Growing up in Wisconsin, Christmas had snow. Usually, plenty of it. The cold air froze nose hair, and fingers and toes stung. Seldom, if ever, do I recall a Christmas without snow on the ground.
Kim and I lived in California for eleven years. No snow in Southern California or where we lived. I remember one year Kim and I took a walk in jeans and a sweatshirt just before the Wisconsin Badgers played a bowl game. One year, we grilled out and swam in the pool. Tough to conjure up thoughts of Christmas in a bathing suit.
We live in Virginia now, and a few times we had snow. One year, it snowed enough to shut down everything for almost a week. This year? It’s been gray and rainy. A few days, we had chilly weather, but not cold weather- at least by Wisconsin standards.
Kim, Emily and I decorated our house for the season. We’ve done most of our shopping, and the wrapping- I dread that part- awaits. Driving through our neighborhood, houses are decorated with Santas, reindeer, and snowmen. Some have Charlie Brown characters or other animations. Nothing like Clark Griswold. But pretty.
This week, Hannah and her new husband, Alex, will drive up to be with us. Emily arrives tonight or tomorrow, and her boyfriend will show up a bit later in the week. We’ll have our Christmas meal and open presents, laugh and play games, tell stories and laugh some more. There will be quiet moments and reading and naps, watching shows and movies. All comfortable and cozy.
Tough right now, I suppose, to get into the feeling of Christmas. No snow. Mild weather. Kind of gray and gloomy. No snow.
But I remind myself what Christmas is about. God on high sent his Son to the world, to us, as a gift. An ultimate gift. He shared his own being with us.
We as fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, give gifts out of love, not obligation. It is the act of giving that is important. The spirit with which we give, the reason we give, that is important. It isn’t the size of the stack of presents under the tree. It isn’t the number of presents we receive. It is the fact that someone thought enough of us to give us something we may have wanted, or dreamed about, or wished for.
And my thoughts drift to those moms and dads who can’t provide nearly enough, who can’t give what they would like to their sons and daughters because they lack. Yet, with breaking heart and hurt so deep, they too love their kids and want more for them than they have to give. But I know from my own background that those children will love whatever is given to them, because it was done out of love for them. They might not see the hurt their parents wear or feel the pain their parents shed. It is there, but in that moment of unwrapping a gift of love, it is love that is felt.
Christmas isn’t about tinsel or snow or colored lights. It isn’t about ornaments or lawn decorations.
Christmas is about giving and loving. Christmas is about making someone else happy. Christmas is about sharing and laughing and storytelling. It is about comfort in silence and hugs and kisses. Christmas is about being near to those who love you and being near to those who you love. That’s what Christmas is about. It began with the Father and the gift of his Son. It continues with each of us in our own way and in our own tradition. Something to think about . . .
From the Lewis Family:
Joe, Kim, Wil (deceased) and Maria, Alex and Hannah, Emily and Q,
we wish you a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season.
As always, Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
A Goodreads Giveaway for my new book, Blaze In, Blaze Out Began Friday, December 17 and will finish at 11:59 PM PT on Saturday, January 15. My Publisher, Black Rose Writing and I are giving away 5 copies to Goodreads members in U.S. To Enter the Giveaway, use this Link:
I am pleased to announce that my book, Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy, has been named a Crime Thriller finalist in the 2021 Best Thriller Book Awards! That is the second award Stolen Lives has won. Previously, it received a Literary Titan Gold Book Award. I’m happy, as well as humbled, that there has been success with Stolen Lives.
Connect with me on Social Media:
Author Website: www.jrlewisauthor.blog/
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
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Amazon at: www.amazon.com/Joseph-Lewis/e/B01FWB9AOI /
Blaze In, Blaze Out, is available for preorder until 1-6-22. Save 15% by using the promo code: PREORDER2021 it at my publisher’s website at: https://www.blackrosewriting.com/mystery/blazeinblazeout
Eiselmann and O’Connor thought the conviction of Dmitry Andruko meant the end. They forgot that revenge knows no boundaries, vindictiveness knows no restraints, and ruthlessness never worries about collateral damage. A target is a target, and in the end, the target will die.
Betrayed: A PenCraft 1st Place Winner for Thriller-Fiction! A Maxy Award Runner-Up for Mystery/Suspense! A Literary Titan Silver Book Award Winner! A Reader’s Ready Recommended Read Award Winner! A Reader’s Favorite Honorable Mention Award Winner for Fiction-Crime-Mystery!
Betrayed is Now Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! https://amzn.to/3AfUUpS
late-night phone call, a missing kid, a murdered family, but no one is talking.
A promise is made and kept, but it could mean the death of a fifteen-year-old
boy. Seeing is not believing. No one can be trusted, and the hunters become the
Spiral Into Darkness: Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent, and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, do not know they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm
Caught in a Web: A PenCraft Literary Award Winner! Named “One of the Best Thrillers of 2018!” by BestThrillers.com
Caught in a Web is also Available in Audio Book, Kindle and Paperback! http://bit.ly/2WO3kka
found the bodies of high school and middle school kids dead from an overdose of
heroin and fentanyl. MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador,
controls the drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors. They send Ricardo
Fuentes to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach
them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old
boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer. Detectives
Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the
drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else,
especially George or members of his family. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696
The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they live in separate parts of the country, the lives of Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their futures grow dark as each search for a way out. https://amzn.to/34nXBH5
Book One, Stolen Lives: Editor’s Pick by BestThrillers! Literary Titan Gold Book Award Winner!
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they will end up like the other kids they found- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. To make the investigation that much tougher, Kelliher suspects that one of his team members might be involved. https://amzn.to/3oMo4qZ
Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
The boys are home, but now they have to fit back in with their families and friends. Their parents and the FBI thought the boys were safe. They were until people began dying. Now the hunt is on for six dangerous and desperate men who vow revenge. With no leads and nothing to go on, the FBI can only sit back and wait. A dangerous game that threatens not only the boys, but their families. https://amzn.to/2RAYIk2
Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
Three dangerous men with nothing to lose offer a handsome reward to anyone willing to kill fourteen-year-old Brett McGovern. He does not know that he, his younger brother, and a friend are targets. More than anyone, these three men vow to kill George, whom they blame for forcing them to run and hide. A fun vacation turns into a nightmare and ends where it started, back on the Navajo Nation Reservation, high on a mesa held sacred by George and his grandfather. Outnumbered and outgunned, George will make the ultimate sacrifice to protect his adoptive father and his adoptive brothers- but can he? Without knowing who these men are? Or where they are? Without knowing whom to trust? Is he prepared for betrayal that leads to his heartbreak and death? http://bit.ly/SplinteredLives
Photo courtesy of Linda Arney and Linda Arney Photography.