Maybe it's just me. But for some reason, I've had a hard time getting myself psyched up for Christmas. I dragged my heels about putting up the tree. I stalled on Christmas shopping. But this past week, I think it's finally coming on. I received my Secret Santa package in the mail. And I decided to read Christmas Jars by Jason Wright (149 pgs., Shadow Mountain). I thought it might help the Christmas Spirit gain a little momentum. This little book, almost a novella, certainly packs a punch!
Louise Jensen spent every Christmas Eve doing the same thing. She went to Chuck's Chicken & Biscuits and ate dinner. It was a tradition she had been following for years. Except one. She was sick on Christmas Eve and had to put off her annual dinner....until New Year's Eve. Maybe it was fate. Or maybe it was God's plan. But whatever the reason, Louise was in the right place at the right time. A baby girl was left in the booth next to Louise with a note:
To the next person to hold my baby girl, She is yours now. I'll miss her more than you know. But I love her too much to raise her with a daddy that hits. Truth is, he didn't even want me to have her anyways, and her life will be better without a mommy that will always need to run. Please tell her I love her. And please tell her I will hold her again. I cannot give her much, but this year I give her the life her daddy wouldn't. And a little bit of hope.
And this is how Hope Jensen came to be adopted by a loving mother that would do anything for her. As the years went by, it was obvious to everyone that Hope wanted to be a journalist. When she graduated from high school, she started interning for the local paper. With a lot of hard-work and determination, Hope moved up the ladder. But things at home just weren't the same. Louise had cancer. And although she fought it valiantly, it was no use.
Hope's first Christmas Eve without her mother was hard enough. But when she got to her apartment that night, someone had broken in and stolen all her things! As the police were taken her statement and collecting evidence, a mysterious bag showed up by her front door. No one saw who delivered it. It contained a jar....labeled Christmas Jar and was filled with money! As Hope was trying to find out who left the precious gift, she formed the idea of writing "The Story". A story that would lead to her first Front Page exclusive.
This was a fantastic story!! Beautifully written in a sparse fashion, Jason Wright tells an inspiring tale of love, generosity and heart. The only I fault I see with this story is it's too short! As with a lot of the short story genre, I felt that it would have been nice to have a little more character depth. There is only so much you can get with a 120 pages. But the tradition of the Christmas Jar and how it links to Hope's past is one that will warm even the coldest of heart. It really does put things in perspective. Could this little story (which is slated to become a "Major Motion Picture") be the next Christmas Carole? It just might.
(A special thanks goes out to Patrick from Shadow Mountain Publishing for sending me this little gem!)