each other, and both were determined to battle the war for their lives and their souls. 


Interest peaked?

Read St. Luke Chapter 2 to find the answers to the above questions.

Go here to find my books that hopefully will keep you reading and warm through the coming winter! 

Amazon Author Page

Merry Christmas!

christmas journey


Help for the Hurting Military Families at Christmas

by Carole Brown

pins stars patriotic free



Many military people dread Christmas due to various sadnesses, physical problems, financial setbacks, and loss of loved ones. It’s a struggle to move forward, to face each day let alone enjoy the season. PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) is a serious threat to returning home soldiers.


I wanted to share a bit today that is the real–the true meaning of overcoming and/or getting through each day.

Here’s a story example:

He started to scoot out onto the balcony when pain shot through his whole body, and he wanted to scream. He pulled himself from the window ledge and staggered forward two steps before falling on his face.

What had happened? Marshall’s screaming voice echoed outside his head, but the world had faded to mental darkness. His left leg had gone numb. He shook his head. He couldn’t lose consciousness. To do so might mean death. He hung over the rail and surveyed the climb he’d have to make. His stomach churned with nausea.

The pain and fear of facing the unknown, of knowing you’re injured…

What happened?”

Her gaze flicked to the bottom of the bed, then back. “You were shot.”

The memory of that night swarmed in. “How long—”

Must you talk? You’re still pretty weak.”

How long?”

She sighed. “Two weeks. You almost died.”

Facing the fact that you are injured. Learning what exactly that injury is. Knowing you’re at the mercy of the doctors, possibly your wife or family…

Jerry. Lie still. You’re too weak to get up.”

Squeezing his eyes shut, he gritted from between his teeth. “I have to. It’s too dangerous for you to be coming here.”

I don’t mind.”

I do. Help me, and I’ll try it again.”

I wasn’t able to get a doctor. Our family doctor is not to be trusted. You almost died. Medwin—my cousin—has a bit of medical training and he thinks a bone or bones was shattered in your leg. He did what he could but your leg still became dangerously infected. I thought—”


Vanda bit her lip. “I thought we’d lose your leg if not your life.”

The infection’s gone?”

Yes-s. But it still looks bad.” Her brow lined with another worried frown. Her gaze flicked to his legs and back. “I-I’m not sure you’ll ever completely recover from that wound.”

The reality of the truth: you won’t ever be the same as before. Through luck, carelessness and/or lack of training or funds or uncooperative military bureaucracy, life will never be the same.


ers who’ve given their lives for their country and come back injured severely—and their families—face extreme difficulties. It takes strong and determined companions to get through, to accept the fact that this new life will be a life long endeavor. There are no magic wands to change the facts of war.

Besides the horrific injuries many face, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with its moodiness, verbal abuse, feelings of wanting to commit suicide, embarrassment, rejection, etc. takes its toll on soldiers.

During WWII

In A Flute in the Willows, I tried to show a bit of this in Jerry and the effect it had on Josie, his wife. Young and inexperienced, both of the Pattersons struggle to understand and deal with conflicting emotions. Josie’s father, experienced in war service, offers advice and encouragement.

“You’re going to have to be stronger than you’ve ever been in your life.” He warns Josie, and those words stay with his daughter over and over to strengthen and give her a boost to not give up on Jerry. In time her patience and love for Jerry win out.




“I’m here if you ever need to talk.” Knowing what military service is like, and having lived long enough to know a few things, Captain Ossie, Josie’s father, offers, but never intrudes on Jerry’s emotions. In time he heads to his father-in-law’s office to seek guidance.

  • Families need to understand that their soldier is going through unspeakable damages. Love, offer help and listening ears, don’t talk when their loved one is moody, encourage and never, never give up.



  • Friends who are there, offering hope and encouragement. Accept any help given and be grateful you have those kinds of friends.


  • God.  He is truly the only source who can pull a person through. Whatever comes, God is the strength, the supreme encouragement, the one who understands all, and the one who loves you unconditionally. Lean on him. Trust. Believe.

Both Josie and Jerry come through their own personal, and shared, problems, with God’s help, and understanding from others, that pull them through.

That’s what it takes for servicemen/women to overcome the worst of the nightmare of PTSD and injuries during the Christmas season–or anytime throughout the year. God, understanding and love.

A Flute In The Willows-2 Front cover

Read about the Patterson’s struggles and how God helped them overcome

their troubles in the midst of danger and heartache.



Why People Decorate with Christmas Villages

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Ever wonder what those villages people decorate Christmas with are called and what they have to do with Christmas? Wonder no more. They are called The Christmas Putz. I found this out when I was researching for my Christmas novella.

My novella, A Christmas Promise, is about a Moravian family celebrating Christmas in Schoenbrunn Village in Ohio around 1773. The Moravian children had a custom of making a Christmas Putz. Sometimes it would be simple with the Nativity scene made with pinecones. Other times, it was quite elaborate with more pieces being added every year.
The Putz is different than a basic Nativity scene because it is used as a teaching tool. The Nativity with Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus is the central part of it, but it also includes animals and the wise men. Many Putz of that time would also include Moses delivering the children of Israel to remind the children that Passover was a symbol of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. They also included other Biblical scenes and sometimes would add Christmas villages.

Today, the Biblical scenes in most Putz are made up of elaborate Christmas villages. There are churches and houses, along with small shops. The Biblical scenes are a thing of the past. Whatever is included in the Putz, it isn’t really a Putz unless the manger scene with Jesus is the central theme since Christmas is all about Him.

AChristmasPromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Available at these online stores:

The Story of the Real Santa Claus

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

Santa Claus is a legend loved by millions of children throughout the centuries. While the story of Santa Claus is a myth told to illustrate the spirit of giving at Christmastime, there was a real man named Saint Nicholas.

Nicholas was born in the third century in the village of Patara. When he was born, Patara was a part of Greece. Now it’s located in Turkey. His parents were rich and raised him to be a Christian, but they died when he was young.

He used up his inheritance caring for the needy, the sick, and the suffering. When he was a little still a young man, he was appointed as bishop of Myra and became well known for his generosity to the needy, his love of children, and his care for sailors.

One story tells about three dowerless girls. In that time, girls whose fathers were too poor to provide dowries often had to be sold into slavery. On these three occasions, a bag of gold appeared in their home providing enough for the dowries. People suspected Saint Nicholas of leaving the gifts. The bags of gold, tossed through an open window, are said to have landed in stockings or shoes left before the fire to dry. This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.

The Roman Emperor, Diocletian, persecuted the church. Nicholas was exiled and imprisoned in a prison that was so full of Christians, it didn’t have room for criminals. Eventually he was released and returned to Myra and attended the council of Nicaea in 625.

Nicholas died on December 6, 643. A substance grew on his grave called manna that was reported to heal people. Since then, December 6 has been known as Saint Nicholas Day.