Shannon here: Janalyn Voigt shares how she rekindled her love for Christmas with a link to a favorite recipe. Comment or answer the question at the end of the post to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of an e-book copy of Hills of Nevermore ( Book 1) or Cheyenne Sunrise (Book 2). Deadline: Dec 8th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Janalyn:
Making Christmas More Meaningful by Janalyn Voigt:
Christmas is almost here!
I paused in the middle of folding the laundry. Why should a thought that had once sparked glorious anticipation now fill me with dread? Pumpkin lattes, fallen leaves, and blustery weather would give way too soon to peppermint mocha, evergreen boughs, and the hope of snow. I frowned. When had I fallen out of love with Christmas?
You wouldn’t hear me complaining that Christmas is too commercialized. Giving gifts is one of my favorite ways to show my family how much I love them. I didn’t mind the extra cooking. Unleashing my creativity in the kitchen is fun. I enjoy shopping and find the holiday bustle invigorating. Planning holiday dinners and decorating the house is happy work. Being awake at midnight on Christmas Eve is special, and waking up the next morning to cinnamon rolls and coffee stirs memories.
My angst didn’t come from any of these things. It came from all of them. Trimming the tree, inviting guests, and finding parking in a crowded lot sounded like a lot of work.
Christmas is what you make it. I believe that strongly. Over time my delight in the holidays had succumbed to a
tight schedule, financial stress, and illness. I vowed not to let it end that way. I cared too much about my family and myself for that.
Something had to change.
Around this time I became aware of the feasts of Christmas that once extended the Christmas season for much longer than we celebrate today. History always intrigues me, and I can’t resist a cause to research. Bringing a better holiday experience for my family and myself seemed the worthiest of causes.
I wasn’t disappointed, for each ancient feast explores a different aspect of Jesus, the Christ child whose birth we proclaim at Christmas. That was what I’d been telling myself, that I wanted Christmas to be more about Jesus and less about being busy.
We start by observing St. Nicholas Eve on December 5th. The Feast of St. Nicholas commemorates Nicholas of Pataras, the 4th-century Greek bishop from which Santa Claus, Father Christmas, and Kris Kringle derived. Orphaned as a child, Nicholas used the wealth his parents left him to alleviate the suffering of the impoverished — often in secret. Legend has it that Nicholas dropped bags of gold through a poor man’s window to provide dowries for his three daughters. The gold fell into shoes or stockings drying by the fire. The father spied Nicholas throwing the last bag of gold. We still hang Christmas stockings today as a tribute to Nicholas for this act of kindness. In several European countries, St. Nicholas Eve is the main Christmas event. In Holland, wooden shoes wait by the fire to be filled with fruits, nuts, and small gifts.
Each St. Nicholas Eve, I bake Speculaas cookies, also known as Dutch windmill cookies. I love the feeling of connection with history that comes from using a centuries-old blend of spices that really does contain pepper. This, like many other Feasts of Christmas, is an adopted holiday for my family. We don’t know everything about it, but learning new traditions is half the fun.
The romance is back in Christmas.
About Janalyn: Janalyn Voigt gained a love of literature in her at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales “written” in her head.
Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in multiple genres. The same elements–romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy–appear in all her novels in proportions dictated by their genre.
Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and the books she writes at http://janalynvoigt.com.
About the book – Stagecoach to Liberty:
Can a desperate young woman trust the handsome Irish stranger who wants to free her from her captors?
Elsa Meier, a talented young Hessian girl who plays the hurdy-gurdy and dances, signs a contract to entertain miners in the Wild West. Elsa travels to America in the company of Miles and Alicia Peabody, the brother and sister who persuaded her mother to allow her to go. Elsa hopes for freedom and the chance to send money home to help her family. Instead she comes to the attention of a wealthy and unscrupulous man. On a stagecoach traveling into Montana Territory, Elsa conveys her peril to a handsome stranger with an Irish accent.
Con Walsh, on a quest to find out the truth about himself, stumbles into a dangerous situation involving a frightened young woman in need of rescue. Despite his own pressing troubles, he finds that her safety matters to him more than his own.
Set in Montana during its gold rush — a time troubled by outlaws, corruption and vigilante violence, Stagecoach to Liberty explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west. This story can stand alone or continue the saga that began with Hills of Nevermore and Cheyenne Sunrise.
Get your copy of Stagecoach to Liberty now! Stagecoach to Liberty – Amazon
Question for Readers: What does living in freedom mean to you?
Come back Dec 4th for Lorna Seilstad!