About the Author

Amber C Haines, author of Wild in the Hollow, has 4 sons, a guitar-playing husband, theRunaMuck, and rare friends. She loves the funky, the narrative, and the dirty South. She finds community among the broken and wants to know your story. Amber is curator with her husband Seth Haines of Mother...

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  1. Amber,
    Lest I sound like the sweet little old lady with blue hair…treasure these times that your boys want to decorate the tree and make clumps of color here and globs of glitter there. The time will soon come that they’ll be grown. I am still learning, but am better at letting go of the minutia and treasuring up these things in my heart. Finding the beauty amidst the mess is a real gift…may we all keep honing this skill. Loved this post…
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • How true. My girls are married and on live with their husbands. When they were little I had their special ornaments is separate bags. When they took out the goodies, they talked about each one and what they remembered about them. They had a start with their own trees with these ornaments and added their own.

  2. Amber, we are at different points on this journey called life, but as I read your post with tears in my eyes, I was reminded. I remembered a year when I decided I wanted to have a pretty tree. I decided that I would still have the regular tree down in the family room….you know, the one with Popsicle stick stars and pictures of my little girls in macaroni covered frames. In the upstairs large window, however, I bought a beautiful flocked tree, and I covered it with expensive, sparkling ornaments. I sat back in awe at the beauty. Here’s the funny part of the story! With each day, I noticed that I visited the upstairs tree less and less. It simply wasn’t me. Now, twenty-five years later, I still put up my Popsicle stick stars and frames with only one or two macaroni pieces, and I’m reminded (and I need constant reminders) of what is important. Amber, thank you for this post.

  3. I LOVE this – because it was ME several years ago as I let my own boys decorate our tree – and now it is my favorite thing to sit on the couch and LISTEN as they talk about it “remember when….”, “I got this one because…..”, etc. THIS year there is a girlfriend – a very very serious girlfriend who I feel will become a wife and thus a daughter to me. I can’t wait to watch and listen as the boys (especially HER boy – or should I say young man?) unwrap the ornaments and tell HER the stories for the very first time………….

  4. Amber, This is sooo good! I needed this reminder today. It’s about embracing the moment and cherishing every second you have. <3

  5. Love you Miss Amber! While reading, I could hear in my head my late Daddy in his deep voice and east Arkansas accent admonish us to “straighten up” whenever we got too loud or too wild around the house. Had no idea (and bet he did not either) that there was a Bible connection to this call for quiet. Thank you for sharing the phrase “fairly drunk on perfectionism” which spoke to me about how my own perfectionism affects all that I do and say during the holidays ( and most days.) Putting the home made ornaments on the front of the tree this year. Thank you for reminding me how precious they are.

  6. Loved that statement about looking back and hoping forward. Someone once said that Christmas is the day for all time. Perhaps he meant it’s one day full of warm nostalgia for Christmases past, present experiences, and (as you said) a future of hope. Especially as believers in Emmanuel, God with us, we can embrace all three with glorious joy!

  7. Amber,

    As a child we had large tree(fake) that I loved putting together. The enjoyable part was putting out all the ornaments and watching the light twinkle. Now hubby and I have a “Charlie Brown” style tree. The best part is the Jesse Tree ornaments I got last year. They add so much to the tree, and the book by Ann Voskamp adds a special layer.
    Loved the phrase: “This is the Advent way, relishing the time while looking back and hoping forward.” This year I’ve slowed way down and relishing the time I have with family and friends. I will look back to many Christmases ago with my parents and hope forward!!
    Blessings 🙂

  8. Isn’t it funny that these littles we live with – teach us the truest and deepest things? Sweet revelations. Thanks for reminding me to pitch the perfectionism, and gather up all the wonderful mess of real life into memories. May your Advent be filled with fresh revelations and joy! Thank you for writing!- Kate 🙂

  9. Ah, but did you ‘correct’ the tree or leave it just as your sons decorated it?

    Your comment “Advent frees us from the minutia” stopped me in my tracks. I’m not sure how to take this because the season adds so many added responsibilities. Over the years I have reduced my decorating and shopping and baking to better focus on Jesus. This attitude certainly frees me from the minutia. I love the warning to straighten up because something is coming you don’t want to miss. That’s exactly the message I try to convey during Advent as people hurry through the preparation minutia.

  10. Beautiful words for Christmas! I’m watching my boys grow up too, and one of them has taken his box of ornaments to his own home. This year I watched his little boy quiver with excitement over our Christmas tree just as his dad did. What is it about Christmas that freezes time while also revealing how fast it’s whizzing by. So happy for you in your decision to stand back and let the boys do their thing. They’ll be more confident and capable because of it — and you’ll keep your sanity!