Christmas

The Gift that Promises Forever

It wasn’t the gift I expected, but it promised forever. On our second Christmas as a couple, I held a secret wish in my heart as I sat beneath the Christmas tree. David and I planned to walk the aisle in August of the coming year. In my mind, Christmas seemed like the ideal time for the question and the ring. I opened my gift, a rectangular-shaped box wrapped in thick red paper. Inside the [Read more...]

Christmas Joy #FridayFive Style

When #FridayFive started, it was a place to share favorite things—memories, books, links. It took on a life of its own with writing prompts to challenge us to think a little deeper and write a little more consistently. I love reading your different takes on the weekly themes. As I turn “joy” around in my mind, it seems like a good time to go back to my #FridayFive roots and [Read more...]

How to Encourage Gratitude in Your Children During the Holidays

I remember my excitement the day the Sears & Roebuck catalog landed in the mailbox of my childhood home. I carefully looked through each section circling the gifts I wanted to find under our Christmas tree. The Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine, Barbie’s Dream House, and a Cabbage Patch Kid made the list more than once. The more pages I turned, the longer my wish list grew. Every year, kids near [Read more...]

The Carol of Traveling Sounds

“At Christmas, all roads lead home.” ~Marjorie Holmes The sound of travel thrills me. My earliest memory of this auditory obsession dates back to the early 80’s. I remember walking up and down the dirt drive in front of my grandparents’ old chicken house just to hear the gravel crunch beneath my Jordache sneakers. Besides listening to my grandmother read, it was my favorite thing to do at [Read more...]

When Christmas Isn’t the Way You Want It

The concept of “leave and cleave” sounds lovely when you stand at the altar with your husband-to-be beside you. But when it comes to the holidays, it isn’t so lovely. The question of where and how to spend Christmas can cause discord in the most harmonious of marriages. My first Christmas as a Smith was dramatic. My husband’s job was as new as our marriage. He had to work on Christmas [Read more...]

Gifts to Encourage Spiritual Growth in Your Tween Girl

This time of year, kids can’t get through a conversation with an adult without being asked the million dollar question: “What do you want for Christmas?” Around October, I start jotting down ideas for my own kids. We keep it simple with three gifts per child, so I only need a few ideas to get me started. This year, my tweenager surprised me by asking for a new Bible. The [Read more...]

The Light of the World Brings Hope at Christmas

Don’t you just love this time of year? As soon as the turkey is cold, many people rush to the attic for the red and green boxes full of Christmas decorations. They tack lights to the eaves of their house and hang treasured ornaments on the branches of pine-scented trees. The smell of cinnamon and sugar plums rise from strategically placed candles. Ceramic Baby Jesus rests safely in an [Read more...]

The Birth of Hope

The A newborn baby inspires hope. The earthy, metallic smell of birth mixes with the sweetness of Johnson & Johnson’s baby lotion. It reaches your heart through your nose. A smile tickles your lips just as you start to talk in a silly voice that you wouldn’t dare use in an adult conversation. Babies are a phenomenon of hope and expectation. My sister recently gave birth to her [Read more...]

Mary Remembers: A Story of Light and Hope

Today, as darkness tries to swallow me alive, I find myself reliving the first days of this incredible journey. It is the only place I can find light. Light. Light is how it all began. I remember the light. How it started small and then grew so bright. I had to look away and shield my eyes for fear I would go blind. Once my eyes adjusted, I saw something or someone. I felt instant peace in his [Read more...]

Starstruck Love: Worship Jesus like a Toddler

It’s been a while since we’ve had a little one in the house at Christmas. Barrett turned two last week so this is the first Christmas he is aware of the holiday magic going on around him. It is fun to watch him experience Christmas for the first time. He squeals as we pass Christmas lights and points to every snowman he sees. It makes everything new again for me. He makes us laugh [Read more...]