Absorbing, well-written and thought-provoking. – Amazon customer
Absolutely wonderful…I will have to go back and re read it. – Amazon customer
It was supposed to be a simple human-interest story, the kind of fluff piece hard-nosed reporter Brett Davis begrudgingly accepts only because his job is at stake. But when his newspaper editor sends him to the northernmost point of Europe to interview the head of a secretive monastery, Brett encounters a man who cannot possibly be who he claims to be—St. Nicholas of Myra. All Brett wants are the facts, but the tale Nicholas tells is too incredible to be true. Or is it?
As Nicholas reveals the intricacies of his amazing long life, Brett discovers not only the origins of every facet of the much beloved Santa Claus myth, but also that, when confronted with the miraculous, faith is the only rational choice left.
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About the Book…
Concerning Cloud Factories
Every parent who tells their children about Santa Claus must, at some point or another, confront the fact that their previously trusting and adorable children have turned into hard-nosed skeptics. In my case, this occurred just prior to the teen years, which in our family happened approximately seven years ago, which is also when the seeds of this novel were sown.
Prior to this time, I delighted in the way my children believed almost anything I told them. As a story-teller, I took particular glee in weaving strands of fact together, pointing to the most nebulous threads in evidence as proof that whatever tale I happened to be crafting in the moment was true. Among my favorite stories were the “cloud-factories.” We encountered these frequently while driving along the highway, when my curious kids would point to some factory or industrial complex puffing out billowing plumes of white vapor and demand to know what that particular factory made. Thinking quickly, I answered, “Clouds.”
“Clouds?” they wondered.
“Yes clouds. Those are cloud factories. See the clouds they’re making? That’s what they do.”
“But Da-ad! Doesn’t God make the clouds?” my oldest queried. Ah, the Divine trump card, and played so quickly, too!
“Of course He does,” I answered. “But these factories are built so man could help God. It’s not that He needs our help, but He wants us to join Him in what He does. That’s why we have cloud-factories.”
Oh. Cloud-factories. That explained everything.
My children exposed similar vulnerabilities when it came to getting them a treat from the local fast food joint—though this time my wife was the culprit. “Okay kids, now we’re going to get a special treat. We’re going to get some tap water!”
“Yay! Tap water!”
They bought that one for years.
I digress. About seven years ago, they began asking skeptical questions about Santa Claus. He couldn’t possibly be real, could he?
My heart fell. They were too young to be so skeptical! I wasn’t ready for them to stop believing. I needed their belief. That’s where the magic was. If they stopped believing, then all the wondrous enchantment of childhood would evaporate too soon, leaving the damp autumn of the teenage years as a warning that the harsh winter of the empty nest was just over the horizon.
“Of course Santa is real,” I answered. I knew something about Saint Nicholas, having written a Christmas sermon some years ago where I pointed out that the real Nicholas believed in the Christ Child given on Christmas Day, and would not want to stand as a substitute for Him.
“But how could he be real?”
Reluctantly, I began to share with them the origins of Nicholas of Myra, pointing out that he was a bishop who loved the Lord. And as they continued to press in about the details, I would reply “That’s what the legend says,” as a way to evade queries about elves or delivering toys to millions in a magical sleigh overnight.
“But how could he still be alive?”
And that’s when I brought up Christ’s words to Martha at the tomb of her brother Lazarus. Of course Nicholas was still alive. He believed in Christ, and all who believe in Jesus and give their lives to Him are alive with Him even now, as the Scriptures say.
And from there, it was a short jump in my fertile imagination to the story here.