How could the story of a mother's stroke, a daughter's emotional abandonment of her own child,
a loving marriage ship-wrecking on the rocks, and one very wise young girl who sees what needs to be done, how could that be a Christmas story, you ask?
Well, think about what Christmas is all about. Jesus Christ, Son of God, entering this broken world and putting on a body of our fallen flesh, living among us, identifying with us and saving us.
It was in the darkness, sadness, lostness that we all live with that the Light was born.
And it's the same in this story. One imperfect Christmas is not a fluffy holiday comedy, and it is not a book of heavy despair either.
One Imperfect Christmas is a wonderfully real, very human, and dearly beautiful tale.
Reading this was an experience.
It made me sad, it made me get a little misty-eyed, it made me irked at some of the characters choices, and it made me cheer for some of the character's decisions.
I like the way Myra wrote this story, going back and forth between Natalie, her husband Daniel, and their daughter Lissa as their world fell apart.
Blaming herself for not being there the day her mother had a stroke while she was trying to pack away Christmas decorations, Natalie falls into an emotional and psychological whirlpool that sucks her aways from everyone she loves and threatens to drown her.
Daniel doesn't know how to reach his wife. Her focus is on researching strokes and working, not helping Lissa adjust to the new reality of Grandma being in a nursing home.
And Daniel feels like nothing in his power to help her is good enough.
After months with no change, he gives Natalie a shocking ultimatum: be fully present here or leave.
And his wife leaves.
In the center of it all is Lissa, a girl who might just hold the key to some of Grandma's healing and whose knows that her mother and father have a chance for restoration if only they'd try!
How much does a promise mean?
What do you do when you just want out of a situation where you can't see hope?
How much will you risk for the people you know you love?
That is the story of One Imperfect Christmas, one of my favorites of 2013!
Thank you Abingdon for my review copy.