Diary of a Christmas Novella, Day 2

A two-time Christy Award winner and member of CWG’s Editorial Board shares the journey of writing his new Christmas novella, A Marriage Carol (Moody Publishers), in three blog posts this week. Read the first post. The book is available everywhere. Read our review.

In A Marriage Carol, Dr. Gary Chapman and I use the power of a story to try and save a marriage. Our goal is that someone will come up to him at a conference or call our radio program and say, “Because of this little book, we gave our marriage another chance.”

The prologue was nearly cut because we didn’t want only those who were ready to give up on their marriages to read it. I hope you see why we included it.

I know what you will say. You married the wrong person.

I know because it is what I said. But that was before the winter of our discontent and the plans we made that Christmas Eve. That was before the snow.

The snow taught me something. It always teaches if you will let it. I learned it is a dangerous thing to have your eyes opened. It is dangerous to see. It is dangerous to love.

If we had simply liked each other so long ago, if we had only been searching for “happiness,” things would be easier. When you are concerned only about feeling better you can move on, pick up your luggage, step off the train, and keep looking. But love makes you vulnerable to the cold. Love beckons you outside in a snowstorm, in a shaking, wobbling globe where there is no control, where you stand naked in bitter wind searching for what has been covered.

You cannot plan for love. You cannot choose against it once it has come. True love doesn’t end once another steps away. You may forsake a person, a family, some location of the heart, but scars and memories cannot be discarded like used clothing. Love, if it is real, cannot be abandoned, because it does not come from yourself, but from an unseen spring. That Source provides nourishment and moisture for the soul.

Of course you will say that you never possessed true love. It was wrong at the start. Or that your love has frozen over time. Even if love is rock-hard, it cannot be killed, the waters cannot be held back. Love will always find its own way, even if the droplets have turned to ice.

Here’s what I know. Our lives are bound by our choices, and our choices are like snowflakes that pile around us until the warmth we felt inside grows dormant, withers, and dies. Then we are left to ourselves and the consequences. The heart is drawn to the warmth of spring and sun and life. With love, we move purposefully and intuitively. Without it, we stumble, blindly searching for the narrow path.

I will tell you what happened. Though painful, I will show you the truth. I pray you will listen. I pray you will open up some small part of you, a sliver of that good heart, a glimmer of your eye, something in your gut that is telling you this is the way, this is the path through the drifting and piling in your life. There must be some part of you that believes in miracles; that death, though it feels like it, is not the end. That what has been sealed in a tomb might rise once again.

I used to dream of love as if it were a memory. I used to touch the mirror and wipe away steam to see my reflection, clouded and blurry. I longed for a clear vista of life. That is what I was given. What I saw in myself was an arid, desert wasteland.

There is no barren place on earth that love cannot grow a garden. Not even your heart.

Tomorrow, how the story took shape and came to life.

Chris Fabry can be heard daily on Moody Radio’s Chris Fabry Live, where he talks “over the back fence” with listeners across the country. He won the 2011 Christy Award for contemporary fiction and the 2011 ECPA Christian Book Award. Learn more about him at chrisfabry.com.

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