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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the most stressful time of the year
The Christmas season has come and Rose is busy, busy, busy with preparations for the holidays. She's worn out from doing all sorts of stuff for the church, cooking meals for sick friends, volunteering in the thrift shop, taking on prayer requests, etc etc. She doesn't have time for anything else including cooking dinner for her own family. Everyone else is getting grumpy...
Published on October 4, 2007 by Deborah

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars By the numbers
In this novella, Rose is the mother of teenagers and the wife of a man who works long hours. Rose is no less busy, devoting herself to numerous charitable and church-related activities. As Christmas nears, Rose finds herself pulled in several directions at once. A woman at church is worried about a lump in her breast, and Rose wants to comfort her. Another woman's son is...
Published on October 15, 2008 by P. Mann


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61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's the most stressful time of the year, October 4, 2007
This review is from: Unwrapping Christmas (Hardcover)
The Christmas season has come and Rose is busy, busy, busy with preparations for the holidays. She's worn out from doing all sorts of stuff for the church, cooking meals for sick friends, volunteering in the thrift shop, taking on prayer requests, etc etc. She doesn't have time for anything else including cooking dinner for her own family. Everyone else is getting grumpy and Rose is beginning to feel worn out. The Christmas season is starting to look not so jolly after all, but isn't a Christian supposed to put others first before themselves?

Ok so I know the Christmas season isn't for another 2 and a half months. But Sam's club already has Christmas trees and lights up! So what better way to get into this mood that this short novella from Lori Copeland. It's really a modern day holiday version of the story of Martha, the sister of Mary and Lazarus from the Bible. Christians today seem to think that they need to sacrifice their own needs and wants to make everyone else happy. I've seen many Christian families torn apart because they will go out and do things for others but not for their own children. Many pastor's and missionary spouses and kids suffer because of this type of attitude. This book showed that while there is a time to help others for the glory of God, you should also be careful of not trying to do things to make your own self look good. Know your limit and do not let false guilt take over you. The story is written really well and I enjoyed the characters and getting to know their busy hectic lives. It was funny at how Rose tried to figure all the different meals as she didn't have time to cook, who knew kids could get tired of pizza? I also liked learning more about the Advent with the tidbits at the beginning of each chapter. The only downside about this book is now I can't wait for Christmas to come. Even though this book is short, you will get a LOT out of it.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story!, November 21, 2007
By 
J. Frye (Gulf Breeze, FL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Unwrapping Christmas (Hardcover)
I read this book in one sitting. It is the story of one who wants to help everyone and truly cannot say "no" to anyone. She takes on so much that her family never sees her and her health suffers. It's a message that needs to be spread: Know your limitations and don't allow your family to be left behind. A wonderful Christmas story!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars By the numbers, October 15, 2008
By 
This review is from: Unwrapping Christmas (Hardcover)
In this novella, Rose is the mother of teenagers and the wife of a man who works long hours. Rose is no less busy, devoting herself to numerous charitable and church-related activities. As Christmas nears, Rose finds herself pulled in several directions at once. A woman at church is worried about a lump in her breast, and Rose wants to comfort her. Another woman's son is using drugs, and Rose wants to comfort her. Yet another woman is worried about her husband's ominous medical diagnosis, and Rose wants to comfort her. But Rose simply has too many demands on her time, including preparing the Christmas Eve dinner for her extended family.

"Unwrapping Christmas" moves along quickly, but there is little substance. Rose runs around lamenting the busyness of her life while accomplishing very little. Her husband criticizes her frequently for her failures as a mother while he himself misses family events. Meanwhile, there is a great deal of talk about God and prayer, but even this seems rather ho-hum, in part because of a curious grammatical choice. The author, for reasons that I do not understand, does not capitalize pronouns that refer to God.

There are, I believe, good intentions here, but the treatment is too superficial and too derivative of It's a Wonderful Life in spots to offer much insight or genuine holiday cheer, at least for me.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow down and enjoy Christmas with family, December 9, 2007
This review is from: Unwrapping Christmas (Hardcover)
Review
It's short, sweet and packs a powerful punch. Lori reveals through her main character, Rose, what loving one another looks like. Rose is challenged by another verse "Be still and know I am God." She is rarely still long enough to know God is God - too busy. Sound familiar? Another verse "Rest in His assurance." Rest? Who has time for that? Things women struggle with daily. Lori reveals God's love in action through Rose. This book will gently remind you in practical ways, how to love one another & rest in God's assurance at Christmas and always.

Before some chapters begin, Lori weaves the meaning of Advent, explains the symbols and what they represent. The treat at the end of the story is the Bergman's holiday traditional recipes talked about in the story.

Lastly, a powerful letter written by Karen Hancock titled Jesus Didn't Hurry. This letter sums up the message of Unwrapping Christmas. A must read.

Nora St. Laurent
Book Club ServantLeader
[...]
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ugh, December 15, 2010
By 
Elizabeth (United States) - See all my reviews
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This was one of the worst books I've read in the Christian fiction genre. It's so banal, so bland. Is this the state of the typical evangelical family these days? No joy, no passion,just endless spiritual/social drudgery. Lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. Fit to be spewed from my Kindle.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Nuanced Story, December 6, 2007
This review is from: Unwrapping Christmas (Hardcover)
What I really like about Unwrapping Christmas is that it is a nuanced story. It makes its points subtly. It doesn't just make the point "Service is good" but goes on to add: "Service is good, but make sure that in serving others you don't do it in such a zealous, all consuming manner that you do a disservice to yourself or those you love most. This is a story about priorities. It is well written and should be read more than once.

I also highly recommend Christmas Gifts, Christmas Voices--an excellent story about the impact of small acts of kindness.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New Perspective, March 11, 2008
This review is from: Unwrapping Christmas (Hardcover)
Has Christmas become one long toilsome to-do list jammed packed with needa-do, oughta-do, but you don't want to do? Do you dread this time of year?

Well, join the club.

In Unwrapping Christmas, Rose is worn out! Stressed to the limit, she is trying to please everyone who asks her to do something, from hosting the family holiday dinner to helping out at church functions. Her family is reduced to eating take-out dinners every night, her children have run amok, and her husband is nagging her about never being home anymore.
But what's a good God-fearing Christian woman to do? Say no to people in need?

Lori Copeland reminds us to unwrap the self-imposed layers we put around Christmas to re-discover its true blessings. Initially I thought this book was going to be a sappy yuletide read. I was mistaken. Copeland tackles a lot in this short story: illness, drug use, judging, wayward children, and finding balance by knowing when to say "no" and mean it.

I recommend this story to anyone who has missed the true meaning of this holiday season.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unwrapping Christman, November 23, 2009
By 
Avid Reader (Atlanta, Georgia) - See all my reviews
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ALthough Unwrapping Christmas was not a well-written book, it was a thought provoking book. It is always easy to get involved with the wrong priorities and though we can recognize it in others, we do not always see it in ourselves. I appreciated the fact that this was an easy read and really has made me consider what I do for others and whether I do it with my heart, or with my "checklist" of things to complete.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly written, January 1, 2011
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I read anything and everything--rarely do I put a book down. This one however was a horrible excuse for a story with a message and will be removed from my Kindle. We should all slow down at the holidays, we know this and didn't need the character Rose (who lacks depth--she's simply self-centered and "Christian")to tell us that. I would not recommend this book to anyone who actually enjoys a good story. This one goes nowhere in Chapter 1 and never improves.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This short and sweet story reminds readers of the need to pay attention to what's most important, especially during the holidays, July 15, 2008
By 
FaithfulReader.com (New York, New York) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Unwrapping Christmas (Hardcover)
In UNWRAPPING CHRISTMAS, prolific novelist Lori Copeland spins a slim faith-filled story of an overloaded mom and the true meaning of the holiday.

Copeland's protagonist, Rose, is a 38-year-old mother with teens who doesn't know how to say no. "I guess I could" is her ever-present mantra when asked to do anything at church, at home, or for her Minnesota community. The tension of feeling that she needs to do "the Lord's work" is running her life. If anyone needs a casserole, a volunteer shift, a voice in the choir, or a shoulder to cry on, Rose is there to meet their needs. Anyone's needs, that is, but her own family's.

She knows Christmas "should be more than frantic activities, hectic crowds, and overworked husbands... it wasn't that she didn't want to slow down, but life got in the way... she was do busy doing Christmas, there wasn't time to experience Christmas."

As the story progresses, Rose's husband accuses her of neglecting her family. But, muses Rose, trouble had never touched them yet. After Christmas she promises herself that she'll get things back in order. After Christmas they'll eat dinner together, she'll have time to really talk with her kids, and she and Joey will get their marriage back to where it used to be. After Christmas....

But she finds herself praying, "Dear God, why do I feel so worn, so empty, so tired? I spend every waking moment doing what I can, but my efforts amount to sifted chaff, they're meaningless...." Shouldn't all her busy-ness be making her feel good? Over-committed readers will resonate.

As Rose continues to say "yes," you'll see what's coming. Of course, things fall apart before Christmas, and Rose is forced to come face to face with the consequences of her busy-ness. Anna is involved with a boy who is three years older and, from all appearances, not the sort of date Rose envisions for her daughter. Son Eric feels neglected and gets into trouble at school. Husband Joey works later and more often. The climax, when it comes, shows Rose that she doesn't have to run the world alone --- and that others can rise to the occasion when called on for help.

Even though all of her hustle and bustle is to do good deeds, or do things for God, Rose finally realizes that she has neglected the most crucial to-do list of all --- making time for what is most important. Or, as her husband tells her when she finally hits the wall and can't do another thing: "Let someone else experience the blessing of helping out. You're hogging it all."

Copeland sermonizes a little, especially when Joey lectures Rose about her do-good habits after an accident, and the story loses steam in the last quarter. The formatting is uneven throughout the book, which I found odd; some chapters begin with a beautiful screened art candle and trivia about Christmas, others do not. The end of the novel is padded with recipes, a letter from another author on the life of Christ and a sample chapter from an upcoming Copeland book.

If you are looking for a priority check for the Christmas season, or if you are the type of woman who gets over-committed during the holidays, you may find this story a timely reminder of what is most important. And there's no time like the Christmas season to reassess priorities and commit to New Year's resolutions about saying "no" to good things sometimes, when they keep us from caring for those we love.

--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
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Unwrapping Christmas
Unwrapping Christmas by Lori Copeland (Hardcover - September 30, 2007)
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