Christmastime is upon us, and Anne-Renee and I along with our families are so happy about that.
In Alaska, it’s our darkest time of the year. And when we say dark, we mean dark. But it’s also the coziest, and makes for the perfect time to hunker down, quiet our hearts, and celebrate Christ’s coming as a baby.
One thing I love about our state, is that businesses, homes, and city streets are decked with twinkle lights long before Christmas. You could say it’s our way of coping with the lack of light and bringing a little light into the dark world around. It’s a picture of what we, as believers in Christ, are to the world — light.
As we move further into the Christmas season, we thought we’d take a moment and share a few of our favorite things as we seek to bring the light of Christ into our homes, hearts, and world.
Music: The two of us girls love our music. Christmas music especially. I’m known to play a festive song or two in the middle of summer, and start listening full-fledged in the Fall. I can’t stop. It’s such a sacred sound to my ears. My current favorite albums include: A Charlie Brown Christmas by Vince Guaraldi Trio, The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole, That’s Christmas to Me by Pentatonix. Along with a zillion other albums and holiday stations on Pandora. Right now, Anne-Renee is crazy about Christmas by Michael Bublé, Noel by Josh Groban, and Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan.
If you listen to the newest episode of the podcast which we’ll release this coming Friday, you’ll hear our favorite and not-so-favorite songs of the season! And probably laugh a little too.
Treats: Let’s talk food for a second. The Christmas season brings the yummiest treats, doesn’t it? We don’t bake much around our house. Only because I’ll eat IT ALL. By myself. Seriously. So I keep the treat-making to a minimum. But we do enjoy the gifted treats bestowed on us and making a few to share. Top of the list is Mock Almond Roca. Hallelujah. Amen. The angels did sing.
Anne-Renee loves peppermint mochas and eggnog lattes this time of year. You too? Num. And when her family is in the mood for a holiday treat, they love Molasses Crinkles, a recipe popular in her extended family. Here’s to all things peppermint, eggnog, and sugar cookie-ish with loads of frosting in this season.
Books: Lastly, we wanted to share the books we enjoy this time of year.
A few years ago, we began to celebrate advent together as a family. We didn’t celebrate advent when I was a kid, so this was a new concept. One of my favorite things to do is to read an advent devotional late at night in a darkened room lit only by the Christmas tree. Bliss. My favorites are The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp and this year, I’m excited to be following along with Make Room, a devotional written by a collective of writers gathered by Naptime Diaries. I was super excited this last fall to find out my work would be featured as one of the days’ readings! It’s my first time having my written work in print — it’s so fun to see! Plus, the devotional is lovely and the words are even lovelier. The print copy is sold out — bummer! But never fear, you can get your digital copy right here, viewed like a magazine on an iPad or laptop.
I also love all Christmas-themed children’s books. Namely Christmas in the Big Woods, A Little House Christmas Treasury, Bear Stays Up For Christmas, and The Crippled Lamb. In a year-round sort of way, I love how the Jesus Storybook Bible tells the story of Christ, as it weaves through all of Scripture. So good. Every adult and every child should have their hands on this one.
Then there are those books we’d both recommend. For advent, both of our families have thoroughly enjoyed Christmas is About Jesus by our friend Mukkove Johnson (great for younger kiddos), and Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp (great for older kids). Both bring families together in a beautiful way during the advent season as we grow and worship Jesus together.
Merry Advent season to you and yours!