Last year in mid-December I purchased the book, Christmas on Pleasant Hill, Twelve Stories for the Season, by Colleen Scheid. My plan was to enjoy a few pages each day during the remainder of Advent. Little did I know how compelling Colleen’s stories would be—stories that included:
- A preschooler who figures out a way to give Jesus a gift for his birthday.
- A young boy who ingeniously, all by himself and with great excitement, delivers presents to a less-fortunate neighbor.
- A teenager who unknowingly brings about a Christmas miracle.
- A grandmother who carefully plans her legacy to transform the lives of her two granddaughters.
- A little girl who learns that all things are possible with God.
As soon as I finished each story, my curiosity would start to pester me. What delights might the next story include? So last year, the Christmas cards and gift-wrapping had to wait until all 171 pages had been read. I was still baking cookies on Christmas Eve, but it was worth it!
Colleen’s gift of story includes the compelling characters she creates—“people we care about, people we want to know,” as reviewer, Mitch Teemley (President of Moriah Media) described them. I couldn’t agree more.
A page or two into each story, and the reader wants to know what will happen to: the young boy secretly living in a low-income retirement building, the rebellious teenager assigned as personal helper for a special needs child, and a distraught mother whose self-centered, twenty-something daughter is anxious to move out on her own.
Colleen also holds the reader’s attention by the way she writes. Perhaps you’re like me and enjoy best those stories that not only include an intriguing plot line and interesting characters, but also inventive language, an occasional, clever metaphor or simile, and delicious description to savor. Colleen does not disappoint.
- A chatty young boy “monologued all the way home.”
- The town of Pleasant Hill “was a mixture of ghetto and fairy tale.”
- A mother says of her quiet son: “Raising an introvert was like playing darts in the dark. You never knew if you were anywhere near the target.”
- Pleasant Hill “Yards [were] busy with statuary…Santas fraternizing with shepherds and wise men.”
- The emotional state of one character is creatively revealed: “When she breathed in, Janice whispered, ‘God is my refuge and strength…’ When she breathed out—‘an ever present help in trouble.’ This had become a habit. It was not working very well for her today.”
‘See what I mean?
Granted, we haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving yet. But I wanted you to be able to enjoy these heart-touching stories as Advent unfolds—if you’re so inclined. Begin now and you’ll have plenty of time to appreciate each one, while still getting your Christmas cards and gifts mailed on time. Oh—and the cookies baked, too.
I can promise you: Christmas on Pleasant Hill will augment your journey through the season to come, inspiring hope, refreshing your spirit, and reaffirming in your heart the sacred truths of Christmas.
P.S. Colleen just happens to be in my writers’ group. Not only does she write delightful stories, she’s a delightful person as well. Visit her blog at www.colleenscheid.com.