Thursday, December 30, 2010

December Books, Day 30: The Light at Tern Rock

Today's post is dedicated to a friend at church who not only survived the December fiasco at Heathrow Airport, but who made it home at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, gallantly bearing a bouquet of roses for his wife.
"We've lighted the biggest candle we'll ever have a chance to light for Him...."--The Light at Tern Rock, by Julia L. Sauer

Collecting Children's Books posted about this book here and here. (Off-topic footnote related to the 2008 post: I did have a copy of Elizabeth Enright's A Christmas Tree for Lydia, and I gave it away...feeling like a heretic as I did so since I do like most of Enright's books. I just plain didn't like the story.)

Have you ever spent Christmas somewhere other than where you wanted to be? As the Book Collector points out, young readers may be "outraged" to discover that Ronnie's holiday at an island lighthouse is caused not by a storm or by illness but by the regular lighthouse keeper's deceit. But the hero of the story, to me, is Aunt Martha.
"We mortals seem just too pindling to be trusted with this God-made pile of rock and this man-made pile of masonry. But remember this. If you and I weren't here, and this Light was left alone, this Rock and these ledges would be nothing but a danger and a menace. We're needed. And we can do what's expected of us."
It's Aunt Martha who holds things together when it's finally clear that the AWOL Mr. Flagg isn't coming back before Christmas. It's Aunt Martha who knows how to use all that Turkish paste, tamarind preserves and ginger that Flagg has left them--not everyone's typical Christmas grocery list!

And it's Aunt Martha who gives Ronnie a needed kick in the pants:
"Nobody's going to spoil my Christmas. Not Byron Flagg, and not a sniveling small boy either....You'll have fifty more Christmases in your life probably. But I won't....But Christmas, Ronnie, is something in your heart. It's a feeling that doesn't go with anger and hatred. And my heart's got to be clean and ready for Christmas."
A good story for kids ready for something slightly longer than picture books...and for anyone else who needs to find Christmas wherever they happen to be.

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