This is the season of the Hallelujah Chorus, and those jubilant notes of hope wiggle their way into every crevice of December: under the covers with a bedtime story, into your mittens, through the spicy scent of cinnamon, permeating the air with a buzz of victory. May your happiest moments swell with the heavens, and may your hardest moments remind you that Christ is now, as He was on that eternally anticipated night, God-With-Us. His cry still pierces the heart of the dark, but that voice, once so vulnerable and tiny, now belongs to our Warrior King triumphant, and His whoops of joy will not be silenced.
Some December gifts to point you toward
Seasonal Generosity: When New Traditions Take Root by Karrilee Aggett
What happens when an empty nester faces her first December without kids around? A beautiful rhythm of offering life to surprised (and grateful) hearts. If you’re in a time of transition (or just want to mix it up a bit), take this month as an opportunity to echo God’s love for the broken and hurting.
Elf on the Shelf Alternative: Shepherd on the Search
As fun as the elf phenomenon can be, some parents have expressed concern: it’s deceitful, it creates an atmosphere of performance-based living, and sometimes it’s just too much (looking at you, crazy Pinterest expectations). Shepherd on the Search is a creative, Christ-centered activity that will keep you sane and your kids excited about Jesus all month long. Read the book, hide the shepherd, and look forward to the manger scene together.
Comic Clip: Tim Hawkins on Do You Hear What I Hear
This song will never be the same. (Tim offers really valid points, you know?) If you’ve not yet experienced this comedian, he’s a great example of the joy of the Lord. Aren’t you glad we serve a fun God who loves to laugh?
Hope for the Heartbroken: For When You’re Lost in the Glare by Shannan Martin
I’m a sucker for pretty writing that smacks of truth, and Shannan has loads of it. Here’s one of my favorite snippets from this post: “This is why the days feel dark sometimes when the rest of the world says they shouldn’t. We’re homesick. We know a shoddy replacement when we see one.” Sometimes Christmas just feels too loud, too cheerful, too big to adequately reflect the sorrow we find in this weary world—especially after a rough year. If your season is less than merry and bright, please grab hold of this offered hand.
Christmas Eve Game-Changer: Jolabokaflod
No, my cat didn’t help with this post. Jolabokaflod is my favorite new tradition, and it originated in Iceland: it translates to “Christmas Book Flood.” You exchange books on Christmas Eve and spend the rest of the evening reading them while eating/drinking chocolate. (I’m not sure whether most Icelanders do so in front of the fire or in bed, but both sound fabulous to me.) What a glorious way to spend the night before Christmas!