Thursday, November 28, 2013

This Book Room: Christmas 2013 Edition

There are a few more Christmas-themed books I'd like to read that just came out this year, but I may not get to them all by Christmas this year. So there may be a part 2 coming, and there may not be. But I can at least share a few books I've read, and I hope you get a chance to check some of these out. One of my favorite parts about the Christmas season is reading Christmas-themed books!

A sacred season is about to unfold for three women whose hearts belong to God. Elizabeth is barren, yet her trust in God remains fertile. Mary is betrothed in marriage, yet she is willing to bear God’s Son. Anna is a widow full of years, yet she waits patiently, prayerfully for the Messiah to appear in the temple courts.

Following in their footsteps, you too can prepare for the Savior to enter your heart, your mind, and your life in a vibrant, new way. Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs explores the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, unwrapping each verse with tender care and introducing you afresh to The Women of Christmas.

My thoughts: This is quite possibly one of the best Christmas books I've ever read, and I have read quite a few. I study the Bible every day, but I always appreciate specific Bible study books that really delve into the Word and help unpack it for me. This was a terrific book and helped me gain new perspective and understanding for these three women's situations. I consider this book an absolute must read.

It was a simple idea that became the worldwide ministry of Operation Christmas Child—to minister
to children in war-torn and famine-stricken countries.  In just two decades it has inspired everyday people to provide more than 100 million gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children in 130 countries. This beautiful book weaves the moving, God-saturated story of the ministry’s beginning with the soul-stirring, Christ exalting stories of lives that have been forever changed by a simple shoebox. Operation Christmas Child is filled with full-color photos of children whose smiles help tell what is a thoroughly hopeful story. Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham provides insight as the incredible stories of life transformation are told. Proceeds from Operation Christmas Child go to support the ministry it seeks to celebrate and honor.

My thoughts: I haven't yet packed a box for Operation Christmas Child - keyword: YET. I plan to make some items through the next year to help pack boxes next season. I honestly just wasn't prepared this year, and our church has their packing party in the evening (and my Bug is an early sleeper so that doesn't really work out for us yet). I'm looking forward to making OCC part of our Christmas tradition in the future, even more so after reading the stories included in this book. I do have to say, in the interest of total honesty, that the editing of this book is absolutely terrible. There is no flow of any sort. But the stories of the children who received the boxes, packed the boxes, promoted the boxes will move you to action. The pictures included were a great companion for the stories. This is a ministry you definitely want to consider supporting.

Journey along with American settlers who learn that despite where the trail takes them or how primitive their lodgings may be Christmas is all about the heart. Determined to honor Christ’s birth, these pioneers find a way to make Christmas happen in places like a cave, a tipi, and a dugout. Modern readers will enjoy a peek into life before commercialism took over the sacred day, distracting us from the true blessings of faith, hope, and love. Enjoy nine original novellas of Christmas romance as penned from many of today’s leading Christian authors, including Lauraine Snelling, Kathleen Fuller, and Vickie McDonough.

My thoughts: Each year, I wait with anticipation and excitement for the latest collection of Christmas stories. I love, love, love these collections. They are heart warming and perfect to read snuggled up in bed with a hot cup of tea. I feel such an extreme level of contentment while reading these stories. This is partly due to the fact that I don't have to hunt for meat. I can buy my meat from our farmer friends or at the store. I don't have to clean the chamber pot out each morning (but it is generally expected that I clean the toilets every couple of weeks or so). If you're a fan of Little House on the Prairie books, you'll likely enjoy this collection of short stories.

It's a warm summer evening when Jonas King, the bishop within his church district, finds himself
faced with an enormous test of faith. For several months, he is left pondering his losses and how it fits into God's plan. How could God desert him when he has been such a pious follower of His Word? The community tries to help him through his trials but Jonas is resistant. It takes an amazing Christmas miracle to open his eyes to the every day nature of God's gifts to the world. Can his faith be saved in time?

My thoughts: I found this book by complete and total accident while browsing books online one day. I was looking for a different book but stumbled across this one in my search. It looked interesting and my library had a copy, so I requested it. I was quite shocked when I saw the book - it's only 67 pages! So if you're someone with not a lot of time, this novella is definitely for you. It's a good, quick read and will help put you in the Christmas spirit of forgiveness and faith.

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