I was an aggressive young journalist chasing the big story.

A young woman had come from Nazareth to Bethlehem with the man she’d pledged to marry. Obviously pregnant, she hadn’t let rumors about her unusual circumstances keep her from making the journey to register for tax purposes.

I always did extensive research before an interview, and I’d tracked every tip about these two individuals, Mary and Joseph, unexpectedly cast in the most significant drama in human history.

A relative, Elizabeth, confirmed Mary had visited her following a strange occurrence. An angel had appeared to Mary, a virgin betrothed to Joseph, announcing she would become pregnant by the Holy Ghost, and the child would be the Son of God.

How could that happen? A baby without a human father? Son of God? Could a skeptical journalist believe such preposterous claims?

In Bethlehem, humanity flooded the streets—droves pouring in from surrounding provinces to pay taxes. I overheard anxious conversations about a young woman who appeared ready to give birth. An innkeeper said the husband had asked about a room.

“No vacancy!” he said. He’d directed the weary travelers to a stable nearby but still seemed frustrated that he couldn’t provide a comfortable room.

Weaving through the commotion, I located the place and paused to consider how this incredible story might impact my career. I sensed an award-winner.

Without being offensive, I’d ask tough questions, starting with Joseph.

What were you thinking, making this journey with Mary so close to giving birth?

There’s a rumor that you did not father this child. Any comment?

Why should anyone believe that outrageous story about how Mary became pregnant?

I’ve heard the baby is the Son of God. What do you say?

Reviewing my notes I started to speak then seemed frozen in time.

Something about that historic night—dark yet bathed in brilliance. Something about that young mother—pained yet radiant with joy. Something about that adoring husband—humble yet exploding with pride. Something about that modest manger—rugged yet strangely reverent. Something about that holy child—helpless yet having authority.

An infant king lay wrapped in swaddling clothes. Enveloped in awe, I slipped away without disturbing the royal family.

Centuries later in my reality, I’d bow before that King, claiming him as Savior and Lord.

“…Give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

(See Luke 1:26-45; Luke 2:1-7; Matthew 1:18-25, John 1:14 NIV.)

(First published December 17, 2015 Christian Devotions. Revised and reprinted by permission www.christiandevotions.us.)

Dianne Barker, Topics: Marriage * Parenting * Living in joy *

Dianne Barker

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned. She began writing at 18 when she landed her dream job, writing for her local newspaper, and wrote her first book at 24. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.



Close out your Christmas holiday with some fresh and fabulous finds from our CAN authors!

Coming January 8th from Dayspring, Sweet Tea For The Soul-Down Home Devotions to Comfort the Heart by Linda Kozar. A great way to kick off your new year with a taste of the south! 







Vickie McDonough also has a new release – Stained Glass Mandalas, a coloring book with a twist!

Stained Glass Mandalas contains over 50 unique designs. It also features fascinating vignettes about the history of stained glass and interesting facts about tools, technique, and the glass used in creating the colorful projects. These optically engaging patterns stimulate the brain and induce creativity.

Get it here: http://amzn.to/2Bw3jaJ





Vindicating the Vixens: Revisiting Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized Women of the Bible

Dr. Sandra Glahn, general editor

An international team of 16 male and female scholars look afresh at vilified and neglected women in the Bible. The result is a new glimpse into God’s heart for anyone, male or female, who has limited social power.

Muse: Help?
Writer: (Doubled over laughing.) You’re wearing a Santa hat?
Muse: Really? That’s your question?
Writer: At least it’s not a string of lights. I mean, the grandkids might have plugged you in!
Muse: Are you going to help me?
Writer: Hang on, I need the picture.
Muse: I can’t wait for you to go to sleep. You never know what you’ll find in your stocking.
Writer: Uh…one pic is enough. Here, let me help you. 

Angela Breidenbach writes romance through the ages, hosts the radio show Lit Up, and is in college to get her genealogical studies degree. She’s the president of the Christian Authors Network. Angie lives in Missoula, MT with her hubby and Muse, a trained fe-lion, who can shake hands, lay down and roll over, and jump through a hoop. Surprisingly, Angela can also. Her latest book is Worthy to Write—30 devotions for writers.


Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest: @AngBreidenbach

iTunes: Lit Up With Angela Breidenbach



Have you ever wondered what it was like that first Christmas? Let your imagination wander.

A young engaged couple have to go to Bethlehem and register to be taxed. When they arrive, there’s no place to stay. Finally, they find a stable to bed down. Then Mary goes into labor. What obstacles!

(Did Joseph find a midwife or did he help Mary himself? In those days, men didn’t attend a birthing, so what did Joseph think?)

Then after all that excitement dies down, shepherds show up saying they heard the news of the birth from angels singing in the sky. Angels. Not just one—a choir!

I’d be overwhelmed and groping for answers, as I’m sure Mary and Joseph must have been. But God didn’t leave them out in left field without any help or forewarning. Mary had received a visit from Gabriel (not just any angel). Joseph had a vision reassuring him everything was all right. They might not have understood in the beginning, but God had prepared them.

What situation are you facing right now? Think back and see how God has prepared you for the challenge. For me, it’s a second round of cancer. I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma before. Now it’s non-Hodgkin’s.

I think of the blessing I’ve been given through these trials. With the first round of cancer, I had no grandchildren. Now I am blessed with two little bundles of joy one year apart.

There is nothing too hard for our God. So give the gift of your smile and heart to those around you. It’s the gift they will cherish for years.

Leann Harris, an author and a teacher of the deaf, has always had stories running around her head. She started writing when her youngest child started school. Her first book was published in 1993. She’s published Harlequin through her eighteenth book. She’s written romantic suspense, inspirational romantic suspense, futuristic and inspirational romance. She has also ventured into Indi books. Her series Legacy of Lies includes The Last Lie and The Last Truth. A cancer survivor, she rejoices in each day.


by Judith Couchman

It’s a few days before Christmas and honestly, we’re caught in the activities, expectations, and last-minute details before ribbons and wrapping paper decorate our floors.

But eventually, after gathering the torn and discarded, we sometimes participate in a quieter post-holiday ritual. How will we spend that gift card, cash, or check? If you’re blessed with plastic or money, I’ve a writerly suggestion. Purchase items to usher you into a new writing year. Items that affirm your calling and confidently usher you into the new writing year. How about these ideas?

A book that inspires your call and upcoming work. For over twenty years, one of my New Year’s goals has included, “Reading an inspirational book about writing.” Hopefully, in January. Not a book that improves technique, but rather, a title to reaffirm and inspire my identity as a writer. A book that says Yes, writing is an honorable profession. Yes, you are a writer. Yes, time spent writing is never wasted. Yes, readers want your work. The book might not declare these affirmations directly, but when I finish reading, I’ve absorbed the value, dignity, and pleasure of writing. I’m ready to roll. With a book about writing, you’ll hand yourself the gift of inspiration–a present that influences you throughout the year.

A journal for thoughts and plans. Also in January, I look forward to selecting a new journal for the year. I’m not frugal about this. The material, color, image, paper, and closure matter to me. I choose a journal unlike one I’ve previously owned. I use the journal to record ideas, plans, quotes, outlines, brainstorming, and anything related to my writing. This includes sketchy ideas and specific details for projects. I call it y DaVinci Journal, after the artist who left behind many pages of ideas and sketches. Each year I buy a new journal, even though I didn’t fill up the previous year’s book. For me, this assigns a dignity and importance to the journal. At this point, I’ve more than twenty writing-related journals in a wicker chest. At times I refer to them for ideas, clarification, inspiration, and reminiscence. Overall, each journal reaffirms my writing life.

An image or object to inspire you. An author friend hung a painting on her wall that represents her call to write for and help people who need hope. She draws inspiration from the peaceful work of art when beginning a project, and occasionally refers to it in conversations. It assists in explaining her passion. I keep a wooden sculpture of Frances de Sales (1567-1632), the patron saint of writers, on my desk. My mother gave it to me. It’s special because in my childhood, Mom believed in my call to write. The rustic statue encourages me to continue, and that I’ve an advocate cheering me on from heaven.

What could you purchase to inspire you in 2018? Even without a gift card or cash, I heartily recommend owning at least one item that represents your call to write and inspires you to passionately continue.

Judith Couchman is an author, speaker, and professor who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She’s traditionally published more than 42 books, Bible studies, and compilations. Her current work in progress focuses on writers: How to Keep Writing & Loving It. Learn more about her writing and ministry at www.judithcouchman.com.