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Christmas Stories: Heartwarming Classics of…
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Christmas Stories: Heartwarming Classics of Angels, a Manger, and the…

by Max Lucado

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Is it February already?

I downloaded this to read over the holidays, but I had so many other books I was desperate to read that this one got left out in the cold. Yeah, that was a bad pun. [Insert another bad pun about there being "no room in the inn" for this book here.]

Puns aside, this is a collection of Christmas stories by Max Lucado. Lucado's books are overtly religious, and he goes heavy on the sentimentality, but if that's your kind of book, there's no one better. In other words, if you're looking for the kind of stories that [a:Nicholas Sparks|2345|Nicholas Sparks|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1332884095p2/2345.jpg] writes, except with religious holiday themes, this is definitely the book for you.

The first story, "The Christmas Candle," is by far the longest story in the book (it accounted for about 40% of the Kindle version). In a cozy, old-fashioned town (some chapters take place in 1664, some in 1864), this story follows the arc of a family of candlemakers. Every 25 years, an angel appears and blesses one of the Christmas candles, and the prayer said over that candle is heeded. Which makes God seem a bit like a genie, but still, it's a charming little story. There's a thought-provoking exchange between one of the townspeople and the new minister who's skeptical about the Christmas candle: "What are you afraid of, Reverend? Afraid the prayers won't be answered or afraid they will?... Do you fear that God will dash the faith of the people, my son? Or do you fear that he will stretch yours?"

Personally, I still don't think God deals in magic candles every few decades, but I also had to admit to myself that when I say, "God doesn't behave like that," I'm subjecting Him to my own standards of how I think He should behave -- and who am I to do that?

The rest of the stories are a little uneven. They're mostly modern-day, and some veer awfully close to being downright maudlin. Women in Max Lucado's world seem to die awfully frequently, whether in car accidents or childbirth, and they almost always seem to leave a young child behind. But, despite the tortured plot devices, there's always a simple and heartwarming message at the core of each story, and the collection as a whole will probably give you the warm fuzzies even while you roll your eyes.

After all, if there's any time of year when gooey and sweet is appropriate (even cherished)... surely that time is Christmastime. Read this in front of a crackling fireplace while the lights on the Christmas tree twinkle softly in the corner, and all will seem right with the world.

And if it's February and your Christmas lights are still up... hey, that's perfectly okay, too.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Truly a book full of heartwarming stories presented in a style that only Max Lucado can do. These stories will touch your soul and bring tears to your eyes as you snuggle up to get lost in faraway places in both past and present.

Of all the stories, my favorite has to be "The Answer is Yes". It's a story about a man and his daughter and how love will always be able to forgive - no matter how big the mistake. Make sure to have tissues on hand, as this one made me cry.

I also enjoyed how Max brought to life Joseph and his role in the life of Jesus. Joseph is not discussed much in the Bible, but this truly made me step back and consider how it must have been for Joseph and how it affected his life.

One other great piece worth mentioning is a short article on Santa Claus. This look at the man/saint is a fantastic piece that needs to be read by all!

Although all the stories and outtakes are good, the above three are my favorites. This book is certainly a must to everyone's library - and not just for Christmas! ( )
  tweezle | Dec 1, 2012 |
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Includes a collection of 11 short stories revolving around Christmas.

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