Welcome to the 3rd Annual Pearl Girls™ 12 Pearls of Christmas blogging series!

I’ve been MIA here in the blog world since Aunt Joy passed away for a few reasons, but mostly because I was traveling home for a week for the funeral, and spending as much time as I could with people, and not my computer. I heard of the 12 Pearls of Christmas opportunity, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’m getting started a couple days late, but I hope we can catch up, and I know you’ll be blessed by what these authors have to say for the next 12 days!

We’ve gathered several of today’s most beloved authors to
share their Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom”! Please follow along
beginning tomorrow (Wednesday the 14th) through Christmas day as Tricia Goyer,
Suzanne Woods Fisher, Rachel Hauck, Sandy Ralya, Sibella Giorello, Susan May
Warren and more, share their heartfelt stories of how God has touched their
life during this most wonderful time of the year.

If you’d like to share the 12 Pearls of Christmas
with your blog readers too, just email Christen and she’ll send you the
series.
AND of course there is a giveaway! Beginning tomorrow you
and all your friends can enter to win a PEARL NECKLACE and EARRINGS valued at
$450! The winner will be announced on New Year’s Day! Pearls – a
tangible reminder of God’s grace to us all.

***

Just a quick note before the series begins on the
14th …
As I write this, I imagine that we are sitting at my kitchen
table and chatting over a cup of coffee while familiar Christmas carols
celebrate the Season. My twelve year old Chihuahua, Pongo, barks for a pinch of
pound cake while my Shih Tzu, Lilly, patiently sits by the chair and waits for
a crumb to fall.
My name is not Martha Stewart, and I will never receive a
neighborhood beautification award. Just look at my front stoop. Yes, my
never-had-time-to-carve-the-pumpkin-that-now-suffers-from-frostbite slouches
next to the front door which is decorated with a Christmas wreath. I plan to
roll this large orange ornament to the garbage pile tomorrow. For now, however,
I will pretend that my front stoop is a contemplative modern art exhibit
capturing the essence of contrast.
Actually, I love the concept of juxtaposition – placing
things together that don’t seem to belong together, yet somehow ultimately make
sense being paired. A personal example for me this season is the phrase:
“comfort and joy.” Having just completed my manuscript for New Hope Publishers
about the aftermath of grief, I fully understand the contrast of those two
words. How can comfort bring joy? How can one find joy in loss?
Perhaps, dear reader, you have experienced loss this year –
loss of a loved one, loss of friendship, loss of health,  loss of
financial security, loss of trust, loss of love, or loss of direction. Even
with the best intent, words of encouragement shared by others can somehow seem
insufficient to address an inconsolable loss.  A spoken word cannot
fully restore joy to a broken heart; however the Word can. And that’s the
bottom line message of Christmas! God gave us the most amazing gift: His Son –
 the Word of God, the Holy Comforter.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten
Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have everlasting
life.” (John 3:16).

You are not alone this Christmas, dear
friend.
Juxtaposed to the unexpected grit in life is the gift of God’s
grace wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. This year I purposely
placed a pearl in the Nativity scene as a metaphoric reminder. When we place
our grit into the hands of the Lord, His grace transforms our pain into a
pearl.
 “Joy to the world!”
 
Thank you so very much for sharing the JOY of the Season with us
this year.
God Bless,
Margaret
@mcsweeny

 ***

Margaret McSweeney lives with her husband, David
and two teenage daughters in the Chicago suburbs. She is the founder and
director of Pearl Girls. For more information please visit www.pearlgirls.info.
Margaret is fast at work on several fiction manuscripts. Her book Pearl Girls:
Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace was written to help fund the Pearl Girl
Charities. She is also the host of weekly radio show, Kitchen Chat. Connect
with Margaret on Facebook or Twitter.

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