Christmas is so over-commercialized that a part of me, just a small part, dreads it's arrival every October. Yes, October. I'm a bit weary of the Christmas ads that overfill my newspaper, the articles about the must-have toy of the season (It's the Zhu Zhu Pet this year.), people who put up their lights before Halloween, the Christmas commercials, the nonsense of camping out in front of some store to get the best deals, and what seemed outrageous this year...The Merry Madagascar special that aired before Thanksgiving.
My children are especially greedy this time of year. My five-year old wants every large LEGO set available. This child informed me that Santa doesn't have to worry about how expensive something is. He'll make it happen. Santa will make it happen. (cringe)
But this is sounding a bit down on Christmas, which is not my intention. The child in me still gets excited about picking out the tree, holiday baking, and singing Christmas songs. The adult, however, finds it increasingly harder to experience the wonder of Christmas.
The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans helped me to recapture that feeling of Christmas wonder this year. It is not an elaborate story, but a remarkably simple one. A young couple and their small daughter go to live with a lonely widow in her large estate. In exchange for their room and board, the family does nominal work for the widow, such as preparing meals. This arrangement has deeper emotional consequences for both the family and the widow. The father discovers an old Christmas Box in the attic, which intrigues him. Tear stained Bible pages, dreams of stone angels, and unidentified music help to unravel the mystery of the Box. Through this mystery, Evans reveals the first gift of Christmas.
I am a person who is very sensitive to cheesiness. If I find it cheesy, I won't be able to take it seriously. This novel definitely passes the cheesiness test. I think it's because the emotion is not contrived, but is honest. Evans originally wrote the novella for his children. It was definitely a welcomed reprieve from all the holiday madness. I highly recommend this book.