BY JAMES CALVIN SCHAAP
Christmas is everywhere . . . even where you least expect it.
Who knew you could find Christmas in . . .
A bold bus driver
A passionate mother
A daughter reluctant to return to church
And other unlikely, imperfect people?
Between pageants and parties, stores and stockings, the quiet moments of grace are often overlooked. But these simple moments in complicated lives will pull you in, bring a smile to your face, and remind you of the real spirit of the season-the spirit of love, the mark of grace. Each story illuminates a miracle moment in a messy world, enough to make you believe in Christmas all over again.
Join award-winning author and storyteller James Calvin Schaap as he uncovers the grace, joy, and love of the season through seven heartwarming tales of miracle moments in a messy world. This beautiful and inspiring collection of contemporary Christmas stories will remind you what grace looks like--and where to find it.
A gift. The baby. The pageant. The parties. The worship. The afterglow. The story. These are the elements of almost every Christmas. In Finding Christmas, award-winning author James Calvin Schaap takes a look at each of these elements through seven stories that show how imperfect people can find joy and grace in an imperfect world. His eyes turn on an outgoing bus driver, a passionate mother, a daughter reluctant to return to church, and even his own assumed-mediocre performance at a Christmas pageant. Along the way, readers see how the amazing message of Christmas can be found in the oddest of places. This heartwarming read is both moving and magical and will help readers usher in a joyful Christmas season even amidst the howling winds of winter.ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
James Calvin Schaap, a professor of English at Dordt College and president of the Chrysostom Society, is the award-winning author of 22 books. His articles, essays and short stories have appeared in more than 25 magazines and journals, including The Banner. He lives in Iowa.
The amazing message of Christmas can be found in the most unlikely places, says author James Calvin Schaap, Sioux Center.
He proves his point in Finding Christmas, a book of stories newly packaged and re-released for the upcoming holiday by Revell Books. Fans of Schaap’s work may recognize these classic tales from a 2005 book, titled Startling Joy: Seven Magical Stories of Christmas. An audio CD version was also released last year, and is available at the Dordt College Bookstore.
Schaap says he thinks of himself as a kind of St. Nick figure this Christmas season, with the new book and two new Christmas stories soon to appear in the December issues of The Banner (the Christian Reformed Church denominational magazine) and Perspectives (a journal of Reformed thought for the Reformed Church of America). He is also in the process of writing a novel, using The Good Father as his working title.
Grace abounds in Schaap’s stories, offering busy readers quiet moments in which to reflect upon the often unseen miracles around us. Set amid parties and pageants, shopping and filling stockings, his Christmas tales are a reminder of what this season is truly about. In his unique style, Schaap brings life to memorable characters who deal with common Christmas events in some unexpected ways.
Schaap is the author of 22 books and countless short stories. His work has received awards from Christianity Today, the Evangelical Press Association, the Associated Church Press, Best Christian Writing, the Christy Award, and many others. A professor of English at Dordt College, Schaap earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; a master’s degree at Arizona State University; and a bachelor’s degree at Dordt College.
Just in time for Christmas, Schaap gives us what you need to take a break and get in the holiday spirit. Filled with shorts stories just long enough to read in one sitting over a warm cup of hot chocolate. I liked the book for just that reason plus each story was in the spirit of Christmas and had a message but it was not so out there that you felt like you were being lectured. Instead I came away feeling good about being inspired by the book. Although not my favorite holiday book, it did merit my time and was worth reading.
To comment on just a few of the stories without giving them away:
"The Baby" is a cute story most can relate to where middle schoolers are putting on a holiday show but a missing prop could ruin the whole show and disappoint a lot of hard working youngsters.
"Mystery" is one I really enjoyed as it is a character study of two very different souls who are able to finally relate to each other.
"The Church" is about a mother who insists her daughter and family attend church and goes so far as to travel many miles to them to teach them a valuable lesson that is even better to learn at this time of the year.
"The Party" is the story of a child that wasn't wanted by the father but when the father's mother, Verona, wants to see her grandchild, she is met by opposition and the other grandmother plays an unlikely role in presenting Verona with a special present.
Three other stories complete this collection and show how small minded, selfish people can learn the true meaning of Christmas in simple ways occurring in every day life.
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