Thursday, December 21, 2017

Cozy Christmas Reads: Cynthia's story

Christmas in the Midst of Crisis
A guest post by Cynthia Ruchti

It’s impossible to approach Christmas apart from what’s going on in our lives—good and bad. But the wonder is that Christmas is God’s answer to what we’re facing.

Do some Christmas memories bite into your soul like the springs of a worn-out chair in need of restoration?

· An uncle refuses to come to the holiday celebration if his brother will be there.

· Christmas celebrating has lost its luster in light of the medical crisis the family’s facing?

· Memories won’t be the same in the assisted living center that now substitutes for the family home that once served as the gathering spot?

· Unforgiveness is an unwelcome guest at every holiday meal?

· As in “The Heart’s Harbor” in A Door County Christmas, the relationship you thought was solid has disintegrated?

· Imagine how Christmas festivities with a sweet Babe in a manger would feel to a couple who’s lost a child that year.

· How offensive Christmas lights must feel to someone whose world is darkened with depression.

· Television commercials about loving families gathered around a feast spread on the table before them must grate on those without a family or food or shelter, or whose family is estranged or bickering or missing a loved one.

We all know people who dread the holidays, who cringe at the mention that Christmas is coming. Many don’t necessarily approach Christmas with uninterrupted joy and unshadowed peace, with excitement and anticipation and an overflow of love.

All around us are people who are broken, worn-out, run-down, in need of repair, gouged by life’s injustices and injuries, faded, unprotected, uncared for, missing something vital…

What was really happening in the region around Bethlehem when Jesus appeared on the scene?

Jesus was born into a political firestorm that threatened the lives of babies like Him and sent waves of fear through their parents. Herod was ordering the murder of baby boys two years and under. Travel was hard and fraught with danger. Thieves abounded. Racial tension. Family heartaches. Financial difficulties exacerbated by taxation. Homelessness. The world had been waiting for answers to prayer for hundreds, thousands of years.

The same kind of chaos we see around us now.

The Christmas card Bethlehem picture doesn’t show the armed guards, the fear, the hopelessness.

But that’s exactly why Jesus came. Because the world—and we—are a mess without Him.

In “The Heart’s Harbor” novella that kicks off the A Door County Christmas novella collection, Amanda is reeling from the realization of how hollow that Christmas promised to be for her. But although drafted into a task for which she felt ill-suited—coordinating the legendary Christmas Tea for the Heart’s Harbor Inn—she soon found that it was in serving that she got her feet underneath her again. And that finding someone with whom she could serve side-by-side filled a gaping hole. The crisis of her Christmas disappeared as she served others and turned her attention away from her heartache to the needs around her. Discovering someone else who joined her in that adventure was an unexpected Christmas gift.

So much about the first Christmas was unexpected. The world had waited so long for a redeemer. Until Christ was born, hope was a promise, but an intangible. We humans have always had trouble with intangibles in our relationships.

SHOW me you love me.

SHOW me I can trust you.

SHOW me you care.

It’s been the same in our relationship with God. We listen to His Words, hear His stories, understand His truths. But the arrival of Jesus on the scene was, in a way, God’s response to a world that cries out, “SHOW me!”

Hope was born in a tangible way at Christmas.

Jesus’s birth proved once again that God keeps His promises—all of His promises. Hope soars when we grasp that concept. Life can be hard, harsh, hurtful, but still hope-hemmed.

The Christmas story we’ve come to embrace and honor isn’t rooted in applauding winter or venerating a generous St. Nicholas. Its foundation is an historic moment—when God became Man and dwelt among us. It’s recorded for us in Luke chapter two in the Bible. But more than that, it’s imprinted on our grateful hearts.

Author bio:

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed-in-hope through award-winning novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and through speaking events for women and writers. 

She is the professional relations liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers, connecting the organization with retailers, libraries, book clubs, and readers. 

Cynthia and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five (to date) grandchildren. 

Blurb for Cynthia's story "The Heart's Harbor" in A Door County Christmas:

Amanda Brooks retreats to picturesque Egg Harbor in Door County, Wisconsin, to escape an empty holiday season in her Chicago apartment. Peace on earth is what she needs but instead finds herself in charge of the Heart's Harbor Victorian Inn and its legendary Christmas Tea. Quirky guests, a bare-bones budget, an antisocial puppy, matchmaking owner, and the innkeeper's match-resistant son, Jordan, deepen Amanda's doubts that Christmas and love have anything in common.

Connect with Cynthia:
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  1. we have saved up money over the year that we give to our pastor at church to give to someone or a family that is in a desperate place and could use some cash to help them out
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

  2. Love A Door County Christmas!! :-) Merry Christmas! and also, love stories by Cynthia Ruchti. :-)

  3. For someone who is hurting at Christmas and at any time, I can listen to them. There are times when people just need a listening ear.


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