We’re winding down on the Days of Christmas Book Giveaway celebration with only three giveaways to go! Have you had the chance to go back and leave comments on each posting for a chance to win the books for the past seven days?
Today I have two more awesome authors: Stephanie Shott and Matt Patterson. Their Christmas memories are well worth the read and be sure to have a tissue handy when you read Matt’s memory!
I have had the honor of being Stephanie’s guest on her awesome website at http://www.stephanieshott.com/ Both Stephanie and Matt are giving away a copy of their books, so be sure to leave a comment below about a Christmas that has special meaning to you and that you will always remember for a chance to win!
A winner will be chosen on December 18 and winners from all of the giveaways will be announced on Monday, December 19, so be sure to go back and enter! Anyone in the U.S. can enter, and confirmed subscribers receive two entries!
Below is the blurb for Understanding What Matters Most: The Book of Ecclesiastes by Stephanie Shott:
Ecclesiastes, Understanding What Matters Most is a six-week Following God workbook study that begins with a history lesson explaining how Solomon became king and then takes the reader into a verse-by-verse study through Ecclesiastes. The study offers a unique woman s perspective to an of avoided and misunderstood book of the Bible.
I have had the honor of reviewing Stephanie’s book and loved it and learned so much! You can read my review here: http://www.amazon.com/Ecclesiastes-Understanding-Matters-Following-Discipleship/product-reviews/0899570240/ref=cm_cr_dp_synop?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&sortBy=bySubmissionDateDescending#RDCPHHIWATSFA
Below is the blurb for My Emily by Matt Patterson:
This book tells the story of a hurting family, an amazing little girl and a mysteriously faithful God. Emily wasn’t born perfect – so one might think. She was born with Down Syndrome and many would jump to the conclusion that she would have very little hope for a life with any significance. Two years later came the diagnosis of leukemia. What little hope remaining turned to no hope whatsoever – or so one might think. The life of this little girl, with all its perceived imperfections, had great meaning. Her loving nature and courage touched the hearts of everyone she met. She also taught them how to value their own lives – even with their many “imperfections.”
And now, some wonderful Christmas memories from Stephanie and Matt…
Ornaments, Vacations, & Memories by Stephanie Shott
I love Christmas! The sites, the sounds, the lights and the smells – all declare the most wonderful time of the year. But when our children were growing up, our Christmas season always began in October. That was when we took our annual vacations to the mountains where we would hike the Blue Ridge trails and meander through the quaint little shops in Waynesville.
It was there, in a mom and pop shop called Cedar Hills Studios, where we would pick out a few special Christmas ornaments to add to the others that would adorn our tree each year.
They were beautifully simple and simply significant. Each one inscribed with a different name of our Lord. Names like, Messiah, Word of God, High Priest, Christ and I Am, would dangle from the Douglas Fir in the corner of our room.
We talked about what each name meant and how great our God really is. We marveled at His majesty and were humbled by His humility. Those ornaments became prompts of praise and reminders of the babe in a manger who chose to begin His journey to the cross in a cradle.
Suspended from the branches were Scriptures declaring, “Unto us a child is born. Unto us a Son is given” (Isaiah 9:6) and “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14).
All ornaments that call our attention to the true meaning of Christmas. A Savior is born who offers hope to all mankind. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. The Lamb of God became the sacrifice for our sins. The Redeemer came to purchase us back from the slave block of sin and make us His own.
Amazing love! Amazing grace!
And while we enjoyed sharing those destiny-altering truths with our boys, my favorite event of each Christmas season is the quiet moments when no one is home but me and Jesus. Only Christmas lights illuminate the room and in the silence of that place I seek His presence.
Each ornament a purpose to praise Him. Every Scripture reference a reason to rejoice. And every year, those moments with Him are the most precious of all!
As I glance through those ornaments of adoration, I remember when and where we bought them. I remember those vacations long ago that made this momma’s heart smile big time. I reflect on walks to the waterfalls, vacation cabins and irreplaceable time with my boys.
The years have gone by and my boys are now men. Those family vacations have been replaced with busy schedules and periodic family get-togethers. I miss our October trips to the mountains and the family traditions we created together, but every year, those ornaments become reasons to rejoice in our Savior and sweet memories of our vacations and Christmases filled with faith, family and fun.
Gifts by Matt Patterson
We all love Christmas gifts, don’t we?
I love giving Christmas gifts.
If you ask 100 people to give their definition of a “gift,” it’s quite possible to get 100 varying responses. Personally, the greatest gifts I have received in this life have come from some of my greatest trials.
Nearly 25 years ago, our first daughter Emily was born. The birth of a young couple’s first child almost certainly falls under the “gift” category.
We would learn the morning following her birth that Emily was born with Down syndrome. Beyond the initial dismay and sadness, emotions quickly turned to joy and happiness. Our angel was truly a gift from God.
Two years later, Emily would be diagnosed with leukemia. Three-plus months of chemotherapy were followed by tests, transfusions, remission, relapse and eventually, death.
One of my fondest Christmas memories took place only a couple years ago. I was stumped on what to get my wife and two daughters. A surprise type of gift – something they wouldn’t expect.
On Christmas Day, after all gifts had been opened, Bonnie and the girls started to clean up the loose boxes and shredded wrapping paper. It was then I stopped them.
“There’s just one more gift,” I said. “Wait here.”
I brought in three gift bags. I told them that they had to be opened simultaneously.
Each reached into their bags and pulled out a ring box. Of course my daughters were thinking diamonds. I love their naïve hearts.
At my prompting, each opened their box. Silence and confusion followed.
My wife Bonnie said, “Wait, what is …”
Our youngest, Kimberly jumped in, “This isn’t my birthstone.”
It was Lauren, our oldest daughter, who spoke up that it was Emily’s birthstone.
“I want each of you to have a daily reminder of her,” I said.
To this day, those rings remain on their fingers.
Matt loves to connect with his readers at http://www.my-emily.com/ My Emily is available at http://www.amazon.com/My-Emily-Matt-Patterson/dp/1449951554/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1323658364&sr=1-1
Be sure to leave a comment below about a Christmas that has special meaning to you and that you will always remember for a chance to win!
Thanks so much for taking the time to share this post. I appreciate you!