mother full of grace

Sisters in Spirit is a series of blog posts by a group of women who felt that a spiritual perspective was lacking from the steady stream of news and information that flowed through their daily lives.  They each agreed to carve out a space on their blogs on a monthly basis for a spiritual conversation.  The topic this month is: Christmas traditions — how to keep Christ in Christmas and the New Year?

Bianca suggested this month’s topic: how do we stay focused on our faith, especially when this time of year is rushing to the rush? Never mind, most of the hustle and bustle has to do with celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus. (I can’t say “baby Jesus” without thinking of Ricky Bobby. Anyone else?)

Our family Christmas traditions are mostly focused on food, not faith. We have an orange in the toe of the stocking. Cookies and milk left out for Santa. Sticky buns first thing Christmas morning. A roasted ham or turkey mid-afternoon.

Mozambican nativity

When I have children, I’ll expand this to include an empty seat at the Christmas table, always available for the passing stranger. And I think baking a Christmas birthday cake makes sense when trying to teach little ones the symbolism of the day. We’ll also attend Christmas Eve services, celebrate Advent with a countdown calendar, and spend time reading the Christmas story.

{If you haven’t heard, I am a great theoretical matriarch. Mini tells me I’m the best mom without kids she’s ever met. Ahem.}

How do you refocus now that we’ve thrown open the doors to a new year?

I typically make a resolution list that would impress a 15th century martyr. Not this year. There will be no push to read a certain number of books, or lose a certain number of pounds. There will be no self-loathing exercises entries, or complaints about all that I haven’t achieved. Instead, I’m following my new favorite cheesy American advertising campaign and focusing on what I hope to gain in 2013.

1. Spiritual discipline. This year’s Bible study is the NIV One Year Bible. I’ll continue to study with my friend Tina weekly and am more than a bit excited about learning from her.  Hey! Maybe this year I won’t get scared off come, October, when things start getting dark and headless-horsemanish. (I’ve read up until October 4 years in a row and subconsciously quit each year. Come to find out, Revelations scares me. A lot.) Joshua 1:8

2. Financial discipline. Like keeping off that extra weight, keeping extra pennies in my pocket takes constantly telling myself, “No!” My mom had a stern conversation with me mid-2012 about how adulthood means learning when to tell yourself, “No,” or at least “Not now.” I’ve since found budgeting to be an entertaining game thanks to a needed shift in perspective. 1 Chron. 29:11-16

3. Finish that book! Novel numero dos is due for publishing the first week of April. I have, oh, a LOT of writing to do between now and then to meet this deadline. Matthew 7:7

4. Spend less time online and more time engaged. I’m cutting back on social media and posting here in 2013; ideally this will mean more quality writing, and more thoughtful sharing. Matthew 15:11

Here is to a 2013 where all of our goals are surpassed!

Blessings to you and yours in the new year,



Rebekah is a blogger, amateur photographer, and missions volunteer with Adventures in Missions. A lifetime of being a pastor’s kid, attending church regularly, and a private Christian school education gave her a lot of knowledge about the nuances of theology without a lot of faith. Now she’s trying to figure out how faith and theology applies to her relationships and daily life. You can find her online at  (on leave)

Sarah is municipal attorney, mom to a toddler boy, and United Methodist’s pastor’s wife.  (She does not play the organ.)  She is a life-long Missouri girl with a heart for hospitality and social justice.  Sarah enjoys cooking, running, knitting and embroidery, reading, and playing in the sprinkler.  Sarah blogs at 

Bianca is a newlywed Navy wife from the great state of Texas (where she coincidentally currently resides), and she and her husband are expecting their first child in late summer. She has a passion for serving others, asking hard questions and sharing The Gospel with both her words and actions. Bianca loves Jesus, her hubs, authentic friendships, traveling, making lists of all kinds, and trying new recipes which she blogs about on