A Mother’s Day Reflection for ALL Women

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by Miriam Jessie

A reflection that is for all women as we approach Mother’s Day.

As a mother the idea of Mother’s Day delights me, but in a church context I both love and tremble at bringing this celebration through the doors and into the church.

In every ‘Happy Mother’s Day’, I am reminded of a time I sat with a friend who cried at another period announcing her hope for motherhood was dashed again.

I think of the single friend who has such a great capacity for love, who longs for motherhood and sees no answer to that longing.

I think of the women who fill pews and live silent about abortions they have had because they already feel condemnation and no space to be loved and grieve their loss.

I weep for the women who have been rejected and hurt by the adults they once rose to tend in the midnight hours.

I feel the silent crushing weight of the myriad of women who feel they are failing to mother ‘as they ought to’. Continue reading “A Mother’s Day Reflection for ALL Women”

Christmas Books for Little Readers

BY MIRIAM JESSIE

One of our family traditions has been the opening of a gift on December the first (also my birthday), that contains a Christmas book to read during December. I wanted to outline some of these books for you because I believe in the power of narrative and I think truly Christmas centred books offer our children another way of looking at the wonder of the arrival of Jesus.

Room for a Little One

by Martin Waddell

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A beautiful board book for animal lovers. This story essentially follows an old ox who keeps making room in the stable for misfit animals with the line ‘room for a little one’. Ultimately of course the animals make room for Jesus. Simple text, sweet old fashioned style of illustrations.

I couldn’t resist popping this Grandma Shirley reading in:)

 

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

by Susan Wojciechowski; illustrated by Patrick Lynch

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This is a text heavy Christmas book and not one for the ‘emotionally gifted’ among us to read aloud without tissues handy. This is a beautiful and moving story of a very grumpy wood carver who agrees, under duress, to carve a nativity for a mother and child who have lost theirs. The process ultimately confronts Jonathan Toomey (or, Mr Gloomy as the village children call him) to face his own hidden sorrow. How can you not love a book with a child who tells the wood carver that his cow looked proud because it knew Jesus can chosen to be born in its stable? A beautiful book to read together or for a confident 7+ reader to read alone.

An Unexpected Christmas

by Simone Graham {yes!  our very own!!}

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This is a gorgeous ‘alternate perspective’ telling of the Christmas story. Coupled with photo-illustrations of children, we see what might have been happening in heaven when God sent in his son. ‘Your Son? Our prince?’ An enchanting take on the unexpected approach of God when sending in his son to rescue the world, and a beautiful reminder of what Jesus chose in becoming incarnate. The story has been made into a gorgeous short film as well – perfect for sharing with church groups.

Here’s the film:

 

Jesus’ Christmas Party

by Nicholas Allen

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This book makes me laugh and smile. We have adapted it on several occasions to make into a nativity play. ‘There was nothing the innkeeper liked more than a good night’s sleep…” so starts the story. The innkeeper ends up with very little sleep after a succession of interruptions and visitors until he finally storms to the stable to meet a baby…. Gorgeous. Not entirely accurate of course but beautiful and joyful. Simple, playful text so perfect for sharing together or an oldersibling to read to a younger sibling.

 

Song of the Stars

by Sally Lloyd Jones illustrations by Alison Jay

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This story is one of my all-time favourite picture books. As all of creation whispers ‘it’s time’. The song of creation in joyful anticipation of Jesus while the world misses what happens the song sings to the One who made them. Adorable illustrations and text by the author of the well-loved Storybook Bible.

The Nativity

by Julie Vivas

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This is essentially the Biblical account accompanied by Vivas’ beautiful, rich watercolour illustrations. A gorgeous and moving visual capturing to accompany the text we know so well.

I would so encourage you to get one of these books and enrich your own experience of Christmas by looking again at the story with fresh perspective.

Miriam xo

miriam

Miriam Jessie is a Kiwi, living in Australia, a teacher, education consultant and blogger.  You can read Miriam’s blog here {click}

Adventing – a journey to Christmas

Our very own Miriam Jessie has written a gorgeous, crafty, Advent book for little ones aged 3 – 7.  We are super excited for her & for you:)  Enjoy!

BY MIRIAM JESSIE

Since I’ve had babies I’ve wanted to build traditions around Christmas. I’ve dreamed about the sense of holy wonder in our home as we contemplate together the rough stable, those young parents, the scrappy shepherds, the choirs of angels.

I’ve wanted a Christmas build up that has felt like Christ-mas. God with us.

It seems that little kids are offered all sorts of tinsly, glowing, baubly bits but there hasn’t been much for wondering on. So I wrote a book for families with children who are aged 3-7 years old.

A book where each day is based on a word like – chosen, generous, myrrh and each day includes a Bible verse and a very simple activity and a reflection and a prayer.

A book where the information is sound and meaningful.

A book where the activities are actually achievable.

A book that works when you miss some days because the grandparents came to stay and the cat vomited on the carpet and we all had a meltdown.

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I wrote this book for every family that’s wanted something more than tinsel and jingle bells.

I wrote it for busy parents who want to do something well but don’t have time to do all the thinking.

I wrote it for children, my children, and for so many little ones who are very dear to me and to whom I want to give the gift of wonder, delight, depth and meaning.

When I pray for this book I pray it will bless you. I pray it will encourage you and I pray that you will find it practical, Biblical and tradition building.

If you want your own copy you can find the link on the right. Here’s the official description:

24 opportunities to reflect on an element of the arrival of Jesus
• Simple and inspiring activities and reflections
• Assistance to build a Biblical understanding for children aged 3-7 about the arrival of Jesus
• Create a wonder-filled and worshipful attitude in your home as you lead up to Christmas

Written by teacher, speaker and communicator Miriam Fisher. Motivated by a desire to provide theologically sound, simple, and meaningful ways to celebrate and anticipate Christmas together.

Meaningful, Achievable, Biblical, Joyful

This is my Christmas gift to you. Wrapped in my love for the honour and glory of Jesus.

x Miriam x

miriam

Miriam Jessie is a Kiwi, living in Australia, a teacher, education consultant and blogger.  You can read Miriam’s blog here {click}

Fresh Bread Always Wins

Today I’m delighted to introduce you to another one of our permanent contributors, Miriam Jessie.  Miriam lives in Adelaide and writes one of the most insightful, wise and spiritually mature blogs you could wish to read.  I feel incredibly blessed that she has come on board Esther & Friends to share her wisdom.  You can read Miriam’s personal blog here.  I suggest you make yourself a cuppa and prepared to be encouraged.

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by MIRIAM JESSIE

 When you talk to people about food even the most hardened carb-o-phobe will talk wistfully of the smell of fresh bread.

Fresh bread is so inviting, for its simplicity it feels gourmet. It nourishes us, forms the basis of the diet of so many, it evokes memories of favourite spreads and special moments. It speaks to so many of our senses.

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It’s night and I’m feeling flat and I’m realising, once again, that it’s been a while since I’ve experienced the spiritual taste of fresh-today bread. I’ve been going too long on yesterday, last week, a month ago….

I’ve missed the warning given to the Israelites about the manna from heaven.

Continue reading “Fresh Bread Always Wins”