This post is for anyone having trouble spotting a Christian-friendly Christmas book/books to fill the long winter hours. I will elaborate on several ways to accomplish this, and how to avoid secular content at all costs. I hope this makes you laugh.:)
Step One: Does the book have identifying marks/images on the cover?
Those looking for a Christian Christmas novel should first look for a religious/inspirational image on the cover of possible books. For example, if the cover doesn’t feature a Christmas tree, piles of gifts, Christmas lights, Santa kneeling at the manger, mistletoe, holly with red berries in the center, the silhouette of a couple walking in the snow with room left for Jesus, a Bible, a grandma in her rocking chair knitting a baby Jesus Christmas sweater, a Nativity scene featuring the rare figure called “man with bread” sitting on the mantel of a house about to foreclose on Christmas Eve, A gingerbread house with the Holy Family inside on a grandma’s kitchen table, Mary with a halo in any number of settings, or a house saturated in Christmas decorations in Kirk Cameron’s front yard, then it is not Christian. Beware.
Step Two: Does the book have a safe and uncontroversial plot description on the back cover?
If step one doesn’t work, take it a step further and check the back cover. If you don’t see a plot description telling of a romance featuring a single woman desperate for a hot Christian guy, a man/woman who lost their job/had a death or injury in the family and had to come back to their hometown to find love and save the family farm/estate/business/food truck before Christmas, a lonely middle-aged divorcee with no kids and a pet Chihuahua who falls in love with a bodybuilder at a Christmas party, an elderly widow looking for a second husband at the senior center’s Christmas game night, a blogger who pretends to be her best friend on a dating website to catch a man in time for Christmas, a pastor forced to deliver a baby in the back of a car/truck/wagon/sleigh on Christmas Eve in the driving sleet who in turn uses the mother and child as Mary and Jesus in the live Nativity he is late for (see Do You Believe, Marriage Retreat), then it’s not Christian. Stay away.
Step Three: Is the book written by Lori Wick, Beverly Lewis, or their comrades?
If step two fails, then open the front cover to see the author’s picture and bio. If the author is a middle-aged woman who is married with two or more kids (including adopted children), a foreign exchange student, six cats and three dogs, loves to knit/crochet/craft/bake/paint tables/re-purpose furniture, has a short haircut and too much or too little makeup on, is pleasingly (or not) plump, lives up North, likes Amy Grant, has a gluten allergy, and drives a Subaru, then this is the book for you!
Step Four: Is the book published by a legalistic publisher?
This step is the deciding factor in Christmas novels.
Step Five: WWJD?
Can you see yourself reading this book, snuggled under a blanket with a cat or dog under your feet, drinking a non-alcoholic beverage, with Jesus and St. John reading over your shoulder? If not, do not.
Step Six: Is the author associated with a big-name writer?
As a last resort, do a quick Google search to see if the author has ever written a book with/collaborated/shook hands with/collaborated/had tea with/gotten an autograph from/stalked a big-name Christian author, if not, steer clear.
And that’s your Christian fiction guide, holiday edition! Remember, leave room for Jesus, in fiction and in real life! (sarcasm)