With the Christmas season approaching, I thought I would start out by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Christmas has always been my favorite time of the year. While I do not like winter and I hate snow and cold in equal measure, it has always seemed to me that the spirit of Christmas still burns bright. People tend to be gentler and kinder with each other, and with the world the way it is, I think we could all use an increase of kindness.
I remember a lot of big family gatherings at Christmas when I was a kid. My two eldest sisters lived close by with their families, and for some of those years, my oldest brother was also nearby. Cramming 15 to 20 people into the mobile home where I was raised was an adventure at times! But it was all in good fun, for we had a marvelous time. We often went caroling, we did crafts, baked treats, and made jigsaw puzzles in the time we spent together, which was usually about 3 to 4 days around Christmas.
As I’ve gotten older and now have my own family, things have changed a little. My father passed away 8 years ago and my mom is now in a home for the elderly, and conflicts, scheduling difficulties, and distance separate us more than they used to. Now we usually spend Christmas morning at least as a family unit before we gather with the extended family. This year it will be my two older brothers and their families and my mom. Skype has become part of our Christmas tradition to connect with those who are not nearby.
My wife and I have introduced our own Christmas traditions into our family. She makes me laugh, as she tends to complain about Christmas decorating and spending money on gifts; she’s Japanese and doesn’t have the traditions from when she was young to draw one—I have a close friend who is also married to a Japanese woman, and he tells me his wife is the same, though she was actually raised as a Christian. One of thing we try to do is focus on the true meaning of Christmas. The year my second son was born just after Christmas, we buried my eldest son in presents. Later we were talking, and we decided not to do that anymore. We now try to focus on the birth of the Savior and family. The kids still each get a large present and a few assorted things to go with it, but we try to be understated a little and no overspend. Now that our kids are old, it’s become more difficult to buy for them, but we manage.
However you celebrate, whatever traditions you have, I hope you will have a safe and successful Christmas and a blessed and prosperous New Year!
Now, just a couple of housekeeping notes. For any who missed it, the Christmas Anthology Mistletoe and Mischief is now available on Amazon. Lelia Eye and my brother, Colin Rowland, both contributed stories for the anthology. I hope you will give it a try! One final note is about my next full length novel. It is entitled With Love’s Light Wings and will be released to Amazon next Thursday, the 19th of December. As usual, I’m still trying to get the cover finalized, but I hope to be able to reveal the cover by Thursday of this week. It will be posted on the FB page, so stay tuned!