It's a wonderful, magical season, filled with the hope of the gospel, hot chocolate, and a to do list so long you can't think straight and the kids are hyped on sugar and somebody's present got lost in the mail.
Don't get me wrong, I love it. But it can be a bit much.
As an introvert who spends all day with three small children, I love my quiet evenings. I also love the magic of Christmas lights, festivals, and movie nights at this time of year. It can be tricky to enjoy those things without burning out. I'll share a few thoughts on how to do that at the end of this post, with a mini devotional for the holiday season. First though, a quick recap on author life as of late...
November started off with an author fair at a local library. The event was quiet, and while I might have hoped for a few more visitors, I loved getting to meet other authors (and visit with fellow Black Rose Writing author, Eva Silverfine). There were several wonderful children's authors there and I ended up leaving with an armful of new books for my girls.
Speaking of Black Rose Writing, they selected 15 books to feature for the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend and Outside of Grace was one of them! I loved seeing it on the list and pray it went to just the right people. It was also just in time for my book birthday. I can't believe it has been one year since Outside of Grace came out!
Then, to kick off December, I shared a guest post on Donna Schlachter's blog, titled Shining the Light on Dark Topics. While aimed more at authors, I think it gives a quick peek into why I write what I do, if you're interested in checking it out.
I'm in a non-fiction spurt right now. These are rather rare and infrequent for me lately, but as you'll see, I've got some things I'm working on right now—ha!
How to Keep House While Drowning, KC Davis
If you feel like piles of laundry mean you're failing, or you believe "cleanliness is next to godliness," you might need this book as much as I did. Davis sprinkles in a few unnecessary curses, but those aside, I loved this read. It's not your average cleaning book. Instead of strict routines or unrealistic goals, it meets you wherever you are with tips and tricks for getting out of a funk. This was a library read, but I've already ordered my own copy to highlight, dog-ear, bookmark, and reference.
Fair Play, Eve Rodsky
I'm only halfway through this one, and not sure if I completely agree with the system, but my husband and I are willing to try anything. The mental, emotional, and physical load of being self-employed, owning a business, homeschooling, and raising three small children has been a lot lately and we're looking for the best way to balance it.
The Whole and Healthy Family, Jodi Mockabee
Speaking of those kids, I'm also on the hunt for resources that simplify healthy living. Mockabee's book is a quick overview of what healthy living looks like for her family. Some aspects are not relatable for us, but I've found several other good tips sprinkled throughout, and it's a pretty easy read.
Next on my list... Stop Staring at Screens, Tonya Goodin, the library book that's been dejectedly sitting at the bottom of my bag while I stare at my phone instead.
Mini Devotional: How to Have a Calm Christmas
Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright.
It may sound like a fairy tale in the middle of Christmas chaos. And maybe it is. I have given birth to three children and if you pictured Christ's birth as calm and quiet, let me burst your bubble on that one. It wasn't.
But perhaps it was peaceful. Because peace is a state of heart, not of circumstance. And it's achievable, regardless of what's happening all around us. In fact, it's the only guarantee you have for success.
The Bible promises us that if we seek Christ, we will find him. In the midst of all we are seeking at this time of year—the perfect gift, family boundaries, childhood magic—Christ alone is a promised reward if only we take the time to seek him first.
I'm preaching to myself, to be honest. When we start our homeschool day with Bible lessons first, the rest of the day always flows better. But when I'm in a hurry and skip it to catch up on math, reading, writing—the "important" subjects—I find myself at war with unwilling children, a distracting baby, and sudden chocolate-milk-on-the-floor emergencies.
Christ is meant to be the center of it all. When we align our universe and planets properly around the Son, it all spins better. When we set other idols and achievements at the center of our lives, we're suddenly chasing a thousand things in a thousand directions and nothing lines up.
Seek Christ first this season. All else is striving, an unending race. But Christ promises rest and respite. You will not miss the mark when you seek him first. And no, the rest we find in Christ is not the same type of rest as a slow Saturday morning, it's better. It's a rest that allows you to power through a long weekend, knowing you are secure in Christ, fueling your actions with love, and resting in the promise that strivings will one day cease.
Passages for further reading:
Matthew 6:25-34 ("The Cure for Anxiety")
1 Chronicles 16:8-36
Psalm 9:10, 34:4, and 37:4