We took a little break for Thanksgiving week, but we’re back in the saddle and ready for what December will bring. In this month of long nights and twinkle lights, I’m often reminded of one of my favorite verses: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it” (John 1:5, Carrie paraphrase). Twelve words that anchor in the darkest days.
Around the Web
Advent Companions: My Favourite Resources For The Watchful Season
Advent began this past Sunday, but it’s not too late to begin watching for the promised Messiah. Sarah Clarkson has some great resources here.
- The leaves are only just really falling but I’m planning Advent early this year. Last year, too flattened by pregnancy and dismayed by lockdowns and loneliness, I found myself unable to sustain the watchfulness I so desired. There are seasons, there really are seasons and sometimes God knows that the most needed thing is just to keep breathing. But this year, I am so excited to engage afresh with this special season in the church year, one that, in many ways, most poignantly explores our grittiest realities and our deepest hopes.
Re-seeing the Story of Christmas
W. David O. Taylor resets our vision of Christmas.
- The season of Christmas is, for so many of us, a crazy-busy, head-spinning, noise-making, exhausting affair.
We’re supposed to feel peace on earth but our days and nights are anything but peaceful.
Every heart is expected “to prepare Him room” but, like the Bethlehem Inn of Luke 2:7, there’s no room in our hearts for Jesus to make a leisurely visit, crowded as they are with worries over things that we can rarely control.
Special Ways to Serve as a Family This Holiday Season
Serving is a great way to help your family remember that Christmas is not all about getting. Check out these suggestions for how you can do it together.
- With some time off from school and holiday cheer, this is a wonderful moment to find ways to bless others as a family. Whether you’re parents of college students, toddlers, or grown adult children, these are activities you can do together to help other people. Today we will look at some special ways to serve as a family this holiday season.
Picture Book Round-Up: Thukpa for All, How I Learned Geography, Come On, Rain!, and Kamishibai Man
Megan at Redeemed Reader has a picture book round-up!
- Thukpa for All, How I Learned Geography, Come On, Rain!, and Kamishibai Man, offer new perspectives on different times and places.
Around the Warren
Advent – Opening Again to Wonder
J.E. Kestner reminds us what we are watching for.
- I have seen some truly wonderful things working as a paramedic. My favorite example is when I delivered a baby in the back of my ambulance last year. Any terror I felt in the beginning was quickly dwarfed by the sheer panic I felt when the baby girl decided to come out breech. By God’s grace, she entered this life pink, kicking, and screaming. About a month ago I heard from the father. She’s healthy, happy, and loved.
Rosefire | Carolyn Clare Givens
I mean, I’m biased, but I think this is a pretty great review of Rosefire by Théa Rosenburg.
- When I was in high school, I was hungry: I wanted a substantial meal. I wanted something true and lasting, and I looked for it everywhere. But all the books I read told me that this was it—the world around me, with its petty conflicts and scalding pain, was all there was. These books told me I’d better get used to it.
Of Love and Language
Hannah Sanders looks at how language shapes the way we think.
- Some years ago, I listened to a talk by cognitive psychologist Lera Boroditsky about how language shapes the way we think. Lera talked about an Aboriginal community in Australia that uses cardinal directions instead of left and right. An example of using this in everyday life would be to say, “There’s an insect approaching your southeast leg,” or, “I think I left my water bottle northwest of my desk.” I found it fascinating how everything about the way they think is fashioned by this – even the passage of time has an east-west direction. I’ve been intrigued by this talk and it’s one of those things that’s always on the back of my mind while navigating my world as an Indian transplant in the United States.
Christmas Picture Book Advent
Anne Marshall gives us a great list of Christmas Picture Book resources.
- As Christmas approaches with all the excitement and preparation, I also try to turn my children’s hearts and minds toward the celebration of Christ’s birth, the miracle of his coming and the anticipation of his return.
Many years ago when my children were babies I was fortunate enough to come across the idea of a Picture Book Advent using whole and living picture books through Sally Clarkson’s ministry (www.sallyclarkson.com).
Something to Do with Your Kids
Got coffee filters on hand? You’ve got a snowflake craft for your crew!
Something to Watch
This is a lovely rendition of a favorite carol.
Thanks for reading. We’re on your side.
–The Story Warren Team