A dear friend of mine, Jerusalem Greer, wrote a book that was published last spring called A Homemade Year.
It is a lovely book of of stories, photos, recipes and craft ideas for celebrating the Christian liturgical year.
The recipes and crafts are wonderfully practical for giving your family ideas for celebrating some of these traditional days, and the gorgeous images by her sister, Judea make the book beautiful, but the reason I love this book most is not the photos, the crafts or the recipes. I love it for the stories Jerusalem tells.
Like any good book, this is one you can curl up with in December. Jerusalem has invited you over for tea and coffee in her cozy kitchen, and I for one, was delighted to pull up a chair.
I assumed from the beginning that my favorite chapter would be the one about Michaelmas, a feast for Saint Michael the Archangel that falls at the beginning of autumn. I thought it would be my favorite because in it, Jerusalem tells the story of meeting a group of mothers one autumn of which I was a part. I still remember sitting by the creek that ran through a park a couple of afternoons a week while all our kids played after school. They were lazy autumn days filled with picnic blankets and bowls of fruit and pretzels. I miss those days a lot.
But my favorite story turned out to be the one Jerusalem tells about her mother the year her family moved to Alaska.
I can’t imagine why a story where a mother of four children endures the short days of a northern winter had any appeal for me.
The celebration in that chapter is Candlemas which is the end of Christmas, when all the wonder has come and gone. When Candlemas arrives, we are in the deep of winter, and we have to hold on to the light and hope of Christmas to press through the rest of the dark, cold mornings to Easter.
Lighting candles at the very end of the Christmas season when everything has gone dark is a tradition I am definitely going to begin this year.
And therein lies the beauty of A Homemade Year. You can take a tradition this year and leave it the next, or try a new recipe, or just open your heart to a new story. There are so many different ways you could use the pages of this book to enrich your family life and faith, but Jerusalem makes certain that you are free from feeling you have to do them all. No, she is a busy mama herself and she understands what it is like to already have too much to do. She is all grace as she invites you into her book of ideas, reminding you to take from it only what brings you joy.
I have saved this post for December because in the flurry of Holiday Gift Guides on the interwebs, I have to put in a word for books at Christmas. They are still my favorite gift to give or to receive, and this book would be a treasure for any family.
To celebrate Christmas on my blog, I have decided to give away one copy of A Homemade Year as a gift to you, my dear readers! I am so thankful for you, and because you come back again and again for my stories, I know you will love reading Jerusalem’s!
Happy Christmas, Friends!
This giveaway is open to anywhere Amazon delivers. So that’s pretty much everywhere, right? Just leave a comment to enter! Tell me a treasured Christmas tradition, or share a favorite holiday story!
(I will choose a winner on Friday and notify by email!)