It’s almost here! We are on the threshold of the annual celebration of Jesus’ birth! As I think someone has said (and sung) before, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.
And, though I know you still have things to wrap and things to bake and things to bedazzle, you must be reading these lines for some strange reason, right? So I want to wish everyone out there in Writerworld (which is slightly less dangerous than Westworld) a very merry Christmas. And, as I do so, let me also suggest a few very writerly ways to celebrate the nativity of our Lord these next few days (or weeks, if you’re of an Orthodox persuasion):
Read a favorite Christmas story.
Obviously, a couple of great places to start are the biblical accounts found in Matthew 1–2 and Luke 1–2. Also Dickens’s A Christmas Carol (which, if you’ve never read it—or if it’s been a while—you may find it to be surprisingly short).
Discover a new Christmas read.
Have you read John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas? Or if you’re a Sherlock Holmes fan like me, have you discovered the Holmes for the Holidays collection? Or How Christmas Can Change Your Life by Josh Moody? Or Liz Shoaf’s romantic suspense Holiday Mountain Conspiracy? Or the Christmas novella collection Love’s Pure Light by Deborah Raney, Susanne Dietze, Shannon McNear, and Janine Rosche? (Full disclosure: These last three books are by clients of The Steve Laube Agency.)
Recite something Christmasy.
Remember Clement Moore’s poem “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”? Why not recite it, either for yourself or for others—perhaps even around the Christmas dinner. Or try Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Christmas Prayer.” One of my treasured Christmas Eve traditions involves a beautiful, sensitive, moving prayer written by a young Italian seminarian named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli in 1902. He later became Pope John XXIII, and I read it aloud and post it on my daily prayer blog (oneprayeraday.com) every Christmas Eve.
Write something Christmasy.
Have you ever written your own Christmas story? Or poem? Carol? Prayer? Try it. Continue or begin a new tradition of writing something as part of your Christmas celebration.
These are only a few simple ideas for making Christmas a little more writerly … or making your writing and reading a little more Christmasy. As creative as the readers of this blog are, however, I bet some will share in the comments about their own “Christmas for Writers” ideas. Right?
Joy Neal Kidney
You gotta read Terri Blackstock’s “Catching Christmas.” And George Givens’ older one, “The Hired Man’s Christmas.”
I didn’t think I had enough to do a Christmas book of Grandma Leora’s stories, but I’m in the middle of her Depression Era stories (with an editor right now so my brain is at work elsewhere) and being led to her earlier stories. Looks like there’s enough to work on Leora’s Christmas stories as well!
(I’m already 76 and just published my first book a year ago, so if the Lord grants me more time and brain energy, just wow!)
Joy, you’re an inspiration…this is for you. We wish you the happiest of Christmases!
It doesn’t matter when you start,
but only when you quit,
so stoke up that writer’s heart
and do keep on with it!
All the years you didn’t write
were, my friend, not thrown away
but prepared your inner light
to shine more brightly on this day
and give the stumbling world a gift
that only you could bring;
‘Tis now we need our souls to lift;
with your words, they take wing!
You’ve come to your time and your place;
write on, dear heart, in God’s good grace!
Andrew, you may have written this for Joy but you blessed and encouraged me! Merry Christmas!
And Joy, I look forward to reading your Christmas stories one day! Blessings to you, as well!
If you don’t mind, I’m going to take the sonnet for Joy as inspiration for me, too!
You are such an encouragement for me.
Merry Christmas to you, Barb, the dogs, and the cat!
They take the road, these three wise men,
each one of them an oracle,
and the trip that they begin
is opened by sure miracle
Stars sweep by in their courses
above the desert hills,
but what mystery of forces
could make a star stand still
through the length of chilly night
to provide a stready beacon
which a sure true path would light
to that which they were seeking?
And what wonderous gift would they find there,
beneath that orb, placed in its care?
I love the coming of Christ. O Come, O Come, Immanuel is my constant prayer.
However, my poetry lies another direction. I find the Christmas season fraught with responsibilities, changes, interruptions, and hassles.
‘Tiz the day before Christmas,
My cards are not sent.
All my best intentions
Are frazzled and bent.
The house is a ruin,
Dishes piled in the sink.
My mind is so dithered
I simply can’t think.
The list of good things
That I wanted to do
Is a tattered reproach
Saying “Phooey on you.”
But no matter the guilt
Or the frustrated tear,
I wish you a Holy Christmas
And a Blessed New Year.
Judith, this is SO GOOD!
Best wishes to you and yours!
Thank you, Andrew. I’m glad you liked it.
Love those poems, Andrew and Judith. A blessed Christmas to all the writers who read this blog, and the faithful ones who think of them each week.
Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D.
Bob, I love “A Christmas Cup of Tea.” It’s a poem that Tom Hegg wrote many years ago. I’ve recited it at several Christmas church gatherings and it’s always well received. It’s precious.
Merry Christmas, Bob!
Merry Christmas, Bob, and thank you for each blog you wrote this year.
My Christmas suggestion is to attend a live Nativity.
Also our pastors did a the monalogues for our Christmas service this past Sunday. Combined with a variety of Christmas songs I was touched and saw once again the humanness of Joseph, a wise man, and a shepherd.
Christmas blessings to all.
Damon J. Gray
Merry Christmas to you and yours, Bob.
It never became a tradition like I’d hoped it would, but one year I took the family to a friend’s farm and we gathered around the manger in their barn and read the Christmas story. I thought it would be such a special time, but it just didn’t turn out that way. Maybe it will work for someone else’s family.
Thank you for those wise words for writers.I appreciate the thought, time and effort that goes into producing such a blog.
In Burnet, Texas, a number of churches get together annually to provide a complete Biblically based village of the time of Christ’s birth. People come from miles around to walk thru the straw-fenced village, complete w/ a nativity scene including a camel or two, a burro & other critters, local actors portraying the birth scene, etc.
For me, the total work this shows represents a tangible way of showing Christ to our world.
Thank you so much, Bob! I am so blessed every time I encounter your writing.
One of my Advent/Christmas practices is to take a hiatus from my my professional writing projects, and instead focus my attention on Bible reading, Advent meditations, and journaling in response to what I read.
This particular year has been a blessed season. God has flooded my mind and heart with poetry and gratitude.
I wish you, your family, and colleagues a very merry Christmas and a blessing-filled new year!
Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Hi, Bob. Thanks for your post. I love to read all the agents’ posts. They are always encouraging and inspiring. I loved your suggestions. I did write this Christmas prayer a few years ago, and I post it almost every year on my blog. It’s too long to quote here.
I love all the traditions of Christmas!
Rebecca, I just visited your site…and you wrote a truly awesome prayer!
Rebecca Barlow Jordan
Thank you, Andrew! You are so kind. I enjoy all your creative poems as well. You are quite talented!
I collect children’s Christmas books—picture books and longer. I love The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (look for the audio read by James Earl Jones), The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree, A Certain Small Shepherd, and others. Would love to learn of other titles suitable for kids and kids at heart. At family gatherings I am often pressed into former-librarian status and read aloud for a while.
My favorite Christmas book(s) this year is/are: “Little Did They know” and the children’s version “Not Too Little to Know.” Both fictional (but true to scripture) “eyewitnesses” to the Advent. Kenneth Winter writes in a way that evokes praise to God and sweet tears. I highly recommend them… and if you can get the audio versions from Audible, even better. l
Thanks Bob for helping make my Christmas a little more writerly and my writing and reading a little more Christmasy! Wonderful ideas! I’m a children’s author and specialize in the young child and have a life time collection of children’s books. Two of my favorite Christmas pictures books are GREAT JOY by Kate DiCamillo and MARY, DID YOU KNOW? by Mark Lowry.
Have you read FINDING GOD IN IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE written by Pastor Greg Asimakoupoulos? Pastor Greg is a “deer” friend of mine. I still enjoy the classic movie!
Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas!
Carol R Nicolet Loewen
Great suggestions, Bob. Thank you. And I loved the prayer by the seminarian who became Pope John XXIII. Merry Christmas! I love listening to Christmas carols while I work, set the table, write, whatever … the King has come, and is coming again!