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Living the Season Well: Reclaiming Christmas Paperback – September 11, 2017
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Praise for Living the Season Well
"Living the Season Well invites readers to slow down and make Christmas about presence instead of presents. Beginning with Advent and extending to Epiphany (and beyond), Jody explains the basic framework of the church calendar, provides historical context for many of our cultural traditions, and offers accessible suggestions to help family members of all ages shift their focus from consumerism to Christ. If you're ready for a frenzy-free holiday season infused with purpose and peace, this little book will show you how to start small and start now."
--Jeanne Damoff, Speaker, Workshop Leader, author of Parting the Waters, Finding Beauty in Brokenness
"I read this book during an especially busy season, when the last thing on my mind was Christmas. But when I finished the last page, I was shocked to discover that I could hardly wait for the season to arrive. Jody Collins is like a real-life, wide-eyed Christmas elf, helping you see the season the way God intended. Living the Season Well is full of inspiration, practical help, wisdom, and humor. It made me long for more of Jesus. This book is a delightful invitation to slow down and savor the season - and the Savior."
--Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of The Happiness Dare and Love Idol
"Simplify. Slow down. Savor. Set aside fatigue and commercial hype. Jody Collins has created a handbook of meaningful ways to celebrate "the arc of holy days from Advent through Epiphany." Living the Season Well brims with faith, daring, and practical inspiration to help Christian families honor Christmas. Affordable, adaptable ideas include fasting from noise, harnessing electronics for other-centered giving, and exploring ancient traditions, like chalking the door. The key? "Start small. Start now."
--Laurie Klein, author of poetry collection, Where the Sky Opens and classic praise chorus "I Love You, Lord."
"If you're anything like me (let's just say my family calls me the Grinch for good reason), you need Jody Collins to help you recalibrate your Christmas. Written with warmth, approachability and humor and filled with practical, applicable suggestions, Living the Season Well will guide you on a journey toward slowing down, simplifying and savoring the moments of the holiday season. This year, give yourself a gift, and let Living the Season Well shift your approach to Christmas from frenzied to fulfilled."
--Michelle DeRusha, author of Katharina and Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk
About the Author
Jody Collins is a vibrant workshop and retreat facilitator. She recently retired from over 20 years of teaching and enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. She and her husband call the Seattle area home where Jody loves spending her extra time in the garden. In addition to curating Glory Writers, an online group for Christian creatives, she writes weekly about faith/life discoveries on her blog www.jodyleecollins.com.
Top customer reviews
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What I love most about this book is the generous use of words like these: * "Use what you have and do what works for you" as she writes about the Advent Wreath" telling you not to fret over details like the colors of the candle. How many years did that slow me down?
* Use a match to light the Advent Candles. We are so used to using lighters, if/when they strike a match down through the years, they might think of the words "Jesus, the light of the world."
* Gift-giving: It's OK to have honest discussions with your kids about finances and what to expect.
* Five minutes deep breathing with or without a child in your lap sometime during the day is a start.
Jody comes by wisdom from living her own life as a Mom and Grandmother, so this book is good for anyone of any age who cares about living this season well. .
If you are like me and want to get into the good stuff right away, you may be tempted to scan the long introduction (longer than my attention span) . That's probably ok. You can always look back. So I gave it a 4 and that's more about me than maybe those of reading and want a clear road map of where you are going.
I love that Jody suggests several inexpensive, and often free, ways to incorporate the timeless church traditions. How this Presbyterian-turned-Nondenominational-turned Assemblies of God (basically confused) mama of three needed this message! Jody's approach to Christmas is refreshing. Her mantra is to simply start small, start now. I know my family and I will be celebrating Christmas a little bit different this year.
If, in the past, the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season caused you to break out into a cold sweat or develop hives, I encourage you to give Jody's book a try.
As part of the launch team for Living the Season well, I received a PDF copy of his book in exchange for my honest review. Truth be told, I loved Jody's book so much that I just had to order the paperback version for myself.
While I did receive a pre-release digital copy of the book, I've ordered one for my shelf--one I can highlight and dog-ear and use as a tool.
Though Jody writes with plenty of humor, the reader will also find plenty of common sense for setting boundaries, for providing children the opportunity to give (and experience the joy of generosity), and for including times of reflection about Jesus’ birth and his impact upon our lives.
Jody even includes ideas for celebrating Christmas every day throughout the year—nothing elaborate, just poignant reminders of Emmanuel, our God who is always with us. As Jody says, "Christmas is not the end of the season, but merely the beginning" (p. 117).
Jody's book introduces the concept of Advent to those who are unfamiliar with the term and the practices of the traditional church calendar and the season of preparation for Christ's birth that advent is. She also talks about getting a realistic handle on present-giving, decorating, and even eating. The season doesn't have to turn into a super-stressful, chaotic, overwhelming occasion. If we are willing to give up certain things, change our practices, and keep our focus, the season can be lived well.