Gifts I Want You to Have, Including a Gift for You from JOYN India and Me


This season in my imagination belongs to the quiet, to carolers’ voices, and to slow burning wicks. In the hot drink season, for cinnamon and twinkle lights, for serene baby Jesus and His beholders, I imagine the Silent Night, and I can never wait for it to get here,

but then it comes like a roaring, stumbling, mindless mall. Christmas in America is the loudest time of year, and that’s not simply to speak of town center or the gymnasium at the Boys and Girls Club.

Inside my home, it’s loud. Parenting is like a teeter-totter of good and bad, and I think I should carry more weight than I do. It makes me get loud. Inside my heart, it’s loud. I think of my childhood, the love my parents had. I want to weep at stupid things, and then I hear my friends in the same bustle. We aren’t alone in our unsettledness.

Friday there there were two Christmas shows at two different schools, and then three little kid parties in three different places. I split the different ways of my children, a magician, like the other parents gathered as best they can. 

I keep imagining a woman in a barn/cave bearing down, before out cries God lungs into an air of political turmoil and terror. It’s the air of nowhere to go. Imagine the chaos. Think of the refugees.

The first gift I want to give you is this image: growing even in chaos, the Christ-child weaned and walked the dirt. He learned of desert and desire. He obeyed His mama even when he didn’t want to make the water to wine, and He disobeyed, too, to remain in His Father’s house, causing her to run chicken-headed around for her missing son. 

The first gift I give you is a truth I had to remind myself. The silent nights are few. They always were. Though the house be quiet, a soul can scream. Though a house be loud, a soul can tuck up as close to peace as a mother to a young son. 

Mary believed God’s favor on her and her son, and so she pressed forward. It’s only a few days until Christmas Day. God has had favor on us. You can do this. Keep going.

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The second gift I want to give you is something that seems more surfacy, and it is and it isn’t.

When things get loud, I start throwing things out, so when KonMarie and her crazy ideas bore into my simplifying brain, I got rid of everything. I got so happy chunking my crap that when we moved into this house, I had never had so few things. It was awesome. Come winter time, I looked in the closet and discovered I had maybe 3 sweaters. That’s not enough considering how often I spill my coffee. One thing I did keep, though, were my JOYN bags, and they go with me across state and country lines.

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“Today, JOYN employs a diverse and growing team of Americans, Australians, Brits, Indians, Tibetans, and Nepalese working together in Rajpur. Theirs is a community of people who strive to take care of one another.

JOYN continues to sell beautiful products handmade by artisans who do 100 percent of the work, from weaving to block printing to stitching. This brings JOY to those who make the products, and JOY to those who buy them.”

I did a fun photo shoot with some of our dearest friends, and in return I got to have this gorgeous, soft leather wallet. I also have a wallet to give to one of my readers. You may say, “Oh, but you really haven’t been writing lately.” Yes, but I’m about to, and in a few days, I’m sending out a newsletter in which I’ll share something very close to my heart. Those who subscribe to my newsletter will get the chance to win this gorgeous wallet. You’ll love it.

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I’ve been forcing myself to sit down. I’ve been reading Gilead and writing poetry again. We’re hit and miss on our advent readings with the boys, but when we do read, a calm settles over our house. I’m excited for the frost of January, the regular days of winter. I’m a wish away from the people and jingle of this season to slip through my hands like ghosts. I don’t want to wish this away because of my distaste toward the hubbub. I want to slow down. I don’t want to talk about gifts, but I do think often of our friends in India who live community in a way that makes me jealous.

If you order now from JOYN, it won’t get to you by Christmas, but bookmark or pin them now, because people still have birthdays, because you won’t be sorry about how gorgeous they are, and because KonMarie may have made you throw out your bags. She says to only keep what sparks JOY. I smile as I type this. Joy is a gift.

You can follow them on Facebook here!

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My lovely friend (and a most amazing photographer), Esther Havens, took this photo of a few of her favorite things. Wild in the Hollow happened to be on her list, along with that awesome Crocodile Dundee hat and her oils. Oh, I love the oil people, mostly because I am one.

If you’re looking for last minute and meaningful gifts, as suggested by Tsh and Sarah Bessey, I hope you’ll consider giving my book Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home. Today is the last day to order for Amazon Prime free-shipping, too!

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home from Matthews Media on Vimeo.

amberhaines
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5 Comments

SimplyDarlene
Reply December 21, 2015

I'm packing your book, along with popcorn, fair-trade dark chocolate, and local-made oil-infused body care products for a friend on the opposite side of these United States.

It's a post-hubbub gift.

Thank you for how you shine Him. Merry Christmas Blessings (all year long)!

melony
Reply December 22, 2015

this summer i sat at a cabin in the woods and drank in gulps your Wild in the Hollow words. the timing was marvelous, and the impact lasting. this fall amidst the car pool and chaos i drank in sips Seth's Coming Clean. the timing marvelous and the impact lasting.

i just wanted to say thank you.

and also, the quiet authenticity here in this space is refreshing to my deep places and i am inspired by both the pace and substance. looking forward to the upcoming newsletter, and thankful to be reminded about JOYN. every year i get a little better about purchasing ethically bit by bit throughout the year so that when the hubub comes, i have a few thoughtful gifts stashed away. a few is better than zero i remind myself when defaulting to the old way for the last minute chaos. the silent nights are few aren't they? But God has had favor, i will keep going!

Briana
Reply December 22, 2015

!. I love the new do. ;)
2. Your and your hubby's book are on my Cmas wish list. I'm hoping I get it from my momma for Cmas. :)

Debra Boucher
Reply January 1, 2016

I read your book over the past week and was struck again by the beauty of brokenness. Thank you for your courage, and vulnerability. Our Jesus is glorified when we are who we are, and let Him be who He is.

Carol Longenecker Hiestand
Reply January 1, 2016

" I’ve been reading Gilead..." I loved that book, the first one in that series I read. I love the words . . . so much so I wrote many of them down. I am a new subscriber. I have read your book and Seth's . . . quite a pairing indeed! I want to go back and read your's again now.

That part about Mary running chicken-headed around looking for Jesus. we were talking about that the other day about what a wreck I would have been:)

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