Emmanuel, God with Us
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I like words, so when I’m not writing I read, catch up on old movies, and think about writing. And I play games with words: Scrabble, word search, puns. I used to hike, but Scrabble is easier on the knees.
What book(s) are you currently reading?
Laura Frantz’s The Mistress of Tall Acre and Dana Perino’s And the Good News Is. Nearly finished with both. Next is Jan Karon’s Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good.
Briefly share one of your most cherished Christmas memories.
My mother was the “cruise director” and glue of our family. After she died, Dad didn’t even try to fill that role, but he loved us and gave us gifts in his usual low-key manner. His presents were generic—mail-order meat, nuts, cheeses. One Christmas, when I was an empty-nester and especially sad about that, Dad’s gift to me was a lovely, delicate gold watch. That day, and every one after that, I wore it, and I felt like Cinderella.
Tell about an experience in your past that God used to put you where you needed to be in order to do something He called you to do.
In an unlikely series of events, I began a part-time job working with a doctor who, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, investigated allegations of child sexual abuse. One case was very clear to all team members, but the legal system decided not to prosecute. Most of the team got past that decision by saying, “We can’t win them all.” But I was bent on getting this serial predator out of circulation. And I brought prayer into my work. I discussed the case with the Sex Crimes Unit in the prosecutor’s office and asked some pointed questions. Later that day, they changed their decision and arrested the man. I thanked God for my prayer partners and that I was new enough on the job that I hadn’t become accustomed to the “win some/lose some” point of view.
What inspired you to write the story you have in 21 Days of Christmas?
Emmanuel, God with Us. That truth from Matthew 1:23 is a great comfort, and it strengthens me daily. I wanted to write a story that might help others to notice God’s presence in their lives as well.
Name one thing that’s on your “bucket list.”
Spending time in Israel, Scotland, British Isles, France, Italy. It isn’t the getting there I desire, but being there, long days of savoring the places, people, history, atmosphere.
What’s your favorite Christmas tradition, and why?
We have an old singleton knee sock—appropriately forest-green color—where we deposit notes listing gifts we’ve given to Jesus. I love hanging this during Advent. It’s a simple reminder of the real Gift that Christmas celebrates.
How has God used fiction to touch your heart or change your life?
Much of my life I’ve worked with stressed and depressed populations: as a welfare caseworker in The Bronx when parts of it resembled bombed-out Berlin, as a hospital advocate assisting domestic-violence victims recover and develop safety plans, as a Family Support Social Worker assistant to a psychiatrist who investigated allegation of child sexual abuse. Twenty-plus years ago, our church began a library. Reading the novels available there provided me a respite from the daily trauma and an antidote to the pain and evil. Not only did they give me positive input before trying to sleep, but I believe they also enabled me to be more available and helpful to my clients.
Thanks again for sharing with me and my followers, Mary!
Mary Kay Moody is a lover of wonder and enjoys discovering God’s fingerprints on this world, how He disrupts our plans for His purposes, and how He weaves our journeys together. Then she delights in turning that into stories. She looks forward to connecting with you on Facebook, Twitter, or her website MaryKayMoody.com.