Book Review:Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins

Christmas

All about Traditions of  Christmas

What Christmas Traditions are your favorite?  Have you ever wondered where on earth we get the traditions we use when we celebrate Christmas?  You know, things like Christmas Cards. Advent, and Christmas trees just to name a few.  Well, Ace takes us back in time to the times and places that these traditions became an indelible mark on our holiday celebrations.  26 chapters you will learn about the history and heart behind each of these traditions!.  Ace definitely did a lot of in-depth research that left us with some very interesting facts.  The chapters are short and could easily be read each night leading up to Christmas.

Some of the interesting facts learned in reading this book :

  • Many of our Christmas traditions were started or carried on through the Vikings.   Especially since the Vikings had the reputation of being a brutal people group. But after the Vikings became Christians it became very important that they made remembrances of their faith.
  • Christmas Seals.  They have been talked about and I never knew what they were-Stamp like stickers used on Christmas envelopes and I most certainly had no idea what they were used for.  Well, they were used for raising money in helping people beat the disease Tuberculosis.
  • Boxing Day and Epiphany- As Americans we don’t usually celebrate these but it was fascinating to earn about these traditions and I must confess I have mentioned to my husband that celebrating and teaching on Epiphany would be neat for our family!

My Thoughts-

Well, I enjoyed this book immensely.  Though I didn’t get it finished in my timeline I will say that it really doesn’t matter when you read this book.  I do think it would be cool to read a chapter a night with our family in the days leading up to Christmas.

It’s so amazing just how much of our Christmas traditions are tied back to the Birth of Baby Jesus too.  It’s a great teaching tool for kids, and it’s easy to understand.  And it would also be very simple to turn into a teaching tool for even younger kids!  ANYONE can enjoy this book.  It is a delight to read for sure.

I also appreciated the few times throughout this book when the author admitted that he just didn’t have the answers to when exactly a tradition started.  Sometimes details like a specific person, place or time are not available and I thought it was neat that he admitted to not knowing.

I honestly cannot wait till next Christmas season when we will delve into this book as a family!

I give this book 5 Christmas lights! Check out this book on Amazon. 

And a super Big THANK YOU to BookLook Bloggers for giving me a free copy of this book to review!  I always give my honest review and am expected to do so!

 

When Life Gets Overwhelming……

When Life Gets Overwhelming.....TAKE A NAP! (I did that this afternoon–hubby and I chose a nap over date night–SERIOUSLY)  I know it’ s been a few weeks since I’ve written. In all reality I’ve been SWAMPED.  It’s been overwhelming to say the least. My kids are ready for spiring break and quite frankly SO AM I!

Since before Easter we have been moving at the speed of light!

I find myself in a really WEIRD place too.

I have all of this great and wonderful ministry stuff going on….

  1.  A super cool writing project I’m working on
  2. Mentoring clients at our local Pregnancy center
  3. 4 amazing kids who stretch me beyond  my abilities….
  4. A women’s ministry beyond anything I ever dreamed of  taking off…and I get a front row seat
  5. a Growing thriving drama ministry
  6. Bible studies
  7. Titus 2 being lived out in my life as I mentor a teen in our church.
  8. and for the first time in a long time I can actually step away from   the insanity that can be the life with an autistic child and find peace in Silence…silence with my hubby….OR  Silence  as I am hiding in my craft room typing this 🙂

God and I are taking a journey together this year like never before.  I have learned about myself far more in the last 4 months that I think I have in my whole life.

I am an introvert as I have shared before but I am an introvert-Relater.

I can be with people…I like to be with people.  I love to serve people.  and yet I hit moments where I literally can’t pour out another drop.    This last year held some pretty big AMAZING FIRSTS…and this coming year i know will hold the same.   But as I move forward, I have realized a few things……

  1. The enemy doesn’t eat me to move forward.
  2. the enemy wants me to fail.
  3. FEAR has crept backing my life…..more on that FEAR in a later post.
  4. I’m my own worst enemy sometimes
  5. I have a whole lot of questions for God…some that may never be answered. and I am okay with that.
  6. I have some to realize the need to breathe and step away…..I need to practice this…and own it.

In those moments of solitude and silence I learn about God…and myself.  and through these moments I have begun to relate to God in a whole new way.  As I strive to soak up what it means to ABIDE in Christ, I become less overwhelmed and more aware of what Christ wants to do, both in me and through me.  Is it easy?  No!  Can it be stressful?  YES  Bt I have to be willing to get off the merry-go -round before I dos my cookies! (LOL—Or lose my cool )

So  as i sit here tonight in solitude and silence I pray that God will grant peace in the midst of all the amazing things God has for us.   Peace that passes all understanding.   AsThe fiery darts fly our way I pray that God will protect us,  and  work in us., Changing our hearts to look more like his.   That we could  still shine as servants even in the stressful times and remember to take moments of solitude and silence as Christ did.  Because even the really neat things can be overwhelming.

 

SPARKLE!!!

Let’s face it some women are like barracudas…snapping at everything that glitters or shines.  they want lots of jewelry (and high end stuff to boot) and they are not satisfied until they get it.   Well I’m here to make a confession….I am NOT one of those girls.  I am comfortable, not too fancy and i like simplicity!.  i don’t like loud colors though I do like color!! though at one point you may have thought otherwise if you saw my wardrobe of black, white,gray and navy Blue:)

 

But i must confess that there is one time of the year that my heart leaps for joy and that is the SPARKLE of Christmas.  That’s right SPARKLY STARS, TWINKLING LIGHTS, GLITTERY GARLAND AND TINSEL, AND SHINY ORNAMENTS!  All just make my heart smile.

But, when i speak of all these things I am not referring to the commercializingof chrstmas.  Sparkly stars remind me of the brightest star that shone that first Christmas leading shepards and eventually about 3 years later the wise men.  The twinkling Lights remind me of the awe struck shepards as they stood on the fieldsas the angels announced the arrival of baby Jesus, the glittery garland and tinsel remind me of the gifts of the kings (though it was not that  first Christmas)  Christ is worthy of everything we have.  And lastly the Shiny ornaments- the gifts and blessing that God has given to us.  we all have those ornaments that are well loved, they may be chipped and faded but they mean somehting to is, something special.  i have such an ornament hanging my my tre right now I can see it from where I sit.

It is a small felt stocking with a piece of hite yarn whip stiched around the edge.  it has a piece of snow white fake fur accoss the top and the initials MLS is sparles across the front.  i remember making that stocking.  i was in Kindergarten and my brothers each have one too. Those sparkles don’t “sparkle”anymore BUT as long as I can i will never consiously get rid of that stocking.

And as we each have different ornaments and some may signify different things in our lives God has ornamented our lives with blessings.   So now you know why i get giddy and hy I smile when I see sparkle this time of year.