Amid the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season take a little time to read this tearful and heartwarming tale by Donna VanLiere. You’ll be glad you did. It will put the “reason for the season” into perspective, remind you of the true meaning of Christmas and it will revolutionize your shopping experience. I’m not saying this book will make the Christmas crowds more pleasant, but it might just change your viewpoint and perhaps cause you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.
The Christmas Shoes tells the story of two families whose lives unknowingly intersect and are permanently changed.
The narrator of this tale is told through the point of view of Robert Layton, an ambitious, 80 plus hour-a-week lawyer. He works hard to provide his wife, Kate and two school-aged daughters, Hannah and Lily the type of lifestyle he thinks they want and deserve.
By contrast, the Andrews family is preparing for heartbreak. Beautiful, Maggie Andrews their beloved wife and mother, is in the final stages of an aggressive and rare ovarian cancer. This Christmas season is the last she’ll spend with her family. Jack Andrews is an honest and dependable car mechanic trying to provide for his family. Unlike the Layton family, the Andrews’ family is not well-off. They are considered lower income-middle class. Like the Layton’s, the Andrews also have two children; an eight-year-old son, Nathan and a toddler daughter, Rachel. Despite the sorrowful times the family is going through; love and laughter still abound in the home.
Christmas Eve night, Robert bumps into Nathan Andrews at Wilson’s Department Store not realizing that this little boy’s life will be forever altered. “He turned around and said, “Sir, I need to buy those shoes for my mother,” his voice shaking. I was startled to see the child talking to me. I felt the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. “She’s not feeling very good, and when we were eating dinner my dad said that Mama might leave to see Jesus tonight….This kid was no scam artist, somehow I knew that. I looked into his wide eyes and something happened to me in that moment. A pair of shoes to meet Jesus in. This child is losing his mother.” (VanLiere, 90-91).
This seemingly short and simple moment connects the two families and changes their future Christmases as well as the rest of their lives. It proves how connected we all are and just how powerful our actions can be. The smallest purchase can carry many layers of impact. We all have moments where we “know” something about our fellow man. In these instances, we have an opportunity to catch a glimpse of and connect with our fellow man on a deeper level.
After reading this book, I’m certain you’ll approach your shopping differently. This book is so well-written and poignant you won’t be able to escape it!
“If we’re open to it, God can use even the smallest thing to change our lives…to change us. It might be a laughing child, car brakes that need fixing, a sale on pot roast, a cloudless sky, a trip to the wood to cut down a Christmas tree, a school teacher, a Dunhill Billiard pipe…or even a pair of shoes.” (VanLiere, 130).
** I’m extremely honored to be asked to write a special Christmas guest blog for the lovely and talented ladies of SHE Changes Everything. SHE is a wonderful and empowering movement started by four vivacious and passionate women who are dedicated to helping women life their best life- Sustainable, Healthy, and Ethical.