Today, I’m making room for the written word.

It’s been a busy season, as I’ve mentioned, and I really haven’t had a lot of leisure time in which I could sit down long enough to concentrate on something to read.  It’s a pity, because I have some pretty strong traditions surrounding books and scripture and stories.

#1: The Legend of Holly Claus by Brittany Ryan, illustrated by Laurel Long

I read this book every year sometime after Thanksgiving.   I love it.  It’s about a princess and a curse and a handsome orphaned boy and an evil wizard and the power of a wish.  It’s about hope and love.  And Santa Claus has a daughter.  Also, my favorite artist illustrates the book with scrumptious pictures like this:

Holly, the Princess of Forever

Reindeer!

So I love everything about it.  I think I’ve given something like three copies of it over the years to people I knew would enjoy it.  I discovered this my first Christmas home from college.  I was at a book store with KitKat and Snikkers and we were reading parts of our favorite or interesting looking books to each other.  This was the Candy Bar Kids’ time together for the holiday season.  I had seen this book a few days earlier on the shelf and thought, “What the heck?  A story about Santa Cllaus’ daughter is good for Christmas.”  Little did I know.  I opened to the first chapter and read this:

In Forever, the Land of the Immortals, the first snowflake was always silver.  Father Christmas watched it swirl and twist from the heavens.  It lay, shimmering, on the great crystal stairs that led to the palace.  And then the rest came, just a few at first, before dozens and hundreds and thousands spiraled through the air in a lacy ballet.  Soom the stairs, the terrace, and the vast gardens beyond were cloaked in snow.  The stone nymphs that lolled in the reflecting pool reached up their graceful stone arms and caught the feathery crystals in their palms.  The bronze horses at the top of the clock tower touched noses and whinnied, shaking snow from their manes.  And the trees on the avenue, usually so stiff and dignified, forgot themselves and swayed back and forth, their branches rippling in the white air.

The prose just matched the detailed and vibrant pictures.  I fell in love with the book, long before I knew it held my favorite parts of Christmas.  I bought it with my Christmas money that year and have read it faithfully every year since.  Sometimes, I’ll read it for Christmas in July.  I fully intend to read it aloud to my children when I have them.  This book is my Christmas tradition.  I tried to start it last night and fell asleep on the first page.  Thankfully, the 500+ page book has a large typeset and is a quick read.  It’ll be done before midnight tomorrow.

#2: Star Across the Tracks by Bess Streeter Aldrich

This is my favorite Christmas story and the inspiration for this series.  It’s all about making room in our lives.  I got to read it for the women’s Christmas activity last week, and tonight one of the others in my family will read it for our Christmas, along with other stories.  I love story time on Christmas Eve–there’s nothing quite like hearing everyone in our family share favorite stories that we’ve collected over the years.  I’ve not really been able to read a whole lot of them this year, so I’m very much looking forward to tonight.  It isn’t Christmas without stories.

#3: The account of Christ’s birth in the Gospels

I’ve been struggling keeping up with my scripture reading this season.  I’m going to be doing some sprinting reading this coming week so I can be ready to start my new year on the right foot.  It’ll be fun and good and it’ll get be back in mind of where I want to be for the New Year. In my family, after we read the stories, either my dad or one of my brothers gets out our large red letter family bible and reads the account of the birth of Christ.  There’s something wonderful about ending a night of food, singing, and story with the account directly out of the scriptures.  We hear summaries all through out the season, but nothing compares in impact or the bringing of the Spirit to the scriptural account.  When I was a kid, we had a box of costumes that the children would put on and act out the play as Dad read.  Now, things are simpler, quieter, and a little more beautiful.  It’s our time to reflect.

I love the Christmas season.  I love the stories that have shaped each season as I have grown.  I love my family for making sure that my Christmas included hope and love and making room and a touching series of moments with the scriptures.  Today, for my Christmas Eve, I’ll be reading.

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