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This is probably the shortest book on the list. But that doesn’t make it less important or well-written.
I first read it when I was in seventh grade. I ordered via the book order; man, I looooved the book order. One of the best parts of school for me. (If you didn’t have book order: It was usually from Scholastic–it was a flyer, a few pages long (like the grocery insert in the Sunday Paper), where you could order books and other things, like pencils and notebooks, for a few dollars. You filled out the form, gave the money to your teacher, and a week or so later, voila! The books arrived, rubber-banded together for you! ) Anyway, The Christmas Box , by Richard Paul Evans, was one of the choices I made that year. It was probably under $3. (It was much simple than the pic below–paperback, with a forrest green cover and a small, embossed white snowflake under the title.)
It’s the story of a small family–dad, mom and little girl–who go to live as in-home caretakers to a wealthy, elderly widow in Salt Lake City named MaryAnne. The husband, Richard, hears music coming from the attic, and discovers a “Christmas Box” ( a box with the Nativity scene etched on the lid) full of letters to a lover. Every night, Richard hears the music and dreams of a stone angel.
As Richard delves into the mystery of the box, MaryAnne asks Richard what the first gift of Christmas was, insisting that he know. When she’s diagnosed with a brain tumor, it becomes even more important that Richard discover what the gift was–as well as the secret Mary’s hiding from them.
Like all of Richard Paul Evans’ stories, this one is about love, faith, and family. It touched me deeply as a pre-teen, and even now, when I re-read it every Christmas, I’m captivated by its charm and evocative writing. It eventually became the first book of a trilogy, with The Timepiece and The Letter following it, as well as many other best sellers. I love getting a new book of his, and yes, almost all of his adult novels have to do with Christmas.
If you haven’t read his novels, try a few of them in the New Year. I promise, all of them are excellent.
So, like the rest of the world, I went and saw Les Miserables on the big screen last week (Saturday, to be precise), with a good friend of mine. I’ve seen the show several times live, and think that Colm Wilkinson is the best Jean Valjean in existence. These are my biases going in. 🙂
Not going to recap plot, just give you some notes.
New Year’s doesn’t mean a whole lot to me; my more important yearly markers are my birthday and my transplant anniversary. I’ve never been one of those people who goes to parties on New Year’s Eve. I prefer to celebrate quietly. (I do have several friends who have New Year’s Day birthdays, however!)
My parish will hold a vigil Mass starting with holy hour at 11. I went to that last year, and I’ll probably go again this year. In the United States, January 1 is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics, because it’s the the feast day of our country’s patronal saint (the Virgin Mary). So we have to go to church either tonight or tomorrow.
I did a lot in 2012: wrote my novel, got interviewed for a national magazine, and did some excellent theater. I hope to do even more great theater this year, and to get my book proposal out into the world. But generally my goals are to be alive, enjoy my life, and read as many books as possible. 🙂
I also usually don’t make resolutions. As a kid the resolution was to stop biting my nails, which always failed miserably. And the other “resolutions” I have are the same as the rest of the world: eat better and exercise more. I actually started exercising more back in December, so that resolution started early. Instead of eating “better”, mine is to cook more, which generally leads to eating better (when you can control your ingredients and how you prepare food, it works out better. Also helps with vegetable consumption!).
Some things I’m looking forward to: Doing Les Miserables this summer; seeing Rite of Spring in March; going to see Maria Stuarda at the Live in HD performance next month; my sister graduates from college, and Disney World! (Hopefully. If dad’s proposal gets accepted) So there are lots of good things coming up, as well as turning 31, and my 8 year transplant anniversary.
I am, in general, an optimist. I know the world has problems. But I also think it’s better to try to fix them, instead of preaching gloom and doom, and fight the good fight. There are a lot of negative nelly bloggers out there who think they’re preaching “truth” and we all are being ostriches. The world is ending!
No it’s not. It’s changing–it always is–but I’ll take optimism, thank you.
Here’s to 2013.
It actually opens tomorrow night at the Met, but it will be shown as part of the Met’s Live in HD movie theater broadcasts in January. I am so excited to see this.
and, indeed, my fire is very delightful.
Merry Christmas blog readers!
Instead of a White Christmas, Columbus is getting a white Boxing Day/St. Stephen’s Day/Second Day of Christmastide. It’s apparently slippery and icy and gross outside, so I’m not planning on leaving my house. Which is good, because it is stocked with many creature comforts, most of them courtesy of St. Nick:
Christmas was really nice this year. I had brunch with my friends first (and got a soggy collar on my sweater, thanks to Baby Evie’s enjoyment of it. I love that kid.) Mass was at 4:00, followed by dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse, then home for A Christmas Story marathon and Mom’s opening of the Leg Lamp we got her for Christmas. (We love A Christmas Story at our house.)
Christmas Day was a bit unusual for us; Bryan my brother had to work on Christmas Eve so he missed Mass and dinner with us. He went to Christmas Day Mass at a neighboring parish, so we didn’t get to open gifts until around 10:30 or so, when usually I am chomping at the bit around 7 AM (this is the only day of the year I voluntarily get up at 7). Yes, I love Christmas, the whole Christmas season. Why do you ask? 🙂
After presents comes Christmas Day Breakfast–sausage and cinnamon rolls–then we all sort of hang out until dinner, which this year was at 5:00 since Mel had to work a 7:00 shift at the hospital. With the ominous warnings of SNOWMAGGEDON my dad and brother helped me bring all my “packages, boxes and bags” back to my house last night; normally I’d do that today. Since I got a lot of heavy things (coffee maker, food processor, a 10 piece set of serving ware/casserole dishes), I needed their help!
So I’m settling in today to enjoy being snowbound. But then the snow better go away, because I’ve got a busy Th-Sat. coming up, which involves mucho driving. Mother Nature, take note!
How was your Christmas?