Mix Up Your Workout Music

Keeping fit can be fun if you have the right motivation. And what better motivation than music! There are great songs to pump up your performance in every type of fitness activity. But don’t just stick with the same old pop culture workout music – add some inspirational Christian tunes to lift up your spirits and your heart rate. To make your perfect play list check out some of the following:

For Dance and Aerobics:

Sarah Reeves – Dance to It

David Crowder Band – Church Music – Dance (!)

King & Country – Joy

Brandon Lake – Meant for Good (featuring JUDAH.)

TobyMac – Found (featuring Terrian and Wande)

Anne Wilson – Hey Girl

Apollo LTD – Now

Beckah Shae – Mighty

Jamie Grace – Hold Me

For Pilates and Yoga:

We the Kingdom – Peace (featuring Bethel Music)

Lauren Daigle – Revival

Leigh Nash – Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us (Blessed Jesus)

Phil Wickham – Breath Away

Moriah Peters – Trust

Bethany Dillon – Beautiful

Mindy Smith – Come to Jesus

An Epic, No Less – Echo of Love

Kutless – Strong Tower

For Outdoor Activities (walking, running and biking):

Colton Dixon – Made to Fly

Switchfoot – I Dare You to Move

Kevin Quinn – More of You

Mat Kearney – Anywhere With You

Tori Kelly – Unbreakable Smile (or Masterpiece)

Switch – Covered

Fireflight – Keep Your Head Up

Jasmine Murray – Fearless

Koryn Hawthorne – Won’t He Do It

College Misconceptions Debunked

There are many ideas about the various types of colleges to attend, which make it even harder to decide where you want to call home for four incredible years of your life. But, instead of eliminating a possible school that might provide you with incredible opportunity, look over some of these misconceptions about college life.

1. You’ll feel lonely and lost at a big college.

A big college can actually feel small if you connect with a group of people or a series of close friends who make you feel at home. If you’re spending your time with people you love, care about and who have similar interests, then you won’t notice the other 25,000 people walking around campus.  

2. You have to go to a school far away (even out of state) to gain independence from your parents.

In reality, you don’t have to go far at all to gain independence from Mom and Dad and separation from your family.  If you’re ready to stand on your own two feet, then you can start gaining independence while still under your parent’s roof. Independence isn’t about being able to do whatever you want; it’s about maturity and being able to maintain responsibility. You can go to a school in the same city as your parents and still only see them during summer vacation and holidays. Your independence is up to you, not your zip code. 

3. A Christian College is the only place to grow spiritually.

Christian colleges and universities offer great classes on theological subject matter, daily chapels keep you focused on God’s word and the community will inspire great conversation – all of which is great!  But, you can become spiritually challenged and grow in an environment that causes you to defend your faith or know what you believe and why you believe it as well.  

4. Schools in the city offer the most opportunity.

Living in a city can be expensive which can actually pull you away from potential opportunity.  Plus, city schools don’t always have a distinct “college atmosphere,” which is an opportunity in itself. Overall, academic institutions pride themselves on connecting and training students for their future, so opportunity will arise at any location.  It’s up to you to pursue it. Depending on your future endeavors, it’s true that you may have to move to the city to find a job after you graduate college. But, keep in mind that you’ll have to move at various times throughout life to go where God is leading you, so a city school doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll plant your roots and stay there.

5. Public school is more affordable than Private school.

Yes, private schools do have a hefty price tag, but there is a lot of opportunity to gain scholarships and financial support, which can help even out the cost of a private school.

6. It’s best to go to a school known for your major.

Sometimes a school that has a reputation for being good in a particular area may limit your ability to branch out and discover new things. These schools may not have as many electives to choose from which restricts your range in education. Additionally, most students don’t really decide and declare a major until their Junior year of college, so if you learn that the major you thought you wanted to pursue in high school isn’t the route you want to take, then you may find that your options aren’t as strong with a college that obtains a particular emphasis.  

7. Test out of as many Gen Ed classes as you can.

When it comes to limiting the expense of college, testing out of certain classes is a great way to go.  However, if you’re looking for a diverse and broad education from your college experience, then testing out of even your general academic classes may mean your selling yourself short. General education classes at the college level are a lot more diverse than your regular high school classes. There are a lot of interesting subjects available that may lead you to another interest, hobby, viewpoint, passion or even a major. You may even find a new favorite professor who really opens your mind to a whole new perspective.

8. You have to go Greek and Rush.

It’s easy to believe that they only way to connect in college is through the Greek system (pretty much every TV show or movie about college portrays that idea). However, you can find interesting and like-minded people outside the sorority scene. Join a club or intramural team of something that you find interesting, and most importantly find a college ministry or church that has a ministry geared specifically for college aged students. The people that you meet in these Christians settings will be your friends for life.  

9. It’s best to go to a four-year school.

There are certain benefits to a four-year bachelor degree, but depending on your interests and desires, that might not be the most suitable for your career. Two year trade schools are excellent options, working to gain experience is also very applicable as well as starting your secondary education at a community college and transferring to a four-year university.  Four-year programs are very expensive, so pray about what God plans for your life and let Him guide you down the right path.

Clock showing midnight

9 Fun New Year Resolution Ideas

Who said New Year’s resolutions had to be hard or difficult? The purpose of a New Year’s Resolution is to better yourself. Is there any way to improve your own identity other than enjoying life and seeking out the person that God desires for you to become? Instead of creating a resolution that you’ll dread and stop working toward in a month, start a resolution that helps you explore your unique self while enjoying life to the fullest. Here’s 9 of our favorite New Year Resolution ideas for a fun and enjoyable New Year:

1. Get Out of Town with these New Year Resolution Ideas

Head to a nearby town over the weekend with an older sibling, help your family plan a summer vacation, go on a road trip with your friends, or ask your parents to take you to a new country to explore a diverse culture.

2. New Year Resolution Ideas to Make Time for a Different Friend Every Week

It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the school year that you tend to neglect your friendships. Make a pact that you’ll spend special time with one of your best girls every week. You don’t have to spend an extensive amount of time with them, just a short ice cream or study date. Taking this time to invest in your friendships will create a strong and reliable support throughout the year.

3. Try a New Beauty Trend Once a Week for some Fabulous New Year Resolution Ideas

Don’t get stuck in a rut with your morning routine. Instead, commit to trying something new once a week. Hit up the mall over the weekend to buy a new and mysterious product. Rush over to Target after practice for a wonderful new shade to adorn. Raid your mom’s make-up bag and test out a new look or explore new and fantastic ways to use what you already own. To get your started, check out ten ways to wear eyeliner!

4. New Year Resolution Ideas to Re-Mix Your Music

Check out music that you wouldn’t normally consider listening to. Check out an unknown artist or genre on Youtube, Spotify or wherever you listen. Or go old school and explore the music section at the library. Check out your sister’s playlist or borrow a few tunes from your best friend. Even consider exploring music from when your parents were your age to create a more diverse understanding of musical trends and genres.

5. New Years Resolution Ideas You’ll Certainly Love: Take a Nap

As the school year progresses, it seems impossible to find time to sleep in, so vow that this year you’ll treat yourself to a nap at least once a month. It doesn’t have to be a long nap – a 20 minute power nap will do the trick. You’re growing and deserve a little peace and quiet.

6. Hit Up Those Animated Films this New Year

Just face it, you love those animated films, but you don’t want to admit it. Use your younger siblings as an excuse to hit up the theater. I’m sure mom and dad will love the quiet time, so they may even foot the bill. Or curl up to some Disney+ time with your fam. Pop some popcorn, mix in some candy and you’re ready to go!

7. New Years Resolution Ideas to Write a Touching Thank You

Write your mom a fun, inspirational or sentimental card every month to thank her for being such an incredible mom. This takes no time at all, but it’ll make such an impact on her life and on your relationship. Your mom does a lot for you, show her that you appreciate it, you notice and you care!

8. Explore The Bible for some Deeper New Year Resolution Ideas

Read a book of the Bible that you’ve never read before. Out of 66 books in the Bible, there’s certainly a book that you’ve never read all the way through before. There are plenty of short books sprinkled throughout the Bible if you don’t feel comfortable committing to something too long.

9. Share Your Knowledge with thoughtful New Year Resolution Ideas

Teach a Sunday School Class for a season. You don’t have to teach younger kids, you could teach an adult class or even a class for your peers. Lead a group or age level that you would enjoy and learn from. In any case, there’s certainly an adult who would be willing to help you through the process.

Enjoy the New Year with some fun New Year resolution ideas. If you fail meeting your resolution in the first week, month or season, that’s okay. Pick it back up later. There’s always time to explore the world around you as you seek more of God and the woman He wants you to become. Have fun and enjoy all the goodness of life.

Fringe and Fur

Two of this winter’s most delightful trends are fringe and fur, so add a little frill to your winter wardrobe with these fancy items.

Night Out

Go all out by pairing a fringe skirt with a cute top or sweater and killer boots for a special night out!

Poppy Sweater in Cobalt Blue, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; Brasserie Hennes Holiday Bag, $24.99, available at H&M; Pixie Booties in Black, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; Braylin Fringe Skirt, $59.95, available at Altar’d State.

Cozy and Comfortable

Cuddle up in a fringe sweater and fur-lined boots or sandals to accompany your favorite pair of jeans.

Good American Good Legs Low, $139.00, available at Nordstrom; Augustine Sweater in Mocha, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; Manitobah Hero, $230.00, available at Nordstrom; Birkenstock Arizona Big Buckle Platform Teddy in Eggshell, $180.00, available at Nordstrom.

School Day

Wear a cozy cardigan with fringe or fur detail and a tank to match for a chic school-look or for hanging around with friends.

Hannah Fringe Tank in Cream, $59.95, available at Altar’d State; CJ Cardigan, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; Good American Good Vintage Jagged Step Hem, $145.00, available at Nordstrom; Valentina Tall Shaft Boot, $169.95, available at Nordstrom.

Fringe Top

Make fringe your own by dressing it up or down. Pair a fringe top with jeans. Dress your outfit up with heels plus a nice jacket and skirt.
Good American Good Legs Flare Twisted Slit, $150.00, available at Nordstrom; Brasserie Hennes Holiday Top, $29.99, available at H&M; Jessica Simpson Saima in Black, $149.00, available at Nordstrom; Crystal Studded Bangle, $19.95, available at Altar’d State.


Spend the Christmas season with loved ones doing fun and interesting activities wearing a stylish, yet versatile blazer with fringed fur.

Fitted Blazer, $49.99, available at H&M; Fluffy Fringe-Knit Top, $49.95, available at H&M; Good American Good Straight Split Pockets, $145.00, available at Nordstrom; Sonato Booties, $79.95, available at Altar’d State.

Fringe Skort

Wear an oversized sweater with a fringe skort and loafers for a playful look that can pass for day or night.

Glittery Sweater in Dark Blue, $49.99, available at H&M; Aqua x Maeve Reilly Blake Chain Loafers in Bone Patent, $128.00, available at Bloomingdale’s; Miley Skort, $74.95, available at Altar’d State.

All On Board

Play up this trend by wearing a fringe/fun top and matching bottom with a complimentary hat and coat. Pull on a pair of heels for a perfect party outfit.

Brasserie Hennes Holiday Top, $24.99, available at H&M; Zella Faux Fur Puffer Jacket, $169.00, available at Nordstrom; Brasserie Hennes Holiday Skirt, $34.99, available at H&M; Lightening Heels, $59.95, available at Altar’d State; The North Face Oh Mega Faux Fur Pom Beanie in Black, $45.00, available at Nordstrom.

Low Key Fur

Don a fun pair of overalls with a top that has just a touch of fur around the collar, shoulders or wrists. Then top off the casual look with a fuzzy cap.

Treasure & Bond Brushed Baseball Cap, $35.00, available at Nordstrom; Tammy Bodysuit, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; Morgan Sneakers, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; Good American Good 90s Overall, $159.00, available at Nordstrom.

Just a Touch

For a tiny bit of flare, wear a fur-collar or fringe jewelry with a basic base outfit.

Brasserie Hennes Holiday Necklace, $34.99, available at H&M; Rhinestone Earrings, $17.99, available at H&M; Vans Old Skool Sneaker in Black White, $70.00, available at Nordstrom; Harper Top in Black, $49.95, available at Altar’d State; Good American Good 90s Icon in Black, $145.00, available at Nordstrom.

Fur Accessories

If you decide that there’s too much fringe or fur for your taste, you can always cut back and use some accessories to add texture to your look!

BP. Furry Bucket Hat, $19.00, available at Nordstrom; UGG Adirondack III Waterproof Bootie in Chestnut, $249.95, available at Nordstrom; UGG Shearling Earmuff in Charcoal, $44.97, available at Nordstrom Rack; Sherpa Top Backpack, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; UGG Scuffette II Slipper, $95.00, available at Nordstrom; Crocs Classic Cozzzy Faux Fur Sandal, $49.99, available at Nordstrom Winter Fur Scarf, $44.95, available at Altar’d State.

Fringe Accessories

Bohemian Statement Fringe Necklace, $24.95, available at Altar’d State; Jessica Simpson Asire Fringe Knee High Boot, $179.00, available at Nordstrom; Mildred Fringe Bag, $54.95, available at Altar’d State; Forest Plain Scarf, $24.95, available at Altar’d State; Crystal Bandana Scarf in Olive, $24.95, available at Altar’d State; Ezra Rhinestone Fringe Belt, $34.95, available at Altar’d State.

Jesus Christ Birthday: When is it celebrated?

In Luke 2: 1-11, we read the account of Jesus’ birth. It’s a popular verse; in fact Linus reads the scripture as the true meaning of Christmas in the television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” But, where do we read that Jesus was born on December 25? We know that his birthday was during the census, but we aren’t given a specific date for the census. We know that Mary and Joseph were pledged to be married, but we don’t actually know the date for their marriage to backtrack and know when Christ was born. We know that the shepherds were tending their sheep in a field, but we aren’t certain as to when they arrived in Bethlehem to praise their savior.

If no one knows the actual date that Jesus was born, why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25? There are two theories, both of which have faults, one of which is more popular among theologians.

The earliest record of Christ’s birth being observed on December 25 is from the middle of the fourth century (354) on a document that listed various martyr’s feasts for the year. For the church’s first three centuries, Christmas wasn’t even on the calendar. Some church leaders were opposed to the idea of celebrating Christ’s birthday because birthdays were for pagan gods and kings. They believed it would be wrong to honor the Messiah in the same way others were honored. Other church leaders started to speculate the date of his birth because they wanted to celebrate, but soon discovered that actual records of his birth were lost, so various dates on the calendar were mentioned as days of celebrating Christ’s birth.

Jesus Christ Birthday First Theory

In the second century, the Church of Rome chose December 25 as the date of Christ’s birth to deliberately turn people away from pagan feasts being observed at the same time. Natalis solis invicti, which means the “birth of the unconquered sun” and the birthday of Mithras, the Iranian “sun of righteousness,” were both pagan feasts celebrated on what was believed to be the winter solstice. Christ was the true son and should be worshiped over all other gods. The first direct suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was determined to outshine pagan traditions wasn’t made until the 12th century, however there were references mentioned in various sermon accounts in the fourth and fifth centuries.

Many question this theory because Christians during the first and second century were not borrowing heavily from pagan traditions like we do today because Christians believed in a strong calling as God’s holy people. After Constantine converted to Christianity in the mid-fourth century, Christians adapted pagan festivals according to his rule.

Jesus Christ Birthday Second Theory

It is believed that the dates of Jesus’ death and his conception are linked. The connection between death and conception is an ancient and medieval understanding that salvation is bound to not only death, but also conception. The conception of Jesus binds the promise of salvation through his birth. The idea that creation and redemption are tied together is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition.

Though, much of the New Testament provides little detail on Christ’s birth, it does provide detailed information on Jesus’ ministry, miracles, death and resurrection. March 25 is the recognized date of Christ’s crucifixion. If the date of His crucifixion and the date of his conception are indeed linked, then according to the natural cycle of birth, nine months after March 25 would be when Mary would have given birth to our savior.

Are you more concerned with actual documentation tying Jesus’ birth to December 25, are you allowing today’s “pagan” traditions to pull you away from the miracle of Christ’s birth or do you connect his birth to his death and resurrection? Christmas, whenever celebrated, is a date that marks the foundation of Christianity and Jesus deserves your honor and praise.

Silver and Gold

Whether you’re heading off to a study date, a Christmas party of just another day at school, this season is all about silver and gold decorations. Don’t waste the beautiful glitz of Christmas by wearing it only for a special occasion; instead style some glam into the entire season. We’ve selected a few sparkling items and shown you ways to incorporate them into an outfit, each with a heightened amount of glam! Shine bright this Christmas.

Celebrate in Style

Don’t be shy to Glam it all out with a full on glitter and sparkle dress. Pair it with the cutest heels in your closet and you will shine all night!

Sequined Dress, $64.99, available at H&M; Chelsea28 Sequin Sleeveless Minidress, $119.00, available at Nordstrom; Pumps, $39.99, available at H&M; Jessica Simpson Meitini, $119.00, available at Nordstrom.

Sparkly Skirt

The ultimate glittery skirt that looks impossible to pull off? Yes! Wear it with a cute and chic little sweater. Don’t forget your flats or boots!

Haisley Suede Hat, $49.95, available at Altar’d State; Lyla Sweater in Evergreen, $59.95, available at Altar’d State; Isla Booties, $99.95, available at Altar’d State; Jamie Sequin Skirt, $79.95, available at Altar’d State.

Shiny Sneakers

Wear those new glittery sneaks or sandals in your closet with a classic winter sweater. Add some bling to your socks so your feet are ready to saunter through the snow and into school.

Good American Good Legs Flare Twisted Slit, $150.00, available at Nordstrom; Wendy Sweater, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; Beaded Hoop Earrings, $29.00, available at Nordstrom; Crocs Classic Cozzzy Faux Fur Sandal, $49.99, available at Nordstrom; Roxanne Sneakers in Gold, $89.95, available at Altar’d State.

Rose Gold

Gold doesn’t really highlight your complexion? Go for a soft dewy glow with a pink glitter skirt and accessories to match. You’ll look like the slight glimmer of warm candlelight.

Bella Fuzzy Cardigan, $69.95, available at Altar’d State; Valentina Tall Shaft Boot, $169.95, available at Nordstrom; Lexi Skirt in Nude, $69.95, available at Altar’d State.

Everyday Look

You can incorporate your shine in your everyday looks. Pair your favorite jeans with a gold jacket, and shiny new shoes. You’ll leave your sparkle all over the school hallways!

Santa Baby Sweatshirt, $59.95, available at Altar’d State; Good American Good Straight Split Pockets, $145.00, available at Nordstrom; Oversized Glittery Jacket, $89.95, available at Altar’d State; Pumps, $39.99, available at H&M.


Those awesome silver pants that you really want to by, but not sure how to wear them without looking like a Dancing With the Stars costume? The secret – wear a slim and sleek top and a complimentary piece of jewelry. Another tip – you must wear shoes that are a similar shade. Opt for a similar metallic.

Flared slit-hem leggings, $64.99, available at H&M; Harper Top in Black, $49.95, available at Altar’d State; Rhinestone Earrings, $9.99, available at H&M; Brasserie Hennes Holiday Shoes, $49.99, available at H&M.


Really love this trend, but aren’t a glam-girl? Rock out a casual and cool look by wearing a bag with stud details. Glitz and glam doesn’t have to look like a sparkly Christmas ornament.

Thread and Supply Woven Shirt Jacket in Grey White Plaid, $29.97, available at Nordstrom Rack; Good American Good Vintage Jagged Step Hem, $145.00, available at Nordstrom; Stud Crossbody Bag, $54.95, available at Altar’d State; Dr Marten 1461w Oxford in Black, $130.00, available at Nordstrom.

Jeweled Jewelry

Add just a touch of the trend with a strong and powerful statement necklace. Pair it with jeans, sleek shoes and a classic top.

AQUA x Maeve Reilly High Rise Cargo Jeans in Dark Wash, $98.00, available at Bloomingdale’s; Brasserie Hennes Holiday Necklace, $34.99, available at H&M; Open Edit Stitch Sleeve Cotton Blend Sweater, $59.00, available at Nordstrom; Jessica Simpson Salih Platform Sandal, $129.00, available at Nordstrom.

Glamorous Gold

For a super glam look, wear an all gold pant or skirt with a sequin top. Accessorize with gold jewelry and matching shoes.

Good American Wide Leg Trousers, $155.00, available at Nordstrom; Open Edit Sequin Mesh Sleeveless Top, $49.00, available at Nordstrom; Ettika Set of 3 Chain Link Bracelets, $50.00, available at Nordstrom; Open Edit Knit Midi Skirt, $55.00, available at Nordstrom; Open Edit Heather Loafer in Black, $69.00, available at Nordstrom; Jessica Simpson Larna Western Boot, $169.00, available at Nordstrom.

Christmas Carols

We’re now counting down the days until Christmas! As you study, do homework, Christmas shop and hang with family and friends, enjoy some incredible worship songs all geared toward this time of year. Here’s our top 9 Christmas singles all released for this beautiful time of year: 

  1. DOE O Come, O Come Emmanuel (feat. IAMSON) (Provident)
  1. Anne Wilson and Josh Turner The Manger (Capital CMG)
  1. Hannah Kerr Joy To The World (It’s Christmas) (Curb/Word)
  1. The Church Will Sing What a Glorious Night (Curb/Word)
  1. Jordan St. Cyr The Wait is Over (BEC)
  1. Love & The Outcome Christmas Lights (Curb/Word)
  1. Thrive Worship Oh Come All Ye Faithful (Integrity)
  1. Future of Forestry The Advent Song (Independent)
  1. Phil Wickham (feat. Anne Wilson) Behold (Fair Trade Services)

Check out Ellie Holcomb‘s Christmas Album Sing: Christmas Songs.

Cup of coffee set on sheet music

Original Christian Christmas Songs

We love Christmas music here at niNe. When Black Friday hits, we’re singing “Joy to the World” while Decking our Halls and it’s non-stop until Epiphany. We’re drawn to Christmas songs because they’re a musical depiction of Christ’s arrival to earth – one of the most miraculous (and probably not Silent) Night ever known to man. The songs are fun, sentimental and make our hearts truly contemplate the majesty of our Lord. Though many Christmas tunes are derived from the Bible, there are three actual biblical Christian Christmas songs that we want to recognize as praise to our Lord this season.

Christian Christmas Songs Mary’s Song: the Magnificat

One of the most beautiful statements in the Bible is when Mary worships her Lord upon understanding the gift she will bare:

  • My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
  • for He has looked on the humble estate of His servant.
  • For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
  • for He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
  • And His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
  • He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
  • He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
  • He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.
  • He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy,
  • as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His offspring forever.

Luke 1:46-55

Glory to God as Christian Christmas Songs

An angel appeared to the shepherds announcing the birth of the savior. Then, suddenly there was a multitude of heavenly hosts praising God.

  • Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!

Luke 2:14

For Unto Us a Child Is Born is Christian Christmas Songs

Before Jesus was born, His presence here on earth was understood through the words of the prophet Isaiah.

  • The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.
  • 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 the yoke of His burden, and the staff for His shoulder, the rod of His oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
  • For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.
  • For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful 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.

Isaiah 9: 3-7

Now, go spend the Christmas season with your family or friends and enjoy a deeper realization of Christ’s arrival and magnificences.

Love Changes

Most Americans know the story of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. In this story, Ebenezer Scrooge encounters three ghosts that make him realize that he was living a life teeming with hatred, resentment and bitterness and he needed to change his lifestyle and his heart. Some people criticize the story, saying that no one can change their heart overnight. While people do not change overnight, love still changes people nonetheless.

In the Muppet adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Marley’s ghost sings, “So freedom comes with giving love, so prison comes with hate.” While the Muppets is a goofy adaptation of the story, there’s a lot of truth in this statement. In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge remained bitter and resentful because of the mistreatment of his father, the death of his sister and his lost love. He had reason to be angry. He should not have been mistreated by his father, it was a deep loss when his sister died and he felt unbearably guilty for his fiancée’ leaving him. Instead of working through his grief and pain, he turned to material possessions and work for gratification. When money didn’t satisfy him, it further stoked his harsh worldview. Maybe you’re dealing with pain this holiday season. It may seem easy to stuff away the hurt, pain, bitterness and resentment. However, in the long run, holding onto this pain, even if you’re not actively acknowledging it, hurts your emotional and spiritual growth.

Finding love for those who dislike you, treat you badly and make life difficult for you is a challenge. It’s a long journey, and the first step is to choose love over resentment. Because of the ghosts’ visits, Scrooge chose to remember the joy of imagination, the love of his sister, the kindness of his first employer, the diligence of his clerk and the joy of his nephew. He began to let go of all of that pent up resentment, bitterness, anger and hatred. Then when he took it a step further and gave love back to the people around him, his heart began to change. Love’s more than just an emotion; it’s a lifestyle, a frame of mind and a choice. If you’re having difficulty this holiday season, it’s important to acknowledge and work through your hurt, but it’s also vital to actively choose forgiveness and love.

It’s easy to put off the healing that can only come from love until after the holiday season. But when you hold on to hatred, hurt and pain, you become calloused to it, like Scrooge. You may not actually realize how intense the hurt is because you’re used to it. Overtime you become good at carrying that extra burden. Unless you release the hurt, it may one day overwhelm you, making you bitter. You never hoped for bitterness, nor did God desire that for your life.

Jesus is the ultimate example of forgiveness and love. He was constantly choosing to love people, even when it was difficult. He was gentle when Martha blamed him for the death of her brother (John 11:21-23). He answered Nicodemus’ questions, even though he was a Pharisee and was hiding his search (John 3:1-21). He called Judas, the betrayer, “friend” (Matthew 26:50). He warned Peter of his denial (Luke 22:31) and then still forgave him (John 21:15-19). Love does not come easy for many.

For those of you who are struggling this holiday season, whether from tense friendships, stressful academics, divorce or death of a loved one, showing love can be hard. However, you don’t have to do it alone. Look to Jesus for examples of unconditional love, and remember that His unconditional love also extends to you.

We want to encourage you to show love to the people around you! Tweet us a relationship where you want to show more love to @niNeMag with #9encourages. Or if you want to reach out to us in private, email us at editor@ninemagazine.org. We hope and pray that you experience the love of Jesus this holiday season in the midst of hardship.

Gift Giving For All

This Christmas season don’t just give to your family and close friends, God has placed a myriad of people in your life who support you, so show them your gratitude with some of these great gift ideas ranging from the simple and cheap to the deserving splurge.

Gift for Mom:

Show your mom how much you love her and how grateful you are for all she does. Even though you may not always have the same perspective, she is still your greatest advocate. Pray that your mom finds peace and rest in the midst of a busy schedule, that God would reveal to you the things that bring your mom stress and unease.

1. Patchology Warm Up Best Foot Forward Softening Foot & Heel Mask, $20.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Madewell Malachite Heart Ring, $29.50, available at Nordstrom;
3. Heart Glass Jewelry Box, $20.00, available at Nordstrom;
4. Caslon Luxe Cowl Neck Long Sleeve Cotton Blend Sweater Dress, $79.00, available at Nordstrom;
5. Moonlight Eco Pajamas in Navy Peacoat Party Poinsettia, $75.00, available at Nordstrom;
6. Silent Night Canvas, $34.99, available at niNe. magazine;
7. Dash Compact Air Fryer in Black, $44.99, available at Nordstrom Rack;
8. Dior J’Adore Roller Pearl, $51.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. Deborah Lippmann Undressed Gel Lab Pro Nail Color Set, $36.00, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for Dad:

You appreciate your dad for his hard work and dedication. Even though you can’t always relate, you recognize that everything you have comes from his willingness to follow God. Pray for protection this Christmas season, that God would rule over your dad’s life in remarkable ways.

1. Cole Haan 2.zerogrand Stitchlite Wingtip in Marine Blue Vapor Grey, $99.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
2. Terra Tory Coffee Cube Soap Plantain Coffee, $20.00, available at Nordstrom;
3. Long Sleeve Tee, $26.99, available at niNe. magazine;
4. North Face Jester Backpack in Asphalt Grey Mineral Gold, $69.00, available at Nordstrom;
5. Ted Barker London Genay Irvine Fit Slim Chino in Khaki, $150.00, available at Nordstrom;
6. Matching Family Moments Cotton Flannel Pajama Pants in Green Evergreen Jolly Plaid, $45.00, available at Nordstrom;
7. Tzumi Iconic Massage Gun in Black, $49.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
8. Kiehl’s Men’s Energizing Essentials, $40.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. Long Sleeve Trim Shirt in Green Floating Geos, $79.50, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for Little Sis:

Your little sister admires your every move, yes, she does get in your way a lot, but her admiration lifts up your spirit and encourages your soul. Pray for God to strengthen you so you can continue to be a positive role model and strong influence in your little sister’s life.

1. LNL Love, Nickie Lew Kids’ Ruffle Front Dress, $35.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Handbag in Pink, $27.99, available at H&M;
3. Nailmatic DIY Nail Polish Color Maker Kit, $49.00, available at Nordstrom;
4. Sweet Sleep Pillow, $30.99, available at niNe. magazine;
5. Z by Zella Girl High Waisted Printed Z Slim Leggings in Black Multi Incline Print, $23.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
6. Mini Boden Kids’ Horse Fair Isle Cardigan Sweater, $59.00, available at Nordstrom;
7. Mattel Barbie® Pediatrician Play Set, $22.99, available at Nordstrom;
8. Smoko Pearl Boba Tea Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone, $42.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. BP. Furry Bucket Hat, $19.00, available at Nordstrom;
10. Tender Leaf Toys Kids’ General Store Toy Register, $54.99, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for Little Bro:

Your brother lightens your day and always knows how to make you laugh. Despite the occasional annoyance, his presence more often than not is a pleasure. Ask God to fill you and your brother with joy this season so you can both be a positive influence to others.

1. Wonder & Wise by Asweets Around the World Play Tent, $123.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Tucker + Tate Kids’ Intarsia Knit Sweater, $39.00, available at Nordstrom;
3. Plantoys Plan Toys Doctor Play Set, $40.00, available at Nordstrom;
4. Pom Pom Beanie, $20.99, available at niNe. magazine;
5. Under Armor Tuckerman Puffer Jacket in Pitch Gray, $58.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
6. Mud Pie Santa Hat Silicone Popper, $8.00, available at Nordstrom;
7. Adidas C Clssc Trict Track Set in Scarlet, $26.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
8. Bird Kids’ Scooter, $99.99, available at Nordstrom;
9. Mattel Hot Wheels® Monster Trucks MEGA-Wrex® Vehicle, $10.99, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for Big Sis:

Your big sister always makes herself available to listen to your struggles and problems. Sometimes it seams like she doesn’t have the time or patience for you, but she is still your closest friend and confidant. Ask God to extend your trust in one another and to speak wisdom into your life through your sister’s actions and words.

1. Meri Meri Silver Tinsel Chandelier, $40.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Women’s flow Racerback Tank, $26.99, available at niNe. magazine;
3. Mermade Hair Pro Hair 0.9-Inch Cutie Waver, $74.00, available at Nordstrom;
4. UGG Aarti Faux Shearling Hooded Robe, $98.00, available at Nordstrom;
5. Barbour Saltburn Beanie in Pearl, $50.00, available at Nordstrom;
6.Mac Cosmetics A Taste of Matte 5-Piece Lipstick Kit, $60.00, available at Nordstrom;
7. Jeffrey Campbell Platform Lug Sole Chelsea Rain Boot in Cream, $39.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
8. Marc Jacobs Daisy Love Spring Eau de Toilette, $49.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
9. Sequined Shoulder Bag, $29.99, available at H&M.

Gift for Big Bro:

Your brother is strong and mighty, even though he does find you childish at times, he will always protect and guard you. Ask God to give him strength and courage when he is faced with hard times and difficult situations.

1. BP Knit Jogger in Grey Owl, $39.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Crosley Radio Hft Cruiser Deluxe Turntable in White Sand, $79.95, available at Nordstrom;
3. Yellow Owl Workshop Breakfast Socks in Black, $10.95, available at Nordstrom;
4. Adidas Golf Go To Polo Shirt in Shadow Green, $85.00, available at Nordstrom;
5. Viktor&Wolf 5oz Spicebomb Infared Cologne, $79.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
6. New Balance 515 Classic Running Sneaker in Black Vibrant Orange, $59.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
7. 20oz insulated butterfly bottle, $26.99, available at niNe. magazine;
8. Hygge Games How Did You Know That Party Trivia Game, $20.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. Herschel Supply Co Duffle Bag, $100.00, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for Best Friend:

Your best friend walks you through every problem, big or small, and always brings you back to reality. Although she challenges you when you sometimes just want to be let off the hook, she’s the one person that knows you through and through. Pray that God will strengthen your relationship and use it to glorify His kingdom.

1. UGG Genuine Shearling Bluetooth Earmuffs, $115.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Kiehl’s Merry Masking, $40.00, available at Nordstrom;
3. Pendant Earrings, $5.99, available at H&M;
4. Denim Sherpa Jacket, $86.99, available at niNe. magazine;
5. Stand Studio Mini Lizzie Teddy Faux Shearling Tote in Sand, $140.00, available at Nordstrom;
6. Le Mini Macaron Le Mani Salon Gel Polish Nail Art Set, $45.00, available at Nordstrom;
7. Too Faced Christmas Coffee Palette in Multi, $14.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
8. Kidamento Kids’ Model C Digital Camera $59.99, available at Nordstrom;
9. BP. Fawn Adjustable Faux Fur Slipper, $29.95, available at Nordstrom;
10. Kitsch 4-Pack Creaseless Hair Clips, $10.00, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for Boyfriend:

You have a special connection with your boyfriend. Although you have hopes and dreams of forever, you refuse to overlook the romantically beautiful times right now. Ask for God to keep you pure as He grows your bond stronger and more focused on His glory.

1. Butterfly Hat, $23.99, available at niNe. magazine;
2. Levis 2-Pkt Shirt Jacket W. Fleece in Brn Plaid, $84.99, available at Nordstrom Rack;
3. North Face Jim Beanie in Flax Heather, $18.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
4. Cottoncashmere Crew Sweater in Blue Captain, $49.50, available at Nordstrom;
5. Jo Malone Christmas Cologne Collection, $115.00, available at Nordstrom;
6. HydroFlask 32 Oz Wide Flex Cap Water Bottle in Seagrass, $44.05, available at Nordstrom;
7. UNO® Triple Play Card Game, $28.99, available at Nordstrom;
8. North Face Mens Belleview Stretch Down Vest in Military Olive, $199.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. North Face Berkeley Field Bag in Black Dazzle Camo, $45.00, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for An Adult Female:

You’re good friend’s mom, or your boyfriend’s mom, maybe your aunt, a counselor, mentor or youth director has encouraged you and helped you see God’s goodness this year. Sure, they have other responsibilities that don’t always make themselves readily available when you need them the most, but they have a desire to walk with you through life. Pray that God strengthens them in the same way that they strengthen you.

1. Barefoot Dreams Assorted 2-Pack CozyChic Crew Socks, $30.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Bliss Plush Throw in Olive Bronze, $24.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
3. Lex Pott Candy Cane Twist Candle, $40.00, available at Nordstrom;
4. Silent Night Eco Tote Bag, $21.99, available at niNe. magazine;
5. Z By Zella Aura Cozy Zip Up in Green Moss, $24.99, available at Nordstrom Rack;
6. Neuhaus Holiday Assorted 27-Piece Chocolates Tree Box, $64.90, available at Nordstrom;
7. Dash Snowflake Mini Waffle Maker, $12.99, available at Nordstrom;
8. Ettika Set of 3 Chain Link Bracelets, $50.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. Wrap Ruled Notebook, $20.00, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for Male Adult:

Your Uncle, best friend or boyfriend’s dad, cousins or that guy friend who just gets you better than some of your girlfriends are all people who have influenced your life in amazing ways. There are certainly some things in life that these guys just aren’t going to be able to support you in, but they will all go out of their way to offer you a helping hand. Pray that God will continue to open their hearts and yours to tremendous opportunities to serve and give to others.

1. Ooni Cooking With Fire, $25.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Butterfly T-shirt in Black, $21.99, available at ninemagazine.org;
3. Buxton 8-Piece Manicure Set in Black, $24.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
4. Brooklyn Bros Apple Cider Doughnut Making Kit Canvas, $25.00, available at Nordstrom;
5. Sugarfina Holiday Santa’s Cookie Dough Canister, $22.00, available at Nordstrom;
6. Nike Elemental Backpack in Dark Driftwood Venice, $29.97, available at Nordstrom Rack;
7. MOMA Design Store Multi-ccino Mug, $18.00, available at Nordstrom;
8. MoMA Design Store Color Play Backgammon in Multi, $115.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. MoMA Kit-Cat Clock in Black, $50.00, availeble at Nordstrom.

Gift for Grandma:

Grandma is the most diligent woman you know, she prays for you ceaselessly and firmly believes that God has tremendous things in store for your life. She may not understand why you paint your nails black or take pictures with your phone, but she confirms your hope for a significant future. Pray that God gives you the hope and joy for your future that your grandma carries so deeply.

1. Love Endures Forever Thin Canvas, $33.30, available at niNe. magazine;
2. Great Jones The Dutchess 6.75-Quart Enamel Cast Iron Dutch Oven with Lid in Broccoli, $160.00, available at Nordstrom;
3. L’Occitane Hand Cream Indulgences, $29.00, available at Nordstrom;
4. Barefoot Dreams Cozychic Wearable Throw in Cream, $145.00, available at Nordstrom;
5. Heather Taylor Home Holiday Apron in Annabelle Plaid Red, $98.00, available at Nordstrom;
6. Heather Taylor Home Plaid Heart Ornament, $14.00, available at Nordstrom;
7. Balsam Hill Pine Peak Pre Lit Artificial Wreath, $139.00-$159.00, available at Nordstrom;
8. Lighted Trees Snow Globe, $45.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. Voluspa Crushed Candy Cane 3-Wick Decorative Tin Candle, $26.00, available at Nordstrom.

Gift for Grandpa:

Grandpa is the greatest storyteller of all time, he’s his own history textbook. Even though he’s forgotten that he told you the same story yesterday, he always has a lesson for you to learn. Ask God to open your heart and mind so you can learn those lessons and that your grandpa will continue to speak wisdom into your life.

1. 9 Bible Verses on Gratitude and Thanksgiving, free, available at niNe. magazine;
2. Goorin Bros Pacheco Houndstooth Wool Driving Cap in Olive, $98.00, available at Nordstrom;
3. Outdoor Research Waterproof Liner Gloves in Black, $20.00, available at Nordstrom;
4. Cotton Cash Half Zip Sweater in Ivory Sand Heather, $59.50, available at Nordstrom;
5. Ferm Living Hale Apron in Green Black, $55.00, available at Nordstrom;
6. MOMA History Of Art Ceramic in Black, $14.00, available at Nordstrom;
7. Spicelogy Popcorn Seasoning Gift Set of 6, $39.95, available at Nordstrom;
8. LL Bean Beans Multisport Joggers in Graphite, $69.95, available at Nordstrom;
9. LL Bean Mountain Classic Fleece Vest in Charcoal Heather, $79.00, available at Nordstrom;

Gift for Fido and Kitty Cat:

A girl’s best friend too, your pets listen to you and don’t talk back. Even though they can’t always understand your pain, they are always there to console you. Pray that God gives you carefree moments to just rest in His presence free of anxiety and stress.

1. Clever Idiots Cat Cap Kirby, $8.00, available at Nordstrom;
2. Barefoot Dreams CozyChic Leopard Dog Sweater, $45.00, available at Nordstrom;
3. Ware of the Dog Sport Balls Cat Toy in Multi, $21.00, available at Nordstrom;
4. Wild One Leash in Lilac, $58.00, available at Nordstrom;
5. Wild One Triangle Tug Dog Toy, $15.00, available at Nordstrom;
6. Bocce’s Bakery Lumps of Catnip Treats, $4.00, available at Nordstrom;
7. Bocce’s Bakery Reindeer Fuel Dog Treats, $6.50, available at Nordstrom;
8. Matching Family Moments Assorted 2-Pack Pet Bandanas in Green Evergreen Jolly Plaid, $25.00, available at Nordstrom;
9. Little Beast Reversible Dog Parka Vest, $88.00, available at Nordstrom.

Don’t forget to shop via Goodshop (or Amazon Smile) this Christmas to give back a portion of your online purchase to your favorite non-profit organization, including us! Once registered with Goodshop, type in the organization you want to support, such as “niNe. magazine,” and select that organization. Once you’ve designated the non-profit organization you want to support, you’ll click on the store in which you want to make your purchase, then start checking off that Christmas list!