Friday, December 23, 2016

A Miser, a Manger, a Miracle--The First Christmas Carol: A Book Review

Ebenezer is an innkeeper in the usually sleepy town of Bethlehem. At the moment, though, he's experiencing a bumper crop of desperate patrons in town for the Roman census, and he couldn't be happier. Miserly, mean, sarcastic, greedy, and unfeeling are some of Ebenezer's finer character attributes, and he's in fine fettle bossing his employee, Aaron, around and kicking out visitors who don't have enough money to rent the last room in his inn. As luck would have it, Ebenezer's inn is the one at which Joseph and Mary inquire and are turned away by the money-grubbing innkeeper.

There are a host of other characters that correlate with Charles Dickens' The Christmas Carol, including a little crippled boy named Timothy, the son of long-suffering and devout Aaron and his wife, Martha, and Ebenezer's nephew, Isaac, the son of his beloved sister who died giving birth to Isaac. The storyline is similar to Dickens' classic, but blends well with the Christmas story and the night of the Savior's birth. Ebenezer is visited first by the archangel Gabriel and then by three angels who take him through his own life (bringing back both happy times and wrenching memories), and then the life of Christ, from that night in Ebenezer's stable to His crucifixion.

I enjoyed this book by Marianne Jordan and would highly recommend it to Christian readers, although I think secular readers would also enjoy it. I found it particularly enjoyable because it's the Christmas season, of course, but it would be a great read at any time of the year. The characters are well-drawn, you can taste the dust in Bethlehem, and Jordan has done a fine job of blending two classic stories into one.
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