Title: Christmas Lights
Author: Christine Pisera Naman
Publisher: Random House
“Every day you are the lights of my life. But today, my loves, you are my Christmas lights,” Katherine reiterates in Christine Pisera Naman’s short holiday novel, Christmas Lights.
This small, hardbound book’s jacket cover has Christmas lights on the front cover and two reviews on the back cover. The inside flap explains the storyline and includes the author’s photograph and short biography. There is a two page food recipe included at the very end of the book. With no profanity or questionable scenes, the one hundred and twenty page book is targeted toward adult women of any age group but especially Catholics who can relate to close family or sibling relationships.
The first work of fiction for inspiring theme writer Naman weaves seven women’s lives together but the reader does not recognize the connection until the last chapter. The book starts and ends with Katherine, a mature, married woman whose seventy-five year old husband is fading away with dementia as she gives him a sewn quilt for his Christmas present.
The second chapter starts a series of tales of six other women at different crossroads of their lives during the holiday season. Julianna is a young, shy teenager doing service hours at a preschool and feels unnoticed by a boy she has had eyes on for months. Married Adrianna has a silly fight with her husband and finally steps up and confronts him. Bereaved Cassandra misses her three year old son desperately, wishing the heartbreak would end. Doctor Victoria moves to a new residence, hoping to someday meet that special man and fall in love. Alexandra, still connected to her dead grandmother, seeks a medical answer from her. Isabella gets the phone call she has waited years for that will enrich her life. The women hope, pray to God or Mary and ask for their Christmas wish to come true.
In the end, Katherine asks repeatedly, “Tell me something that will make me smile,” as she learns the outcome of each female’s dilemma on Christmas Eve. Her admonitions to pray, give the request to God and forget it ring true throughout the book, even as she considers her own circumstances.
This quick read is sweet and thoughtful, promoting a wonderful family tradition among women who may view holiday lights differently after reading. Although it barely mentions our Savior’s birth, the real meaning of Christmas, it shows how God provides and is always there for us.