Monday, December 21, 2009
Cindy Woodsmall, NYT bestselling author of Amish fiction, talks to us today about Christmas.
The anticipation of celebrating Christ’s birth is all around us, and I can’t help but think of all the Christmases that have passed by so quickly. We are powerless to slow the movement of time, but we have the power to make this holiday season linger in the hearts of family, friends, and even strangers.
By mixing prayer, love, and time together into a beautiful concoction that makes good memories for others, helps out someone in need, and encourages everyone it touches.
It truly is an exciting season each year!
We don’t have to handle everything perfectly or try to fulfill each person’s wish list. We only need to follow Him and look for ways to touch hearts. Inside this newsletter, I hope you find useful ideas and encouragement for spreading love.
Romans 5:5 says, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
First Peter 4:8 says, “Love covers a multitude of sin.”
If you get weary or stressed throughout the holidays, I hope you’ll take a relaxing breath and remember that the graciousness of love is the only way any of us can stand before God or each other.
The Amish celebrate Christmas in simplicity and tradition. They don’t include Santa, electric lights, tinsel, ribbons, fancy wrapping paper, or Christmas trees, but through simple and creative ways, they honor the season of Christ’s birth. Below are some ways we can keep our celebrations simple.
• Turn off the lights. Light candles (or even pull out old kerosene lamps) and set the mood for an evening of singing carols, telling favorite family tales, or reading Christmas stories with friends and family.
• Put away the tinsel and expensive decorations. Pull out old Christmas cards and string them along the walls in your living areas. Spend a moment thinking about each of the senders.
• Keep gifts practical. Think of “tools of the trade”—gifts that reflect and would be useful to what family members do in their respective professions. Additionally, homemade gifts are always appreciated.
• Show kindness to your neighbors. Bring your family and friends together to donate food, toys, and clothes to those friends and neighbors especially affected by the economy.
• Keep the kitchen a haven. Prepare food in advance whenever you can so that the day of festivities can be spent with ones you love. Don’t get crushed by the stress and expense of doing it all by yourself. Invite guests to bring their favorite traditional dishes.
• Make it a family affair. When it’s time to clean up, bring your family together in the kitchen. Talk about your favorite parts of the party while doing the dishes and wiping off counters.
• Be thankful. Giving thanks doesn’t have to end after Thanksgiving. Spend time telling loved ones how much they mean to you throughout the season and see how much joy it brings to them and you.
About Cindy Woodsmall's latest--The Sound of Sleigh Bells
Remorse and loneliness echo inside Beth Hertzler from the life she once had. Children’s whispers and laughter call to her from a life she only dreams of. A gifted carver holds the answer to both within his hands—but can Beth step beyond yesterday in order to embrace tomorrow?