by Niki TurnerI 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.
Latest post at In Truer Ink Merry Greetings! Season's Holidays! Happy Christmas!