Archives For 12 Pearls of Christmas

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas Pearls of Wisdom from some of today’s most beloved writers as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched lives during this most wonderful time of the year.

Advent
By Sibella Giorello

Consider the bride’s walk down the aisle. We all know where that woman in white is going, but somehow waiting for her to arrive at the altar is an essential part of the ceremony. In fact, the waiting is so essential that even cheapskate Vegas chapels include wedding marches.

Why? Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.

At Christmas time, we tend to forget this essential truth about anticipation. We’re lost to shopping malls and checklists, rushing toward December 25th so quickly that we forget the quiet joy of the month’s other 24 days. And then we wonder why we feel so empty on the 26th, amid ribbons and wrapping paper and our best intentions.

Because the wait adds meaning to the moment.

And that is why Advent is so important to Christmas.

I’m as guilty as the next harried person. This Advent was particularly tricky because just six hours before it started, I was still trying to finish a 110,000-word novel that was written over the course of the year—written while homeschooling my kids, keeping my hubby happy, and generally making sure the house didn’t fall down around us.

It’s an understatement to say my free time is limited. But waiting adds meaning, and Advent is crucial to Christmas, so I’ve devised several Advent traditions that are simple, powerful and easy to keep even amid the seasonal rush.

When my kids outgrew simple Advent calendars around age 7, I stole an idea from my writer friend Shelly Ngo (as T.S. Eliot said, “Mediocre writers borrow. Great writers steal.” Indulge me.)

Here’s how it goes: Find 24 great Christmas books, wrap them individually and place then under the tree. On the first day of Advent, take turns picking which book to open. When we did this, we would cuddle under a blanket and read aloud—oh, the wonder, the magic! We savored The Polar Express, howled with How Murray Saved Christmas, and fell silent at the end of The Tale of The Three Trees. Continue Reading…

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas!

Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from some of today’s most beloved writers (Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and more) as each contributor shares heartfelt stories of how God has touched lives during this most wonderful time of the year.

AND just for fun … there’s also a giveaway! Fill out this simple {form} and enter for a chance to win a beautiful pearl necklace and earring set ($450 value). Contest runs 12/14 – 12/25 and the winner will on announced on 1/1. (US and Canadian only) You may enter once per day.

Suzanne Woods Fisher

A Christmas of Kindness
~by Suzanne Woods Fisher~

“You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving.” ~Amish proverb~

I do it every year.

I plan for a simpler, less stressful Christmas season and, every year, by Christmas Eve I’m exhausted! After our delicious and very-time-consuming-to-make traditional Swedish meal to honor my husband’s relatives (think: Vikings), it’s time to head to church. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the last few Christmas Eves, I have let my husband and kids head off without me. The pull to spend an hour of quiet in the house feels as strong as a magnet.

It’s odd. My children are young adults now. Wouldn’t you think that Christmas would be simpler? Instead, it’s just the opposite. Juggling schedules to share the grandbaby with the in-laws, trying to include our elderly parents at the best time of day for them, dancing carefully around recently divorced family members whose children are impacted by the shards of broken relationships.

The thing is: you can simplify your to-do list, but you can’t really simplify people. We are just a complicated bunch.

Here’s where I borrow a lesson about simplicity from the Amish. It’s easy to get distracted with the buggies and the bonnets and the beards, but there’s so much more to learn from these gentle people if you’re willing to look a little deeper.

Yes, they live with less “stuff” and that does make for a simpler, less cluttered life. But it’s the reason behind this choice that is so compelling to me: they seek to create margin in their lives. Not just empty space, but space that is available to nourish family, community, and faith. Their Christmas is far less elaborate than yours or mine, but what they do fill it with is oh-so-right!

Christmas comes quietly on an Amish farmhouse. There is no outward sign of the holiday as we know it: no bright decorations, no big tree in the living room corner. A few modest gifts are waiting for children at their breakfast place settings, covered by a dishtowel . . . waiting first for Dad to read the story of Christ’s birth from the book of Luke . . . waiting until after a special breakfast has been enjoyed . . . waiting until Mom and Dad give the signal that the time has come for gifts.

Later, if Christmas doesn’t fall on a Sunday, extended family and friends will gather for another big meal. If time and weather permit, the late afternoon will be filled with ice skating or sledding—and more food! )Always, always an abundance of good food.)

Faith, family, and community. That’s the focus of an Amish Christmas.

And it’s also how the story begins for A Lancaster County Christmas, as a young family prepares for Christmas. A winter storm blows a non-Amish couple, Jaime and C.J. Fitzpatrick, off-course and into the Riehl farmhouse. An unlikely and tentative friendship develops, until the one thing Mattie and Sol hold most dear disappears and then—ah, but you’ll just have to read the story to find out what happens next! Without giving anything away, I will say that I want to create a Mattie-inspired margin this Christmas season. Mattie understood that inconveniences and interruptions which come in the form of people (big ones and little ones!) are ordained by God, blessed by God.

Creating margin probably means that I won’t get Christmas cards out until the end of January, and my house won’t be uber-decorated. After all, something has to give. But it will mean I make time for a leisurely visit with my dad at his Alzheimer’s facility. And time to volunteer in the church nursery for a holiday-crowded event. And time to invite a new neighbor over for coffee.

Hopefully, it will mean that my energy won’t get diverted by a frantic, self-imposed agenda but by God’s agenda, the essence of true simplicity. And that includes taking time to worship Christ’s coming at the Christmas Eve service. You can hold me accountable! This year, I will be there.

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I’m linking up with Winsome Wednesday and Living Well Wednesdays.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The Search, and The Keeper, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Christy Award nominee and is the host of an internet radio show called Amish Wisdom and her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California. www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

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Let Deb Kalmbach’s Christmas memory encourage you this day and give you hope!

Also, Deb and the other Pearl Girls are offering a giveaway. Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a pearl necklace, bracelet, and earrings.  The pearls are meant to be a tangible reminder of God’s grace to us all!

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Good News!
by Deb Kalmbach

The first Christmas card of the season arrived in my mailbox way back in August. How could anyone be that organized? Then I noticed my friend, Nita, had sent me a card I had written to her more than 20 years ago!

Memories rushed back as I read the words penned in my familiar handwriting. It was Christmas, 1991, and my world had unraveled. I could almost pretend everything was all right at this most wonderful time of the year—but not that year. Continue Reading…

If you’re grieving, hurting, or even just a little blue, today’s post is for you. These words from Stacie Ruth really spoke to my heart! May they bless yours, also.

And, remember, Stacie Ruth and the other Pearl Girls are offering a giveaway. Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a pearl necklace, bracelet, and earrings.  The pearls are meant to be a tangible reminder of God’s grace to us all!

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Hurting Near Christmas? 10 Tips to Hope Again
by Stacie Ruth Stoelting

Feeling sad this Christmas? Hey, I know the feeling. In fact, many programs have interviewed me to share about it! Last year, I tried particularly hard to share stories and tips on how to cope with grief during the holidays: I wrote a feature for CBN.com, Coping with Grief at Christmas, visited and counseled grieving people, etc.

Then irony hit: Near Christmas, two people I loved died within two days (December 15-16, 2009).

Are you or a loved one hurting during the holidays? I can relate. But let me encourage you: Jesus remains faithful! As real as my pain was, He met my needs and comforted me with peace unexplainable. I’m serious. He’s real! Continue Reading…

Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas! Enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” plus a giveaway! Please follow along through Christmas Eve as some lovely Christian authors share their heartfelt stories of how God has touched their lives during this most wonderful time of the year.

Don’t forget that there’s a giveaway! Fill out the quick form at the link located at the bottom of this post to be entered to win a PEARL NECKLACE, BRACELET, AND EARRINGS! The pearls are meant to be a tangible reminder of God’s grace to us all. You may enter this giveaway once a day. The winner will be announced on New Year’s Day at the Pearl Girls Blog!

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The First Christmas by Pat Ennis

It was October of my eighteenth year of life when my Dad stepped into eternity. As a college freshman I not only had to deal with my own grief, I also was faced with the responsibility of helping my mother adjust to a new lifestyle. You see, when Dad died, she not only lost her husband of thirty years, she also lost her circle of friends. Suddenly the married couples (my Dad was the first of their group to die) didn’t know what to do about Mother—so they did nothing. Her grieving process was actually extended because of the withdrawal of her friends, many with whom she and Dad had enjoyed fellowship for years.

Our plight was magnified by the reality that we did not have extended family and I was an only child. Quite frankly, the outlook for the holiday season appeared pretty dismal! Continue Reading…