“A Christmas blog post…in October?”
By Isabella Graunke
Before we get into it, we may need to address the elephant in the room: A Christmas blog post . . . in October? I see your point. We are still a way out from the holiday season, and truthfully, I’m in no hurry for a snowy Chicago winter; however, with current supply chain and shipping delays, you may be planning to order your Christmas gifts a bit sooner this year. If that’s the case, consider this your unofficial holiday gift guide. Here is a comprehensive list of reads for the whole family:
The Wish Book Christmas by Lynn Austin
From the bestselling author of If I Were You comes a nostalgic and endearing holiday story that reminds us that sometimes the most meaningful gifts are the ones we least expect and don’t deserve.
Best friends Audrey Barrett and Eve Dawson are looking forward to celebrating Christmas in postwar America, thrilled at the prospect of starting new traditions with their five-year-old sons. But when the 1951 Sears Christmas Wish Book arrives and the boys start obsessing over every toy in it, Audrey and Eve realize they must first teach them the true significance of the holiday. They begin by helping Bobby and Harry plan gifts of encouragement and service for those in their community, starting by walking an elderly neighbor’s yellow Lab—since a dog topped the boys’ wish list for Santa. In the charming tale that follows, Audrey and Eve are
surprised to find their own hearts healing from the tragedies of war and opening to the possibility of forgiveness and new love.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
For the first time, Charles Dickens’s classic work is a heartwarming, mixed-media special edition complete with charming Victorian English–inspired watercolor paintings, decorative hand-lettering, vintage imagery, and space for journaling and reflection. As you read and connect with this unique, artfully-designed Visual Journey, its pages become a reminder that Christmas should be a time of goodwill to everybody—both the Cratchits and the Scrooges of the world! The high-spirited, generous-hearted Dickens reminds readers that wealth does not make Christmas happy, and that poverty
and isolation need not make it miserable. Since its publication in 1843, A Christmas Carol has inspired millions of people to have compassion and love for the poor, the lonely, and the marginalized. publication in 1843, A Christmas Carol has inspired millions of people to have compassion and love for the poor, the lonely, and the marginalized. This special Visual Journey edition is accented by 80 full-color paintings, engravings, and hand-lettered quotes. Additional stories in this collection include “The Gift of the Magi” (O. Henry), “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” (Arthur Conan Doyle), “The Louis d’Or” (François Coppée), and “The Torn Cloak” (Maxime du Camp).
M is for Manger by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley
As children turn the pages and follow the letters of the alphabet, the events surrounding the birth of Jesus unfold before their eyes.
The story is told in chronological order, helping young minds understand how and where Jesus was born. They will learn why Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem and how so many of the events of Jesus’ birth fulfilled prophecies in the Bible.
Bible verses are included with every letter so readers will know where the events or prophecies can be found
in Scripture. Beautifully illustrated and written, this book will be a classic for parents to read to their children every Christmas season.
Food Saved Me by Danielle Walker
When doctors told Danielle Walker that food didn’t cause her autoimmune disease and couldn’t help control it, she set out to prove them wrong.
Diagnosed with an extreme form of ulcerative colitis at 22, Danielle was terrified she’d never be able to eat all the wonderful, great-tasting foods she loved growing up or host warm, welcoming gatherings with family and friends. So when the medicine she was prescribed became almost as debilitating as the disease itself, Danielle took matters into her own hands, turned her kitchen into a laboratory, and set to work creating gut-healthy versions of the foods she thought she’d never be able to enjoy again. Three New York Times bestselling cookbooks later, Danielle has become a beacon of hope for millions around the world suffering from autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and chronic ailments.
Now for the first time, with stunning transparency about
Now for the first time, with stunning transparency about the personal toll her illness took on her physically, emotionally, and spiritually, Danielle reflects on everything she’s learned during her decade-long journey toward healing—including the connection between gut health and overall well-being, the development of her favorite recipes, and the keys for not simply surviving her autoimmune disease but thriving despite it. Through her resilience, Danielle tells a story that provides hope—hope that despite your ailments or hardships, you can live a full, happy, and healthy life without ever feeling excluded or deprived.
Food saved Danielle Walker. And it can save you, too.
Believing Is Seeing by Michael Guillen, PhD
Dr. Michael Guillen, a best-selling author, Emmy award–winning journalist and former physics instructor at Harvard, used to be an atheist—until science changed his mind. Once of the opinion that people of faith are weak, small-minded folks who just don’t understand science, Dr. Guillen ultimately concluded that not only does science itself depend on faith, but faith is actually the mightiest power in the universe.
In Believing Is Seeing, Dr. Guillen recounts the fascinating story of his journey from atheism to Christianity, citing the latest discoveries in neuroscience, physics, astronomy, and mathematics to pull back the curtain on the mystery of faith as no one ever has.
Is it true that “seeing is believing?” Or is it possible that reality can be perceived most clearly with the eyes of faith—and that truth is bigger than proof? Let Dr.
Guillen be your guide as he brilliantly argues for a large and enlightened worldview consistent with both God and modern science.
Enemies and Allies by Joel C. Rosenberg
Do recent changes in the Middle East signal peace? One Arab country after another is signing historic, game-changing peace, trade, investment, and tourism deals with Israel. At the same time, Russia, Iran, and Turkey are forming a highly dangerous alliance that could threaten the Western powers. Meanwhile, the U.S. is drawing down its military forces in the Mideast and focusing on matters closer to home. Where’s it all heading?
New York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg, based in Jerusalem, skillfully and clearly explains the sometimes-encouraging, sometimes-violent, yet rapidly shifting landscape in Israel and the Arab/Muslim world. Enemies and Allies will take readers behind closed doors in the Middle East and introduce them to the very kings and crown princes, presidents and prime ministers who are leading the change.
To Light Their Way by Kayla Craig
In an age of distraction and overwhelm, finding the words to meaningfully pray for our children—and for our journey as parents—can feel impossible.
Written with warmth and welcome, To Light Their Way gives voice to your prayers when words won’t come. Filled with more than 100 modern liturgies, this book guides you into an intentional conversation with God for your children and the world they live in. From everyday struggles like helping your child find friends or thrive in school to larger issues like praying for a brighter world rooted in peace and truth, these pleas and petitions act as a gentle guide, reminding us that while our words may fail, God never does.
At the core of To Light Their Way is the deepest of prayers: that our children will experience the love of God so deeply that their lives will be an outpouring of love that lights up the world.
Symphony of Salvation by Eugene H. Peterson
Rendered beautifully in full color, this devotional journey through all the books of the Bible will set every day on the right course. You’ll grow in your knowledge and appreciation of the Scriptures with a fuller sense of God’s story and what wonderful plans he has for you.
Beloved pastor, poet, and author Eugene H. Peterson is your guide through the books of the Bible. You’ll lean in as he points out the sights and sounds, the personalities and controversies of an ancient world that God so loved. And you’ll lean back as you reflect with Eugene on how these ancient stories, these old, timeless insights into the world, and this compelling portrait of God speak directly to your everyday life.
Known by Aubrey Sampson
Who am I? Does God see me? Does God love me? What is my purpose?
So much is tied up in our longing to know who we are: our worth, whether we’re loved, what we’re meant to do with our lives. But there’s a powerful truth that settles every question: God has named us, and the names he has spoken over us settle every question and pain we have experienced in our search for identity.
Names help us know that we belong and to whom we belong. Names carry authority and power. But we also carry other names—painful, damaging names that we have spoken over ourselves or that others have branded on us. Too often, in times of low self-worth, grief, or failure, we exchange our God-given identity for those false names.
When we believe God’s names for us, we will discover a life lived with purpose and passion. Are you ready to accept God’s invitation to silence the inner voice that keeps
you from living freely, joyfully, and confidently? Known invites you to understand and embrace what it means to be created and named in the image of God. In the process, it will ignite a passion to speak life-giving names over others, to bless them through the power of the Name that is above every other.
With vulnerability and humor, Aubrey Sampson shows you what it means to be powerfully and personally made and named in the image of God. Everything changes when you believe this incredible truth: You are known by God.
Now That Faith Has Come by Beth Moore & Melissa Moore
The apostle Paul didn’t plan to go to Galatia. God used a physical ailment to direct him there, carrying the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The relationship Paul would build with the Galatian converts—and his determination for the truth of the gospel to be preserved among them—led to one of the most passionate letters in the New Testament. Paul would not sit quietly by and let those who’d been liberated by Christ’s glorious gospel submit again to a yoke of slavery. He’d send a letter with the volume turned up, calling believers to stand firm in the truth, stay bold in love, and walk by the Spirit. He’d remind them what it looked like to live for God’s approval rather than human approval. The eternal words God entrusted to Paul for the churches of Galatia are as needed today as they were when the ink was still wet on the
ancient pages. Join Beth and Melissa Moore for a six-week deep dive into Paul’s captivating letter to the Galatians. Come to know the letter’s original recipients. Study its original context and embrace its timeless relevance. Discover—or perhaps rediscover—what makes the gospel of Jesus Christ revolutionary to those who choose to believe. Find out how everything has changed, now that faith has come.
Featured image photo credit: Chad Madden (@chadmadden)