One of my favorite things to do each December is to read two or three books from my “to be read” stack.
Yeah, the month is always filled with lots of activities, but I still find I have more down time at night than during most of the rest of the year. Small groups at church usually go on hiatus; television shows are in re-runs for the most part; and I purposely choose to just slow down to enjoy the season.
I often gravitate toward books about the single life during Christmas. Here are some of my favorites if you find yourself in the same frame of mind right now and want to settle in with a good book or two:
• Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot. This is the granddaddy of books about the Christian single life. I think much of the book can be summed up by Elliot’s concluding remarks in Chapter 1: “There is dullness, monotony, sheer boredom in all of life when virginity and purity are no longer protected and prized. By trying to grab fulfillment everywhere, we find it nowhere.”
• The Path of Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliot. If you are lonely this Christmas, this book is for you. In a chapter called “The Glory of Sacrifice,” Elliot speaks about Christ making himself of no reputation, and as a result, every knee will bow before him. On a sticky note, I wrote this and fastened it to that page: “If we believe this, then our loneliness, as real as it is, is not a tragedy, but rather an opportunity to taste the life God intended for us, if only we will offer up our loneliness as a sacrifice of praise.”
• I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris. This book revolutionized the way I thought about the pursuit of marriage. The title scares people, but it shouldn’t. As Harris says in the Introduction, “dating isn’t really the point” of the book. Instead, it’s a look at the way you view potential mates, how you prepare for marriage, and purity.
• Boy Meets Girl by Joshua Harris. Harris picks up where he left off in “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” As I read this book, I jotted notes throughout it, adding the date next to many of them. Toward the end, Harris marvels at the way God takes two straight paths and converges them into one at just the right time. Next to that line, dated March 20, 2001, I wrote a woman’s name and my own followed by a question mark. The answer was no, but that’s okay. God knows what he is doing.
• Getting Serious about Getting Married by Debbie Maken. This was the most challenging book I’ve ever read about the single life. I’ve blogged about it here several times, so I won’t go into a lot more detail, but I don’t really need to. The title tells you everything you need to know.
• The Perfect Fit by Julie Ferwerda. Yes, our Julie Ferwerda. It’s a beautiful love story, first between Julie and God, and second between Julie and her husband Steve. She doesn’t hide her struggles, feelings, or failures along the way, making it an honest look at the single life and a powerful testimony to the way God works to fashion a man and woman into one flesh.
• The Mitford Series by Jan Karon. If you are more in the mood for fiction, read, or re-read this series. The first several novels in the series lets us view the life of a gentle, single, Episcopalian priest who finds joys in the simple things of life. Eventually he marries, but even then you’ll have a certain affinity toward him because he has to adapt to married life after being single for so many years. You’ll laugh, cry, and experience all emotions in between.
If you have a favorite book (fiction or non-fiction) about the single life, tells us about it by leaving a comment.
Lee Warren is a forty-something-year-old single person who lives in Nebraska. He is the author of the book Single Servings: 90 Devotions to Feed Your Soul, published by Revell. Julie Ferwerda is a forty-something married person who has had a spectrum of experiences in the single’s life after divorce. She is the author of “The Perfect Fit: Piecing Together True Love,” and has written dozens of singles articles for CBN and other publications.