Monday, December 24, 2018

Love, Light, Life, and Hope

View of Bethlehem
patrick brennan [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Tonight we'll sing "O Little Town of Bethlehem." These words from that song have always stood out to me, "The hopes and fears of all the years/ Are met in thee tonight."

We all have hopes, and most of us have fears. Things don't go the way we want them to, and more things are out of our control than not.

But tonight, Christians around the world celebrate Love, Light, Life, and Hope being born into the world for everyone. Every one.

Whether or not you are a Jesus follower, who couldn't use some Love, Light, Life, and Hope?

Another song about Bethlehem touches me with these words:
"The heart is tired at Bethlehem,
No human dream unbroken stands;
Yet here God comes..."

Listen and take hope!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Merry Bookmas!

I love giving Christmas gifts, especially books--even to myself! If you need some holiday cheer, look no further than these two treats, one for kids and one for adults.

First, for the kids (or kids at heart), Elise Parsley brings us another funny Magnolia adventure in If You Ever Want to Bring a Pirate to Meet Santa, DON'T!. Yes, despite her dad's insistence that pirates are on the Naughty List, Magnolia brings the pirate. Kids and grownups alike will delight at pirate talk and behavior (the illustrations are hilarious, both in their action and characters' expressions) as the pirate and Magnolia wait in line to see Santa. The stand-off between pirate and Santa lead to an unexpected ending, with an unexpected transformation of Santa. And does the pirate remain on the Naughty List? Read the book to find out. (But my recommendation--if you want to avoid making a scene at the mall--is to follow the advice in the title.)

Elise held the attention of her large audience of kids and adults with a drawing demonstration at the book launch at our local Barnes & Noble. She also read the book and provided swag (including a pirate tattoo!) that kids loved.

For adults, I recommend A Very Merry Murder, the third in the Professor Prather cozy mystery series by Mary Angela. Set on a campus in a small Midwest town, Emmaline Prather again finds herself delaying semester grading; getting to know her neighbor, Mrs. Gunderson; attempting Christmas baking, and looking forward to a university-sponsored concert that includes her friend and fellow faculty member, Lennie. (Or is he more than a friend? Hmm....) Everything is holly jolly at the B&B where the musicians are staying until one of them is found dead. As in the previous two books, Emmaline's imagination runs wild at motives and suspects. (Or is she onto something?) She finds herself in mortal danger as her hunches lead closer to the truth. (There! Now you have to read it to find out the rest!)

Mary Angela gave a reading and presentation at our local Barnes & Noble recently. I enjoyed hearing the basis for the novel, learning more about the characters, and getting a clue about book number 4. 

What new Christmas books are you reading?