Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Christmas Journeys

Imagine Mary's discomfort on her long journey to Bethlehem. Although her time of delivery drew near, law dictated that she and Joseph must go to Bethlehem to be registered. Traveling a great distance in a car or on a plane at that state of pregnancy is diffictult enough, but to make the journey on a donkey would be unthinkable today. But Mary knew what had to be done and how special her baby would be, and she made the trip willingly.

One year, when our boys were one and two, we made a journey back to my husband's home. We had set a tradition of always having Christmas Eve at home then maybe traveling the day after Christmas, but his year my mother-in-law lay gravely ill. Traveling with two small boys is a chore at anytime, but add to that all the "Santa" stuff and other gifts and you have a lot of work. We didn't spend time making a decision, we were going. We began our journey to Arkansas with a stop in Longview on the way to visit my sister and her family and to see my husband's brother and sister-inlaw. My father, who was at my sister's home for Christmas that year, graciously offered to loan us his car for the rest of the trip. We had a small Ford Falcon and it was loaded to the max. Dad had an Oldsmobile sedan with lots more room. That offer made the second leg of our journey much easier. When we arrived at Rex's home, his mother lay near death. We visited with her in the hospital, and because of her living in a small town, and everyone knows everyone else, we were allowed to take the boys in to see their grandmother for a few minutes. We stayed over the weekend and returned home on December 27. On December 28, we received word that Mrs. Rogers had gone home to the Lord. Never have I been more thankful that we had broken our tradition and gone to be with Mrs. Rogers that one last time before her death.

In her book A Christmas Journey Home, Kathi Macias gives us look at another pregnant woman on an incredible journey and a woman who bears a hatred for all the the pregnant woman represents. It's a beautiful story of two women who lives are woven together in way that brings both of them redemption.

Kathi, how did you come to write this beautiful story?

Having become known for my “fiction with a mission,” issues-related stories, I had to keep that focus as I considered writing a Christmas novel for the first time. As I often do, I “cruised the news” for a bit, looking for something that caught my eye (and I hadn’t already dealt with in previous novels). The explosive issue of illegal immigration kept cropping up, and since my husband and I live so close to the Mexico/San Diego border and are therefore quite familiar with (and even somewhat impacted by) the topic, I began to look for a way to build a Christmas story around it. At the same time I knew I didn’t want the book to be a political statement, so I wanted to be careful not to let my personal feelings on the subject color or influence the story. Above all I wanted to show that just as in the original Christmas story, when the Light of the World came and shone in the darkness, God still shines His Light in the darkness today. Translation? I knew this would not be a warm, fuzzy Christmas read but rather a triumphant story of God’s unconditional love in the midst of difficult and even dire circumstances. That, of course, is a message that applies to anyone at any time in any situation, and it is the message I hope my readers will take away with them after reading A Christmas Journey Home.

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored more than 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association). Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.

To enter the drawing for the Christmas Surprise Box, tell us about a time Christmas didn't turn out exactly as you had planned or of a Christmas trip you took one year. Be sure to leave your email address so you can be contacted.


Brenda Nixon, Author and Speaker said...

Thanks for sharing this interview and info about Kathi's book. We need books sharing the triumphant story of God’s unconditional love. Merry Christmas.

Brenda Nixon, Author and Speaker said...

Thanks for sharing this interview and info on Kathi's book. We need more like her's that reveal the triumphant story of God’s unconditional love. Merry Christmas!

Glenda Parker Fiction Writer said...

I loved this post. It is so interesting to find out how authors receive the inspiration. I look forward to reading this book. Thanks for taking the time to post it.
Glenda Parker

Unknown said...

Martha, what a wonderful story you shared! God's hand was all over that journey, wasn't it? Thanks for this glimpse into Kathi's "A Christmas Journey Home." It sounds like a beautiful story.

My favorite memory as a child was one Christmas where Dad and Mom loaded up the Jimmy with me and my three sisters, homemade fudge, and all the Christmas presents and headed to Arkansas for Christmas with each sets of grandparents. We spent the week before Christmas in Fort Smith with Mom's parents, and the week of Christmas with Dad's parents in Harrison. The snow was thick so snowball fights, snowgirls, and hot cocoa all blurred together each day for a truly wonderful Christmas. You can't see me, but I'm still smiling at the memory. :)

lollipops said...

one Christmas that didn't turn out as planned was the year before we were moving far away from family. It would be the last one in my Mom's house, and she invited my sister, her husband (who didn't come), my aunt, and us. I had two children at that time and my aunt hated preschoolers and it was pretty miserable, especially when she accused my 2 year old of kicking her in the face when he was running to the bathroom and she decided to bend over and pick something up when she was in his way... not fun. It was the most miserable Christmas ever and the last time my aunt ever spoke to me.

Anonymous said...

ONE memory of Christmas gift giving is a nightmare when in school one year our 6 year old son shared his honest feelings. When he didn't bring anything for show and tell he announced to his teacher, "Well, I didn't bring anything because I got nothing that I wanted for Christmas." He was not angry, it was just the way it was, and he forgave us.
Now that he is a fine Christian leader in his church, I realize that he got the very thing God wanted him to get,,, JESUS. What a blessing to know that is the Gift of a lifetime and we are to "show and tell" as we go into the world.
This interview with Kathi shows us one who shows and tells of her beautiful gift of Jesus in her heart. Thank you for lifting up up this beautiful book.
Lucy N. Adams

Linda said...

Kathi's books is wonderful in a difficult way. It will definitely touch your heart.

desertrose5173 at gmail dto com

Judy said...

Nine Christmas's ago my husband Bob was seriously ill. He was plagued by seizures and we didn't know what was going on. My son came to visit us and spent some extra time with Bob and me. We tried to have a normal Christmas but with Bob being ill it was really kind of a let down. When it came time for my son to leave he was reluctant to go. It was a tearful scene. Five months later Bob died of a malignant brain tumor. That was the last time my son saw him. I feel that some how some way my son felt that Bob would be going home to Jesus soon.


Anonymous said...

Two years ago my Grandma had both of her legs amputated because of complications with diabetes. We ended up staying in the hospital all Christmas day. She's doing better now; she puts her hope in the Lord. :)


Janice said...

My husband's father died a few days before Christmas and we had to wait until the day after Christmas that year to have the funeral. It was a sad time because I knew most people would not want to interupt their joyous time to go to a funeral. I was afraid hardly anyone would show up. I called someone I knew from a previous job and asked if he and his girlfriend could perhaps attend. They did not show up. I was feeling pretty desperate about wanting someone to attend to make that call. To top it off, our five-month-old son got the flu during that time. I gave him medicine for his fever so he was able to attend the funeral with us and be nursed on schedule since he did not use bottles. It was a difficult time that I barely remember except for the feeling of lonliness for people with whom we could share the grief. My father had died the previous December when I was pregnant so I was really sad that my son would never really know either grandfather.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing Kathi's story and about her new Christmas book. It sounds like a very good read! I met Kathi at the Mercer County Stoneboro Convention this past April. What an inspiration she is to other writers / others who dream of becoming published authors!

I had to smile when I saw they had a Ford Falcon ... when I was 15 and began to date my DH [we will celebrate 36 years of marriage next month and 40 years together as a couple], he owned a 1964 Ford Falcon that he and his dad painted a bright orange color. :-)

The Christmas story I'd like to share is about the toy box Ken's maternal grandfather had made for our oldest child, our only daughter. She was 3 1/2 years old, and we also had our first son who was only 1 1/2 months old at that time.

Grandpa Jim made the toy box using solid oak. On the solid oak lid, he put green vinyl with cushioning so it could also be used as a seat.

One day, we could not find her. We searched high and low! We lived in a two-story apartment at the time. Renee was not able to walk on her own nor crawl up the stairs very well, so we had a gate across them. We could not figure out where she went to!

Then, we heard a noise coming from inside that toy box. When we opened the lid, there she was, holding her toy!

She had been playing with her toys, and took all of them out of the box. They were strewn all over the floor in front of the box. But apparently, she dropped one back into the box and when she reached in to get it, she fell into the box and the lid closed. [There weren't hinges used back then to prevent this from happening.]
We realized how serious it was that had happened, but we had to laugh.

You see, our daughter is special needs with a rare genetic syndrome of which not much was known about it at that time. We were told when she was born not to expect much from her life and it would be best to put her into an institution for the disabled. How wrong the doctor who delivered her was!

Renee still has that box, but toys are no longer kept in it; she keeps various books and items stored in it with some stuffed toys sat on its lid.It is a treasured keepsake to her, one she would never think of giving to someone else.

Grandpa Jim was also the one who taught her how to whistle when she was about two or three years old. She whistled before she could talk! He'd sit her on his lap facing him and try over and over again with her until she got it. We have a picture of them practicing. A treasure also, for sure!


Joy Hannabass said...

Hi Martha and Kathi, Thanks so much for this wonderful interview. And I have read Kathi's A Christmas Journey Home and it is indeed a most wonderful book to read. I would say it is a Must read for the Christmas will not be sorry you read it!
And I would love, love this christmas would be like a wonderful christmas to get this in the mail!

Kathi Macias said...

What wonderful comments! Thank you again, Martha, for hosting me on your blog, and thanks to your readers/followers for sharing such poignant stories. Many blessings to you all at Christmas and always!

misskallie2000 said...

Christmas of 1956 (age 13) was an awesome Christmas for me. I had surgery for what was thought to be a goiter but was Hashimotoes Disease. My thyroid gland had been destroyed. Before surgery I had little energy and usually read or played board games since I could not run and play. On the Dec 19th I had surgery and on the 25th I was dancing with my cousins at my grandmama's and had so much energy I did not know what to do first and this only 6 days after my surgery. The rest of my life, until old age got me, I ran instead of walking. I still have to have annual blood test as I have been taking thyroid replacement meds since then. God was good to me and I was blessed by this surgery and still am.

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Martha A. said...

I took a trip last year right before Christmas to Philadelphia to see my brother and see all the historical sites. It was amazing to be a part of the history of the founding of the USA!
Walking all over Philly was wonderful!

Jo said...

Hi Margaret and Kathi, Margaret, thank you for sharing the story that you broke tradition and got to see your hubby's mom one last time before she died.

Kathi, I am anxious to read your book. Like you, I also live very close to the border Southern Arizona/Mexico border.

We were supposed to make a trip back to Florida a few years ago to spend the holidays with our children. My husband got very ill and doctors advised us not to go because so many tests needed to be run.


Martha W. Rogers said...

Thanks to all of you for stopping by. A special thank you for the stories you've told us. Each of us has special memories whether sad or joyful, about Christmas. May each of you have a wonderful Christmas this year. Now get ready for Round 4.

Vickie McDonough said...

I love your book cover, Kathi! Beautiful.

The first year I moved away from home, my roommate and I bought a tree and put on silky ornaments my folks gave me. One day that was especially cold, we locked our two puppies up in the bathroom. I came home to a knocked over tree with strands of silk blue and gold bulbs all over the house. We're talking hundreds, if not thousands of strands. Oi, what a mess! Those naughty puppies sure had fun though.

Cass Wessel said...

Thank you Kathi for sharing more with us about this Christmas book. You bless us with your writing.

Martha, you brought back many memories of traveling with children cross country for the holidays. Thank you for sharing.

Joy Hannabass said...

Ours was a few Christmas' ago when my son's wife left the the Monday after Thanksgiving. To make it worse, the 18 month old baby girl he thought was his, turned out she wasn't his daughter nor our grandaughter. And of course my ex daughter in law didn't care about us enough to let us at least see her during Christmas so it was the most miserable Christmas ever. It was so very difficult because we had gotten her Christmas gifts that wasn't accepted for her. I couldn't take them back so I ended up giving them to someone else. What was kinda strange was, the next year, on Monday after Thanksgiving, she was in the hospital having both breast removed because of cancer. It has been a very difficult situation, but my son is healing so much, and we still haven's heard from her nor seen the little girl.But we are still trusting God with the situation. When we have no place else to go, He is our refuge and strength!
Merry Christmas everyone!
And thanks Martha for the Giveaway.