Author Guest Post
Christmas Music Is A Joyful Time Machine
By: Ace Collins
Ace’s current novels are The Christmas Star, The Yellow Packard & Reich of Passage.
In my current novel, The Christmas Star, music and traditions play an important role in Jimmy Reed coming to fully understand the true meaning and power of Christmas. So to give you a little insight into why I love this holiday so much that I have penned five books on it, here is the way I view holiday music.
I really feel the power of Christmas songs is magnified because these beloved standards come back every year. In other words, these are musical time machines. They wipe away the years and bring us the feelings and emotions of our youth. Suddenly loved ones who have long been gone are almost there with us when we hear certain songs. Having written five nonfiction books about the stories behind Christmas music and traditions and one newly released novel celebrating the special miracles involved in embracing the Christmas spirit, I look forward to Christmas more than most children do. One of the things I can’t wait for each year is changing out the records in our 1959 Wurlitzer Juke Box and fill it with only Christmas singles. These are five songs that really define Christmas for me and why. I could list dozens but for me Christmas doesn’t really begin until I heard these five.
1. White Christmas by Bing Crosby. For many this song is special because of the two Crosby movies where it was featured. For me it became incredibly special when I found out the first time it was sung in public was on December 24, 1941 on Bing’s national radio show. When you consider that America had just entered a world war, the song’s impact must have been incredible. As millions via radio heard it they must have thought back to the Christmases when there was peace on earth and wondered when that would happen again. So whenever I hear Crosby’s version of this song, I consider how much it must have meant during World War II. It really was a secular prayer for those believing only a miracle could bring their family back together at Christmas.
2. Why Can't Everyday Be Like Christmas by Elvis Presley. Blue Christmas might have been his biggest holiday hit, but this was Presley’s favorite Christmas song and it has become one of mine. It asks a haunting question that remains open and unanswered and then considers a theory that is simple but also unattainable, “Oh why can’t everyday be like Christmas? Why can’t this feeling go on endlessly. If everyday could be just like Christmas, what a wonderful world this would be.”
3. Silent Night by almost anyone. Great story behind the classic song and the story of how we know it today is even better and that makes it really hit home in my world. But the deeper reason for loving this song is that it brings out the child in me. There is nothing more moving than seeing Christmas through childlike eyes.
4. Merry Christmas Darling by The Carpenters. The song is great, the story behind it is cool, but this is my wife’s favorite Christmas song and thus it is special to me because of what it means to her. It always reminds me of the most special person in my life.
5. O Holy Night is my favorite true gospel classic. The way the story of Christmas is revealed and the meaning of that special night to the world is so moving. That fact this carol was also used by abolitionists in the U.S. as an anthem demanding Christians free their slaves is profound. And the added bonus of having it be the first song ever played on the radio means this number is ripe with spirit and history.
About The Author
His latest book is the Christian holiday fiction, The Christmas Star.
Ace Collins ~ The Christmas Star ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours
The Christmas Star Book Trailer
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2012
Format: Paperback - 224 pages / Kindle - 591 KB / Nook - 755 KB
Genre: Christian Holiday Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: The Christmas Star
BARNES & NOBLE
ABINGDON PRESS - PUBLISHER
THE BOOK DEPOSITORY.COM
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.
At the end of World War II, a young son mourns the loss of his Marine father who died a hero.
Robert Reed gave his life for his country in the early days of World War II. His sacrifice was honored when his widow and son were presented with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Each Christmas the final decoration Madge Reed hangs on the family’s tree is that medal. Rather than being a symbol of honor for young Jimmy Reed that shining star represents loss, pain, and suffering.
Yet a letter delivered by one of Robert’s fellow soldiers and a mystery posed in that letter put a father’s sacrifice and faith into perspective and bring new meaning to not just the star hanging on the Christmas tree but the events of the very first Christmas. Then, when least expected, a Christmas miracle turns a final bit of holiday sadness into a joy that Jimmy has never known.
My Book Review:
In December 1945, Americans were celebrating the end of World War II, peace once again reigns throughout the world, and the attention swung towards the joyous Christmas holiday season. But for sixteen year old Jimmy Reed of Ash Flat, Arkansas, Christmas is a dark day full of loss, grief, pain, and anger. The holiday that once had been wonderful for him, now holds only bittersweet memories.
Jimmy's dad, Marine Private Robert Reed was killed in action while fighting in the Philippines in May 1942. On December 24, 1942, he was posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroic actions, but Jimmy doesn't consider his dad a hero because he didn't come home from the war like the other soldiers have. To Jimmy, the medal was not a symbol of heroism and honor, it was a symbol of his personal loss. To add insult to injury, this medal would forever cast a cloud over Christmas for Jimmy. Jimmy's mom, Marge, began a new holiday tradition that was most painful to Jimmy, she replaced the gold star that sat atop their Christmas Tree with the medal, setting off a change in Jimmy that would effect every facet of his life. From that day forward, Jimmy's attitude toward everything changed, he has a chip on his shoulder, and he begins to lash out and is heading down the wrong path. Jimmy starts to hang out with the wrong crowd who lead him astray with dangerous and illegal activities. The bitterness and hatred Jimmy feels for the holiday causes him to form a plan to make the holiday a memorable one that everyone would remember. But in a span of three days, from December 21-24, 1945, with the help of some special people and a Christmas miracle, Jimmy will learn lessons that will change his life forever.
The Christmas Star is a poignant and inspirational story that will simply touch your heart. Author Ace Collins weaves a heartwarming tale set in the post World War II era of December 1945, in the small southern town of Ash Flat, Arkansas. Written in the third person narrative, rich in detail and vivid descriptions of a nostalgic time in our country's history, the reader is transported into the world of sixteen year old Jimmy Reed. Jimmy is having a very hard time coping with the loss of his father, his bitterness and pain washes over into the Christmas holiday when the family receives Robert Reed's posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor, and causes Jimmy to react in a way that sets him in a downward spiral. The author engages the reader to step into Jimmy's shoes and feel his pain, while he embarks on a three day emotional journey from December 21-24, 1945, that will teach him lessons, provide him with a new perspective towards his father, and a Christmas miracle that will change his outlook on the holiday and life in general. The author does a wonderful job of describing how Jimmy comes to terms with his loss with the message of hope and faith that comes out of the darkest of places during this magical and joyful time of the year.
With an engaging cast of characters; realistic dialogue and interactions; wonderful nostalgic descriptions of the post war time period and classic Christmas songs; and a moving storyline with enough twists and turns that draws the reader in and keeps them captivated; The Christmas Star is an inspirational and warm Christmas classic that will be embraced and enjoyed by everyone.
RATING: 5 STARS *****