Tag Archive | holiday

Spatzle Speaks: Christmas Novel and Two Novellas (Book Reviews)

CHRISTMAS NOVEL

A CHRISTMAS KIND OF PERFECT

Christine Schimpf has written a sweet Door County Christmas novel, A Christmas Kind of Perfect,  featuring none other than a best-selling author.  Lila never expected to become a successful writer nor anticipated the heavy cost that her career would bring as she lives her life in New York. Summoned back home to Door County she’s faced with all the good things she left behind, including Conrad.

Conrad regrets not going after Lila and seeing of they could somehow make their relationship work. Now she’s back but he’s already moved on to a new woman who is expecting an engagement ring this Christmas. Meeting Lila again throws him into confusion. Could he possible sacrifice more for the new woman in life or is it possible that he could rekindle a romance with Lila? And if he did, would she abandon him again?

As sparks fly along with the snow, can Lila and Conrad find their way back to a love they left behind years ago and discover a Christmas miracle? A lovely look at the holidays in the beautiful Door County peninsula of Wisconsin.

CHRISTMAS EXTRAVAGANZA NOVELLAS

GABRIEL’S GIFT 

Gabriel’s Gift is a sweet Christmas Regency Romance by my mom. Last week she released two new novels that were Gothic romances. Let me make it clear that this is not part of that series and this instead is a sweet tale.

Gabriel has moved to his first job as a minister and unexpectedly finds the girl he longed to marry but had lost track of.

Matilda is shocked to find her childhood friend is now pastoring their local church. But the dreams she once had of a future wtih him died when her father took  his life. She is not worthy enough to be the wife of a minister. Finding an abandoned baby in  the church however awakens longings and fears within her about her future.

Gabriel seeks to challenge his new congregation to a vital faith as they celebrate Advent and the coming Christ. All the while he longs to court Matilda but first needs to minister to her heart with the greatest gift of all: God’s grace and the love He showed us all through the birth of a humble child.

THE CHRISTMAS LIST

This is a sweet holiday novel by Dixie Jarchow, called The Christmas List

Mandy likes to make lists for everything and even has one for choosing a husband. Her goal is keep structure in her life and avoid suprises. This is how she believes she can be truly happy.

Max is spontaneous and loves sculpting. He’s never made a list in his life believing that God is ultimately in control anyway.

When Max finds he has more work than he can handle, he hires Mandy to take care of the paperwork for his business. Yet when love comes calling, she struggles to keep her own emotional accounts in balance, especially around Max.

Somehow they both need to learn from each other: that a little structure can be good, and that maybe God’s list is better than any either of them could come up with. A story about opposites attracting and how can use our strengths to help each other while smoothing out our rough edges, and all with a holiday twist.

I give all three of these stories five bones, because holiday reads are always fun and I’m a dog, I don’t have thumbs.

Spatzle Baganz, book reviewer for the silygoos blog because that’s how we roll.

 

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Do You Make Jesus Look Stupid?

IMG_20131214_090959_409I’m stepping out on a limb here because something has bothered me a lot lately with social media.

Christians are making statements and polarizing themselves over things that are inconsequential. Oh, I know, you believe your views are important and I respect that, but please, hear me out here.

Does your firm stance and insulting words about whether someone is Republican or Democrat show the winsomeness of Christ?

Or whether you believe in Creation or Evolution?

Or, whether everyone should say “Merry Christmas?”

I’m not saying that these things are unimportant. What I want to propose though is that the militant stand that many take might be doing more to alienate those from the truth of the gospel and the holiness of this time of year than attract them to it.

Insulting someone to try to win them to your point of view is the equivalent of throwing manure on them rather than the sweet aroma of baking Christmas cookies. It doesn’t work.

Our opponents are fellow image bearers of Christ, whether we agree with their political, cultural or theological positions on things.

I have my perspective and stand on issues too, and some I feel strongly about. However, the reason I initially went to pursue a degree in Christian counseling was because I saw too often that the words and behaviors of many Christians were a stumbling block to unbelievers.

Granted, we are all in the process of sanctification–and I am at times as guilty as anyone of being obnoxious about things I believe strongly in. However, I believe as Christians we need to have an extra filter on our conversations on-line. The filter of the question: “Will this bring honor to Christ and make Him desirable for others to pursue?”

Yes, I know Christianity is objectionable to many. But consider this. Is it because of the truths of the Bible itself,or could it be due to the way those who claim to be Christians behave and respond to the world around them?

I’m not going to tell you what to believe about how you educate your child, whether or not you should vaccinate or if you should be for or against Obamacare. I respect the fact that there are people on both sides of the aisle of these issues. And that’s okay. (No. Really. It is.). God can be honored and glorified in many of the diverse opinions we hold depending on the manner in which we hold them.

Does that make sense? I believe God can be glorified in the family that chooses public school as well as  those who homeschool (or private). God leads and guides us all in different ways because He desires to shine His light in all the dark corners of the world. When we can love others in spite of their views on abortion (gasp!) or how they vote, we elevate their dignity as humans created in the image of God above our own agendas. Do we have to negate what we believe in to do that? NO! But we can love and listen and even disagree without disrespecting those who hold opposing views. We can stand for truth, certainly, but let us do it with grace.

Ultimately our goal is to win the world to Jesus, but if  the world sees us as fighting about minor issues as to what color of skin Jesus or Santa had or get militant about boycotting stores that say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” then how does that draw them closer to the very Savior we proclaim to worship and adore? When we do things like this we are slamming the door of the inn in their face and tell them they can’t belong with us because of some corporate policy dictated to them by a handful of people removed from the day to day interaction at a cash register.

Go ahead and say Merry Christmas in response to a benign greeting. Sometimes those employees are obeying orders but can respond to your comment with their own Merry Christmas when you open the door instead of being hostile. And the sweetness of Christ will prevail instead of more animosity.

This goes beyond Christmas – but the war seems to be more heated than ever at this season. Christianity is not supposed to intentionally alienate people from the truths of the Gospel. The gospel can do that on it’s own but those who believe in Him should not. We hold our faith as a precious and beautiful gift of grace that is meant to be shared, not horded.