“At Christmas, we always…” And thus a tradition is born. The rituals stay the same, but if betrayal, illness, unfaithfulness, or tragedy strike, can cherished traditions survive?
When unexpected twists throw life out of kilter for the people in these stories, will beloved, time-honored customs lead them back to the heart of Christmas?
My thoughts: It's no secret that I have a hard time reviewing collections of novellas like this one, since I never know how much to say without just telling the whole story. With this collection, I really enjoyed the chance to start Christmas a little early! I love the focus on the true meaning of Christmas, as well as the stories that centered on Christs birth in Bethlehem. This is a wonderful collection of stories to pick up as the weather turns colder!
I received this book from Celebrate Lit. This is my honest review.
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About the Authors
The Mosaic Collection launched in 2018 as an international community of independently published authors who approach life, faith, and writing together. Some have vast writing experience, others are somewhat new to the journey. Under The Mosaic Collection’s banner, they’ve published more than 20 novels and four anthologies.
With over 150 years of collective writing experience, Mosaic’s award-winning and best-selling authors are active leaders and members in prominent writing organizations. The goal of The Mosaic Collection is to encourage and uplift readers worldwide, offer hope in story form, and share the unconditional love and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ.
More from The Mosaic Collection
The Mosaic Collection authors welcome you into our hearts, homes, and lives and offer you tiny glimpses into our families and our favorite traditions.
Janice L. Dick
Christmas is always a special time of year. I love the festive reds and greens, strings of colored lights and gift-giving, but there is much that distracts us from the real meaning of the season. How do we hang onto the genuine, historical truths of the Savior’s birth? One of the traditions in our family is to read the Christmas story before we open gifts, thus realigning our focus to the most precious gift God gave us in Jesus. Visualize a fire in the grate, family lounging on every available couch, chair, and floor space; and one of the youngest grandchildren reading from the Bible, his eyes following his finger across the page. Once again, the age-old story comes to life as we hear of angels, shepherds, and a young couple keeping watch over the Christ-child in the manger. Maybe this year we will come up with a new way to direct our thoughts to the greatest gift ever given. To the nativity.
The word Christmas immediately conjures up warm memories of church services, family, gifts, and food for me. The traditions my family engages in every year infuse this celebration of Christ’s birth with nostalgia and meaning. For me, one of the most meaningful traditions is setting out the nativity scene. Although the location has changed from mantel to coffee table to windowsill as we have moved from house to house, the little figures—the wise men, kneeling shepherds, Mary and Joseph gazing down at the manger with adoring looks on their painted faces, the cows and sheep curled in the corner of the straw-strewn wooden stable, the angel hovering above, the tiny baby in the manger—have never changed. I take my time setting up the display, slowly unwrapping pieces that have become a little worn and chipped over the years of being lovingly handled or played with by tiny toddler fingers. Each piece calls to mind another aspect of the beloved story in Luke 2. The nativity scene is the focal point of my decorations. In the midst of all the crazy busyness that can be the Christmas season, it grounds me and reminds me what this time of year is truly about.
Christmas is all about family for me – my nuclear family, grandkids, and in-laws, my family of dear friends, and the family of believers who rejoice at the birth of Christ. We’ve hung onto some traditions and welcomed new ones. As life situations change, we try to adapt and make the best of it, because regardless of what the holiday ends up looking like, it’s being with family that counts. So for me, Christmas is about celebrating the Christ Child with love, laughter, food and fun. It is indeed a time for celebration.
Our four children are still young, so my love for Christmas is quadrupled because of their enthusiasm. We begin the buildup with an Advent calendar starting on December 1st. Every morning until the 24th, they open the day’s box, read the little lesson, and do a treasure hunt.
More than any other holiday, Christmas lends itself so beautifully to teaching them about the loving all-powerful God who knows exactly what it means to be human. They understand and marvel at how Jesus, the creator and Lord of the universe, once needed a diaper and had to be
potty trained. He had to learn to read, write, and spell just like they do. I love the reminder that one of his names is Immanuel: God with us.
Mom (a visual artist and farm-girl cook) and Dad (an imaginative storyteller of deep enthusiasm) made Christmas a celebratory holiday every year! Thanks to Mom, the food not only tasted fantastic, but the table and tree and household decorations were gorgeous. Thanks to Dad, our days were full of the magic of wonder (he actually climbed onto the roof carrying bells on Christmas Eve to herald Santa’s arrival) and the mystery of the Incarnation (reading the Luke story about the Ultimate Gift before a single package was opened). We were diligent church-goers except on holidays—including Christmas—when we would focus on family time and not attend the special services. Instead, following an afternoon of snowmobiling, and then mugs of rich cocoa around the fireplace, we five kids would wear our hand-sewn PJs, sing carols, and snack on expensive delicacies: Halva and roasted nuts and cheeses from around the world.
My favorite thing about Christmas is fellowship with family and friends. At the end of the year, we gather at our homes or church to celebrate the birth and life of Christ. Because He is at the heart of our love for one another, He is the One Who strengthens the bond of our fellowship. Whether we’re opening gifts, gathering around the table, sharing laughter over cups of cocoa, or playing board games, I feel His love abiding through and within my loved ones. And I feel the whisper of His promise that one day all Believers will be gathered around His table of fellowship for eternity. Christmas is only a foretaste of our glorious future with Him.
What I love about Christmas is seeing extended family come together in one place, sharing memories of the year over delicious food. Most of all, I love how the world stops to celebrate a significant event in history, our Savior’s birth.
Brenda S. Anderson
There’s so much to love about Christmas! Music, gifts, twinkling lights, snow, decorations, chocolate, family time. It’s all so bright and cheery, and the world is focused on Jesus. The world may not understand who Jesus is and what He did for us, but there’s no better opportunity to show Him to the world. The opportunities to serve are vast, and being God’s hands and feet is a beautiful way to shine His light. Really, showing other who Jesus is, apart from the trappings, is what I love most about Christmas.
When I was six years old and just learning to read, I unwrapped a package I’d received for Christmas but didn’t know what it was. Puzzling over it, my dad came alongside me. Slowly, painstakingly, I sounded out the word Slippers on the label. Patiently, so unlike his usual brusque way, my father helped me. I cherished the nearness of him, always fearful he would give up on me. But he didn’t. That is one of my most treasured memories of him. There are others, too, like the one eleven years later when after my rebellious stint, my heavenly Father patiently and painstakingly began a transformation in my heart. My dad responded with what I now realize was his best effort at encouragement. “I’m glad to see you’ve made some changes.”
Christmas is always precious to me because of the memories it holds of how the Word made flesh worked His Word in me. He has never given up on me despite my slowness of heart to trust and obey. In painful and pleasant ways, for over six decades, He has assured me of His bountiful forgiveness and lavish love.
Tree night in the Havig house is most definitely our family’s favorite tradition. Even our older children tend to come home for the annual trek to the lot, the annual argument over which tree, and the annual popcorn and cranberry stringing party. It all ends with the final decorating. You’ll hear, “Oh, here’s your train!” or “Where’s my baby’s first Christmas?” as everyone jostles to get their ornaments in just the right place. It’s chaos with popcorn all over the floor, Christmas songs belting out in our tiny house, and laughter. Tons of laughter. My personal favorite moment is when everyone has gone to bed and it’s just me in my dimly lit living room. That beauty, the memories, that laughter… it’s what I consider the Lord’s gift to me. I just get it early and it lasts a whole month!
Whether your family celebrates the Christmas season with special foods, a colorful light display, or a tree handpicked from a farm, I’m sure you have your own treasured traditions. Christmas traditions are one of the things I like best about the season. Our traditions make our families unique, and in a world where everything constantly changes, they remind us some things remain the same. There’s comfort in honoring Christmas traditions. They keep us connected to our past, help us rediscover our families, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
My children’s Christmases were very different than the ones from my own childhood. Sleds and ice skates could be found under our Christmas tree, a baked ham on the dining table, and snow-covered hills outside our door. My kids, raised in Florida, never received “winter toys.” A roasted turkey usually graced our dining table but grilling out was also an option. Yet our Christmases were also similar. I passed along to my children the tradition of opening our stockings first—and everyone in the family has one. As adults, it seems they anticipate the goodies hiding inside their stockings even more than the gaily wrapped presents under their trees. Most important, though, is that my children are now sharing with their children the truth that my parents shared with my siblings and me—that the baby in the manger is our Lord Incarnate and Savior of the World.
Thank you for celebrating the release of The Heart of Christmas. We pray the stories within this anthology will fill you with love and joy and prepare your heart for the greatest celebration this season—remembering the birth of our Savior. What a sacrifice! What a gift! What love.
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 8
CarpeDiem, October 8
For Him and My Family, October 9
deb’s Book Review, October 10
Locks, Hooks and Books, October 11
Joanne Markey, October 11
Texas Book-aholic, October 12
Inklings and notions, October 13
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, October 14
Splashes of Joy, October 14
By the Book, October 15
Older & Smarter?, October 17
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, October 17
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 18
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, October 19
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, October 20
Mary Hake, October 20
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, October 21
To celebrate their tour, The Mosaic Collection is giving away the grand prize package of a $30 Amazon gift card, two copies of The Heart of Christmas in paperback, and a $10 coupon to Mosaic’s Etsy shop!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.