This is a book of Christmas stories by different authors.
The first one is called Hark by Iain Grant, and it is about the three archangels meeting on Christmas Day to have a meal at a restaurant. The author characterises the archangels according to the values they protect. I have to say that this kind of story is not my kind of tea. Yet, I learnt that apart from St Michael and St Gabriel, there is a third archangel, Samael, the angel of death.
The second story is Mary’s Christmas by Margaret Egrot. It is a sweet story about an eighty-five-year-old woman, Mary, who has nobody to spend Christmas with. Her daughter lives in Australia, but she writes to say she will see her in the summer. The cards she receives is from institutions, the bank or the day care centre she usually goes to twice a week. The card that fills her with gratefulness comes from a neighbour, Jane, who she really doesn’t know. Mary does her shopping for Christmas, and she treats herself with a small bottle of wine. The wine is the reason that on Christmas Day she stumbles and falls. Thankfully, her neighbour Jane comes to bring her some mince pies and finds Mary onthe floor. Mary is more embarrassed than hurt, and Jane insists she go home with her and her family. And from that day on Mary never spent a Christmas day alone again. That was lovely. Mary is a sweet old lady, and this story makes you think about those people, young and old, who have nobody to share Christmas with.
The next story is “The Thought that Counts” by Katharine D’Souza. Suze is a divorced woman, and at the beginning of December her mother calls to tell her that she has a Christmas card that came in the post. It is clear that Suze finds the realtionship with her mother tiresome, and she keeps expecting the worst from her. When Suze gets the card, it is from an old school friend Lorna, who she hadn’t seen in twenty years. The card tells her to be at their usual bench on Boxing Day as there will be a surprise for her. Suze thinks that the invitation will be for her and the gang, and on Boxing Day she waits, sitting on the bench, looking forward to seeing her friends. When enough time has passed, it is clear that nobody is going to make their appearance, and when she is about to leave, she realizes that there is a plaque on the bench about not living on past memories, but making new memories now. She realizes that this is Lorna’s surprise, so she then realizes the importance of the message. So she goes home to her mother, who she realizes is the most important person in her life, and she later admits to having been the best Christmas. I imagine that Suze has learnt to enjoy the blessings she had instead of being miserable and critical of her mother.