Philip Gulley takes us to Harmony, Indiana, at Christmastime as inspiration strikes the inimitable Dale Hinshaw. Always looking for a way to increase the church's profit margins, Hinshaw brainstorms a progressive nativity scene that will involve the whole town, complete with a map like those for the Hollywood stars. Neither Pastor Sam Gardner nor the other members of the Harmony Friends meeting express any enthusiasm for this idea, but Dale is unstoppable. Meanwhile, Pastor Sam has his own concerns: he's having his annual argument with his wife, and he's worried that the four-slotted toaster he bought for her may be too lavish a gift.
Amidst the bustle of the season, the citizens of Harmony experience the simple joys and sometime loneliness that often go unseen. Sam comes to the realization that Dale, in his own misguided way, is only trying to draw meaning from the eternal story of Christmas. "In this unsettled world, it is good to have this steadiness -- the Christmas Eve service, the peal of the bell. . . .There is a holiness to memory, a sense of God's presence in these mangers of the mind. Which might explain why it is that the occasions that change the least are often the very occasions that change us the most."
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Philip Gulley is a Quaker minister, writer, husband, and father. He is the bestselling author of Front Porch Tales, the acclaimed Harmony series, and is coauthor of If Grace Is True and If God Is Love. Gulley lives with his wife and two sons in Indiana, and is a frequent speaker at churches, colleges, and retreat centers across the country.From Publishers Weekly:
Gulley's beloved Harmony series takes a festive turn with this delightful novella, featuring Quaker minister Sam Gardner and the intimate circle of eccentrics who comprise his congregation. The infuriating church elder Dale Hinshaw is up to his usual schemes, this time planning an all-out "progressive nativity scene" on Christmas Eve that will convert the heathen while turning a tidy profit for the church. Gulley's trademark humor is much in evidence, as when he muses on the irony that Dale wants to raise a "Quaker militia" to forfend any terrorist activity on Christmas Eve, or describes how the church's Christmas card list gets longer every year because even one-time visitors who drop a small check in the collection plate gain "a place in our directory in perpetuity." More extraordinary than the jesting, however, is Gulley's theological sensitivity and often profound reflections on parenting, traditions and the Christian story.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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