It’s the most wonderful time of the year…except when stores are full of cranky shoppers.
Have a holly, jolly Christmas…until your oven goes on the fritz at 8:32am Christmas morning.
Silent night, holy night, all is calm…for brief moments between the last-minute school play costume emergency fixes, late-night teacher gifts assembly lines, and slipping out of bed just before you nod off to move the elf who needs to get up to new hijinks before morning.
I know I probably sound like the captain of Team Ba-Humbug, but let’s face it. The holidays, as truly wonderful as they are, can often feel overwhelming and hectic. Even though the comforting nostalgia of family traditions, seasonal music, and revisiting the Christmas story ultimately outweigh these stressors for me, it’s easy to feel a bit grinchy from time to time.
I love how books create an escape, but I also really appreciate stories that reflect what real life is like. Characters who struggle to remember the “reason for the season” amid everyday struggles. Unmagical plots that eventually turn out okay in the end, even if not perfectly tied up in a bow. Of course, as a contemporary romance writer, I do look for those happy endings, but not every couple gets an actual ride off into the sunset on a sleigh lined with jingle bells, do they?
In both Christmas novellas that I’ve written, I wanted to share with readers couples struggling to keep the faith during what’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year. In Somehow, This Christmas, wedding planner Cate and firefighter Noah are thrown one snowy curveball after another on their way to the altar. Not-so-merry mishaps (including an encounter between a very grinchy cat and Cate’s wedding dress!) as well as the pressure Cate feels to impress a wedding blogger, threaten both their nuptials and holiday spirit.
My newest novella, An Unscripted Christmas (in the Christmas in Mistletoe Square collection) tells the story of Ellie and Oliver, a couple married for thirty years. The holiday magic of the town, its people, and the annual Christmas play Oliver produces at their community theater may not be enough to erase the resentment that has settled between them. When they must face real hurt and disappointment, can they choose to see the good through the pain?
Both of these stories are uplifting and sweet, but they very much showcase the real struggles we each face no matter what time of year it is—even the most merry and bright. This year, I’m particularly thinking of a reader friend who is facing a scary surgery, an author friend still battling through recovery, and a fellow mama friend reeling from loss. But God…God sent Jesus to provide a way through it all. I pray the stories you read this Christmas and all year long point you to the hope and love of God when you need it most—during life’s grinchiest days and darkest nights.
May you also find some smiles and laughs among the pages of all books by us Inspy Romance writers. YOU are the reason we do what we do.
I’d like to give away a signed paperback copy of my novella Somehow, This Christmas, to one reader. Simply comment below telling me either your favorite part of the holiday season or share a way we can be in prayer for you during this time. Due to international shipping costs and restrictions, this giveaway is open to US readers only. Giveaway ends Monday, December 6.