In Anderson’s warmhearted, family-friendly debut Christian novel, ceramic figurines of the three wise men come to life at Christmastime and work small miracles of faith with far-reaching consequences.
A Christian Chinese factory worker’s impulsive blessing imbues a Nativity set’s three wise men and their camel with consciousness. After the figurines (Uncle, Chip, Harold and the camel, Thunder) arrive at a London gift shop, an angel tells them that the Lord has plans for them: Each year, from December 12 until sunrise on Christmas Eve, the foursome will be able to think and reason, and for the duration of Christmas Eve, they will come fully to life. As Christmases come and go, the figurines are passed from place to place: an orphanage, a military submarine, a naval hospital, a retired couple’s home, a pastor’s house and others. They use their once-a-year gift of life to aid and comfort human beings young and old, rich and poor, black and white. In the book’s dramatic finale—a confrontation with the demonic forces of darkness and despair—the angel reappears and shows the little wise men how their seemingly unrelated small acts of faith over the years were all connected. Anderson leavens this Christian book’s evangelism with deft humor, likable characters and a buoyant sense of magical adventure. His small heroes are fully realized individuals with appealing quirks, questioning minds and humble compassion, and they grow toward spiritual maturity. As they “learn about human characteristics of love, devotion, tenderness and kindness,” they reach their own happy ending. The epilogue’s sly little cautionary surprise is also a nice touch.
A well-written, frankly religious tale for all ages.