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Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Christmas Lamp lights the way out of the mubblefubbles



by Niki Turner
I have to confess, I haven't felt very “Christmasy” this year. Chalk it up to tight finances, or that this is the first year my oldest child is married and out on her own, or just call it a bout of peri-menopausal hormones... We can blame almost anything on hormones, right?
Whatever the cause of my lack of Christmas motivation, Christian author Lori Copeland's romantic holiday novella, The Christmas Lamp (Zondervan, 2009), provided a perfect boost out of the mubblefubbles. (Isn't that a charming way to describe a melancholy mood?)
In The Christmas Lamp, the tiny town of Nativity, Missouri, prides itself on its Christmas spirit. But the town's tourist-driven economy is swiftly going the way of old wrapping paper. When Jake Brisco is hired to save the community from financial destruction, no one is pleased with the way he sets about trimming the town's budget by NOT trimming the town tree, canceling the rental of the artificial ice rink, and doing away with the holiday home decorating prize. Town employee and lifelong resident Roni Elliot is frustrated and furious. She knows Jake's there to save the town, but she hates the loss of the traditions that have made Nativity her home.
While Jake has made a tradition out of avoiding the usual Christmas hullabaloo, Roni has clung hard and fast to every tradition she's ever known, almost as a shrine to the memory of her mother and grandmother. In spite of Jake and Roni's physical attraction, coming to terms with the changes Jake wants to make, and the past Roni wants to protect, generates conflict.
Jake and Roni's struggle with tradition is something many of us experience when the winds of change blow into our lives. A birth, serious illness, death, marriage, divorce, cross-country move, or an upheaval in our financial situation all tend to muck up the observation of our traditions.
In response, we might chuck all our traditions out the window to avoid the pain of change, but then we lose the depth and richness of our memories and history. On the other hand, we might grasp and guard our traditions like a dog with a meaty bone, threatening anyone who suggests, implies, or offers any kind of alternative, or even an upgrade, to our traditions.
Traditions—whether it's which ornaments go on your tree or what songs you sing at church—become meaningless when we keep doing them just because “that's the way we've always done things.”
Like prayer, poetry, and music, traditions have to come from the heart if they are to bring life to the soul. Sometimes that means we have to step out of our comfort zone, away from the status quo, and begin something new. And sometimes it means resurrecting a tradition we've left behind at the bottom of a dusty box of Christmas decorations.
In her Author's Note, Copeland writes:

“Tradition doesn't have to be logical;
it only has to emphasize the light of Christ
and his everlasting love.”

The Christmas Lamp is available on Amazon.com in both the hardcover and Kindle editions, and at Christianbook.com. Whichever book format you choose, paper or electronic, The Christmas Lamp is a sweet, romantic story that's just the right length to fit in to a busy holiday schedule and lift flagging spirits.

9 comments:

  1. Niki, I'm going to make a Public Confession too. Christmas is not my favorite holiday. I like Thanksgiving and Easter better. Doesn't sound very Christian does it?

    I love Christmas hymns, fluffy December snowflakes, baking to the tunes of my Carpenters' Christmas album, Candlelight service, light displays, eating someone else's cookies and the true
    Christmas story best of all. It still gives me goosebumps.

    But I don't like to see broken expectations, stress, and overspending--the things that make this 'the most wonderful time of the year--NOT' I'm starting to not like Santa, either. I've fed the Big Lie myself!

    Christ's birth really was an amazing, angel celebrating, eternity changing event and I can't put that into one day of busy human activity and be satisfied.

    I think of shepherds on a hill and an angel's announcement. God's supernatural power wrapped inside a crying newborn child. Now, THAT I love! So dear friends, have a long, merry, simple celebration of God's gift to all of us. Make new traditions of simplicity and blame it on the economy!

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  2. Christmas has become so commercialized....I want to get back to keeping it simple.
    Blessings and hugs,
    andrea

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  3. I can relate to your feelings, and yes, you can blame everything on menopause and hormones. I've been doing it for over 10 years with no opposition from anyone! lol

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  4. Christmas spirit should last the whole year, every day. I think that may go on my list of New Year's resolutions... keep Christmas in my heart and mind and mouth daily!
    Thanks Deb, for your "true confession." Hugs and blessings back to you, Andrea. And Cindy, my aunt says the same thing! LOL.

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  5. In case you all think I'm Scrooge today I did something I haven't done in years. I put up some decorations.

    Excuse my early morning ramblings, eh? I ate a whole plate of Christmas cookies myself on Friday afternoon.

    I'd love to read The Christmas Lamp. Thanks for the review Niki. I haven't heard anything about that book before this.

    I'm hanging on to Missy Tippens' FOREVER CHRISTMAS, for my Christmas Eve read!

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  6. I usually love Christmas, but it took me longer than normal to get into the spirit this year because I don't enjoy shopping as much as I used to. A few years ago I was feeling overwhelmed by Christmas, so I cut way back on Christmas parties. That helped a lot.

    I love candle light services, Christmas carols, and Christmas light displays. Ohh, look, it's shiny ;) I went to the Busch Gardens Christmas Town this year and despite the mob-like crowd, I had a magical moment standing under a giant light display that danced to the Christmas music.

    Dina

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  7. I love curling up with a good Christmas movie or Christmas novella. I'll have to find this one!

    Thanks, Niki!

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  8. Thanks, Niki! I am going to have to check this out...I love Christmas novellas, and this one sounds sweet.

    I also love, love the photo of the leg lamp from "The Christmas Story." I wonder where you can find it? And if I got one, would I actually put it in my window? Hmm.

    I love Christmas, but it's been harder on me in recent years. Stress. Let down. I'm trying to focus on preparing for Jesus... Thanks, Niki. Glad to know I'm not alone!

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  9. Thanks Niki,
    Like Susanne i loved the pic of the lamp too, mostly because my mom and i were watching the movie yesterday and she'd go bonkers if I found that lamp and set it up.:)
    Great review!!!

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