We have all heard the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, and we have all seen the traditional Christmas crèche. Now, author Sam Beeson and photographers Nina and Terral Cochran combine these two classic Christmas icons to create A Rare Nativity. Upon reading the first lines of the book, it is clear the narrator holds a bitter grudge as he sends his enemy crude and discarded gifts: On the first night of Christmas I gave my enemy a briar from a tanglewood tree. On the second night of Christmas I gave my enemy two rotten eggs. Night after night the gifts pile up shards of glass, rusty nails, gnarled twigs, and more. What the narrator's enemy decides to do with each of these odious gifts is nothing less than a Christmas miracle. The photographic creation of the rare nativity at the end of the book is both a work of art and a wonder to behold.
When I started this book, I wondered what in the world I was reading. This is unlike any Twelve Days of Christmas version I've ever read. The book begins with the narrator giving his enemy trash-- a briar from a tanglewood tree, rusty nails, rotten eggs, etc. I wondered if this was meant to be a Halloween story or a joke, but then it all made sense. What this enemy chooses to do with this garbage is touching and heartwarming. This person truly exhibits a positive attitude and sees the world in a "glass half full" way. I was teary-eyed at the lesson learned and the outcome. What a great and touching story. There are many discussions that can be had with family (especially children) because of this book.
Sam Beeson gives himself annual writing assignments. In 2005, he wrote a poem a day. In 2007, he wrote about his wife every day. In 2015, each day he wrote a handwritten letter to someone new. Sam teaches high school English and loves reading the journals of his ancestors.
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