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Startling Joy: Seven Magical Stories of Christmas

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  529 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
A gift. The baby. The pageant. The parties. The worship. The afterglow. The story. These are the elements of most every Christmas. In Startling Joy, award-winning author James Calvin Schaap takes a look at each of these elements through seven stories that show how imperfect people can find joy and grace in an imperfect world. His eyes turn on an outgoing bus driver, a pass ...more
Hardcover, 153 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Fleming H. Revell Company
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Nov 02, 2013 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
This book wins the prize for being the most offensive Christmas book I have ever read. It's worse in some respects than even The Christmas Shoes. At least that novel showed a few people with offensive attitudes. This book is just one guy (the author) demonstrating offensive attitudes and holding them up as some higher moral "truth." I almost didn't add it to Goodreads because I'm ashamed to have read it. I am embarrassed. I hope my friends who don't read many Christmas books won't judge the whol ...more
TheReadingKnitter/ Kasey
Nov 28, 2011 TheReadingKnitter/ Kasey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, 2011
A gift. The baby. The pageant. The parties. The worship. The afterglow. The story. These are the elements of almost every Christmas. In Finding Christmas, award-winning author James Calvin Schaap takes a look at each of these elements through seven stories that show how imperfect people can find joy and grace in an imperfect world. His eyes turn on an outgoing bus driver, a passionate mother, a daughter reluctant to return to church, and even his own assumed-mediocre performance at a Christmas p ...more
SUMMARY: Christmas is everywhere . . . even where you least expect it.

Join award-winning author and storyteller James Calvin Schaap as he uncovers the grace, joy, and love of the season through seven heartwarming tales of miracle moments in a messy world. This beautiful and inspiring collection of contemporary Christmas stories will remind you what grace looks like--and where to find it.

REVIEW: This book was a group of stories from every day people telling about their Christmas experiences. I fo
Dec 28, 2016 Ietrio rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: junk
Want to spend a non-commercial Xmas? Well, you have come to the right place. Just open your wallet and buy this book. And maybe some non-denominational prayer book. And maybe give a small donation to our virtual charity built on stock photography. And...
Eustacia Tan
Dec 22, 2012 Eustacia Tan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
Rather than a feel-good Christmas story, Find Christmas is a collection of short stories, without much of a happy ending. There might be some hope, some glimpse of the light, but there isn't much in the way of the traditional happy ending we've come to expect.

The book has seven chapters and one preface, all of them short, unrelated stories. And like the book says in the foreword "most of the stories in this book end at beginings". If you're the sort that likes everything wrapped up neatly by the
Jan 01, 2013 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading "Finding Christmas: Stories of Startling Joy and Perfect Peace" by James Schaap. A book filled with short stories about the meaning of Christmas. Some stories where really good and others were okay. Each story had a different view of Christmas and how we have come to view different aspects of the season of Christmas. The first story was about an outgoing bus driver who refuses to get married. The second story was about a girl who is in the 8th grade who was sent out to find a d ...more
Title: Finding Christmas: Stories of Startling Joy and Perfect Peace
Author: James Calvin Schaap
Published: Fleming H. Revell Company
Age Recommended: New Adult - Adult
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: 5

"Finding Christmas: Stories of Startling Joy and Perfect Peace" by James Calvin Schaap was quite some holiday read. This author did a wonderful job with presenting the reader with seven elements that are generally found in ones Christmas: 'A gift, The Baby, The pageant, The parties, The Worshi
Dec 19, 2013 Victoria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christianity
I received this book for free on a Kindle deal.

Overall, I found the text to be a delightful series of Christian Christmastime tales. Each of the seven stories focuses on the quotidian aspects of several individuals' lives as they partake in Christmas festivities, whether it's a church's Christmas play, a return line, or the simple act of getting together with family. The stories highlight how we can find Christ's grace in everyday situations, and from that perspective, this book is an excellent
Keiki Hendrix
Jan 04, 2010 Keiki Hendrix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A lovely group of stories to inspire the true Christmas Spirit. Seven chapters, each with a different story, each filled with an unexpected thought on Christmas and how we have come to view it.

Written to focus on several of the traditional Christmas events each Holiday Season, James Calvin Schaap provides a unique and refreshing view of each.

These include: The Baby and 'Forgetting Jesus', The Party and 'The Facts of Life', The Gifts and 'She'll Love It', The Church and 'Finding Something', The P
Josh Chalmers
Dec 28, 2013 Josh Chalmers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't often write reviews, but after looking at how badly others have rated this book I thought I should take a second to write a review. This book takes an honest look at Christmas from the perspective of real people going through the nitty gritty of life. It won't always make you feel good, but it excels at being honest about the fact that during Christmas sometimes we just get a little glimpse at who God is, an that's it. If you want A collection of short stories that is aimed at people who ...more
Wanda Hartzenberg
Dec 15, 2013 Wanda Hartzenberg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finding Christmas

An unusual collection of stories about the true meaning of Christmas. Note if you are offended by Christian lit then this IS not for YOU!
That said the unusual take and the true to scipture stories with a very modern take is an amazing read!

Some is even unconventional and question the plaing of Christmas hymns in retail stores. All in all, a must read for ever Christian who might be being misled by the true meaning of the season!

Christy Lockstein
Dec 21, 2009 Christy Lockstein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finding Christmas by Jacob Calvin Schaap is a collection of short stories that display the real meaning of Christmas in surprising ways. Schaap finds the Christmas spirit in unusual places: a talkative cowgirl bus driver, a teenage daughter's unexpected pregnancy, and a church pageant so hardcore it has manure! The stories are filled with humor and real human emotion: expectation, fear, frustration, and sadness. Readers will find themselves laughing and crying as the characters find Jesus in pla ...more
Dec 21, 2013 Tarissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Each of the stories inside "Finding Christmas" is delightful and heartwarming, and features a moment in time when a character truly connected with the meaning of Christmas. I enjoyed Mr. Schaap's writing very much. He has created such a lovely set of short stories for the holiday season.

I think my favorite story in the whole collection was the very last, "Joy and Miracle", about a simple-yet-humbling experience in church.

Recommended for adults, although some stories may be enjoyed for family rea
So I feel badly that I am giving a not so great review to my first first reads book. I just didn't enjoy this. While the Christmas stories werent' your run of the mill schmaltzy stories, I felt the writing was a bit on the amateur side. Also the book advertised on first reads was called "Startling Joy" and had a different cover. While the contents are the same I don't think I would have entered to win this particular book had this version been shown. It's clearly of a religious bend while Startl ...more
Denise G Winget
Dec 11, 2014 Denise G Winget rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book touched my heart.

For the last few years Christmas has not been very joyous at our house. Somehow the bustle of advertisements, shopping and never enough money or time overwhelmed me. I had committed that this year would be different. So I started reading. This it's exactly what I want Christmas to be this year. About the spirit and Jesus being in my life. My heart is warm and happy and my cheeks are wet.
Steve Gilbert
A short book with short stories, some which are excellent and some that are just good. I found myself wanting more from some of the stories. It seemed that just as some got going, they were over. The forward to the book said it was a book full of beginnings and I guess that is true. Many of the stories didn't end, but felt like they were just beginning when they were suddenly done. Overall a good quick read.
Dec 29, 2009 Cheryl-Lynn rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Won this book through the first-reads goodreads program!
This book did a great job getting me excited for the Christmas Season! Most the stories were really cute. It's a lot different to read a short story instead of a novel- much lighter. I like stories about Christmas that keep the Savior at the center and this one definitely did that.
Dec 21, 2011 Sheila rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, christmas
Thankfully, this was a free kindle download. I was hoping for stories of "startling joy and perfect peace" in this book, but unfortunately, all the stories in the book left me wanting for more. None of them really touched me with any great Christmas feelings of peace or joy, and I ended the book feeling disappointed in the whole thing.
Dec 06, 2015 Deb rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was sure after reading the opening pages of this book that I wouldn't like it. I'm glad that I stuck with it, because the short stories themselves weren't bad. Several left me wanting more, so it was disappointing in that respect. But a quick read that made me think a bit more about the meaning of the holidays and wanting to bring that joyous feeling to others.
Dec 26, 2014 Vikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Startling Joy is a book of seven magical stories of Christmas. It is a great little Christmas book by James Calvin Schaap. These were simple, contemporary stories of Christmas. My favorite was "Finding Something" about finding a church in a new community. I liked all of the stories though.
The stories were meant to be inspirational and I guess they were to some extent but they all seemed to just stop. I never felt like any of them were actually finished so I was left feeling unsatisfied and frustrated. Kind of like smelling a wonderful dinner and only being given a side dish or two without the main course.
Lynn Hallbrooks
Dec 28, 2015 Lynn Hallbrooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is a great way for wayward Christians to come back into the fold.

This book has Christian based Short Stories.

These short stories focus on some aspects of our life that make even some of the best Christians feel as they have lost all hope. Then a miracle of sort happens and they see life in a new way.

I could feel the anguish and then the great joy in each story.
I couldn't be bothered continuing reading this. The stories were boring, and the author had a tendency to end them abruptly, leaving me feeling unsatisfied. Potential readers should also take note that some people might find the characterisation of an overweight woman in the first story offensive.
This collection of short stories all focus on the real meaning of Christmas. My rating of 4 stars is an average—some of the stories I would rate 3 stars individually and a couple I would rate 5 stars.
Dec 06, 2011 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A series of short stories, some better than others. A few good lines to quote, but it wasn't anything special...only one of the stories really touched me and I didn't like how that one ended. I got it for free, so I can't complain. It was a quick read too.
Dec 26, 2008 Kim rated it really liked it
This was okay. It was a few stories about the magic of Christmas. I think I prefer longer stories, which is why I didn't enjoy this so much.
I was hoping for a collection of stories a little more like The Chicken Soup for the Soul series, but this was not it. Also it was too religious for my taste…
Vicki Krivak
Dec 10, 2012 Vicki Krivak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read especially for this time of year. Very quick read though. It was full of good stories to remind us the reason for the season.
Kathy Barton
Dec 26, 2013 Kathy Barton rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I personally would not waste my time with this book - I almost did not bother finishing it. It is a group of short stories and it seemed as if each one got worse as it went along.
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