Unwrapping Christmas [NOOK Book]

Overview

It’s that time of year again, and with excitement and high expectations, Rose has planned the perfect Christmas for her family and friends. But when she feels them drifting away during a time that should celebrate togetherness, Rose is forced to slow down in the most unexpected way. In this whimsical, uplifting story, she discovers the true meaning of giving.
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Unwrapping Christmas

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Overview

It’s that time of year again, and with excitement and high expectations, Rose has planned the perfect Christmas for her family and friends. But when she feels them drifting away during a time that should celebrate togetherness, Rose is forced to slow down in the most unexpected way. In this whimsical, uplifting story, she discovers the true meaning of giving.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Rose thinks being a good Christian means trying to take care of everyone by taking on more responsibilities with her church and the community until she is exhausted and mentally spent. This Christmas season is no exception, as she manages the thrift shop, works for church events, and shoulders her friends' personal problems. This, of course, leaves Rose with little time to spend with her own family or to appreciate the wonders of the holiday. This novella from one of the genre's most popular authors (Yellow Rose Bride) reminds us that only God can carry the whole world. Recommended for public library collections.


—Tamara Butler
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310542940
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 104,948
  • File size: 602 KB

Meet the Author

Lori Copeland is a bestselling author whose books includde Now and Always, Simple Gifts, Unwrapping Christmas, and Monday Morning Faith, which was a finalist for the 2007 Christy Awards. Lori was inducted into the Springfield Writers Hall of Fame in 2000 and lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband and family.

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Read an Excerpt

Unwrapping Christmas


By Lori Copeland

Zondervan

Copyright © 2007 Copeland, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-27226-7


Chapter One

"Advent?"

Rose turned an eye to her refrigerator where her already overburdened calendar hung. Rank smells wafted from the brimming trash can that her husband Joey had forgotten to empty. "What about it?"

"It's for the bulletin. Pastor wants little bits of information on Advent's origin, traditions, how long the season lasts. Then it might be fun to throw in how other countries observe the Christmas holiday." As the ace secretary at Bethlehem Messiah Church, Kay put the merriest slant on the request, and Rose knew by the time she hung up, her calendar would have another starred check mark. The beginnings of a migraine gripped her temples.

Rose eyed the overflowing sink stacked with breakfast dishes. Her two teenagers could open a cabinet, select a bowl and spoon, find the milk in the refrigerator, heap sugar on frosted cereal, and eat. But somehow they were rendered helpless on a full stomach to rinse their dishes. Instead, they'd dump them into the sink with the glowing assurance that mom would come along and locate the dishwasher.

Kay's voice jerked her back to reality. "Think you could do that for us?"

"I guess I could." I guess I could, Rose's inner voice mimicked her standard mantra. "How soon do you need theinformation?"

The fall church craft sales were over, and the crocheted toilet-paper roll covers and wooden rearview cutouts of a woman bending over in the garden were put away for another year. Folks had already flocked up north for their annual pilgrimage to see the leaves, so gorgeous along the North Shore. Performances for Christmas pageants, orchestra, choir, and theater goings-on would soon be in high gear, along with outdoor reenactments by amateurs and professionals.

"As soon as possible. Pastor Ralph wants something cheerful to kick-start the holidays."

"Sure. I'll see what I can find."

Next month St. Paul would host the Winter Carnival with its masterful ice and snow carvings, a treat Rose and the family never missed, and one that took them away from their home in Nokomis at least a couple of weekends during the month. Better to get her good deeds in early this year so she'd have a viable excuse to refuse later on.

"Thanks, Rose. We knew we could count on you!"

Rose punched the "off" button on the phone. Facts about Advent season. The request wasn't difficult, just time consuming, and time was a precious commodity. She whipped the kitchen into order and emptied the smelly trash. A batch of brownies went into the oven for her teenage son Eric's youth meeting that night. Turning to the huge box of Christmas decorations her husband Joey had lugged from the attic last night, Rose scanned the years of accumulated seasonal knickknacks: holiday wreaths that had seen better days, two ceramic cookie jars, a snowman, and a slightly cracked laughing Santa face that Anna had dropped when she was three.

Carefully peeling back the tissue from the family Advent calendar, Rose thought of all the years this timely tradition had given the family. It wouldn't be Christmas without the calendar. A treasured family heirloom from the Black Forest, beautifully carved, the calendar was formed by tiny cubicles where a small nativity figure nestled behind the date. Grandpa Karlsen had purchased the keepsake for Grandma Louise in Frankfurt, Germany, while serving in the army during World War I. Family legend had it that she scolded him severely for spending money on something that wasn't a necessity. It had been passed down to Rose's mother, and in turn she had passed it on to her daughters who shared custody of the priceless heirloom. This year the calendar would grace Rose's home.

She set the Advent calendar on its special shelf above the table in the sunny kitchen nook and located the first piece, then put the tiny hand-painted cradle at the foot of the date of December 1. She stood back to admire her work.

Warm sunshine filtered through the bare branches on the sugar maple tree standing just outside. Minnesotans gave thanks for a mild early winter day like this one.

Rose focused on the brown lawn. Joey had been so busy, he had neglected to winterize the birdbath. The round concrete bowl needed to be turned over so it wouldn't collect water and freeze. Like every holiday season, Joey put in long hours at South Side Transport, the family trucking company. Business was always brisk around the holiday season.

Joey wasn't the only one chasing his tail-they'd all been busy. Christmas meant church activities added to an already hectic schedule. Rose felt the familiar tightening in her stomach, the painful pierce of "how will I do it all?" starting to creep through her psyche. Christmas should be more than frantic activities, hectic crowds, and overworked husbands. The holiday held deeper significance and Rose knew it-it wasn't that she didn't want to slow down, but life got in the way.

This year she would go through the motions for the sake of her family, but that inward elation, the joy she once felt, was missing. Truth was, she was just too tired from putting up all of the decorations, hanging lights around the roof, and baking endless cookies. She was so busy doing Christmas, there wasn't time to experience Christmas.

She shifted the calendar, tilting it just so. The movement jostled December 1, and the wooden square tumbled, struck the white kitchen table, then rolled behind a chair leg. Dropping to her hands and knees, she squeezed through the chair support bars, her hand groping for the piece.

Her cell phone tinkled an animated version of "Jingle Bells," a ring tone her fifteen-year-old daughter, Anna, had chosen for the season.

Rose's head shot up and smacked the hard bottom of the table. Tears welled in her eyes. That'll sure help my headache. Frantically rubbing the smarting area, she backed out of a maze of table and chair legs. The stench of burning brownies reached her nose.

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!"

She spent precious seconds frantically searching for her oven mitt. Smoke started to roll from the sides of the oven door. The smoke alarm went off, and above the pulsing shriek, the cell phone played its tune.

"Jingle Bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!"

Rose located the mitt, shoved it onto her right hand, opened the oven door, and yanked out the pan of smoldering brownies. Then she dunked the smoking pan in the sink and reached for the phone with her left hand. A plume of steam fogged the shadow box window.

Snatching up the phone, Rose caught the last notes-"all the way!"

"Hello!"

"Rose?" Sharon Walker chirped.

"Yes?"

"Did I catch you at a bad time?"

Rose fixed on the smoke and steam spewing up from the sink and was able to fan the air in front of the smoke alarm to silence its shrill cry. Her fingers explored the knot on her head, not surprised to find it the size of a cheese cube. "Did you need something, Sharon?" Sharon was the Sunday school social director.

"Lois Gleeson had emergency gall bladder surgery this morning."

Rose sobered. "I'm sorry. Is she okay?"

"She's doing nicely; she can come home in the morning. I'm arranging take-in meals for the coming week. Can I put you down to help on Friday and Monday evening? She'll need something with fiber, no dairy content, and low fat."

As much as Rose wanted to voice a refusal, she couldn't. But where would she find time to prepare additional food and deliver it two evenings this week? She'd have to crowd it in between basketball and choir practices, but how could she refuse Lois? Lois had carried in meals for her family when Rose was stricken with the flu last winter.

"Sure, I'd love to help!" She closed her eyes, head throbbing, and reached for a pen to scribble the dates on her calendar. Without the trusty calendar and day planner she carried in her purse, she'd forget to dress some mornings.

They chatted a few minutes before Sharon excused herself to make the remainder of her culinary mercy calls.

A loud clatter shattered the silence after they hung up. Rose slowly turned to stare at the calendar shelf, now hanging lopsided, secured to the wall by one bracket. December 1 was probably somewhere between the kitchen and the next block.

Rose collapsed in a chair, a mental to-do list racing through her mind. Church, the Christmas program, thrift shop, brownies, fix dish for Lois, and on and on. And on. How could she possibly get it all done? And what would Joey say about her taking on even more? Lately he had seemed a little irritated at her constant running and doing, but wasn't she doing the Lord's work? How could she say no to any one of the requests? She'd promised God to do everything her hands found to do, and to do it well.

Suddenly she felt every ounce of her thirty-eight years crowding her.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Unwrapping Christmas by Lori Copeland Copyright © 2007 by Copeland, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Holiday Hectic!

    This book is a great example of the do it all attitude that seems to possess many women during the holidays and often beyond. Lori has crafted a grand story that may seem too familiar in our world of rush, rush, rush. When Rose¿s devotion to service has her going, going, going and seeming to leave her family behind the results may be devastating. An accident, on Christmas Eve, is Rose¿s awakening, but will she find the right balance? Serving God can be accomplished in many ways, but just not all at once. This is a story about finding balance, peace and joy while the world never stops.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    Enjoyah Enjoyable

    ?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Pretty good

    It's that time of year again, and with excitement and high expectations, Rose has planned the perfect Christmas for her family and friends. But when she feels them drifting away during a time that should celebrate togetherness, Rose is forced to slow down in the most unexpected way. In this whimsical, uplifting story, she discovers the true meaning of giving.

    My Review - I liked this story pretty good. It's not what I would usually read by any means which is another good thing about the...moreIt's that time of year again, and with excitement and high expectations, Rose has planned the perfect Christmas for her family and friends. But when she feels them drifting away during a time that should celebrate togetherness, Rose is forced to slow down in the most unexpected way. In this whimsical, uplifting story, she discovers the true meaning of giving.

    My Review - I liked this story pretty good. It's not what I would usually read by any means which is another good thing about the Nook...It brings you to books you wouldn't usually read. I got this book for Free on the Nook and I read it in about five hours (on our way home from Christmas with my husband's family). I liked how Rose finally had to slow down. This was a good quick read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A reviewer

    Ok so I know the Christmas season isn't for another 2 and a half months. But Sam's club already has Christmas trees and lights up! So what better way to get into this mood that this short novella from Lori Copeland. It's really a modern day holiday version of the story of Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus from the Bible. Christians today seem to think that they need to sacrifice their own needs and wants to make everyone else happy. I've seen many Christian families torn apart because they will go out and do things for others but not for their own children. Many pastor's and missionary spouses and kids suffer because of this type of attitude. This book showed that while there is a time to help others for the glory of God, you should also be careful of not trying to do things to make your own self look good. Know your limit and do not let false guilt take over you. The story is written really well and I enjoyed the characters and getting to know their busy hectic lives. It was funny at how Rose tried to figure all the different meals as she didn't have time to cook, who knew kids could get tired of pizza? I also liked learning more about the Advent with the tidbits at the beginning of each chapter. The only downside about this book is now I can't wait for Christmas to come. Even though this book is short, you will get a LOT out of it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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