"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
~ Luke 2:14
As I write this blog in my home office, twinkling lights nestled in soft, green boughs shine forth the joy of this blessed Advent season. Carols are playing somewhere in the house, and snow is in the forecast for later tonight. Oh, to have a white Christmas! It has been too many years since snow has fallen to blanket our region for Jesus' birthday.
I'm thinking now of past Christmases and embracing the joyful memories. Once again, I'm a wide-eyed little girl, thrilled to see Daddy bringing home a freshly cut tree on Christmas Eve for our small living room. All of us carefully place long, glittering strands of icicles on the branches. (Remember those?) Fast forward to my tenth Christmas, and I'm playing carols on the piano at home as my parents and sister, Barbara, sing "Angels We Have Heard on High" in four-part harmony with me, a tradition we kept for decades—even performing this lovely carol a cappella in church and elsewhere.
Years later, my own children—Julie, Janie and Jonathan—took turns placing the angel atop the tree while sitting on my husband's shoulders, creating new traditions to cherish. And my dad’s (Grandpa Herb to them) reading of the Gospel of Luke's account of the first Christmas in Bethlehem was another precious tradition. As we heard Dad read the names from the Scripture, all of us took turns holding up the tiny finger puppets my sister made representing Mary, Joseph, the Baby Jesus, and the other memorable cast of that most Holy Night.
Of course, our children are grown now, as is our granddaughter (turning 23 soon), but the true meaning of Christmas continues to warm and soften our hearts, as does the sweetness of being together to celebrate Christ's birth. To think that the Creator God broke through the darkness to reach us, offering His wondrous Gift of Light embodied in a baby in a manger. The Christ Child, though sinless, grew up to carry the sins of the world in His own body on a cross . . . taking our place!
I have always loved these triumphant lyrics: “Joy to the World, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room. And heaven and nature sing!”
My prayer this Christmas is that we will know and bow our hearts in adoration of this Jesus, the Christ, who gave all to redeem us and bring us into sweet fellowship with our heavenly Father for all eternity.
1) Writing-wise, I have completed my work on the pre-galleys for The Heirloom, releasing in early September of 2023. I can hardly wait to reveal the beautiful cover, whenever it's ready. Also, if you'd like to give copies of The Orchard for Christmas, Baker Book House still has a wonderful deal going.
2) I have added a variety of lovely Christmas cards and gift cards at my secure website, www.amishcheer.com. Thanks very much for spreading cheer and lifting hearts through my unique and handcrafted cards. Barbara and I truly appreciate your encouragement and your business. Blessings for Christmas and the new year!