December 9th, 2009
Chapman, Jim. Illustrated by Jay Montgomery. The Night After Christmas. Enumclaw: WinePress Publishing, 2009. 21 pp. $19.95.
The Night Before Christmas is a much loved poem written by Clement Clarke Moore that has captured the hearts of untold millions every Christmas. But, how do we feel about Christmas when all of the festivities go away? That is what the poem The Night After Christmas deals with. I am not going to give away the poem and its meaning, but I will quote from the preface to give you an idea.
The author of The Night After Christmas, Jim Chapman explains that this poem was inspired by Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary. He quotes Jim Elliot from a letter to his wife, Elisabeth, “In some post-holiday correspondence to his wife Elisabeth one year, he summed up his feelings with the following remark: ‘Seems to me we would have a better attitude toward the whole thing if someone would write a realistic poem on the ‘Night After Christmas’ to counterbalance the magical effects of the imaginative “Night Before.””
Jim Chapman does just that. Look closely at the cover of the book. It alone will intrigue you. Note the names of the reindeer: Charge It, Pay Later, Interest Included, Plastic Credit. Note also the trail of receipts blowing behind Santa’s sled.
From the inside flap of the dust jacket we read:
Does Christmas seem like a stressful, unsatisfying ritual? Why do we go through this annual exercise of decorating, shopping, wrapping, and over-spending— only to vow we’re going to do it differently next year? Was Christmas always this way? Or did our culture make it into something it wasn’t meant to be?
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions, you may well need this book. Christmas does, indeed, offer something more. Obscured beneath the tree, hidden inside the gift wrap, buried under plastic debt lies an enduring enigma that beckons us to reconsider. Somewhere in all the clutter can be found the key to a merry Christmas. For those who take a second look, there awaits a gift that can make every day a holiday.
I highly recommend that this Christmas, you pick up a copy of The Night After Christmas so that you may be able to counterbalance the days and weeks leading up to the day of Christmas.