23 December 2009

An Unusual Gift

I got a cool gift last weekend.

A friend and I were in a grocery store, walking by the magazine aisle, when she stopped and pointed. "Hey, isn't that the Susie magazine?"

"What?" I stopped and scanned the rack. There it was, set apart from the rest. Not my issue--that won't come out until spring. But this was the first time I'd seen the magazine in stores. For those of you unfamiliar with the mag, you might not be realize its editor, Susie Shellenberger, was the editor for Focus on the Family's Brio, a magazine for teen girls. I always dreamed of for writing for it, and in 2005, the magazine purchased one of my pieces. It was never published and in February of this year, the magazine released its last issue. Thanks to the economy, we lost one of the greatest resources for teenagers across the world. But that didn't stop Susie. Not long after, she launched her own magazine with a vision to create an global sisterhood for teen girls. How cool is that?

Needless to say, I bought the magazine, even though it wasn't my issue. The check out lady saw the mag and said, "Isn't it refreshing to see something else beside Tiger Woods in the media?"

"Yes," I agreed, handing her my money. "I write for this magazine. My article will appear in the spring."

"That's so neat!" She finished ringing me up. "Congratulations. I wish you well!"

So, that was really cool. I didn't see that coming. It was the first time I've been able to tell a stranger like that. Most people in my real life don't know about those articles or even much about my writing (they will one day, but I'm remaining in the closet for as long as possible in order to protect my own sanity). What an awesome moment! Not as great as I imagine picking up my own book will be, but still one of the coolest gifts I could have received. It came at a great time.

So did the reason for this week's celebration.

Between Malachi and Matthew, there were four hundred years of silence--four centuries where the Israelites had to wait without word from God about the coming of His Son. It's called the "Intertestamental Period". Some of the more vigilant were still watching, waiting for the prophecies to be fulfilled. But just imagine it--no one alive knew anyone who'd heard anything new from God. Not even their great grandparents did. During those four hundred years, Israel was in exile some of the time, either taken as slaves or their country was occupied. Heroes like Judas Macabbees helped rescue them for a time. So that's what Israel was looking for: a military, conquering King. What they got was a baby in a manger.

But that was okay. Just give Him time. He'd grow into that Heroic King.

But instead of military prowess and tens of thousands to slain by the jawbone of a donkey, their King ate with tax collectors, let prostitutes wash His feet in public, and healed people on the Sabbath. He died a criminal's death by hanging on a cross.

Then there was that little issue about coming back to life. Now that was heroic, except that the Israelites were still under Roman rule. And now the King's followers were in danger of persecution and death at the hands of both Israel and the Roman Empire.

Definitely not what the people expected. What an unusual gift.

What a perfect gift.

I am so thankful for Christmas and will spend this week savoring every moment that I can. I pray the same for all of you. This will be the last post for the week, so I'll see y'all on Monday! Have a wonderful, beautiful, Merry Christmas. Or as they say in Swaziland, uKhisimusi muhle!


  1. Congrats on your magazine article!!! How exciting is that! Have a blessed Christmas!

  2. That's WONDERFUL about the article!
    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  3. Congratulations on getting out of that closet! I swear telling the world your dream only enriches the journey. So glad you put yourself out there. It is a wonderful feeling, and one you should enjoy over and over. My daughter is 15 and I can't wait to see Susie and your article!

  4. I'll have to keep a lookout for that magazine. Cool deal.

    uKhisimusi muhle to you!

    ~ Wendy

  5. Congratulations Kristen!!! And thanks for the wonderful reminder that we serve a risen Savior who is in the world today! You ask me how I know He lives- He lives within my heart!

    Merry Christmas dear friend!

  6. Savoring every moment. Thank you, Kristen, for the reminder.

    And congrats! That's an exciting moment. You rock!

    Merry Christmas, friend.

  7. Thanks, Janna! And you welcome!

    Thanks, Tamika! Amen!

    Thanks, Wendy! I will let you know when "my" first issue is on stands!

    It really does! Thanks, Jd! Your daughter will love it! I read the mag yesterday and it was so great. A year's subscription is $23... that's a GREAT price!

    Thank you, Jennifer and Jody!

    Have a wonderful Christmas, Everyone!

  8. What a thrill! Those rare moments are amazing! Only a few months and you'll be reading your piece.

    Have a very Merry Christmas!

  9. Congrats on becoming a published author! How exciting! Merry Christmas!

  10. Congrats on the article. So amazing to see your name on paper.

    Have a Merry Christmas.

  11. Big congrats on the article. I hope this is the first of many many more times you get to see your name and your words in print. May your holiday be blessed with love and peace.

  12. May the New Year bring even more success.

    I'll be posting every day between now and December 28th. If you get a hankering to read a blog post, come on over and hang out with me. :)

    Merry Christmas,

  13. That is so exciting about the article--congrats!

    Merry Christmas!

  14. Wow, that's so cool you have an article with them! I LOVED Brio when I was a kid.
    And great tie-in about Jesus! Not what we were expecting, but so much better! Merry Christmas! :-)

  15. I know! I can't wait, Jill!

    Thanks, Lisa and Laura! I'm getting more and more excited about it!

    Thanks, Patti! You too!

    Thanks, Deb! Me too!

    Wow, Susan, that's awesome. I'll try to come by if I'm near a computer! :0)

    Thank you, Dawn! Merry Christmas to you too!

    Thanks, Jessica! This one was fun to write. I love finding tie-ins. :0)

  16. congrats on the article. Reading this post, your words on the Christmas story....I have to tell you it's the best one I've ever read or heard. You put it in such a way...it drew me in. I think you're an awesome writer. Have the best holiday ever Kristen. Sarah

  17. congrats on getting in the magazine!! Also, I want to thank you for my gift--we got home from PA last night and I opened it and put it on my mantle--my only Christmas decoration this year. Then I set the gifts from my daughter on it. Perfect!!! Thank you again!

  18. That's perfect, Terri! I love that! I have one from Cambodia I'd love to use as a table runner one day. It's just too perfect! I'm honored! Have a merry Christmas!

    Thank you so much, Sarah! You encourage me so much. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  19. Thank you for sharing that story. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

  20. Congrats on the article. That's something to bring a smile, for sure. Merry Christmas!