Northern Lights of Christ

(6 customer reviews)




Hygge. Koselig. Sisu. These aren’t easy for fast paced and mercurial Americans, but they are exactly what we need today. Being married to a Finn, I knew what these were and how they are lived out but most books lack substance and makes these just an aesthetic or mood. Nic explains in a deeply personal way using real examples such as warm socks, tea, knitting looms, and Finnish Theophany celebrations. There is finally now a book that provides real meaning for those looking to actually understand Nordic living.” -Mat. Melissa Naasko, author of Fasting as a Family and Hospitality for Healing (Park End Books, 2022)

Travel with folklorist Nic Hartmann across the intersection between Nordic customs and Orthodox Christian faith in this perfect conversation starter for your fall and winter gatherings. Book clubs will love implementing the customs in these pages as they join together for cozy, nurturing, balancing,  and edifying discussions about five Nordic values: Hygge, Koselig, Lagom, Sisu, and Ísbíltúr.

In this substantive exploration of Nordic culture as it is expressed in Orthodox Christian living, you will gain insight into eternal truths through Hartmann’s well-told, real life stories. Through winters and campfires, coffees and catechism, warm Christmas lights and icy Theophany water blessings, and one memorable road trip to get ice cream, Hartmann brings us shared experiences of faith that will elevate and encourage everyone who reads them.

Releases October 1, 2021

Book Clubs ordering 5 or more copies from Park End Books should use code bookclub at checkout for a 30% discount. Bulk order 40% discounts for churches ordering 10 or more copies will be applied if you use code bookshop at checkout.

Ships in the United States only. Please order from your local bookseller if you are outside the United States. We are unable to fulfill orders overseas for this title due to exorbitant shipping costs, but you can purchase the book worldwide from your local bookseller or online retailers. (If you are a church bookstore wishing to purchase a case of books, please contact to arrange shipping.)

Additional information

Weight .3 lbs
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × .5 in

6 reviews for Northern Lights of Christ

  1. Sarah Bartmann

    Such a fun and thought provoking book about the values we live by. If you like travel, culture and faith, this is the book for you. Charming and wise.

  2. Kim

    Nic’s style is thoughtful and approachable, and you’ll find yourself feeling as though you are sharing a cup of tea with him as he shares his heart and meditations. Savor this sweet read and let it warm the corners of your curiosity and your soul as a momentary retreat from the frantic rush around you. This is a gift!

  3. Jason Streit

    This book not only introduced me to cultural concepts I knew little to nothing about but it also helped me see my faith in a new and cozier way. Oftentimes theology books can be a bit cold or sterile but this book is like a cozy blanket and a hot cup of coffee for the soul. Not that it’s light on theology mind you, between Nic’s meditations and thoughtful questions at the end of each chapter you will have plenty to think about long after you put the book down. Do yourself a favor and pick this book up.

  4. Kristina Wenger

    Folklorist and author Dr. Nic Harman beautifully knits together his love for Nordic cultures with the Orthodox Christian faith in his book “Northern Lights of Christ”. The book introduces the reader to a handful of values esteemed and practiced by people in Nordic countries. Dr. Hartmann entwines these values with stories from the lives of Orthodox saints, stitching in glimpses of how each value is reflected in Orthodox practice, and breathing in the warmth of stories from his own life.

    This book can be read by an individual, who will certainly learn and grow through reading it. But reading (and processing) Northern Lights of Christ together with a group will add a great dimension to the learning. After all, each of the Nordic values addressed in the book is best practiced in community, as is our Faith. Warm your heart and grow in the Faith alongside good friends as you gather around a handful of candles with hot drinks and the “Northern Lights of Christ”.

  5. Cynthia Damaskos

    A wonderful book that brings to light ways to intentionally cultivate a rich life.

  6. Melanie

    My review below also appears on Amazon:

    I was given a copy of this book to give an honest review of it, and notwithstanding my own literary background, which demands a good deal of punctuational perfectionism, I found Northern Lights to be just what the doctor ordered. You can tell Hartmann is a storyteller at heart, no pun intended.

    It’s the middle of winter, it’s cold, and I’m weighted toward introversion, but with a decent dose of willing villager thrown in. I also found out a few years ago that I have a surprising amount of Scandinavian DNA in my genetic heritage (the British Isles were mostly what I’d grown up claiming), so Hartmann’s book speaks to me on many levels.

    With pleasing, light-handed Scandinavian illustrations of hot drinks, ice cream cones, trees, and mittens generously sprinkled throughout, the book itself is an act of hospitality, inviting the reader to slow down and smell the incense and hot cocoa. Impatient and citified as I am I felt my breathing moderate slightly as the author’s meaning sank in. As Hartmann states, “Slowness is an antidote to a society that frequently pushes its members into the ground, mentally and physically.” (p.37)

    Providing examples from Orthodox theologians, the lives of saints, and folklife, Hartmann draws on individual and communal spiritual practices of the Orthodox Church—lighting candles, singing the services, praying alone or in church, and generally moving on God’s time, not on frenetic human time. While Northern Lights of Christ is written with the Orthodox Christian in mind, however, his attention to Nordic ideas of connectedness invites every reader in to relish the slow season of Winter.

    The chapters are divided by the five countries and languages, to wit,

    Hygge (Denmark) – “a sense of connected comfort and coziness that promotes a sense of safety and well-being.” (p.11)

    Koselig (Norway) – “a feeling of deep contentment, provided by a person, place, or atmosphere…” (p.29)

    Lagom (Sweden) – “Just right. In moderation…Perfectly balanced,” (p.51) such as one might feel at Fyka, the “midday pause for coffee and a bun” (p.52)

    Sisu (Finland) – “involves recognizing the importance of being in situations that test us and allow us to see what we’re capable of.” (p.71)

    Isbiltur (Iceland) – “A road trip to get ice cream.” (p.89) Self-explanatory.

    References to so many current cultural touchstones bring a contemporary relevance to the ancient practices of Orthodoxy for the sake of us moderns, among whom will be many converts finding comfort in the already familiar. His immersion in folklore and storytelling is apparent, and I confess to a certain satisfaction when he referred to a beloved character of the comic Moomin world, created by Finnish artist/writer Tove Jansson.

    While we can all recognize that pop culture often pits itself against “the slow life,” Hartmann has found that there are ways to incorporate some of those same elements into living a life more human and spiritual—watching Slow TV, for example (It’s a thing! Who knew?).

    For group or personal study, each chapter ends with Main Points and Reflection Questions, and insomuch as the Nordic ideas that Hartmann holds dear are presented in tandem with Orthodox Christian practices, an intimate group study would make for a lovely meeting of hearts and minds. Just add coffee and cardamom (or cinnamon) buns!

    Reading Northern Lights did seem to slow down time, reminding me of my own fervent desire to reclaim a more peaceful, manageable pace, and the simple human connection that hospitality and care for self and others can create.

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