“T’was the night before release and much to her dismay,

her nerves were all a flutter—what would the reviewers say?”

The Author’s Night Before Christmas by Julie Lessman

T’was a week and a half before Christmas and all through the Lessman house, not a present had been bought, not even a blouse …

Okay, okay, maybe a few presents have been bought, but not many, so today marks the day that hubby and I officially set book and project deadlines aside and kick up into hypergear to shop and wrap and mail. I have to admit, however, despite the busyness of the season, I am enjoying it and not freaking out as is my nature to do. Have even watched a Christmas movie or two, which I love, and I atribute this almost completely to my prayer partners and I, who started praying months ago that God would give us peace and wisdom and the ability to enjoy the holidays — a VERY wise thing to do!

And so, since I have until 4:00 PM CST today to make some hay on book 2 in the “Heart of San Francisco” series in which I have approximately 100 pages yet to write (deadline Jan. 15), I am taking a Mulligan and reprinting my Seeker post from this week rather than writing an official Journal Jot. It’s actually pretty appropriate because it’s called “A Christmas Story” and basically could be slated as an “Author’s Night Before Christmas” with a very important lesson I learned this holiday season. It includes a giveaway of the fabulous book that taught me the lesson PLUS winner’s choice of any of my books, NOT TO MENTION additional points in my December Contest at the end of this post if you leave a comment on my Seeker blog before 4:00 PM TODAY, Friday, 12/14.

But before I repeat the post here, I thought it would be fun to share a pic of my daughter who dressed up like the lamp in the window of the movie “Christmas Story” for her company Christmas Party and came in 2nd place in the costume contest. YAY, Amy and YAY, Mom, who actually took time out from her overdue ms. to glue fringe on a lamp. 🙂

And then the second pic is my son and daughter-in-law on our upper back deck with my precious granddaughter, now almost 15 months!! Goodness … what would the holidays be without family??

Once upon a time …

There was this not so bright CDQ author who had this very “bright” idea to write a Christmas story called A Light in the Window. Not just any Christmas story, mind you, but a prequel Christmas story that would tie a pretty bow around two series she’d written about an Irish family with a deep passion for God.

“Oh, it will have everything Christmas,” she exclaimed, hands clasped in delight, “from cookies and snowflakes to angels heralding at night. Laughter and tears, romance and more, all wrapped up with magic in a Christmas play fundraiser for the downtrodden and poor.”

As busy as an elf at the North Pole in July, she penned a 100 K novella that would hopefully make people sigh. Next she badgered her husband to design a cover extraordinaire, complete with snow globe from the story and her own daughter with silky-blonde hair. 

Dizzy with excitement, she spun into promotion without a single doubt, whirling and twirling to tell the world what Christmas was all about. There were blog tours and interviews till her fingers were sore, all coinciding with proofing and editing and contests galore. Facebook and Twitter and blurbs kept her busy, never as an author had she been in such a tizzy.

And then … t’was the night before release and much to her dismay, her nerves were all a flutter—what would the reviewers say? Worry and hand-wringing over rankings and reviews stole both her sleep and her joy—would they bring good news? Good news, bad, it didn’t seem to matter, for in her heart of hearts, gloom descended with a clatter. Stealing her hope, her joy, her peace all aglow, until that magical moment when she saw …

A light in the window.

A flicker, a flame, the warmth of a still, small Voice, take your eyes off Amazon, dear author, for you have much to rejoice. Your true joy lies not in sales or in the approval of but in the birth of a Savior who redeemed you from sin.

So let His light shine brightly within your window, aglow on your sill,                                      to spread the warmth of His love and peace, holy and still.                                                      To proclaim the true message of Christmas with all of your might,                                        that it may be a holy Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Regrettably, this Christmas story is true, but happily, ends well. You see, it took my own Christmas story—A Light in the Window—to focus my eyes on what Christmas is really all about. Yes, it’s about family and giving and reaching out to others with our love and our faith, but it’s also about receiving. Receiving His grace and His wisdom to focus on Him rather than ourselves. This “light in the window” came to me via my experience with my own Christmas e-book and a pretty amazing book entitled The Well, by Mark Hall, pastor and lead singer for Casting Crowns. My church has been urging each of its 6,000 members to read this book, and once you do, it’s pretty obvious why. Like Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, He is the only source of “living water,” and to try and draw our confidence, peace, hope and joy from stagnant holes of our own devise will never truly satisfy and only make us sick.

Oh, as Christians, we all talk a good game and most of us even trust God and love Him with a passion most pure (sorry, couldn’t resist!), but when it comes to the source we tap for our hopes, dreams and happiness? I suspect most of us—or at least myself, for sure—dip into stagnant holes of our own choosing to make us feel better rather than drawing our sustenance from the Well of Living Water. These stagnant holes can be anything we run to instead of God—be it food, drink, money, approval, success—you name it—and we may not even be aware of just how much of an idol these things have become. I certainly wasn’t fully aware that I was trying to draw my happiness from success as an author, and yet the more I drank from this stagnant hole, the sicker and weaker I became. Sewer water that almost ruined the joy of the beautiful gift God has given me—the privilege of writing for Him!

And so my Christmas story ends happily and to celebrate, I would like to give away a copy of The Well, a book I truly believe every author and person needs to read, along with your choice of any of my books. Just leave a comment on my SEEKERVILLE POST, and you’re entered!!

EXTRA BONUS POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In honor of Seeker Sandra Leesmith’s book Current of Love releasing this week, I am offering TWO ENTRIES in this Seeker blog contest and FIVE ENTRIES in my December contest below if you order Current of Love in paperback at $7.16 or e-book at $3.99. Just indicate the letters “COL” with your comment and the extra entries are yours. Here’s the link: CURRENT OF LOVE.

THEN … five extra entries in my DECEMBER CONTEST FOR SEEKER COMMENTERS ONLY for signing up for a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to Book Fun Magazine or getting somebody else to (five points for each subscription). Just tell me so in your comment and YOU COULD WIN THE FOLLOWING ….

$150 GRAND PRIZE of a KINDLE (or equivalent gift card), a copy of THE WELL by Mark Hall, choice of ANY OF MY BOOKS including Love at Any Cost or audio version of A Love Surrendered AND your choice of five of the following top CBA books :

Like Dandelion Dust by Karen Kingsbury

Redemption by Karen Kingsbury

And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers

The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers

Full Disclosure by Dee Henderson

Faith by Lori Copeland

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Bergren

Long Trail Home by Vickie McDonough

Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green

House of Secrets by Tracie Peterson

Breathe by Lisa Bergren

Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan

Snow Angel by Jamie Carie

A Lady of Secret Devotion by Tracie Peterson

The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian

IT’S EASY, IT’S FREE AND IT’S A GREAT MAGAZINE that will automatically come via e-mail each month, so here’s the link and GOOD LUCK IN THE CONTEST!!


Hugs and Happy Weekend!