Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage





The Christmas Lamp by Lori Copeland

Reviewed by Dale Lewis

"...a 'sweeter than a fruitcake' storyline with endearing characters..."

Prolific author Lori Copeland has once again created a “sweeter than a fruitcake” storyline with endearing characters in The Christmas Lamp.

Roni Elliot, lifetime resident of Nativity, Missouri, lives for the traditions of her small town Christmas celebrations. From the Christmas tree in the center of the main street intersection to the twinkling lights in the neighborhood house decorating contest, Nativity used to be the place to visit. More than just the economy has suffered due to the new highway that bypasses Nativity. The Christmas spirit has dissipated into thin air. Outside consultant Jake Brisco is brought in, the result of a plea from his grandma. His drastic budget-slashing threatens the town’s traditions and he becomes a marked man.

Though their priorities and methods are diametrically opposite, Roni and Jake both want the town to prosper. As the two get to know each other by spending time together outside the office, a new perspective awaits each of them. In Nativity, Christmas once again becomes a season of hope.

As I read Copeland’s story, I began to reflect on what Christmas costs me. Have you begun to rethink the traditions and priorities your family holds dear due to the financial crisis? The tightening of the money belt per se? In this consumer-saturated world, especially around Christmas, I yearn to know how we can convey to our children that it is really better to give than to receive without losing precious family traditions. What determines if we go overboard or stay within healthy boundaries?

The only aspect of The Christmas Lamp that bothered me was the sentimental conclusion. I didn’t want a super-spiritual lesson, but I longed for more depth. I also didn’t understand the purpose of the lamp within the storyline until I read the author’s note which follows the conclusion.

Be assured I would read another Copeland novella simply because she tells a sweet story!

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Dale Lewis now mans the front desk at the EFCA (The Evangelical Free Church of America) National Office in Minneapolis, MN. He was the graphic designer/pre-press production artist for over twelve years before being asked to step into this new role. Prior to that, he was the publications manager at his alma mater, Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN in the public relations office as well as the adviser to the college’s yearbook. He's a director/actor/writer for the Hope Church (Oakdale, MN) adult drama worship team and was the senior editor of the church newsletter. He's also written two collections of poetry, “Whispers of Assurance” and “On Life: Constant Communion Without Ceasing” as well as a devotional entitled “Eternal Education.” He and his family live in Oakdale, Minnesota.