Bennett, R. William. The Christmas Gift. Highland: Burgess Adams Publishing, 2010.142 pp. $14.95. Purchase at Amazon for less.
R. William Bennett spent 31 plus years in business–some of which was as an executive of various technology and training companies. In 2009, he left the business life and has since devoted himself to writing. He is married and has four children and two grandchildren. You can read more about Bill at his website.
From the website:
What if the person you needed to apologize to the most was the one that deserved it the least? In a world with diminishing civility, increasing rancor and moral relativism, The Christmas Gift is a simple story about our relationships and the values that make them precious.
Every school has its legend; Ben Jackson was Maple Grove Elementary’s. “He has been held back five years in a row; he was exposed to nuclear radiation as a child; he was raised in the woods by bears.” So went the many assessments of Ben Jackson by his sixth-grade peers. Over-sized and under-niced , Ben was the school bully. As the school year begins, new student Scott stands up to Ben, and as a result, becomes Ben s new daily target. From the annoying comments to the humiliating pranks, Ben assures a day doesn’t pass without making Scott’s life miserable. But in this story of forgiveness, tolerance, and unconditional love, both Scott and Ben make a remarkable transformation that will leave you with a fresh understanding of the meaning of Christmas in your life.
The book is told from the perspective of a lawyer offering free advice to a client looking to sue someone.
Before I get a bit critical, I want to say that this story is well told and is not as predictable as one might think when reading a Christmas story. The characters were believable as was the story line. A couple of times a tear or two came to my eye which is a rarity for me when reading a book.
My only concern with The Christmas Gift, as a Christian book reviewer, is that the story is completely Christless. While biblical principles are extant throughout the entire book, there is never any mention of the Christ that is central to Christmas. I make mention of this, again only because of the audience to whom I write.
If there was mention of forgiveness because of Christ or anything like that, this book would very much have become one of my most recommended Christmas books. While I definitely do recommend it (I told my wife she has to read it), I do so with the caveat that it is Christless. That being said, if you are looking for a good story that ultimately transcends the Christmas season, you will want to pick up a copy of The Christmas Gift. I read it in about 90 minutes and truly did enjoy the book.