Last Friday night my husband and I found ourselves home with just the boys and nothing urgent on the calendar.
Bliss. What to do? We picked up one of the Christmas books I had pulled from the library to try to get to this season: The Christmas Stove by Alta Halverson Seymour. We finished it an hour and 17 minutes later and it was better than a Hallmark movie, better than any other Christmas movie.
My husband said it reminded him of Heidi because it was about life in a little village in Switzerland. My nearly 14-year-old said he liked the old aunt in the story because she took in two children even though she was old and poor and then made their Christmas perfect. My eight-year-old said his favorite part was the stove.
It's a simple tale with the common Christmas themes of lonely, struggling people finding hope, comfort, and joy at Christmas time through hard work, generosity, giving. The stove tiles in the little mountain hut show the pictures of the Christmas story, but the two orphaned children learn the true message of Christmas in reaching out to the most unattractive individuals in their community and discovering that adults are lost and lonely as well. It's a charming story of life in another country, another time, told with old-fashioned language.
The truth is, its message is for us today with our modern pace and electronic communication. With all our sophistication, we still need to experience the gift of family. One of the ways we can get in touch with what is really important is in the reading of such books.
I don't know a lot about this author, other than that she must have had a big heart and loved to tell Christmas stories, especially as it is celebrated in other lands. Others she wrote that you might search out include the following:
Arne and the Christmas Star
A Grandma for Christmas