A Sanctuary in Our Midst: Christmas Reflections on Jesus

by Karen L. Straszheim

Genres: Bible Study & Devotionals, Christian Living, Holiday

ISBN: 9781620207208

80 pages

Price: $9.99

Amidst the checklists and social engagements for the Christmas season, Karen Straszheim writes for the weary Christian who gets lost in the holiday madness.

By placing a strong emphasis on spiritual rest, Straszheim’s Christmas devotional is divided into eleven chapters that collectively call for the Christian to put their shopping bags down and just rest in the Scriptures. A Sanctuary in Our Midst: Christmas Reflections on Jesus is deeply enriched with Scripture references throughout to exemplify how the Old and New Testament complement each other, and how we can understand the Bible.

A Sanctuary in Our Midst is perfect for studying within a group or individually, to talk through Strazheim’s discussion questions altogether over hot cocoa or to quietly reflect in one’s own time. Either way, this devotional is a sanctuary in and of itself.


“Karen Straszheim’s A Sanctuary in Our Midst will help you prepare for the Christmas season. She presents the Scriptures in a way that both refreshes the believer in Jesus and answers many questions of those who are seeking the true meaning of Christmas. Karen helps the reader understand the importance of preparing the heart for Christmas. It is refreshing in application and focuses upon God’s Word. Most of all, A Sanctuary in Our Midst will help you see, “Believing in Jesus is different than being religious.”
-Pastor Earl Korhonen, World Missions Director, Association of Free, Lutheran Congregations

“When I was young I fondly remember the church we attended did something that made quite an impression on me. Each year, after Christmas they removed the lights, decorations and all the branches from the beautiful large tree that stood in the front. At Easter time the trunk from that same Christmas tree became the symbol for the Cross of Christ’s Crucifixion. When Christmas came each year I began to anticipate this transformation – looking not just at the outward beauty but past the branches to the very center of the tree. The author has done the same thing in this devotional. The daily readings and questions point to the incredible connection between Christmas and Easter making the Gospel of Christ the very heart of it all. It is a wonderful way to anticipate the holidays. ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’ (2 Cor. 9:15).”
-Jennifer Voss-White, Student of the Word, Servant of Christ, Women’s Ministry Leader

“Looking for ways to better prepare your heart for the coming of Christ? This devotional is full of inspiration. Karen does an excellent job of using Scripture to lead the reader through prophesies and their fulfillment. Everyday testimonies help to apply these truths to our lives today.”
-Jan McDermott, Retired Bible Camp Director, Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp, Story City, Iowa

“Karen Straszheim’s . . . use of Scripture is an essential point in the Gospel: Jesus’ nativity is the fulfillment of our prophesied Messiah. Karen leads the student to a deep understanding of the Advent message and restores the real message of Christmas. I wish the reader could see her in action when leading non-believers to the centrality of the Scripture, the preeminence of Jesus as our sin bearer, and hear the loving care in her voice. Karen is a true and competent evangelist . . . intelligent, gentle, and forthright. I hope you will experience her evangelical gift here in her devotional.”
-Curt Mobley, Teacher of English at the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Prague, Czech Republic, and Missionary with ReachGlobal

In this year of the coronavirus everyone is seeking a place of refuge, protection and rest. What better place to find these qualities than with God’s Word or a good book. Here is where I could suggest to you the book A Sanctuary in Our Midst. It can be used as a daily devotion, read as a favorite book or as a group Bible study. It has been a huge blessing to me and as the holidays are fast approaching it is time to put A Sanctuary in Our Midst back on my coffee table.
To begin, I would encourage you to read the last paragraph of each chapter, which will inspire you to read the whole book. Please take note of the artwork before each chapter. It is so beautifully done and the explanation of each sketch is on page 77. May God bless each reader.
-Janet Nessa, The author is my dearest friend

Karen Straszheim, who authored the book A Sanctuary in Our Midst, presents a very insightful look at the Scripture presented in the book. She is very thoughtful in her devotional. Her questions at the end of each chapter welcome group discussion as well. This is a very insightful book.
-Cindy Hodnefield, servant of God



Karen L. Straszheim is a wife, mother, and missionary to the Czech Republic. She has been a Christian for 42 years, and studied Bible and Theology at Western Conservative Baptist Seminary in Portland, Oregon. She lives in Story City, Iowa, with her husband of 10 years and attends Stavanger Free Lutheran Church in Garden City, Iowa. Karen enjoys helping others understand the Bible, composing music for the church, quilting, and gardening.