Thursday 12 November 2020

A Perfect Christmas - Carolyn Astfalk - A Contemporary Christian Short Story

A Perfect Christmas: 
A Contemporary Christian Short Story
Carolyn Astfalk
Multa Verba
eISBN 9780997971866

I have read five novels by Carolyn Astfalk and her short story in the collections, Secrets: Visible & Invisible 7 Amazing Stories and Gifts Visible & Invisible 8 Christmas Stories for Teens. This story appears in the second of those anthologies. But it really impacted me more reading it as a stand-alone story. And I have been thinking about that a lot over the past week. I thought it is sort of like having a mixed box of chocolates. If you have 2 or three, they lose a bit of their distinctiveness. And as much as I love anthologies, there is something to be said about reading the stories in isolation. And reading this apart from the others has brought out more in the story.

My quick summary of the story when I read it more than a year ago in the collection was:

“Christmas expectations unmet? How many of us have not been here before? But this year, it seems like everything that can go wrong does. Dad is away and Mom is dealing with a newborn—on top of the other kids. But fifteen-year-old Marigold had so many plans for this Christmas and they all seem to be falling short. However, after a first-time Christmas Eve visit to the neighbours, she has a new perspective on things. The characters are great. And if we are lucky, they will appear in a new novel from the author in 2021.”

That new novel now has a name, On Graffiti Road, and I am even more excited to read it now. One of the things this story did reading it this time was remind me, it reminded me that every time I travelled something went wrong at home, freezer dying, oldest ended up in hospital, trip extended and missed our anniversary. I often thought about the impact on my wife when I travelled, but less so the children. The disruption of schedule and routine. The lack of presence. And the worry and concern. 

The story is very heartwarming. And yet it also really caused me to reflect. It is a great story for teens, tweens and adults. It has a wonderful Christmas message we could all be reminded of from time to time. And the story will leave you anticipating the novel with the same characters. Another excellent offering from the pen of Carolyn Astfalk.

1 comment:

Carolyn Astfalk said...

Thanks so much, Steve! My husband traveled for work quite frequently in a prior job. Everything going wrong is from our experience. Car transmission failure, medical emergencies, garage door not opening, clogged toilet - it was always something.