Christmas isn't over. It's a 12-day celebration that ends Jan. 6 with the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day â the day, in some cultures, when the Christmas gifts are distributed.
My suggestion is to rewrite that old Christmas carol and give meaningful gifts to yourself throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas (purchased at Christian bookstores, which need your business). These gifts are particularly meaningful in the wake of Newtown.
Let's start with five books. âBoundariesâ is a classic, written by two Christian psychologists, doctors Henry Cloud and John Townsend. It tells you how and why to set limits in relationships and bring order out of personal chaos.
âWaking the Deadâ by John Eldredge examines how we have become brain dead and heart dead about spiritual issues. âLife of the Belovedâ by the late Henri J.M. Nouwen, is a brilliant, brief treatise on who we are in God's eyes.
The title of John Ortberg's book âEverybody's Normal Til You Get to Know Themâ says it all. In âTraveling Light,â Max Lucado sees, in the 23rd Psalm, the roots of our hurting lives and how to end that pain.
Try music for gifts six through nine. Occasionally, Christian music gently challenges one's perceptions of the world. I'm partial to anything by Audrey Assad (6), Jason Gray (7), or Andrew Peterson (8), and one very special album, âWhatever Befall,â by Maeve (9).
Lastly, 10 through 12, give yourself the gift of giving. Various Web sites let you buy everything from a goat or crop seed to a home water-filtration system for use in the Third World, or to provide for the needy at home. Among those doing good work are World Vision , Compassion International , Feed the Children , Love 146 , the Salvation Army , St. Francis Friends of the Poor , World ReliefÂ Good Counsel Homes , Covenant House, Connecticut Food Bank , Prison Fellowship and its offshoot for children Angel Tree .