When Ann Voskamp penned “One Thousand Gifts: Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are”, no one predicted the book, would sit on the “New York Times” bestseller list for more than 60 weeks. Since then, Voskamp, a former greeting card writer, has continued to develop a cult following online with her homespun wisdom and poetic prose. No one can turn a phrase quite like Ann.
But now, Voskamp has shifted her attention to Christmas. Her newest book, “The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas,” was an instant bestseller and intends to wrestle the true story of Christmas from the clutches of commercialism and consumerism. Voskamp is so committed to her message that the farmer’s wife and mother of six hung her Christmas tree upside down this year. Here, we discuss how she wants to help people discover a different Christmas story and why she decided to turn that iconic Christmas symbol upside down in her home.
JM: Ann, Christian families want Jesus to be the greatest gift, but our good intentions often get crowded out by the commercial noise of December. How has your family navigated this?
AV: What Christian families want at Christmas can definitely be drowned out by the noise of December. Our family gets it, and we’ve wrestled hard with it. How did Christmas become something that we could return on Boxing Day–when Christ came to be with us? How did Christmas get handcuffed by chains of big box stores–when the Christ-child came small and subversively and for freedom? How did Christmas get to be more about cheap stuff than a lavish Savior? What makes us scared to do Christmas counter-culture—when it’s about God upending everything?
For us, we’ve purposed to have a “simplified, sane and sacred Christmas.” Simplified isn’t about circumstances–but about focus. How do we focus simply on Christ?
JM: That sounds great but what does it look like on the ground?