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Shepherds Abiding: A Mitford Christmas Novel (Mitford Years #8)

4.24  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,560 Ratings  ·  380 Reviews
Since he was a boy growing up in Missisippi, Father Tim has lived what he calls “the life of the mind.” Except for cooking and gardening and washing his dog, he never learned to savor the work of his hands. And then he finds a derelict nativity scene—twenty figures, including a flock of sheep, that have suffered the indignities of time and neglect.Could he give the small c ...more
Hardcover, 289 pages
Published October 20th 2003 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 2003)
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Ann Marie
Dec 21, 2010 Ann Marie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Jan Karon's Shepherds Abiding every year at Christmas time and every year I find another heart warming message I hadn't found before. This years message was 'The first rule is to keep an untroubled spirit. The second is to look things in the face and know them for what they are.' It wasn't even close to any usual Christmas message I've treasured over the years. But the part about keeping an untroubled spirit encouraged such a feeling of free-spiritness in me. This book is about how an ret ...more
Judy King
Dec 21, 2011 Judy King rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Who knew that books could be just like comfort food? I've not read the Mitford books, stumbled onto this one (#8) because I'm on a Christmas-book reading binge this month.

I listened to this one and it was like having mac and cheese made by mom, or vanilla wafer/banana pudding or homemade egg custard with nutmeg browned on top. SIGH...I feel like I've gone home -- At various times during the story I felt as if I was in my childhood home town. Then there were parts that reminded me of the town wh
Jenni Simmons
Dec 26, 2007 Jenni Simmons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Like comfort food, this is a comfort book. I unabashedly love Jan Karon's novels.
Dec 22, 2011 Lorraine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Shepherd’s Abiding” is a warm and fuzzy book that is part of the Mitford Years Series. I read about three or four of the series and always felt refreshed after reading them. Places like Mitford are where we all want to be at times—away from the maddening crowd.
In this novel Father Tim and his wife Cynthia are preparing for Christmas. It begins in October when everyone is waiting for the maples to turn their brilliant colors. He finds an old plaster nativity set in the antique store and is someh
Dec 22, 2014 Camie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A quick trip back (reread) to Mitford to celebrate the holidays with Father Tim, his wife Cynthia, and a supporting cast of loveable locals in this small southern town, always gets me in the holiday spirit. Read it by the fireplace this afternoon, while celebrating today's snowfall. Hurray !!! 5 stars
Lizabeth Tucker
Feb 22, 2013 Lizabeth Tucker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Part of the wonderful Mitford series, this one is concerning Christmas and how everyone is dealing with the approaching holidays. Father Tim is shown a well-worn nativity set from the 19th Century that is badly in need of repair and repainting. Encouraged by his antique store friends, he dives in, hoping to complete it as a gift for his beloved wife. Things are changing in Mitford as they do all over. The Grill is closing, the husband and wife owners finally retiring. That leaves the townspeople ...more
Jun 22, 2010 Ruth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
304 pages.

Since he was a boy growing up in Mississippi, Father Tim has lived what he calls "the life of the mind." Except for cooking and gardening and washing his dog, he never learned to savor the work of his hands. And then he finds a derelict nativity scene-twenty figures, including a flock of sheep, that have suffered the indignities of time and neglect.

Could he give the small company new life? Restore the camel's ear, repaint every piece, replace a missing nose on a wise man? "You can't te
Joy Gerbode
Feb 06, 2015 Joy Gerbode rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful ... of course, I collect nativity sets, so Father Tim refurbishing a nativity is right up my alley. I love these wonderful stories. They are so inspirational, and while they inspire a closer relationship with God, they especially inspire closer relationships with people, love and forgiveness, and acceptance of people who are "different" ... whatever that may mean. Wonderful books, and so very easy to relate to.
Dec 03, 2011 Cindy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
12/10 - I decided, while reading this book, that Mitford novels are like milk chocolate. They do lack the sophistication and complexity of dark stuff - but they still make great comfort food.

I've been a long time enjoy-er of Karon's books, and this was like revisiting sweet memories. Like all the Mitford books, it's a gentle, simple story with a simple plot and lots of personal triumphs for the characters involved. The only thing I didn't like about this one was the passages told ENTIRELY in Unc
I'm going to write the same thing for the entire series. It's a syrupy sweet old fashioned read which does not demand anything of the reader. Many find the series feel good, and there are some sparkles of true conflict here and there, but mostly it's about the mundane daily plight of a vicar who finds love later in life and saves people - emotionally and physically.

If you like the first in the series, keep reading because you will be comforted by the characters and will want to see who is added
Kathy Worrell  ツ
It's funny that at first glance, I didn't really find this book appealing! I had a bunch of Christmas novels and kept putting it aside, almost not reading it at all. What a shame that would have been. I wasn't a Jan Karon fan, even. I must have picked this book up somewhere along the way this past year.

Anyway it's the 8th book in a series. The novel takes place in a town called Mitford. It's a comfortable tale about the people in Mitford and what happens to each of them prior to Christmas.

I wo
Winter Sophia Rose
Encouraging, Heartwarming & Captivating! Another Beautiful Read! I Loved It!
Everything you want in a visit to Christmas!
Dec 21, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very spiritual read that I would have probably liked better if I knew the characters better.
Sep 07, 2014 Missy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet but slight.
Diane Moyle
This was the 8th in the Mitford Years series and is the first book I have read by Jan Karon. It was a very fast, enjoyable read. I do not usually read series but this was the November pick for our book club.

This follows the town’s residents through the Advent season as they prepare for Christmas. All are caught up in their own arrangements and hoping for some Christmas magic. Also on Christmas Eve, they are preparing to say good bye to the local diner and it’s owners that have been a huge part
Aug 16, 2012 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved how this book focused solely on one Mitford Christmas. I can see myself rereading it during the holiday season because it is such a delightful read and contains such a warm spirit. It was interesting to discover how the magic of Christmas seemed to touch so many of the residents of Mitford, resulting in glowing, radiant sentiment. A most worthy read!
Jan 04, 2011 Marci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie Blake
Apr 24, 2013 Stephanie Blake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read nearly everything Jan Karon has written. Reading any book in her Mitford series is a great way to relax. This was no exception. I enjoyed it just like I enjoyed the rest of her books. She has a true gift for making you want to be part of the family in Mitford!
Piepie Beuttel
I've read and re-read all of the Mitford books, and it was such a delight going back and doing this one again, but this time in audio form. "Shepherds Abiding," the main story in this 6-disc set (this audiobook also included two very short stories, "Esther's Gift" and "The Mitford Snowmen"), is just beautiful. I love seeing all the characters as they plan and prepare and get ready for Christmas festivities. Hope is my favorite, but of course I loved peering over the shoulders of Father Tim, Fred ...more
Timothy Darling
It's a pleasure to return to Mitford, it's been a few years since I read any of these books. With all the Science Fiction "the whole world is at stake" and Mystery "it's all life and death" reading I do, I enjoy getting into something in which the focus is more commonplace. A meaningful hand made gift, the goings on of family dynamics, normal working life decisions and transitions. These are not the things that disrupt our lives, but change them and mold them in important ways. Never mind that J ...more
I don't feel right offering a review of this, because it's really not my type of book so I probably wouldn't have cared for it even it was the very best book of its kind. I picked it up for a few bucks at a used book sale several years ago and was in the mood for a Christmas book, so here we are.

The novel meanders a bit, kind of aimless, not a lot of conflict or much of anything else going on. Didn't get connected to any of the characters, but as part of a series I guess series readers already
Dec 13, 2015 Linnae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Father Tim wants to do something to surprise his wife Cynthia for Christmas, so when an antique Nativity scene comes into the mayor's shop he takes a leap of faith and buys it. You see, it needs work. A lot of work. He's not much of one for painting and certainly not plaster-work, but there it is. With his friends at the antique store to help him, he may just get it done in time.

Meanwhile, others in Mitford have hopes and problems of their own.

Total comfort read and I relished every minute of it
Sep 21, 2010 Abby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful Mitford book!
This is the eighth book in Jan Karon's 'Mitford' series. It's shorter than the majority: less than 300 pages, and print well spaced out, so I read it in less than two days.

It's a bit of a novelty book rather than an important one in the Mitford story; Christmas is approaching, and the retired Episcopal priest Father Tim spots a rather scruffy set of plaster nativity figures in the antique shop. Hoping to surprise his wife, he enlists the help of a couple of friends and sets to work to repair and
Karon works more homespun magic with this latest uplifting story set in sleepy Mitford, N.C. Father Timothy Kavanagh, stalwart of the Mitford series, is approaching 70 when he comes across pieces of an old English nativity scene at his friend Andrew Gregory's antique shop. The set has definitely seen better days, and Andrew is hoping that someone will volunteer to restore it. Who better than Father Tim, who seems to have reached a turning point in his life and needs a project to distract him? In ...more
Sep 19, 2015 Kshydog rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Follows the series but not necessary to have read the others. It helps because the author does a nice job of filling us in about the lives of the others in town. This was nice with Father Tim working hard on his present for his wife by painting a nativity set which he had never done before with the help of his friends. More about Father Tim's childhood loving his Mom and scared of his Dad than any of the other books. All the residents are as usual excited about the upcoming holiday.
Apr 23, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in order to check off the 'book about Christmas' box in my Pop Sugar 2015 Reading Challenge, expecting to race through it just to complete a task. Golly! I liked it! I've avoided Jan Karon because I thought she wrote preachy, saccharine novels...not the case. While she is a Christian writer and there is evidence of that in the book, it was a good story with everyday, flawed, interesting characters. Adding this author to my list of those to revisit.
Claudia Cheyne
May 13, 2015 Claudia Cheyne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jan Karon's characters seem so real, you almost feel like you know them. This story takes place in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Father Tim finds an unusual nativity set which is badly in need of TLC and paint. He takes on the project even though he has never really done anything like this before. Other friends and neighbors have their own Santa surprises. This is a delightful read any time of year.
Jan 22, 2016 Joni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a few years ago and happened upon it at the library just at the start of the holiday season. Even if you haven't read the entire Mitford series, this is a gentle read about a small, slow paced southern community during the Christmas season. If you need any reminders about what Christmas is all about, you will enjoy taking a trip to Mitford. Might have to reread the series!
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Born Janice Meredith Wilson in 1937, Jan Karon was raised on a farm near Lenoir, North Carolina. Karon knew at a very early age that she wanted to be a writer. She penned her first novel when she was 10 years old, the same year she won a short-story contest organized by the local high school. Karon married as a teenager and had a daughter, Candace.

At 18, Karon began working as a receptionist for
More about Jan Karon...

Other Books in the Series

Mitford Years (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • At Home in Mitford (Mitford Years, #1)
  • A Light in the Window (Mitford Years, #2)
  • These High, Green Hills (Mitford Years #3)
  • Out to Canaan (Mitford Years, #4)
  • A New Song (Mitford Years, #5)
  • A Common Life: The Wedding Story (Mitford Years, #6)
  • In This Mountain (Mitford Years, #7)
  • Light from Heaven (Mitford Years, #9)
  • Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good (Mitford Years, #10)
  • Come Rain or Come Shine

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