Viewed through the eyes of a child, the Christmas story takes on new meaning as the author brings the tale to life with a contemporary twist. In a season known for miracles, Logan’s journey is filled with wonder sometimes missing from modern retellings of Bible stories. Readers will be drawn in as he matures from materialism to understanding the importance of Jesus’s birth, especially with the descriptions of Logan’s time in Israel. Similarly, Marcus’s burden of grief over his wife’s death several years before is nuanced; the pain is palpable.
Where the novel struggles slightly is with a subplot shrouded in stereotypes. Bailey introduces Wendell, a mentally ill young atheist man who’s fallen through the cracks in the system. He hates Christianity fanatically, for unexplained reasons. Passionate in his hatred, he turns to terrorism. Whereas Logan and Marcus’s stories are handled with subtlety, albeit a bit fantastically, the portrayal of Wendell is much less compassionate, treating him as little more than a caricature to be reviled. Some readers will consider this connecting of atheist viewpoints and terrorism alienating, or find that it detracts from the story’s messages of grace and hope. Likewise, the conclusion of the story feels rushed and less polished than what comes before. Logan’s penultimate decision may leave readers confused, if not disquieted. But the book’s beautiful main plot will please fans of the traditional Christmas story.
Takeaway: Fans of the traditional Christmas story will find peace and joy in this beautiful, if slightly uneven, fantastical tale.
Great for fans of: Lynne Gentry’s The Carthage Chronicles, R.S. Ingermanson’s City of God series, Don Furr’s Quest for the Nail Prints.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B