Book Review, “Trials and Triumphs”

I’m a sucker for nonfiction. Somehow, the knowledge that my new-found hero or heroine faced their battles without super-hero armor or the benefit of employing an omnipotent imagination in order to escape all manner of evils—somehow, that inspires me far beyond the scope of a created story.

FaithWriter’s newest release, Trials and Triumphs, is an exquisite collection of just such true stories. The book, compiled by Michael Edwards, owner of FaithWriters, has the potential to appeal to every audience. The authors themselves are from every walk of life. Some tell stories of finding Christ as their personal savior. Others share their testimonies of healing, prayers answered and hopes deferred yet grounded in faith. The one thing all the authors have in common is what binds this book together, what makes it cohesive and relevant—faith in Jesus Christ.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

Because of the spectrum of experiences, writing styles and voices, no one will finish this book unchanged.

Showing The Truth of Advent

We tend to think of Christmas as one of the purest times of year. It’s the time when goodwill advances. People smile, are generous, sensitive. But have you ever noticed the little twinkly white lies that surround the world’s most commercial holiday? This month, I want to highlight the truth of Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Thousands of years ago, the advent of Jesus became the best Christmas present that will ever be gifted or received. More than four centuries believers had waited with baited breath for his advent, His coming.

Coming. There’s a warmth and anticipation in that word. Most of us are only familiar with the word advent at Christmas time. But, it’s the coming, the conclusion of longing, waiting, pining, hoping.

As a girl, Daddy’s advent every night was a special time. My sisters and I would wait at the end of our long, gravel driveway jockeying to be the first to spot his car. Then, as he turned toward the house, we would race alongside the car. “Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home! Daddy, I have something to show you!”

Also when I was a girl, my family did Angel Tree every year that I can remember. We would visit Wal-Mart and pluck a paper angel from the branches, usually a girl about our age. Then we scoured the brightly colored shelves for gifts that matched “our” little girl’s needs. When we  had packed the box to the brim, we took it to our church and stacked it among the hundreds of other shoeboxes filled by our friends’ families.

Back then, I didn’t think too much about the recipient of our gift. I didn’t really think about the gift that we couldn’t give them. The children of inmates who would open our Christmas presents might never celebrate their daddy’s advent. These children might wait night after night with no one coming home.

And I certainly didn’t have the capacity to wonder much about the incarcerated parents. They might never see the light in their children’s eyes as they opened Christmas presents, or feel the incomparable warmth of a child thrilled with their advent.

It’s been more than 20 years since I filled an Angel Tree shoebox with my sisters. My military husband and I have moved four times in our marriage and belonged to as many churches. But every single Christmas, my heart warms to see the Angel Tree in the foyer. My eyes water when the pastor announces the pending date for turning in our boxes.

I have been blessed with so many Advents. I have a wonderful father who came home to hug his daughters each night. I know the Savior whose Advent secured my eternity.

Angel Tree gives me the extended reach to love a child each Christmas and to show them the meaning of Christmas’ Advent. It gives me the opportunity to offer the anticipation of Christmas to a child missing their parent.