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A Heart For Home: Book Review & Giveaway: Celebrate with Joy {closed}

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Book Review & Giveaway: Celebrate with Joy {closed}

Today I'm going to share with you a wonderful book I recently received that will hopefully help to transform our family's Christmas celebrations. Make sure you stick around until the end, because one of our readers will also receive a copy of this book to read and mull over throughout the coming year.

When I contacted Sondra, author of Celebrate with Joy, I told her that I am "hoping to get an early start (in planning our family's activities for next Christmas) this year while the hectic rush of this past Christmas is still throbbing in my head and weighing on my heart."

It's true. This past Christmas whirled past us in a frenzy of gift making, final exams, and traveling to see family. It wasn't until Christmas morning that we sat down and tried to focus our thoughts on the reason for the season, Jesus himself. Needless to say, this was a nearly impossible feat.

Sondra actually believes January is perfect time to begin thinking about next year. Maybe this past Christmas left you disappointed by its lack of meaning. Perhaps this year was more special as you focused your celebrations more on Christ, and this freshness has inspired you to add even more meaning to your celebrations. Either way, now is the perfect time to begin thinking and preparing for next year, while the memories of Christmas are still fresh in your mind and heart.

When I first read about Sondra's book at Keeper of the Home, I knew it was just what I needed to help guide and prepare my mind for a more meaningful Christmas season this coming year.

As a mom, I have the huge responsibility of setting the tone for my children and quite often for my entire home, so it's important that I spend time pondering and preparing for this wonderful time of year.

As Sondra writes,
"What is Christmas? It is not a winter festival. It is not the inevitable annual energy drain. It is not a few holidays to give us a break. It is not a time to fill our children's heads with "visions of sugar plums."

Christmas is a season of holy days (the original meaning of "holidays"), filled with rich symbolism. It is a many sided object lesson using the Symbols of the Season to give us glimpses of heaven's glory. It is a time to fill our children's heads with "visions of God's incomparable Gift." Christmas is profound truth wrapped in plain packages.

What are some of these profound truths? Eternity in an infant. Heaven's bridge in a baby. The God-man in a manger. Every man's hope wrapped in homespun handiwork. Enough material for a lifetime of meditation."
Sondra's book is packed full of wonderful ways to focus on Christ throughout the Christmas season, from Advent activities, to finding Christ in the Symbols of the Season, examining Traditions for symbols of God, and celebrating the twelve days of Christmas that lead to the night of Epiphany on January 6th.

Already, I've gleaned many helpful suggestions and ideas from this wonderful resource.

Here are a few ideas that we'd like to incorporate into our celebration of Christ's birth this coming year.

:: Daily Advent devotions through the month of December (we'll be focusing on some of the many names of Jesus)

:: Make a names of Jesus garland to go along with the name we learn about each night

:: Send out Advent cards before December 1st with a message of how Jesus is the Light of the World (the first of his names we'll be studying), a birthday candle to symbolize light, and a short description of our advent activities (I ordered blank FREE Christmas photo cards to which we'll attach a printed card stock note)

:: Make a nativity version of an Advent calendar- one new fridge magnet each day during the week leading up to Christmas (a stable, Mary and Joseph, wise men, sheep, etc.) until Jesus arrives on Christmas day! (We'll make the magnets by attaching a set of nativity stickers to magnetic paper.) This is very portable since we'll be traveling at Christmas time.

:: Decorate a small box to collect Christmas cards we receive from family and friends. Choose a different card each morning at breakfast (or dinner, depending on Tim's school schedule) and say a special prayer for that person or family.

:: Gather for a time of prayer on Christmas morning thanking God for sending Jesus

:: Set aside time in January for a few "thank you parties" where our family will write and address thank you cards for the gifts and kindnesses shown to us during the holidays (We'll be keeping an eye out for free photo cards before Christmas)

Actually, there are many more activities that I'd love to incorporate. However, I know during this time of life, with many young children, I could very easily get overwhelmed with activities and completely miss the point of making Christmas CHRIST-centered. So for now, I'll focus on preparing for these activities well and trust that God will bless my efforts, no matter how small. Having a plan in place will definitely help keep us on track and in the right frame of mind.

Won't you join us by deciding to take back Christmas for Christ? Begin thinking now about how you can add more meaning to your Christmas celebrations.

Buy It:
You can purchase your own copy of Celebrate with Joy: Transform Your Christmas Season, by Sondra Burnett here for only $19.95 in the U.S. or $24.95 in Canada. These prices include postage.

Win It:
Sondra has also graciously offered a copy of her book to one of our readers (U.S. Entries only).

To Enter This Giveaway:

Mandatory
1. Head over to The Joy Book Company and read some more about Sondra's book. Then come back here and leave a comment telling us why you would like to read this book.



Make sure you leave an email address with each entry if it is not posted in your profile.
(If we don't have your email address we will have to choose a new winner.)

For additional entries you may do any (or all) of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each entry. If you complete one of the following that is worth more than one entry, please leave the corresponding number of comments so your extra entries will be counted!

For ONE Additional Entry EACH

2. Leave a comment telling us about a Christmas activity that helps keep you or your family focused on Christ. (1 entry)


3. Follow our blog publicly through Google Friend or subscribe using a reader (1 entry)



4. Follow us through Twitter ~ leave your twitter ID in your comment (1 entry)

5. Tweet about this giveaway ~ leave the URL to your tweet & include @heart4home & #Giveaway. (1 entry) Feel free to use this tweet: Win Celebrate with Joy and make next Christmas more meaningful @heart4home #Giveaway http://tinyurl.com/yeglwdx (Ends 2/19) Please RT

6. Spread the news about this giveaway on Facebook (1 entry)

For TWO Additional Entries EACH

7. Place our blog button on your blog (copy the code from the box in our left sidebar) ~ leave the URL & let us know where we can find it (2 entries)

For THREE Additional Entries

8. Post about and link to this giveaway on your blog ~ leave the Permalink to your post (3 entries)

Giveaway will end at 11:59 EST on February 19, 2010. Open to US residents only. Winner will be chosen using a random number generator. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond before we choose a new winner.

Make sure you leave a way for us to contact you.

Photo Credit: The Joy Book Company

(While Celebrate with Joy was provided to A Heart for Home for review, no other compensation was given. All remarks are the personal and honest opinions of A Heart for Home)

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44 Comments:

Blogger Jennifer said...

I want to read this book because if gives a range of ideas to help observed Christ's birth dealing with young kids to even adults. How to get them involved and understand giving to others.

January 28, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

My little ones go to a nursery school that performs a concert for the parents thats very focused on
Christ.

January 28, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I follow via google friend connect

January 28, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I follow you on Twitter (@jkgorcery)

January 28, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I tweeted: https://twitter.com/jkgorcery/status/8346912508

January 28, 2010 at 8:38 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I have your button in my blog #1: http://whateverandbeyond.blogspot.com

January 28, 2010 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I have your button in my blog #2: http://whateverandbeyond.blogspot.com

January 28, 2010 at 8:39 PM  
Blogger Marci said...

I would love to read this book and share it with my friends because we are always looking for new ways to celebrate holidays with our kids and make new traditions. Thanks!
june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

January 29, 2010 at 1:32 PM  
Blogger Marci said...

We do Operation Shoebox. It reminds us that other children in the world are less fortunate and deserve love at Christmas time. We always put in items that have Christian values. It reminds us to show Christian love with our giving.
june_spirit2628 at hotmail dot com

January 29, 2010 at 1:33 PM  
Blogger Linda Kish said...

The book gives ideas of things one may not think of that will place the focus of the season on Jesus, not toys and things.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

January 29, 2010 at 8:24 PM  
Blogger Aik said...

I'd like to read this book because it sounds very inspiring. Thanks!

aikychien at yahoo dot com

January 30, 2010 at 9:40 AM  
Blogger Aik said...

Follow @aikchien

aikychien at yahoo dot com

January 30, 2010 at 9:41 AM  
Blogger Aik said...

Tweeted:

http://twitter.com/aikchien/status/8413087553

aikychien at yahoo dot com

January 30, 2010 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Linzi said...

We just added a beautiful baby girl, Juniper, to our family and I have been looking for traditions and activities to add to our Christmas season to make it special and focused on Christ. I would LOVE this book!

I follow you and have added your button to my blog.

http://lindsaysmommymusings.blogspot.com/

lindsayrpeterson@yahoo.com

January 30, 2010 at 12:29 PM  
Blogger Michele said...

Next year I want to do a Jesse Tree with my 3 yr old. I'm excited to do that and start a new tradition.
Michele
cheled77 at hotmail dot com

January 30, 2010 at 9:27 PM  
Anonymous Megret said...

We're always trying to teach gratitude to our children -- this book offers tips for that, too -- I'd love to read it!
Megret
musesofmegret (at) gmail (dot) com

January 31, 2010 at 11:32 AM  
Blogger Joshlin said...

I would like this book to read for myself. I have been on a jurney to become closer to God and this book would help. I also would like to read more about the crafts and how to help my son better understand Christmas.
Thank you for this giveaway!
savingmomssanity at gmail dot com

January 31, 2010 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger Joshlin said...

One of the activities we do is for me and my son to make a special birthday cake for Jesus. It helps him to remember and understand what Christmas means.
savingmomssanity at gmail dot com

January 31, 2010 at 5:09 PM  
Blogger Chip said...

It's so easy to get caught up with the excitement of Santa that it would be great to have a resource for helping to bring the importance of the season to the forefront.

chipdip2010(at)hotmail(dot)com

February 1, 2010 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger cstironkat said...

I would love to incorporate the joy of giving and teach it to the kids.

February 4, 2010 at 11:54 PM  
Blogger cstironkat said...

To keep the Christmas season focused on Christ we go to church and we give to the family our church adopts each year.

February 5, 2010 at 12:00 AM  
Blogger cstironkat said...

I tweeted http://twitter.com/cstironkat

February 5, 2010 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I like the idea of incorporating the names of Jesus into daily devotions!

February 5, 2010 at 3:53 PM  
Blogger ColleenMarie82 said...

I like the Creative alternatives for Santa Claus
that the book talks about.

inman@Mobap.edu

February 6, 2010 at 4:51 PM  
Blogger ColleenMarie82 said...

We set up nativitys and talk about baby Jesus.

inman@mobap.edu

February 6, 2010 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger ColleenMarie82 said...

I follow

inman@mobap.edu

February 6, 2010 at 4:52 PM  
Blogger ColleenMarie82 said...

I follow on Twitter as Halleelujahmom

inman@mobap.edu

February 6, 2010 at 4:53 PM  
Blogger ColleenMarie82 said...

Tweet

http://twitter.com/HalleelujahMom/status/8737821251

inman@mobap.edu

February 6, 2010 at 4:53 PM  
Anonymous judyyy said...

I like that it teaches your children to be grateful givers.
judyylee@hotmail.com

February 9, 2010 at 11:10 AM  
Anonymous judyyy said...

We always go to the Christmas programs and services at Church and that keeps us centered on the real meaning of Christmas.
judyylee@hotmail.com

February 9, 2010 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

I went to her site and think it all sounds perfect! But if I had to pick one thing that sounds neatest it's the names of Jesus object lessons.

Thanks,
Monica

February 11, 2010 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

I follow your blog through google.

~Monica

February 11, 2010 at 12:15 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

We memorize bible verses all through the year and never pay our kids or reward them for it. However, during advent, we make what we call the Jesus Box - a wrapped box with a slit in the lid. For every verse the kids memorize during advent we put a certain amount of money in the box. Then on Christmas day they get to open it and see how much they earned. They can then choose whatever they want to spend it on out of the World Vision catalog or Samaritan's Purse catalog (like chickens for a family or mosquito nets, water purifiers, etc.). It's great because it fires them up about memory verses again and they spend time during advent browsing the catalog and learning about the needs of less fortunate people. Then they get to actually give it away. We all love it.

Monica

February 11, 2010 at 12:19 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Your button is on my blog: http://pennythoughts-monica.blogspot.com/

On the right hand side.
~Monica

February 11, 2010 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Entry number 2 for...
Your button is on my blog: http://pennythoughts-monica.blogspot.com/

On the right hand side.
~Monica

February 11, 2010 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Marianna said...

I'd love to read this book. I was raised in a very religious and Christian home and unfortunately have drifted away from that in my own home and my childrens' celebrations of holidays and events. I think this would help us learn new ways and make new traditions of celebrating the true reason for the holiday season. Thanks for the chance
mannasweeps (at) gmail DOT com

February 17, 2010 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Marianna said...

I follow your blog on google friend connect
mannasweeps (at) gmail DOT com

February 17, 2010 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Marianna said...

I follow you on twitter @mannabsn

February 17, 2010 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Marianna said...

tweet
http://twitter.com/mannabsn/status/9262009421

February 17, 2010 at 8:43 PM  
Blogger Winning Readings said...

We did a Jesse tree last year for the first time - I love the advent idea - and I'm always looking for more ideas to teach my child about Christ, and giving.

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings: http://winningreadings.blogspot.com/2010/02/celebrate-with-joy.html

February 19, 2010 at 1:19 AM  
Blogger Abi said...

We love doing crafts. Thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

February 20, 2010 at 9:33 AM  
Blogger Benita said...

I'd like to read this book because the emphasis is on the religious reasons and ways to celebrate. Very often the secular takes over and religion is forgotten.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

February 20, 2010 at 12:11 PM  
Blogger Benita said...

One thing we do as a family to keep focused on Christ is to go to church.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

February 20, 2010 at 12:13 PM  
Blogger Benita said...

I follow via GFC.

bgcchs(at)yahoo(dot)com

February 20, 2010 at 12:13 PM  

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