Augsburg Fortress

Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season: Prayers, Poems, and Meditations

Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season: Prayers, Poems, and Meditations

Encounter the sacred in the ordinary and not-so-ordinary of the holiday season with this beautiful book of blessings.

For so many of us, the season leading up to Christmas is a time of huge expectations, huge busyness, and often huge grief.

Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season, from gifted poet and empathetic pastor Meta Herrick Carlson, is a beautiful collection of prayers, poems, and meditations to help us recognize the holy beneath the hustle and hibernation of the season. While we travel, spend time with family, contend with consumerism, confront grief, and soak up joyful moments, the blessings in this book are a lovely companion for all of us who are looking to access the deeper meaning of the holidays

The book includes blessings for all the ordinary and not-so-ordinary moments of the season, like addressing Christmas cards, setting boundaries with family, shoveling snow, and the first Christmas without a loved one. Also included are blessings dedicated to beloved nativity characters like Mary and the magi, blessings for each of the twelve days of Christmas, and a beautiful collection of sacred-word-inspired blessings that readers can use as daily Advent readings, connecting us to the ancient story of Christmas. Let this beautiful little book be a reminder that the holy can be found in the routine and the ritual of the holiday season.

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  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506481531
  • eBook ISBN 9781506481548
  • Dimensions 4.63 x 7.38
  • Pages 142
  • Publication Date October 3, 2023


"Filled with ancient truths and modern realities, the seasonal blessings in this book flow from Carlson's sacred gift of noticing. Her honest wonderings and reflective words invite us to exhale, reminding us that we aren't alone--and never have been."

Kayla Craig, author of Every Season Sacred and To Light Their Way; creator of Liturgies for Parents

"Christmas holds vastly different experiences for each person, and yet Meta Herrick Carlson has the gift of naming the complex realities beside the vulnerable wonder. She paints blessing into the ordinary, giving each passing occurrence a voice and community."

Rev. Jenny Sung, "Free Range Pastor" and founder and co-director of One Dance Company

"The holiday season poses a mixed bag for many. While balancing different spiritual traditions, many struggle with chaotic family systems, grief, untold joys, and unmet expectations. The flow of the poems, meditations, and prayers in this book is a breath of fresh air."

Robert Monson, writer, theologian, and co-director of enfleshed

"At times tender and funny, particular and profound, Carlson's poignant words reach into the muddled heart of the season, holding the full complexity of Christmas. Give yourself the gift of blessings you actually need, trustworthy and true."

Laura Kelly Fanucci, author of Everyday Sacrament and To Bless Our Callings

"This book is for anyone yearning to go through the Christmas season with intentionality. Carlson's words facilitate more space to notice lovely things, be honest in our experiences, and connect with God in the midst of real life this Christmas."

Meredith Anne Miller, pastor and author of Woven: Nurturing a Faith Your Kid Doesn't Have to Heal From

"Delightful, refreshing, and oh so true, Ordinary Blessings for Christmas is both a perfect stocking stuffer and church resource for the season. In these pages is permission to rest, to winter, to claim our freedom, and to look again and see God in every nook and cranny of Christmas."

Ellie Roscher, author of The Embodied Path and coauthor of 12 Tiny Things

"Meta Herrick Carlson sure does know how to be a blessing! She offers us words and images that create awareness, wholeness, and belonging. This gift will offer healing and strength for many Christmas seasons to come."

Rev. Babette Chatman, pastor and director of campus ministry, Augsburg University

"Meta Herrick Carlson has a way of blessing real moments with honesty and care that brings me to tears every time. In Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season, she names the hard and the holy, the peaceful and the painful, the brutal and the beautiful, with care and candor and gorgeous honesty. These blessings are a gift."

Natalia Terfa, pastor, author of Uplift, and host of the Cafeteria Christian podcast

"These blessings honor the sacred moments of the season alongside the raw emotions that surprise and unnerve us, and they name the complicated beauty of our lives and loves that fills this time of year. Carlson's blessings make more visible God-with-us, Emmanuel, and unearth the holy wisdom found in honoring blessing in each day."

Dr. Deanna A. Thompson, author of Hoping for More and Glimpsing Resurrection; director of the Lutheran Center for Faith, Values, and Community; and Martin E. Marty Regents Chair in Religion and the Academy at St. Olaf College

"It's the details of these blessings and all of Carlson's blessings that strike me--the holy 'noticing' of the small things that are, of course, ultimately everything. She so beautifully puts to words the weight and wonder that exist in this life if only we pause and notice. These blessings are perfect for reflection, to weave into a sermon, or to savor with a morning cup of coffee. Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season will be a blessing to you!"

Rev. Dr. Ruth E. Hetland, creator and owner of ConseCrate Subscription Box, LLC

"Meta Herrick Carlson has captured the strata of emotion and experience that accompany the Christmas season in America. She disarms with simple and beautiful words, good humor, and a clear invitation to live into the complexity of being a human in this time and place. This book is a gift for anyone in the process of actively becoming more of who God made them to be, especially in the cacophony of pressures amid the holiday season."

Kate Reuer Welton, Lutheran campus pastor, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

"Treat yourself to a few moments of sacred wonder this holiday season with the help of Meta Herrick Carlson's delightful Ordinary Blessings for the Christmas Season. Meditating on the hidden joys of the everyday and reflecting on the deeper meaning of the characters and traditions of the season, Carlson offers us an unvarnished and accessible Christmas with words of such simple beauty they will take your breath away."

David J. Lose, senior pastor at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Minneapolis; former president of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia

"Sometimes tender, sometimes prickly, these blessings run the gamut from heartache and longing to giddy enthusiasm. These blessings make me want to enter into the Christmas season months ahead of time, just to ponder slowly all that the season holds."

Chad Winterfeldt, cantor of Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus College

"Meta Herrick Carlson has an unparalleled capacity to find the sacred in the daily and to grace everyday moments of life with beauty and humor in equal measure. She invites us to stop and notice that perhaps the ordinary is not so ordinary after all. This jewel of a book will quickly become a well-thumbed, 'ready to hand' book for parents, teachers, religious leaders, and more."

Rev. Dr. Chris Bellefeuille, lead pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater, Minnesota

"Christmas: that convoluted season where 'merry and bright' looks a lot more like 'overworked and exhausted.' Never fear: Meta Herrick Carlson is here again, with another deeply true and deeply transformative book of blessings. Leave this one by the coffee maker and pick a random prayer each weary morning: you might find yourself feeling a little more 'joy to the world' after all."

Emmy Kegler, author of One Coin Found and All Who Are Weary

"Meta Herrick Carlson gives balm for each aching joint in our holiday traditions with curiosity, wit, courage, and grace. From the raucous kids table to the chaotic checkout counter to the furtive chats about keeping to a budget, these incantations bless the mess and beckon the beautiful out of days made extraordinary by season and story. Thank you for finishing my Christmas shopping with this gift for everyone on my list."

Matthew Ian Fleming, founding director of Church Anew