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Monday 21 November 2011

Silent Night - A Christmas Story by Dennis Canfield

When the author of this short story very kindly considered me to review it, I was a little apprehensive - Christian fiction is not a genre I read.  However, I succumbed to his powers of persuasion and was pleasantly surprised.

It’s a very poignant and touching tale, set in Austria just after the Napoleonic era, of a young man who it seems has had all those he holds most dear to him taken tragically away.  His most recent loss is the final straw, which breaks not the camel’s back, but his faith in God.  Such is his grief and distrust, he turns his back on his family, friends and life, until a near-fatal illness brings a very special person into his life, one old and wise.   She is instrumental in helping him understand, rationalise, realise that good does come out of bad, but most importantly in persuading him to try and not be distracted by the questions which faith in God cannot always answer.

My reluctance to read this was driven mainly by the fact that I am not a religious person and would find it hard to relate.  However, I chose a philosophical approach.  Either way, whether this was a story to show that God does indeed move in mysterious ways or whether it was to make you ponder about the good and bad in the world, it was compelling, nicely written, well detailed and perfectly structured.  There was perhaps a message, even for people like me.  Anger and the inability to comprehend what has unjustly been taken from you is wasted energy:  use the short time we have in this life to enjoy what you have been privileged to have been given.

I’m glad that I was persuaded to spend a very pleasant couple of hours reading this book.

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