Sunday, November 15, 2015

Keeping Christmas by Dan Walsh

Stan opened the ugly ornaments box and pulled out the top three ornaments, the ones wrapped in green paper, the kids' favorites, and set them on the coffee table. He picked up the first one, the biggest one--Anna's blue pine cone--and began to unwrap it. Without thinking, Judith walked up, stopped him, and gently took it out of his hand. She wrapped it back up, set it carefully in the box. Then picked up the other two ornaments, put them in the box, and closed the flaps.

"What's the matter?" Stan said. "Did I do something wrong?"

"I don't think I can do this."

Nothing is more beautiful than family

For the first time since their children were born, empty nesters Judith and Stan Winters spent Thanksgiving without the kids, and it's looking like Christmas will be the same. Judith can't bring herself to even start decorating for the holiday; her kids always hung the first ornaments on the tree, ornaments they had made each year since they were toddlers. Sure, the ornaments were strange-looking--some were downright ugly--but they were tradition.

With Judith refusing to decorate the bare spruce tree in their living room, Stan's only hope for saving the holiday is found in a box of handmade ornaments . . .

My review:
  Dan Walsh made his debut into Christian fiction with a Christmas novel, and I became an instant fan of his writing. I am always happy to be able to read and review one of his novels, so I didn't have to think twice about requesting this one.

  For Christians, Christmas is obviously all about Jesus birth and we try to focus on that during the busy season. It also is a time for family, which this novel brings out in a great way. The main characters are a couple dealing with their three adult children and families not coming home for Christmas. As is usually the case, the woman takes it harder than the guy. Walsh did a great job of creating some great characters for the book and an enjoyable and entertaining plot. His portrayal of a mother and grandmother dealing with the idea of Christmas without most of her family is spot on and brought up a lot of fond memories in my mind of our family Christmases down through the years.

  Although the book is fictional, there are some ideas given how to still have Christmas even if the whole family can't be there, though how those work will remain unsaid by me - you'll have to read the book.

  I enjoyed the humorous descriptions of the ugly ornaments in the story, and though I figured out how the book was going to go; I still enjoyed the ending and message of the book. A definite recommended read by this great author.

About the author:

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, as well as The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Visit for more.

Keeping Christmas is available from Revell Publishing, part of the Baker Publishing Group.

Thanks to Revell for the review copy.