There’s always a tearjerker among the Christmas books. This year, it’s The Spirit of Christmas by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson. It’s a collection of short stories, true anecdotes about the Christmas season, and the true meaning of the holiday. I couldn’t even wear my reading glasses while I read this one. Too many tears. But, a friend of mine does tell me I’m “mushy.”
There are stories of needy families helped out for Christmas, with unexpected gifts of food, toys, and friendship. There are the Christmas miracles, an elderly mother who delighted in the Santa on a firetruck, and wished for snow. There’s the one about the last Christmas phone call, one that never happened according to Ma Bell. Marley Gibson’s cats destroyed their Christmas tree, but saved Christmas in “that Chaotic Christmas.”
My niece is in South Korea, her second year teaching English in a middle school there. So, I appreciated Pamela Jo Flores’ “An Irish Pub in Korea,” her story of her first Christmas as an ESL teacher in South Korea.
Right now, with unemployment and families without homes, many of these essays are timely. But, there’s a timelessness to all of them as well. “Karen’s Gift” reminds us all to slow down and appreciate family.
Kelly J. Stigliano sums up the book, and the theme, perfectly in her story, “The Most Beautiful-Ugly Christmas Ornament.” She ends with, “Because that’s what Christmas and this lie really mean: the lives we touch, the people we love, and the precious moments we spend together.” If you’re tired of all the Christmas romances, try a little Christmas reality, The Spirit of Christmas.
Cecil Murphey’s website is www.cecilmurphey.com.
Marley Gibson’s website is www.marleygibson.com.
The Spirit of Christmas by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson. St. Martin’s Press. ©2011. ISBN 9780312645014 (hardcover), 190p.
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