by Gail Gaymer Martin
As autumn passes, we remember our gratefulness as we celebrate Thanksgiving. Soon everyone’s mind turns to the next holiday, Christmas, as we again give thanks for the gift of the babe born in Bethlehem, our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Yet sadly our focus often shifts to the traditions of Christmas—gift buying and wrapping them, Christmas trees and decorating, sending Christmas cards, baking Christmas cookies and planning family events and parties. As this happens, our joyfulness tends to fade with the weight of our tasks. There is nothing wrong with this, except with all the busyness of our Christmas traditions, we sometimes overlook the reason we celebrate Christmas. God’s Gift to us, the best Christmas gift we will ever receive, a tiny babe born to bear our sins so that we can have eternal life.
Though we can get tangled in the preparation for Christmas, when we have those calm moments, in our hearts, we find the joy of the amazing Christmas gift given to us. We are drawn to the celebration through singing carols, reading Christmas cards we receive from long time friends and family who live away from us, attending Christmas programs and worship. Those connections help us remember the special people and events of Christmas past.
As writers, those memories do not stay in our minds alone, but often arouse our desire to share them with others through our stories. I find myself reliving Christmases throughout my life, and as creative ideas ping in my mind, a new story nudges me toward a novel to celebrate the special time of year. This year, my thoughts took me to a small town very close to a cottage we owned in Michigan, and I recall the fun we had in Holly. One thing that stood out was the Holly Hotel with an interesting history that tugged a story out of my writer’s mind, and I sat down at the computer and let my fingers take me back to Holly, Michigan. We all have stories and memories lingering in our minds and these remembrances can help each of us create a story that will touch other’s hearts and arouse writers and readers to relive events and special moments of their own. What can be better than to use our talents to share with others special experiences and those moments in time?
Take time to go search your memory for those special events. I know some of them will hurt since many of us have lost loved ones. Both of my parents are now in heaven, but still those good times and sometimes difficult times, can ring truth in us. As life passes, we add many stories of our past, and we can see the changes in us as well as our lifestyle and changes in our country. Let those experiences stimulate you for new ideas to include in up-coming stories. Your head is filled with them, so let them out to share with others. When you do, you will stimulate their own memories and open their minds to their personal joys and sorrows, but that is life. Remember when you create characters, they too have experienced the good and the bad. Those times make us who we are, so don’t leave them from your novels. Those events make them who they are.
Multi-award-winner, Gail Gaymer Martin has 93 novels published with over 4 million books sold. She is the author of Writers Digest’s Writing the Christian Romance and is a presenter at writing workshops and a keynote speaker at women’s events. Gail worked as a counselor and later a university instructor in Michigan. She now lives with her husband in Sedona. AZ.