A light antidote for “bah, humbug”

Tired already of hearing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” and other inane Christmas songs on your car radio? Did all the hype about Black Friday shopping leave you with a case of bah-humbug?

Here’s a lighthearted Christmas book that might help put you into the real spirit of the season. Load the audio version into your car’s CD player, and use it as an antidote to traffic jams, sales pitches and other holiday horrors.

By Linda Brinson

ANGELS AT THE TABLE. By Debbie Macomber. Random House Audio. Read by Kimberly Farr. 5 CDs. 5 ½ hours. $30. Also available in print from Ballantine Books, 228 pages, $18, including a recipe for peppermint bark and gift tags.

This latest novel in Debbie Macomber’s popular “angelic intervention” series is just the thing for readers who like – even if only occasionally – a light romance, laced with humor and offering gentle reminders of things we ought to keep in mind throughout the year.

Macomber writes about three angels – Shirley, Goodness and Mercy – who work as “Prayer Ambassadors,” helping to answer the worthy prayers of humans. From time to time, they come to Earth, and those visits usually mean that they do something mischievous that risks getting them into trouble with their boss, Gabriel.

This time, they have a young apprentice with them named Will (Shirley, Goodness and Mercy, Will … ) when they visit New York City on New Year’s Eve. Sure enough, they do something that brings two young people, Lucie and Aren, together – but not the way their meeting was supposed to happen. As a result, the two are parted and may never find each other.

As Christmas approaches nearly a year later, the angels try to make things right.

The angels in Macomber’s novel will remind you of the one in the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and their misadventures will have you alternately shaking your head and chuckling. The book comes out of the Christian tradition, but it’s by no means targeted at any denomination.

Entertaining and heartwarming, Angels at the Table is a pleasant escape from the world that is too much with us, especially as Christmas approaches. But it does offer some food for thought: The angels get in trouble for intervening in human affairs because God gave us free will and wants us to make good choices. And there are lessons, lightly taught, about the dangers of pride, about praying sincerely, and about how prayers sometimes are not answered because we pray for the wrong things.

Kimberly Farr’s reading has just the right touch.





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