Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Book Review: The 13th Gift

The 13th Gift: A True Story of Christmas by Joanne Huist Smith

Many of us are familiar with the Christmas carol “The 12 Days of Christmas.” In this moving true story, Joanne Huist Smith tells how her family received a mysterious gift 13 days before Christmas with a note reading, “On the first day of Christmas your true friends give to you, one Poinsettia for all of you.”  The gift is not exactly welcome as the family is struggling with loss and grief, yet as the gifts continue the Smith family is slowly lifted from despair to hope.

It is a quick read full of emotion and real life. It is a poignant reminder that in the midst of the holiday hustle and bustle there are many grieving the loss of a loved one. For these the joy of Christmas past can open a whole new depth of grief and loss. In spite of this sad backdrop, this is a story of the 13th gift. It is a story of joy and hope and paying it forward.

In concluding the book Smith writes, “… one of the greatest gifts we all possess is the ability to give. Wealth isn’t a prerequisite; compassion and a kind heart are all you need. What better way to honor our loved ones, past and present, than to reach out and change a life for the better? And, the holidays are a perfect time to look outside of ourselves and be a true friend.” One of the many lessons of this book is expressed by Megan, the youngest in the family, who was moved to say that every day can be Christmas.

If the spirit of Christmas is giving, then this book captures that spirit and more importantly inspires the reader to look for and respond to opportunities to give. This book would make a great stocking stuffer and is well worth checking out from your library.

To request the book, click here.

To request the audiobook, click here.

Submitted by: Jim Ritter, Library Clerk