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Where had it come from? Whose money was it? Was I to spend it? Save it? Pass it on to someone more needy? Above all else, why was I chosen? Certainly there were others, countless others, more needy than me. . .
Her reporter's intuition insisted that a remarkable story was on the verge of the front page.
Newspaper reporter Hope Jensen uncovers the remarkable secret behind the “Christmas Jars,” glass jars filled with coins and bills anonymously left for people in need. But along the way, Hope discovers much more than the origin of the jars. When some unexpected news sets off a chain reaction of kindness, Hope's greatest Christmas Eve wish comes true.
A New York Times bestselling book!
“Wright's holiday novel could inspire others to Christmas generosity.” — Library Journal
“The heart of this novella is its transformative message about the power of giving.” — Publisher’s Weekly
“Beautifully written. I believe The Christmas Jars tradition will change lives.” — Richard Paul Evans, New York Times bestselling author
- Published: November 2005
- Pages: 112
- Book on CD: Unabridged
- Running Time: 240 minutes
- Number of Discs: 3
About the Author
Jason Wright is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USAToday bestselling author. Articles by Jason have appeared in over 50 newspapers and magazines across the United States and writes a weekly column for The Deseret News and Mormon Times.
He is the author of seven books with over one million books sold. His most recent novel, The Seventeen Second Miracle, was released nationally in September of 2010.
Jason is from Charlottesville, Va., but has also lived in Germany, Illinois, Brazil, Oregon and Utah. In 2007, Jason fell in love with Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley while researching the area for his second book, The Wednesday Letters, and with the enthusiastic blessing of his wife, Kodi, he relocated their family to the historic town of Woodstock. A sign on their door reads, “Friends welcome. Family by appointment only.”
The devastating reality of Louise’s ovarian cancer was assuaged in time by Hope’s delight at her new position. Hope’s responsibilities included occasional one-on-one briefings from one of several senior editors. They spelled out the newspaper’s position on important political issues, and, armed with a framework for why the paper leaned one way or another, Hope was tasked with punching out first drafts of political editorials. “The Paper Endorses George A. Lee for Governor.” “The Paper Calls for a Full Investigation of Mayor Caren Floresca.” “The Paper Supports the Aggressive Methods of Sheriff Eugene Jones.” Hope spent hours massaging her four hundred words, only to see them slashed down by someone upstairs. But Hope wanted to work upstairs, too. I belong upstairs, she convinced herself.
For months Hope toiled away, and, in time, more of her own words made the printed page. Six times her editorials ran untouched. Her mother had each professionally framed. They filled a wall in their cozy apartment.
Persistent pain forced Louise to stop working not long after her diagnosis. She bade farewell to her clients and reluctantly sold her cleaning contracts to a company that had what seemed like an army of bright white-and-blue cars with “Clean Police” splattered in neon paint on both sides. Hope never fully understood why cleaning up other people’s messes brought her mother such satisfaction. And though she had no idea how her modest income would support them both for long, she felt relief the first day Louise didn’t head off to care for someone else’s home. “You’re all mine now,” Hope told her.
Each morning Hope made two servings of oatmeal topped with blueberries, always blueberries, and kissed her mother good-bye. During Hope’s daily absence, Louise spent hours creating elaborate pages for their near-endless library of scrapbooks. Evenings were spent reading aloud to one another or playing a specialized Jensen family version of Rummy. Hope loved the evenings.
Saturdays often included very short shopping trips downtown or a quick lunch at Chuck’s. “Should we go cruisin’ for boys?” Hope teased on the way home late one afternoon.
“Not this week, sweetie, maybe next.”
“Ah, now. One of these days we got to find you a man, Momma!” Hope’s voice twanged to her mother’s delight.
“Next week, remind me, and maybe I’ll wear some makeup.”
Hope turned to her mother. “Miss Louise Jensen, some women don’t need makeup.” She tickled her mother’s knee. “You couldn’t get more beautiful if you swallowed last month’s edition of Cosmo.”
Because Louise’s cancer was not detected earlier, her disease was well advanced by the time doctors finally diagnosed it. After unsuccessfully experimenting with less-invasive treatments, Louise relented and scheduled the surgery her doctors long insisted was her best chance. Hope was at her bedside when she finally awoke, twelve hours after bidding good-bye at the patients-only elevator.
“Hello there,” Hope said, holding one of her mother’s hands with both of her own.
“You’re here,” her mother’s voice cracked.
“Of course I am, crazy woman.”
“The good crazy?” Louise struggled to whisper.
“Yes, Mom, the good crazy. Now, shhh.”
Louise breathed heavily. “How did we do?”
“The news is not good.” Hope paused. “They say you’ll never have any children of your own.”
A pained chuckle turned to a cough, and Hope gently put a straw between her mother’s lips. Louise took a long drink and reopened her eyes. “I have a child of my own.” She smiled as broadly as her face allowed.
Our December Book Club Selection!
by Lisa - reviewed on September 20, 2006
I'm using 'Christmas Jars' for our book club's December selection. Excellent, touching, short, inspiring read! So many life-altering, positive messages in such a compact piece.
Jason Wright is a Master Story Teller!
by Kay Lynn - reviewed on October 20, 2005
This book is absolutely wonderful -- I had the privilege of reading one of the Advanced Reader's Copies and enjoyed it immensely from page one to the end. This would make a wonderful movie! Jason is a master story teller -- can't wait to read his next book!
by Cami - reviewed on October 29, 2008
Another great book by Jason Wright. This book is inspiring for all to be generous and put life into perspective. I have made this a tradition to read every Christmas with my family.
Are you longing for the true Christmas spirit?
by Elizabeth - reviewed on November 04, 2008
For those longing for the true spirit of Christmas, this book is a real gift. You won't find elves, product placements, or hype here. Instead you'll find an inspiring generosity and spirit of charity. I'll be sharing this book at Christmastime, and will strive to keep its message all through the year.
A wonderful Christmas story!
by Customer - reviewed on October 01, 2005
'I just finished reading your manuscript. I loved the story! I especially loved the way you brought back Hope's mom at the end. I think it's a very sweet, tender Christmas story.'
A little masterpiece!!!!
by Teri - reviewed on September 15, 2005
My hubby and I had another great opportunity to preview Jason's Christmas Jars last Christmas before he'd even finished it and absolutely looved this one as well. In fact, enjoyed it more than The James Miracle, but just a tad bit more. I enjoyed the premise that one person can make a difference in someone's life and can be changed by her insights on others around her. With the trials of Hurricane Katrina, people could learn a lot from Jason's words. What an inspiring and truly wonderful masterpiece, yet again. Bravo, Jason.
Great Christmas Gift!
by Customer - reviewed on November 08, 2008
After reading Christmas Jars and visiting the website, I have been inspired to give these books away this year for Christmas to friends and family. What a great way to give of yourself through small means. The Christmas Jar tradition is one I hope to continue.
by Heather - reviewed on September 27, 2005
'What can I say? Amazing story. The next Christmas Box!?!? I loved it. I cried. We need stories like this to help us remember the 'real' things of life and CHRIST-mas!
Great, quick, and affordable read!
by Whitney - reviewed on December 02, 2007
This is a great book. It really gives you the Christmas Spirit. I would recommend it to anyone.
by Linda - reviewed on October 02, 2008
This is one of my favourites! We actually tried this after we read it. Save that change!!
by Daisy - reviewed on December 30, 2006
This story was very touching. I would love to think that there are still loving and giving people like the Maxwell's. I couldn't put the book down and I definitely shed a lot of tears. , A MUST READ!!
a great story!
by Monica - reviewed on October 23, 2008
A great feel good story
can change your life forever
by Customer - reviewed on October 30, 2008
This book has become a tradition in my family. Since reading this book I have since purchased this book for several friends and family. It can help to show the true meaning of Christmas for anyone seeking to find the spirit of giving in their holiday season. Linda-Missouri
WARM & FUZZY
by Customer - reviewed on November 28, 2007
This book is AWESOME! Anyone who buys it will love it. I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning reading it and I finished it just now. I still feel warm and fuzzy from its message about Christmas. IT IS A MUST READ! It makes you want to start your own jar.
This book changed our lives
by Customer - reviewed on January 04, 2011
My husband and I read this book three years ago and it changed our lives. We started the "Christmas Jar" tradition in our home right away after reading the book. It has brought us great happiness to be able to give our "Christmas Jar" to someone every year. This year we are starting two Christmas Jars for next Christmas. I am giving the book with each jar, and to people for Christmas. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could start this wonderful tradition all over the world? Thank you Jason for a truly inspiring book.
Unexpected Ending with Heart-Warming Moments Throughout!
by Customer - reviewed on December 31, 2007
What an excellent book to read around the holidays. I loved it so much, I shared with my sister-in-law. When she is finished with it, I plan to let my young daughter read it.
by Kathie - reviewed on September 15, 2008
This book is so heart-warming and leaves you feeling like one person really can make a difference in a lot of people's lives. It makes you want to start your own "Christmas Jar" and experience the joy that this family did. I loved the book and couldn't put it down. Jason is definitely a talented author, and I hope he keeps them coming! I have loved all of his books, and will keep reading them!
by Rex - reviewed on September 15, 2008
Brought home the true meaning of Christmas. Some thing we all do, maybe not in the same way, but to remember those around us.
by Customer - reviewed on September 21, 2008
loved this book
by Paulette - reviewed on September 20, 2008
When I got it I didn't expect such a wonderful story. It was very touching and really makes you think about how if you treat other with the spirit of Christmas during the Holiday and the rest of the year.
by Kierra - reviewed on November 25, 2008
This story made me want to be a better person after reading it. Very uplifting and heartwarming.
Great Easy Read
by Customer - reviewed on October 06, 2008
This was a great book for a cold winter afternoon. It has a good message and is easy to finish quickly!
Read it now for a great holiday season!
by Rachel - reviewed on October 22, 2008
This is a perfect time to read this book! Truthfully, even if it weren't christmas time, the tradition of this book would be a great idea year round. Good idea for FHE.
by Manon - reviewed on October 20, 2008
The story that has inspired so many, this will be loved by all. The lessons of charity held in this book will long be remembered.
by Kristy - reviewed on October 23, 2008
This book was my book clubs' choice for Christmas last year,A recommend for anyone!
by Customer - reviewed on November 11, 2008
Great christmas gift for co-workers/friends. This book is a wonderful new christmas tradition in our family!
by Customer - reviewed on November 16, 2009
Christmas will never be complete for me again, unless I read this story. I could not put it down until I was done, and then I wanted to start again.
This story will change your heart :)
by Shauna - reviewed on November 06, 2012
Christmas has not been the same since this book was written... This book is definitely a Christmas tradition...to be read over and over again each year with those you love! After receiving a Christmas Jar filled with money... One journalist traces the trail back to the first Christmas Jar ever given... This story will change your heart :)