today’s book: hope is born by deb elkink / the mosaic collection
Christmas is only 20 days away according to Google (if we get to Dec 25th and we have days left over, blame Google, not me lol.), BUT now ’tis the season when I start craving cozy Christmas reads. (Okay – I crave them all year round but now’s when I can get away with talking about them LOL) This year I’m continuing my annual blog series spotlighting new and recently-released Christmas reads, and I’m super excited! Christmas books make me happy!
So… snuggle in, grab your fave hot beverage and comfiest blanket, turn on some Christmas tunes and start your own bookish Christmas list! Oh… and did I mention there are GIVEAWAYS with EACH POST in this series??!! (Because authors are awesome!)
Today’s next featured book is a beautiful story collection by The Mosaic Collection authors + Deb Elkink reminds us of the whole point of Christmas!
HOPE IS BORN: A Mosaic Christmas Anthology
GENRE: Inspirational Christmas Short Stories
RELEASE DATE: December 4, 2019
Nine stories. Nine pasts to overcome. Nine futures hang in the balance.
Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but what happens when the past threatens to destroy the peace and joy of the season?
When the men and women in these stories face overwhelming challenges in their lives, can hope be restored this Christmas?
Mountaintop Christmas by Stacy Monson
Wilderness camp leaders Mikayla Gordon and Dawson Dunne have planned their perfect mountaintop Christmas wedding, but nature seems to have other plans. Mikayla will have to face the one thing that has terrified her since childhood or her hopes of a magical mountain wedding to the man of her dreams will be buried deep under the fresh coating of snow.
Like Wool by Eleanor Bertin
Young David Fawcett is all duded up for a night of punk rock with his buddies when the past butts into his plans, thrusting him out into the cold of a snowy Christmas Eve to face his worst enemy.
Ever Greening by Deb Elkink
Thirty-year-old anti-Advent Holly, who’d abandoned Montana as a pregnant teen, faces another Christmas—and this time the meaning of the Incarnation—in the barren desert of Nevada far from the evergreen forest of home.
A Beautiful Christ-mess by Brenda S. Anderson
When prodigal son Zachary Belden returns home at Christmas to surprise his family with news, he’s surprised with other news that turns his surprise into a big mess and challenges his newfound faith.
The Christmas Sweater by Janice L. Dick
Jeanne, a retired librarian and one-year widow, is dreading her first Christmas without Sam. However, when her childhood friend moves in next door, Jeanne wonders if alone might be better. Spunky Debbie McCormick won’t allow Jeanne to wallow in her grief, and seems intent on pushing her into decisions she’s not ready to make.
Taste of Heaven by Sara Davison
When Shawn and Daphne Cook’s hopes for their future are crushed, it takes a chaotic Christmas Eve service to remind Daphne that she has been putting her hope in the wrong things. Her plan is to get to her husband and share that revelation with him, but whoever has been watching them from the shadows just may have a plan of his own.
The Jukebox Cafe by Angela D. Meyer
Retired Marine Mike Thompson is struggling as the new pastor at Hillside Community Church in Preston Hill. Can one special Christmas Eve help him move beyond a past that’s holding him back?
The Caretaker’s Christmas by Johnnie Alexander
Mac never means to eavesdrop, but when the reclusive cemetery caretaker learns that two mourners will be alone for the holidays, he plans a Christmas Eve party for the recent widow and the foster teen. In seeking to ease their loneliness, will Mac find peace for his own grieving heart?
Reno-Vating Christmas by Regina Rudd Merrick
Steve Reno lost his wife two years ago and has two grown children, while Roxy Emerson has been alone for over ten years and is a grandmother. They’re not looking for romance, but when the contractor and restaurant-owner are thrown together at Christmastime, they realize that God does indeed have a hope and a future for them.
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the whole point of christmas is easter
by Deb Elkink, author of “Ever Greening” in Hope is Born
Let’s say you and I are at a baby shower with a roomful of other women snacking on lemon macarons and admiring gifts. The guest of honor is a cute little thing, all dressed in pink (let’s call her Jessica), and we pass her around to kiss her sweet cheeks, drool over her flawless complexion, and predict that she’ll become a concert pianist to make her mark at Carnegie..
At such a joyous festivity, the last subject we would raise would be little Jessica’s eventual, inevitable funeral. After all, we believe the whole point of birth is life.
But let’s face it: The inescapable result of every birth is death. Baby Jessica, so full of potential, is headed for perdition unless she discovers the meaning of eternity.
Near the end of my short story, appearing as one of nine in Mosaic’s yuletide anthology Hope is Born, my character states very simply what she believes to be the whole point of it all. Of course, she doesn’t come to her realization easily; she remembers, she suffers, she harbors angst. But she doesn’t conclude, when all is said and done, that the reason for Christmas was for Jesus to live a good, healthy life that made its mark on a world honoring fame and fortune. She does, however, come to see the meaning of the Incarnation (an interesting word, with the root carne meaning “flesh”).
The Bible tells us the full story of the Incarnation, of course. The birth in Bethlehem of Jesus was different than Jessica’s, and not just because His “baby shower” featured gold, frankincense, and myrrh rather than dainties and teething toys. Yes, Jesus was the same as Jessica (and you and me) in elemental ways; for example, He was fully human with (I would guess) rosy cheeks, flawless skin, and a hearty cry. But He was also fully God, making Him completely unique, the “Great Unlike” who stooped down from Heaven to put on flesh, majesty humbled, deity become helpless babe (Phil. 2:6-8).
The differences between the births of Jesus and Jessica are so remarkable that at least a few must here be claimed:
- Jesus had no earthly father but was, as predicted, conceived through the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, and named Immanuel, “God with us” (Is. 7:10-14; Matt. 1:23-25);
- Jesus fulfilled 270 ancient prophesies, not the least His lineage, (Is. 11:1; Matt. 1:1ff) His birthplace (Mic. 5:2; Luke 2:1-7), and His death (Ps. 22:17-18; John 19:23);
- Jesus came to take away our sin and destroy the works of Satan (1 John 3:5, 8).
And unlike Jessica (or any other human being ever), Jesus was born for the sole purpose of dying. God the Father looked upon His creation and saw the violation of His holiness from the Garden of Eden onward (Rom. 3:10, 23). God the Son, sinless and undeserving, died on the cross in our place to pay for our sins (Rom. 5:8). When we trust in what only Christ was able to do, God in love causes us to be spiritually born (John 3:16).
Think about the baby shower the angels must throw in Heaven whenever someone here is born of God the Spirit (Luke 15:10)!
As my fictional character in the anthology says near the end of my little story: “The whole point of Christmas is Easter.”
The point of the manger is the cross. The point of Christ’s birth is His dying, and the point of His dying is His resurrection—giving up His life to raise us to life eternal (John 11:25-26). So this season, as the Christmas pageants and carols sing out the message “A child is born,” may our hearts ring out the true ending to the nativity story: “He is risen!”
Deb Elkink lives with her long-time husband in a cottage beside a babbling creek in rural Alberta, Canada. She grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and studied in Minneapolis–Saint Paul (B.A. Communications), publishing a dozen or so short stories and articles as a young adult. She spent the next twenty years as a rancher’s wife and homeschooling mom (rounding up cattle on horseback, cooking for huge branding crews, earning her private pilot’s license, readying kids for high school).
Graduate studies (M.A. Theology) then prepared her for editing a professional quarterly magazine, doctoral dissertations and scholarly articles, and an online expository Bible study. Today she writes and edits, travels like mad, drinks lots of creamy decaf with friends, and speaks to women’s groups about the Christian faith.
THE MOSAIC COLLECTION
Other Authors Featured in Hope Is Born
The Mosaic Collection is offering one of my readers an ebook copy of Hope Is Born + a $15 Amazon gift card! (Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What interests you most about Hope Is Born, by Deb Elkink et al? What spoke to you from Deb’s post?