The Christmas Star
Jimmy Reed is the son of a legacy. His father, Robert, died while serving his country during World War II. Other kids’ fathers returned home, but Jimmy and his mom were left with nothing but grief, memories, and the Congressional Medal of Honor that has served as the Christmas star on their tree every year since the tragedy. To the people of Ash Flats, the medal represents a man who was a good friend and neighbor, as well as a heroic soldier. But to Jimmy, it symbolizes nothing but pain and an emptiness no one can fill.
Formerly a good student and outgoing boy, Jimmy now sports a bad attitude and affinity for trouble. He’s tired of being poor, of watching his mother work countless hours at the local department store, and of seeing everyone else’s Christmas joy. But that’s all going to change, because Jimmy has found a way to make some quick money, unaware that it will toss him into a churning sea of trouble. Will his father’s legacy be powerful enough to pull him out? Or will it take a miracle from his Father in heaven?
"Author Ace Collins gives us a poignant, feel-good Christmas story.... The story, characters and small-town setting combine to make THE CHRISTMAS STAR a nice holiday title for teens and adults alike."
Jimmy’s friend, Johnny, has some new acquaintances --- three thieves planning to rob the store where Jimmy’s mother works. The two boys meet with the thieves in an abandoned stable to plan the heist. Jimmy’s role is to procure the key to the store where his mother works. As guilt washes over him, Jimmy comforts himself by thinking of all the things he can buy for his mother and others with the stolen money. All he needs to do is sneak the key out of his mother’s purse, give it to the thieves, then sit back and collect his cut. A simple plan, and yet the thought of its execution churns like acid in his stomach.
Jimmy’s friend, Aubrey, who has blossomed into a high school beauty, still sees the good in him. The school bus driver, Calvin, models the compassion Jesus told us to have for each other. His mother works tirelessly and lovingly to provide him with what he needs. Through their faith and love, Jimmy begins to turn his heart heavenward. It isn’t money that’s going to change his world, it’s the reason for Christmas. Jimmy realizes he must prevent the burglary and make things right if he’s going to open his heart to Christ, but he’s not equipped to handle an armed robber alone.
On Christmas Eve, the night of the planned burglary, Jimmy makes a decision that could end his life, knowing it’s the only choice he can live with. Miracles and twists abound in the pages to follow.
Author Ace Collins gives us a poignant, feel-good Christmas story. Jimmy’s transformation after his father’s death, and again during the telling of this tale, is believable and relatable. The bus driver quietly witnesses through actions more than words, and Aubrey is a sweetheart, never losing faith that the Jimmy she grew up with still exists inside the troubled teen. The story, characters and small-town setting combine to make THE CHRISTMAS STAR a nice holiday title for teens and adults alike.
Reviewed by Susan Miura on December 12, 2012