Awakening and Transformation
Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh is another perfect Christmas read. The action begins and ends in the present but the main body of the book is set in November and December 1980.
It is a book about awakenings and transforming lives. Rick is happy with his life living in a condo and working in business when he gets a call from his mother Leanne, to come and look after the Book Nook. His stepfather Art is in hospital with an aneurism. Rick reluctantly comes. He is the complete opposite of warm, loving, easy going Art and Leanne. Rick is far from God, motivated by business targets, money, outward appearances and he has little time for people. Rick is way out of his comfort zone in the Christian bookstore. Maybe time away from his pressurised job is just what Rick needs even though it is not what he wants.
Prayer is the most powerful thing anyone can do. Prayer may be answered immediately or over many years but it is always answered. There are many prayers uttered within the novel and there are many answers.
A Short Story
My heart was heavy, so many problems, how was I ever going to cope? I had never felt so alone and so burdened. With lead feet, I mounted the stairs. Even my bedroom, with its brightly patterned wallpaper did nothing to lift my mood. I felt isolated, how could some one with so many friends feel so desolate? I peeled back the bed covers, swung my legs into bed and switched out the light. Now the room matched my mood- dark, black, cold. Sleep was a long time coming, but finally I felt my eyelids grow heavy and close.
Through closed eyes I could sense the bright, white light. It was blinding. Tentatively I tried to open my eyes. It was dazzling, never had I seen such a light which seemed to be emanating out from a centre. Gradually my eyes became accustomed to the whiteness; a sun had never shone so bright. Then I saw him……. Right in the centre of the light, a man, smiling, with his arms outstretched, clothed in a brilliant white robe, sandals on his feet. He beckoned to me, and I felt compelled to go to him. I don’t normally approach strange men, but there was something about him, something non threatening, and I knew that if I did not go to him, I would regret it forever.
A Love That Binds
Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh is a perfect read in the lead up to Christmas.
Stan and Judith are ’empty nesters’. Their three children are grown up and have moved several states away. None of them could come for Thanksgiving, and then they individually dropped the bombshell – none of them could afford to come for Christmas. Stan takes it in his stride. Judith hits rock bottom.
Dan Walsh covers the theme of depression sensitively. He shows how quickly one can reach the bottom of the pit, in spite of having the loving support of a spouse and friends. And how hard it is to lift oneself out of that pit.
An Open Heart To Others
At Love’s Bidding by Regina Jennings is the second historical Christian novel to be set at Ozarks. It was wonderful to meet up with familiar characters and to enjoy the antics of Betsy again. It can however be read as a stand-alone, as the focus of the novel is on two new characters, Wyatt and Miranda.
Miranda’s family own a prestigious auction house in Boston. When a painting is accidentally sold and mailed to Missouri, Miranda and her grandfather travel there, in the hopes of recovering the painting. Here they meet Wyatt, an adopted son of the Ballantines, who works in an auction house. Together they search for the painting, unaware of the consequences and the life changing effect.
At Love’s Bidding is a delightful novel with many different themes, and with God at the centre. Both Wyatt and Miranda are good, faith filled people trying to live lives that honour Jesus. They both have hearts for the poor and the hurting. In them we see the commandment being lived out of ‘taking care of the widows and orphans’. They both see beyond people’s clothes and stations, looking into their hearts.