Mary’s Son: A tale of Christmas
Darryl Nyznyk (Cross Dove Publishing 2010, Hardcover) 174 pages, $15.95 msl
I realized something when I sat back to write this, one day after finishing this truly loving book; one day spent enjoying its after-glow. Standards are different for Christmas stories. They are, you know. Things like melodramatic mothers, great banging coincidences, plot elements so closely following other works that copyright lawyers might well start wagging their briefcases in anticipation of the hunt - any of these things would ordinarily lead an honest reviewer such as myself to spend no little time metaphorically frying the author in hot oil. Or screw the metaphorically part - let’s cook!
However, not here, not now, not me. I wrote a play once about Christmas which did rather well whose theme was based on my belief that Christmas is what you remember. There are days in one’s life that provoke outsize reactions - births, funerals, weddings and the like. Christmas is the vast tribal day of outsize reaction. It brings back and re-sets all the memories of anticipation and joy, sadness and loss; and with it all ways of thinking with refined objectivity take a well-earned holiday. For one day annually the heart triumphs over the mind.
Therefore, when I tell you that Mary’s Son borrows great gulps of Miracle on 34th Street with Santa Claus himself the main character in a modern setting, that is not a charge of plagiarism; rather the praise of tradition. If the young tough Jared and the lonely, spoiled rich girl Sarah are as broadly drawn as anyone Charles Dickens ever drew up - well, I’ve just used a Dickens comparison so how bad can that be? If Nicholas/Santa Claus does magical feats that make disbelief suspend like the umbrella that appears above his head...Why not? Christmas is a day to simply believe. When the infant Jesus makes a cameo appearance in a Nativity re-enactment, that is only right and proper.
You simply cannot think logically about Mary’s Son any more than you can about Christmas itself. To do so defeats the book and the day’s whole purpose. They both exist to urge us to trust that the imaginable is in fact so. As such, Darryl Nyznyk’s gentle yet thrilling story of how Nicholas saves the day and teaches (ah yes) the true spirit of Christmas is a statement of what makes us human. Our bodies are fueled by many things - air, water, food. Our souls though are fueled by just one thing - hope. We go to sleep at night in the belief that tomorrow will be better than today. Everything’s going to be all right. There is a God and God cares. And a little fat man squeezes down chimneys and he knows all our names. Mary’s Son: hope and belief.
(If you would like to purchase your own copy of this charming story, here's a direct link: By the Book Store)