12 Pearls of Christmas Day 1 ~ With Suzanne Woods Fisher

Welcome to
the 12 Pearls of

Enjoy these Christmas "Pearls of Wisdom" from some of today's most beloved writer's
(Tricia Goyer, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Shellie Rushing Tomlinson, Sibella Giorello and
more)! Please follow the series through Christmas day as each contributor shares heartfelt
stories of how God has touched a life during this most wonderful time of the year.

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A Christmas of Kindness

By Suzanne Woods Fisher

"You can give without loving, but you can¹t love without giving." Amish proverb

I do it every year.

I plan for a simpler, less stressful Christmas season and, every year, by Christmas EveŠ
I'm exhausted! After our delicious and very-time-consuming-to-make traditional Swedish
meal to honor my husband¹s relatives (think: Vikings), it's time to head to church. I'm
embarrassed to admit it, but the last few Christmas Eve's, I have sent my husband and
kids head off without me. The pull to spend an hour of quiet in the house feels as strong
as a magnet.

It's odd. My children are young adults now. Wouldn't you think that Christmas would be
simpler? Instead, it's just the opposite. Jugging schedules to share the grandbaby with the
in-laws, trying to include our elderly parents at the best time of day for them, dancing
carefully around recently divorced family members whose children are impacted by the
shards of broken relationships.

The thing is: you can simplify your to-do list, but you can't really simplify people. We are
just a complicated bunch.

Here's where I borrow a lesson about simplicity from the Amish. It's easy to get
distracted with the buggies and the bonnets and the beards, but there's so much more to
learn from these gentle people if you're willing to look a little deeper.

Yes, they live with less "stuff" and that does make for a simpler, less cluttered life. But
it's the reason behind it that is so compelling to me: they seek to create margin in their
life. Not just empty space‹ but space that is available to nourish family, community, and
faith. Their Christmas is far less elaborate than yours or mine, but what they do fill it with
is so right.

Christmas comes quietly on an Amish farmhouse. There is no outward sign of the
holiday as we know it: no bright decorations, no big tree in the living room corner. A few
modest gifts are waiting for children at their breakfast place settings, covered by a
dishtowel. Waiting first for Dad to read the story of Christ's birth from the book of Luke.
Waiting until after a special breakfast has been enjoyed. Waiting until Mom and Dad give
the signal that the time has come for gifts.

Later, if Christmas doesn't fall on a Sunday, extended family and friends will gather for
another big meal. If time and weather permits, the late afternoon will be filled with ice
skating or sledding. And more food! Always, always an abundance of good food. Faith,
family, and community. That is the focus of an Amish Christmas.

And it's also how the story begins for A Lancaster County Christmas, as a young
family prepares for Christmas. A winter storm blows a non-Amish couple, Jaime and C.J.
Fitzpatrick, off-course and into the Riehl farmhouse. An unlikely and tentative friendship
develops, until the one thing Mattie and Sol hold most dear disappears and thenŠ Ah, but
you¹ll just have to read the story to find out what happens next. Without giving anything

away, I will say that I want to create a Mattie-inspired margin this Christmas season.
Mattie knew inconveniences and interruptions that come in the form of people (big ones
and little ones!) are ordained by God. And blessed by God.

Creating margin probably means that I won't get Christmas cards out until the end of
January, and my house won't be uber-decorated. After all, something has to give. But
it will mean I make time for a leisurely visit with my dad at his Alzheimer's facility.
And time to volunteer in the church nursery for a holiday-crowded event. And time to
invite a new neighbor over for coffee. Hopefully, it will mean that my energy won't get
diverted by a frantic, self-imposed agenda. Only by God's agenda‹ the essence of true

And that includes taking time to worship Christ's coming at the Christmas Eve service.
You can hold me accountable! This year, I will be there.

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of The Choice, The Waiting, The
Search, and The Keeper, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including
Amish Peace. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her
grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist
Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Christy Award
nominee and is the host of an internet radio show called Amish Wisdom and
her work has appeared in many magazines. She lives in California.

Faye : I reviewed Ms. Fisher's book A Lancaster County Christmas awhile back, so if you care to read my review click HERE.

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