You may know Joel Osteen as pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, the largest church in the U.S. He is also quite a storyteller, even for those of us who don't follow his preaching or his TV show. His latest book is perfect for Christmas Eve. The Christmas Spirit is subtitled "Memories of Family, Friends, and Faith." And, what else is Christmas about?
Osteen views Christmas as a time to celebrate family, faith and love. And, in many stories in this book, they go hand-in-hand. He tells stories of his father who grew up poor during the Depression, and always wanted to provide a feeling of security for his family. His joy in providing for his family carried through, not just at Christmas, but in little things, including stories of a grey box where the children could turn for needed money. There's a story of a Christmas bicycle, and the secret Joel shared with his father that year. Osteen learned lessons from the lives of his parents and grandparents, and shares those stories with humor and joy.
Osteen's book is a small collection of memories gathered from his family, his wife's family, and a few friends. Certainly as a minister, he relates the stories to his opinions about God and faith. You can read those as someone who believes, or you can accept Osteen's stories as a chance to remember your own Christmases past.
Whether or not you care about the Christian aspects of the book, if you love Christmas, you might appreciate Osteen's stories, and the comment, "I realize now one of the main things our parents and grandparents gave us for Christmas was memories."
As I spend time with my mother this Christmas season, making candy and cookies, attending a play, shopping for little gifts, just spending the time together, I'm treasuring every memory we're making. Joel Osteen's The Christmas Spirit might just remind you of memories in your own life.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
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My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.