Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Thought-Provoking Guide and Journal | Review of Sacred Holidays

About the Book (from the Sacred Holidays website)

Do you enter every holiday wanting it to be meaningful, only to find that it feels chaotic with no direction?

We set New Year’s goals we can’t keep, struggle to love or be loved on Valentine’s Day, and find it hard to celebrate the risen Jesus when we are searching for the perfect Easter dress. Our summer and back-to-school seasons are whirlwinds, even as adults; we aren’t quite sure what to do with Halloween as Christians; and we feel less than grateful at Thanksgiving because it is sometimes full of complicated people. Even Christmas becomes a challenge, as celebrating Jesus gets lost behind twinkling lights and a mountain of gifts.

Holidays are meant to be more than chaos with glimpses of grace; they are meant to draw us closer to God and one another. We want all the whimsy and joy the holidays held when we were children, before life crowded it out. We want the holidays to reflect our love for Jesus and reveal the grace that has been lavished on us, but life is so busy that setting a game plan just doesn’t happen.

No more. It’s time to stop trying to survive the holidays or over indulge the whimsy, and instead live in the abundant life God called us to live.

Sacred Holidays is part book and part resource: meant to help you avoid what has tripped you up in the past and give you insights, tips, and tools to make your holidays less chaotic and more about loving Jesus and others.

Don’t let your holidays be marked by regret, whirlwinds, or survival mindset. Let’s celebrate every holiday together purposefully and worshipfully—loving Jesus and others well in every moment.

Releasing October 16, 2018!

My Rating


My Review

I love celebrating the holidays! My parents and grandparents always made them fun for us when my sister and I were growing up, which meant making wonderful memories through activities, food, gifts, and decorations. But now that I'm a married adult, finding a way to approach the holidays anew (with different traditions and resources, as well as a budget) can be tricky. Not to mention, I relate to this book's premise that the holidays can feel less about the heart of the matter and too much about expectations and what society dictates.

I have to use my imagination a bit when it comes to Sacred Holidays, because I read an e-copy, whereas it's totally meant to be read and used as a book you hold in your hands. From what I saw, there are plenty of spaces for writing down thoughts, ideas, dreams, and areas for improvement. And the plan is that you keep this book somewhere accessible so you can refer to later chapters (or your own notes) on a holiday-by-holiday (or as-needed) basis.

In that regard, I think I would really enjoy this aspect of the book: how it's personal and handy, something that could become a tradition of its own if you enjoy planning, preparing, and reflecting.

I did enjoy the creative ideas presented for celebrating each holiday with both spiritual depth and cheer. There are also interesting discussions about topics like "generosity on a budget" and what to do about Santa Claus if you're a parent. And I appreciated that Scripture is included, although I felt unsure about how some verses and passages were applied to the holidays.

All in all, as a person who loves the holidays, I liked this book. It brings up important points about seeking Jesus in each season and celebration and helping children (and yourself) see Him as the focal point of Christmas and Easter. I think I mostly liked the tone, although it sometimes came across as too typical for the genre or trying too hard. (The set-up for the chapter on grief comes to mind, but the author's heart seems to be in the right place.) And I appreciated that the pages cover everything from the "biggies" (Christmas and Easter) to Valentine's Day, Halloween, and birthdays. A thought-provoking guide and journal!

*With thanks to B&H Publishing Group through NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.*

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