Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lora Young | Spread the Christmas Joy

Do you have any Scrooges in your family? You know, the person who just doesn’t seem to get into the spirit of Christmas?

They dread December and avoid shopping malls like the plague.

Christmas music drives them batty.

They refuse to decorate for Christmas. At least, they don’t decorate the way the rest of the world does.

Sound familiar?

Yeah, me too. Only the Scrooge in my family is me!
It isn’t that I don’t love Christmas. After all, what Christian wouldn’t love the celebration of our Saviour’s birth? (Yes, I use the British spelling. Why? Because I like it. J )

I just don’t love all the stuff that goes with that celebration.

The torment over gift buying.

The self-control necessary to avoid massive weight gains.

The Christmas music that starts right after back-to-school. (Well…maybe not that early, but it certainly feels like it.)


For the first several years of our marriage, we lived in small places. Just me and my husband. We’d go to his folks’ for Christmas Day. Perfect. I didn’t have to decorate. We had no room for a tree anyway.

Once a bigger house and children came along, I knew I had to push through. I had no more excuses, and I needed to do it for the kids. So, I decorated. I baked hundreds of Christmas cookies. The kids would go out with my husband to cut a juniper from the back of our land. My family created numerous meaningful Christmas traditions. For a long time, it worked. I was able to push the sadness aside and truly celebrate.

One year, however, I was struggling big-time. I put in countless hours a day homeschooling, volunteering, and generally, keeping the wheels on our little family. The kids were all around junior high age. I was in the throes of perimenopause. Very emotional. Very tired. I’d put out the bare minimum decorations, but we hadn’t gotten the tree yet. My kids had been badgering me for over a week.

I simply didn’t have the emotional energy to do all that work for only a few days’ reward. By Christmas Eve, we still didn’t have a tree. Guilt plagued me, but I was too weary. It was all I could do to finish Christmas shopping.

I was at the mall, passing one of those Christmas junk stores, when my eyes lit upon the answer. A four-foot Mylar balloon shaped like a Christmas tree. It was on sale for eight dollars! Thank you, Jesus!

I bought it and plopped it down in the midst of the presents. “There! There’s your Christmas tree.”

My husband laughed.

The kids were livid!

That is, until their friends learned what kind of tree we had. My children got responses like, “You’ve got the coolest mom ever.” “Wish we could do that.”

Suddenly, the Mylar Christmas tree was a hit!

I’m not proud of the snippy way I acted about that Christmas tree, but God, through his mercy, turned a lousy Christmas into a fun family memory.

As women, we can’t always perfectly control our moods—hormones play a large part in how we respond to life. What we can do is trust. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 NASB

Fifteen years later, we still have that silly balloon and have used it several times instead of a real tree.

Anyone willing to share their most unusual Christmas tree?

 Lora Young has never lived outside the state of Missouri. She grew up reading the Little House books and Trixie Belden mysteries, so it makes sense that her first novel would be an historical mystery set in Missouri.

Lora lives in rural Platte County with her husband, four cats, and the constant interruption of her children and grandchildren. She enjoys riding her tadpole recumbent, ballroom dancing, and making stuff up.

She is a member of the Kansas City West chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Her most annoying trait is the one she needs the most.

Delia Eastman returns home from teachers’ college with two goals: find a teaching position and sidestep her mother’s insistence on finding her a husband. But employers don’t care for women who are smarter than they. Neither do suitors. As she struggles to find her place, she discovers her sleepy riverboat town has turned into a powder-keg of rivalry between the steamships and the railroads.

Increasingly violent vandalism on the railroad brings her face-to-face with Endy Webster, a handsome trainmaster whose investigation into the crimes leads him to the door of a prominent steamship owner—Delia’s father.

As Delia tries to clear her father’s name, she keeps tangling with Endy. He’s intelligent. He’s charming. And he’s guarding secrets. Thinking he might know more than he’s telling, Delia reluctantly agrees to collaborate with him to solve the crimes. With the vandalism becoming deadly, they’ll need every scrap of intelligence and logic to stay alive. Working together may not be their first choice, but it might be their last.

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