A Midnight Clear: Stories for the Christmas Season

Overview

Katherine Paterson illuminates the true meaning of Christmas in twelve modern-day stories written over the years for her husband, a pastor, to read to his congregation on each Christmas Eve. A man driving to see his dying father picks up a young hitchhiker who attempts to rob him; a proud and lonely widow is befriended by a persevering boy trying to earn a star for his church group; in Communist China, a female scholar and an old night watchman secretly bond together to read the Bible. Whether depicting a child ...
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Overview

Katherine Paterson illuminates the true meaning of Christmas in twelve modern-day stories written over the years for her husband, a pastor, to read to his congregation on each Christmas Eve. A man driving to see his dying father picks up a young hitchhiker who attempts to rob him; a proud and lonely widow is befriended by a persevering boy trying to earn a star for his church group; in Communist China, a female scholar and an old night watchman secretly bond together to read the Bible. Whether depicting a child coping with disappointment or a couple awaiting the birth of their baby, all these stories present a vision of hope and peace harking back to that first Christmas two thousand years ago.

192 pp. Pub: 10/95.The true essense of Christmas takes on new meaning in these 12 stories. Written throughout the course of her husband's ministry, the stories have been read aloud by the Reverend John Paterson to his congregation each Christmas Eve. Katherine, author of Angels and Other Stories, again celebrates the tenacity of the human spirit.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
This set of a dozen stories, full of the spirit of the holiday season, were written by Paterson for her husband, a pastor, to read to his congregation on Christmas Eve. All are contemporary in their setting, but the messages are timeless. In "Merit Badges" a young scout befriends an old woman in a nursing home and ends up bring joy to the resident, herself, and her scout leader. "No Room at the Inn" really holds no surprises, but that doesn't make it any the less interesting. Paterson has a wonderful knack for developing her characters, so much so, that readers are pulled into the experience and share their anger, fears, desires, and happiness.
Hazel Rochman
Like Paterson's "Angels and Other Strangers" (1979), this collection of stories reveals the spirit of Christmas in contemporary life. A few are sentimental with contrived parallels and saintly characters; a few may be too adult in viewpoint to appeal to young readers. But the best of the stories reveal hope and light in a dark, uncertain world. Paterson writes with simple immediacy about outcasts: strangers on the street and at your door, runaways, failures, and illegal immigrants--people who can find no room at the inn. The endings offer no easy resolution, only an opening out of possibilities. One exquisite story about a teenage runaway in the empty night celebrates the song of "stubborn sweetness" that persists despite our turning away from it again and again.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525675297
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.04 (w) x 5.32 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Katherine Paterson

Katherine Paterson was born in China, where she spent part of her childhood. After her education in China and the American South, she spent four years in Japan, the setting for her first three novels. Ms. Paterson has received numerous awards for her writing, including National Book Awards for The Master Puppeteer and The Great Gilly Hopkins, as well as Newbery Medals for Jacob Have I Loved and Bridge to Terabithia. Ms. Paterson lives with her husband in Vermont. They have four grown children.

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Table of Contents

A Midnight Clear 1
Merit Badges 21
Watchman, Tell Us of the Night 42
A Stubborn Sweetness 53
No Room in the Inn 68
Poor Little Innocent Lamb 83
In the Desert, a Highway 102
Star Lady 127
Amazing Grace 148
Exultate Jubilate 163
The Handmaid of the Lord 178
My Name Is Joseph 194
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