I turned 32 this weekend. There are no pictures to show it.
All five of us around here have our birthdays within about a month of each other. I bring up the rear, so by the time mine rolls around everyone is tired of the camera.
Hattie and I share a birthday, actually. She woke me at exactly 11:55 p.m. the night before my 28th year began to announce that she was ready. One speedy trip to the hospital and several ignored red lights later, she arrived. 2:17 a.m. A fine, squalling, perfect little birthday present.
When your love language is gifts, well-executed birthday presents are fairly critical. Hattie’s year, Josh was mercifully off the hook, but every other November I can always see the poor guy beginning to sweat as my day rolls around.
For years he would approach me a few short days (or hours) before and pose the same question, “What do I need to get you for your birthday?”
I would then begin to scratch his eyes out. Wrong question, buddy. Wrong question.
If you must ask (but you really shouldn’t have too), it’s “What do I get to get you for your birthday?”
He learned, fortunately, and our lives involve much less eye-scratching now.
If you don’t know what your love language is you should figure it out. STAT.
I have always been a little embarrassed to admit that mine is gifts. It just sounds a tad on the materialistic side. Physical Touch Love-Languagers might be satisfied with a hug or Act of Servicers with a quick dishwasher-unload, but we Gift People need something we can unwrap.
I should probably feel worse about this, but I don’t.
Thing is, I think I’m in good company about the gift thing.
I started an Advent study the first day of November, so my mind had been steeped in all things Christmas for almost two weeks now. The decorations are not allowed to go up around here until after we have been officially and thoroughly thankful and turkey stuffed (Josh’s orders), but I’ve been singing “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” under my breath for days (and sometimes loudly, when no one is around.)
Because the gift of Jesus is on my mind.
So really, when it comes to my love language, God started it.
Some of you may have checked out after that last paragraph. For some reason, talking about Christmas too early can really rile people. Personally, I am itching to pull out my Advent calendar and stockings, but I will wait. Thanksgiving is important and needs to be appropriately observed, but for goodness sake, why oh why, should we wait to start celebrating the hope of Jesus?
Because, friends, on this difficult and dying planet, what other hope have we got?
So! In honor of my love of gifting and receiving and the hope we have through another little squalling baby’s birthday, today, I proclaim, the gifting shall begin! (Trumpets sound here.)
I met a lovely and talented author and speaker, Renee Robinson, early this spring at a writing conference. The girl was clothed in gentleness and humility, I tell you. She’s the real deal.
Renee has written a beautiful family devotional to help you and your Loves slow down, quiet your spirits, and celebrate the incredible meaning of Christmas together.
Designed to be used over a seven-day period prior to Christmas day, Seeking Christmas: Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions, encourages simple activities that can be repeated and cherished year after year.
The devotions are short and are tailored to keep the attention of kids of all ages. Accompanied by the free Seeking Christmas journal and Seeking Christmas ornaments (available on Renee’s website), your family will develop important and memorable traditions that you and your kiddos will, no doubt, look forward to repeating next year.
I’m serious. This is a good one, and it’s well worth a few days and a few extra minutes to get your hearts set on Christmas traditions that are rooted in the sweet hope of baby Jesus.
I’m giving away a copy of Seeking Christmas to one reader this week. To win, subscribe to my blog to receive e-mail updates, comment below with your favorite Christmas carol (but O Come, O Come Emmanuel is the best, so that’s already settled.) or do both for two chances to win!
Winner will be announced next week!
Renee Robinson is a blogger, speaker, and author. She blogs at www.renee-robinson.com to inspire and encourage women and parents in their journey of faith and life. She is the author of Seeking Christmas – Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions. Her posts have been published on BlogHer, in(courage), and The Better Mom. Writing and speaking aside, she is the wife of her high school sweetheart and the mom of 3 adorably, rambunctious boys.”
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I LOVE that you’re in the Christmas Spirit early 😉 My 2 favorite Christmas songs are Oh Holy Night & Santa Baby 😉 …. and at our house we have a Merry ChrisTHANKmas!
I knew you would understand, Lydia. I bet you already have your Christmas cards written, don’t you?? 🙂
Not yet….. but I’m working on our Christmas cards!
Mrs. Hall, I’ll add a hearty “Amen”! One of God’s great gifts in having me marry a noble, Canadian man was this: In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in the middle of October’s glorious colours, leaving us free to turn to Christmas whenever our little hearts desire! Jesus’ birthday bling is up and sparkling at 19 Jewel House!
Ooh, Janet, you’re making Canada sound awfully appealing. I’m jealous…and I’m going to assume you’re implying that I should come visit some time next fall after you get your decorations up but before mine go up. Sounds perfect to me. 😉
I love “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
That IS a good one, Heidi. Especially when sung by tiny little angel girls in a children’s choir. 🙂 Thanks for commenting and reading!
I love your blogs Hannah you always have wonderful things to read and enjoy. My favorite Christmas carol is also Oh holy night and also it came upon a midnight clear:-)
I’m glad you enjoy it, April! All the praise goes to God! (Good song choices, by the way!)
Joy to the World!
A classic, Dana! And such a happy classic. I love it too!
Once again, you have hit it out of the park for me. I, too, want to remember to be thankful, but I also want to start on celebrating my thankfulness for the greatest gift ever given…Jesus.
My favorite Christmas songs are O Holy Night and The Little Drummer Boy. My grandparents had a record player and would play the Andy Williams Christmas with Little Drummer Boy on it. Great memories 🙂
And I remember the first time I heard Little Drummer Boy, Mischelyn. Something about it sticks in my mind like no other song. Good choices, and thanks for reading, as always. 🙂
I LOVE that you are in the Christmas Spirit
I didn’t realize how much the Advent study would do it for me, but it has. I’m loving it!
My favorite song, and the only one I like besides Feliz Navidad is Mary Did You Know, and Penetonix did an awesome version of it this year! You rock Hannah!
Sarea, because I love you and think you’re extremely cool, I’m going to let it slide that Feliz Navidad is on your list. Mary Did You Know makes up for it a little (but only a little.) 🙂
I absolutely agree! O come O come Emmanuel is the best!
Yes! Definitely, Carrie!
Although I am of an “older” generation, I love your blog! I can relate it to memories of raising my children, who are your age, and am enjoying watching it apply to them raising their children! My favorite Christmas song is actually any one that my grandbabies sing to me! I tear up at the cuteness everytime (even with their made up lyrics) Merriest of Christmases to you and yours Hannah!
You are right, Kandy. When one of my kids sings a song, it makes it mean so much more to me. (Even when it is terribly out of tune. 😉
Thanks for reading and commenting! I need all of the “older” generation people in my life that I can get! 🙂
O, Holy Night is my favorite. Love your blog!
Thank you, Sarah, for reading and commenting! And O Holy Night is such a good one. I’d say it’s a close second for me.
That is a tough choice! I would guess I would have to say O Holy Night.
Good one, Sarah! And you can probably hit all the high notes too…unlike some of us. 😉
Totally agree about the gifts thing – it’s mine too and I’m always a little shy about telling people too. But there’s nothing I love more than finding and giving someone the perfect gift, even if it’s as simple as a word of encouragement when they truly need it (because our words can be gifts too). 😉 And I don’t have a “favorite”, but I’ve always rather liked “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
I’m glad to know someone who can relate, Jamie. We gifters need to band together. 🙂
Love – “Mary, Did You Know?” and “What Child Is This?”
Ooh! “What Child is this” is such a good one! I love those older carols, but “Mary Did You Know” has such great lyrics too. Both are excellent. Thank you, Lynda!
I love Christmas!! I love celebrating the birth of our Savior! BUT we DO have a rule to do one holiday at a time! Thankfulness and thanksgiving first!! I can’t wait to get out our decorations though and bring on the Christmas music! My favorite is Carol of the Bells by tr Transiberian Orchestra!
Carol of the Bells is fantastic! Mannheim Steamroller also has a great version. Thank you, Kendra!
“Christmas Day” by Michael W. Smith and Mandisa (just listened to it to put me into the spirit too). I also love the traditional “O Holy Night”.
I don’t think I’ve heard “Christmas Day” before, Desiree. I’ll have to check that one out! Thank you for reading and leaving a comment!
I have two favorites: O Holy Night and Carol of the Bells
Oh so true, Carla. Both are so, so good. Thanks for reading!
Mary did you know is my favorite! My favorite version is by Sawyer Brown. I have it, if you would like to listen to it sometime.
I’ve not heard it, Missy. I’d like to sometime. He does have a fantastic voice. Thanks for commenting!
I’m right there with you… My kids have caught me secretly listening to my “Christmas Jazz” Pandora station on several occasions over the past couple of weeks. I am usually of the same persuasion as you, “Don’t skip over Thanksgiving!” For some crazy reason, I’m in the “Christmas Mood” really early this year.
This book looks great! Thanks for suggesting it. And my favorite Christmas Carol also happens to be “O Come Immanuel,” but I also love “Breath of Heaven” (which is not officially a carol, perhaps).
Oooh, but Breath of Heaven is so good. It’s one of those that gets stuck in my head. Too bad it doesn’t sound quite as lovely whenever I try to sing it. 🙂 But I’m sure your rendition sounds beautiful. You good singers have all the fun. 🙂
“We wish you a Merry Christmas”. I decided a few days ago that anytime your having a hard day you should play some Christmas Music:)
A good point, Mom. I noticed that a radio station already has Christmas songs playing nonstop right now. That’s a bit much for me, but the occasionally tune does lift the spirits. 🙂
I didn’t realize how popular it was, but “O Holy Night” is one of my favorites, along with “Carol of the Bells” and “Manger Throne” by City on a Hill. I do love “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” though!
Good taste, Heather! Although I don’t think I’ve heard the City on a Hill song. I’ll have to check it out. Everything else they do is fantastic. Thanks for the comments!
My little family has loved reading your books! It is very hard to find children’s books that have beautiful pictures and well written as yours are. We (my daughter & I) have read your books together since she was 9 months old and ” God bless you and goodnight” is still her favorite on the shelf ( she is now 19 months). I am very grateful for my family and the wonderful books you produce for our little ones — to put their focus on God and his wonderful gifts.
My favorite Christmas songs are “Carol of the bells” and ” O holy night” and “Canon D”
Thank you, Mikaela! To God be the glory. I am so glad you found me and God led you to the books. He has been so kind to me through them, and I’m so thankful that He can use them in the lives of others. Thank you so much for reading, commenting and leaving such encouraging words. 🙂 Blessings on you and your sweet family this Christmas!
My traditional favorite is “Silent Night” . I also love “Joseph’s Lullaby” . Not much thought is given to Joseph and his perspective. It is very touching.
I don’t think I’ve heard “Joseph’s Lullaby,” but that sounds so sweet. Poor Joseph does get awfully looked over for being the guy who risked own his reputation to take Mary as his wife and then gave up his own hometown to protect she and Jesus and then raised Jesus as his own son. Goodness, the guy deserves more credit! I’ll have to look this one up. Who sings it?
Love love love Christmas traditions! I start playing Christmas music in the kitchen in November but the rest of the house I wait til after thanksgiving 🙂
My favorite Christmas sing at the moment is ‘Hallelujah light has come” by the Barlow girls or “it’s true” by sarah groves…you would love both of them 🙂
I love Barlow Girl…and I think I’ve heard that one. Those gals can harmonize like nothing else. I don’t think I’ve heard the Sarah Groves, but perhaps I should allow myself to sneak a few carols into the kitchen like you, at least while I’m cooking. I think we probably deserve it since we’re in there slaving over hot stoves. 😉
I enjoyed your blog,and then got an extra surprise to see you mentioning my daughter Renee Robinson’s book! I cannot wait until I order yours,I do not have little ones in the house,but when the grandkids visit we love to read books!
Yay! Janice, I’m so glad you found me! I’m honored. 🙂 Renee is an incredible, Godly woman, I would imagine that her mother is too. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment! Blessings!
You may have already done the giveaway, but I had to put my two cents in…one of my favorites is “What Child is This”. LOVE to sing that one. 😉
I’m jumping aboard the “gifter” boat also!
Happy Belated Birthday – I find it very interesting that two of your siblings have the same birthday and you and Hattie do too. Only God can do that! 🙂
It’s never too late, Rhonda! (Actually, I guess it could be too late, but it’s not for you.) I’m doing the drawing tonight, and you’ll be in it. And I LOVE What Child is this? too. It’s especially a good one because you can sing the older version, “Greensleeves” and then it’s technically not a Christmas song and can be sung year round. It’s a win/win. 🙂