In December, I set high ambitions, but my reading was light. Instead, I managed to pray the Office of Readings nearly every day. Having not had a regular habit for some time now, it was a success.
In December I read
Tremendous Trifles by G. K. Chesterton – this was absolutely wonderful. It is recommended as the book in which Chesterton defends Santa Claus. He does more than that. I read in a group post one woman wondering if they were missing out on the magic by not observing Santa practices and one mother ardently defended the potential magic of childhood even without Santa Claus. Santa is but one facet of a magical world. There are fairies who bring the morning dew and snowflakes, there are trolls rumbling under bridges, giants atop large mountains hurling down rocks when they feel angry. The poet can see the world alive, everything with a soul of its own, its own story to tell. It does not reduce man to one spiritual thing among many, it is not pantheism, but rather a world in which the supernatural lives in conjunction with the natural everywhere you look. It is not about an old man with magic generously giving in secret, it’s about the entire created world breathing and acting in ways we cannot perceive without senses, but to perceive them at all in all their potential is to see reality as it is really is.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – It never disappoints me, but still an odd reading experience.
I picked up and put down
The Sermons of St. Francis de Sales: Advent and Christmas by St. Francis de Sales – I tried. Maybe it is the translations. Maybe it is because I do not have a devotion to St. John the Baptist. I stopped during the Advent sermons. Maybe I’ll still give the Christmas ones a go.
Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens – I do not know. Perhaps I cannot read an author twice in a row. I did not make it far.
Currently on the docket
Work by Louisa May Alcott
Helena by Evelyn Waugh
A poem a night in 2019 beginning with poems by Elizabeth Barret Browning
Outside classic lit, are you looking for something shorter but still meaty?
Check out this piece I wrote for Mind & Spirit exploring why Americans tend to get so crazy about Christmas time but no other season, what it reveals about us, and how we can protect ourselves from that worse of -isms (according to Miracle on 34th Street), commercialism.
WHAT HOLIDAY MADNESS REVEALS ABOUT OUR LONGING FOR CELEBRATION
We try to anticipate what the new year will hold. Maybe resolutions would be better-called expectations. In this piece, I explore the idea of expectations in the New Year and how we might be better off if we loosen those up.
WANT TO MAKE GOD LAUGH? TELL HIM YOUR 2019 PLANS
Over at Blessed is She I shared about the Young Ladies Institute, an old-school Catholic Women’s Organization that just might have those community aspects we are looking for.
The Church in Daily Life through the Young Ladies’ Institute
Reading even farther back, I shared my thoughts on Grieving Together by Laura Kelly Fanucci and Franco David Fanucci. You can read about that here.
Grieving Together: A Couple’s Journey through Miscarriage
In book news, I’ve finished my first draft and begin the long editing process of my upcoming book, a devotional to support women who’ve received a prenatal diagnosis. As Marion Roach Smith introduced me to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch’s advice that to “murder your darlings.” Editing is a long and, sometimes, painstaking process. But it makes the writing come alive and if you still love the book after analyzing every word, it is ready for publication!
What are you reading and writing in 2019?
Any journaling plans? (My favorite is the 5-year-journal by Levenger)