Monday, December 5, 2016

12 Books of Christmas: REVISING CHRISTMAS EXPECTATIONS by Marie Wells Coutu

Marie Wells Coutu's Mended Vessels series
brings biblical stories into a contemporary
setting. Look for her newest, A SECRET HEART,
coming in February, and learn more about
Marie at her author page at
Christmas traditions when you’re growing up aren’t always what you end up with as a grown-up. And your own traditions change as your own children grow up and move out.

In our early marriage, some years we spent the Christmas holiday with one or the other family, but most years, we didn’t have enough time off from work to travel, so we developed our own tradition. We would read the Christmas story, open presents, have a small dinner, and read or play card games the rest of the day (we didn’t even own a television back then).

When we had children, of course, that changed somewhat. Opening gifts became a bigger deal, and playing with them and their new toys consumed more of the day. In the days leading up to Christmas, we spent a lot of time decorating the house—inside and out. My husband often played Santa Claus for various events. And every few years, we managed a trip to the grandparents for the holiday—which changed everything. More people, more food, more gifts, and more celebration.

Now our traditions have changed once again. A few years ago, with both children married and living a thousand miles away, getting together became more challenging. My son’s job kept him extremely busy during Christmas, and we began a custom of getting together at Thanksgiving and exchanging Christmas presents early. We still had a large tree, but when the kids weren’t coming to our house, the decorations became simpler.

Circumstances have changed again. We live only about four hours from each of our kids, but we have no desire to stay in snowy Iowa or Minnesota until the end of December. So even though job situations are different now, we continue our celebration at Thanksgiving, then my husband and I make like snowbirds and head south.

Again, our actual Christmas Day is observed with just the two of us. Because we celebrate in two different locations, we’ve become minimalist in our approach to decorating for Christmas. We attend the Christmas Eve service at our church, and go to a potluck dinner with other snowbirds. We’ve heard of some families who take a tiny tree to the beach to open their presents. But we’ll probably continue to spend Christmas morning with just the two of us, reading the Christmas story, opening a couple of presents that we’ve saved for that day, and feeling blessed to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Because, no matter what the tradition or what the day’s activities, we don’t want to forget the reason we celebrate.

About the Author:

Marie Wells Coutu claims she has been writing all her life. Through story, she hopes to inspire women to find God's purpose for their lives regardless of where they've been or what they've done.

A writer and editor for newspapers, magazines, nonfiction books, and government agencies, she has edited devotionals and other books published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

Learn more about Marie and all of her books at her author page on the Write Integrity Press website:

White Fruit Cake:
(makes 2 small loaf cakes)

Lots of people joke about fruit cake at Christmas, but this recipe is soft and tasty. My mother always made several to give away and my husband loves it.
FOR SUCH A MOMENT is the first
book in Marie's Mended Vessels series
and is available in print and e-book at

2 sticks butter or margarine
1 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 oz. lemon extract
2 c. flour
¼ t. salt
½ t. baking powder
½ lb. candied cherries
½ lb. candied pineapple
½ lb. pecans

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Chop up fruit. Cream butter and sugar well in separate bowl. Add eggs one at a time to butter and sugar. Beat well after adding each egg. Add other ingredients in order given. Pour into two greased and floured loaf pans. Bake very slowly at about 250 degrees for 2 hours or more, until toothpick in center comes out clean.

12 Books of Christmas: 

You can win a copy of Marie's book, FOR SUCH A MOMENT, as part of our 12 Books of Christmas contest. Leave a comment below with your email address (US residents only). Your email address will also be added to our monthly newsletter list. (Unsubscribe anytime.) While you're commenting, share your favorite holiday drink. Is it cocoa, wassail, eggnog, something else?


Shirley Crowder said...

Marie, thank you for sharing. I'm grateful that even though our circumstances and surroundings change, our God never does!

Two Scripture passages come to mind:
"This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast ...." (Hebrews 6:19a)
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8)

Marie Wells Coutu said...

Yes, Shirley. Those are wonderful verses for anytime of the year! Thanks for commenting.

Unknown said...

These sound like wonderful books. The recipes are also something I will try. Thanks for the opportunity to win so many books.