The promise and its fulfillment: Stories for Christmas: Selection offers homespun wisdom, nostalgia.
The selections, from writers of varying degrees of experience, range from very serviceable to very good, and the common thread, besides the Christmas theme, is a prevalent tone of warm nostalgia. There's a plain, simple, homespun quality to these accounts that's quite endearing. And we're keen to read more by some of these authors. Several recount episodes from their childhood as immigrants to Canada. A postwar Dutch family who encounter the kindness of strangers deserves a book-length treatment. Another story authentically conjures the point of view of a child who has her first Christmas with her newly adoptive parents in 1948. The narrative voice in an account of a kitchen mishap is likewise very engaging.
Helping others is a recurring theme, with stories that involve church outreach, an orphanage in West Africa and a nursing home. Those afflicted with addiction, imprisonment or the loss of a loved one discover hope. An umbrella becomes an impromptu Christmas tree; and a small-town mystery set in coastal Nova Scotia makes us want to read the novel-length adventures of the same plucky protagonist. Out of the mouths of babes, a young child heals an elder's sorrow. And a young woman far from home finds comfort in the spontaneous gift of a cheery apple.
There's down-to-earth wisdom here: "We can't do everything, but... we can do something. We can be the people others know they can count on." A poem about the shepherds on the first Christmas has a nice turn of phrase, comparing the ennobling of man through the miracle of God becoming one of us to "a commoner called to court." There's a well-written Christmas "ghost" story; an account of a full-sized Yule tree replaced by an indoor forest of eight small ones; a touching reflection on the absence of self-worth ("nothing on the outside, nothing on the inside") and its remedy; an evocative poem about the sounds, smells and tastes of Christmas; and an amusing account of the harder-than-it-looks task of assembling a bicycle on Christmas Eve. And there's the peace that comes from rejoicing in the promise and its fulfillment.
By John Arkelian
John Arkelian is an award-winning author and journalist.
Copyright [C] 2017 by John Arkelian.
Caption: Stories that are 'good for the soul.'
Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright prestrictions.
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|Title Annotation:||ARTS AND CULTURE|
|Date:||Dec 1, 2017|
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