©2005 J. Countryman, Nashville
When I like Ted Dekker’s stories, I really like them. When I don’t like them, I usually can’t finish them. That’s okay though. I don’t have to be enamored by every author I read. Nor do I have to like everything written by the authors I do like. I don’t always like everything that I write. Dekker – at least in my experience – is a master of the suspense novel. His typical story takes you on a web of twists and turns and then drops a bomb on you at the very last minute.
This weekend as we were driving around on our anniversary, the Blushing Bride and I (kids in tow) happened upon a new Christian bookstore having their grand opening (on “Black Friday” no less). We decided to stop in and take a gander. What we found on their special extra Christmas discount table were a couple of books by Dekker—Christmas Tales. And since I try to read a Christmas story or three every Christmas season, we picked them up.
The first of them transports us back to the biblical account of the Nativity. The story focuses on a mute orphan boy named Rueben. Adopted by a loving woman who is the wife of the leader of a traveling band of shepherds, his (new) mother is his only support and protector. When disease strikes and takes her from him, life becomes more difficult for the re-orphaned boy. All he has to cling to is his mother’s dying promise that God will one day give Reuben his voice, and the shawl she left as a token of the promise.
In this very short tale, Dekker weaves together a number of the most classic of Christmas narrative elements: shepherds, angels, inns, stables, Bethlehem. (If you read St. Luke’s account in chapter 2 of the Gospel bearing his nameyou’ll find the background for this tale.) The Savior, his mother Mary and earthly father Joseph, also put in an appearance. Here’s a story you’ll want to get and cherish, and read with your children Christmas after Christmas. I give it five out of five reading glasses.
—Benjamin Potter, November 28, 2011