Published by Tyndale on September 3, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Christian, Christmas, Non-Fiction, Devotional
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For twenty-five years, readers have been moved by beloved author Francine Rivers’s tale of little Timmy O’Neil, a foster child with a very mysterious shoe box. This anniversary edition of Timmy’s story has been beautifully redesigned for the holiday season to include a new five-part Advent devotional from Francine, as well as her favorite holiday recipes and the entire Christmas story from Matthew and Luke, all accented by gold foil interior artwork.
Twenty-five years ago, Francine Rivers penned a short, little Christmas novella called The Shoe Box. Simple, poignant, and powerful, that story has been a Christmas favorite for a generation. This new edition includes an Advent devotional, the text of Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 in the New Living Translation, and some holiday recipes from the Rivers’ family.
First of all, let me just say that the chocolate chip cookies are a delight. At first, I thought the recipes to a be an odd inclusion—not at all an intrusion, as they come at the end—but I didn’t know what thought process led them to be included. But then I realized the power of table fellowship, particularly around the Christmas season. Recipes are short, sweet, and generational, much like The Shoe Box. It’s an intimate look into Francine’s life and adds a personal layer to the book.
The story itself is quite simple: Timmy O’Neil has a mysterious shoebox. What’s in it? “Things,” he always says. That box and a small suitcase were his only possessions when he went into foster care. And he never parted with the box. As the tale builds, we come to Christmas. During the Christmas cantata, Timmy has the opportunity to leave a gift for Jesus. He chooses his box.
Also included, new to this edition, is a five-week Advent devotional. Each section is written in the voice of God speaking to his people—a theologically dangerous and tricky technique that Rivers manages flawlessly. It’s a quick two minute read. Three, maybe, if you take time and soak it in. A liturgical call to response follows, concluding with a series of Scripture on which to meditate. In all, each section might take ten minutes at most to read through, making it a perfect addition (not replacement!) to your daily devotions.
With The Shoe Box, Francine Rivers takes all her storytelling ability and distills it down into just a few thousand words. The result is a beautifully-told parable of giving ourselves to God and having the faith of a child.