pinterest-7bf66.html Reviews by Peter: The Christmas Star by Robert Tate Miller

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Christmas Star by Robert Tate Miller

Paul Bennett had the perfect wife, the perfect family, the perfect life—until one fateful Christmas brought an unthinkable tragedy. In deep despair, he turns to drinking to drive away the pain, but he only succeeds in driving away his wife. His marriage shattered, his family gone, Paul now despises Christmas.
But can the holiday he so detests hold a miraculous surprise? After an accident in which he loses consciousness, he wakes up in the company of the shepherds who will soon travel to Bethlehem to see the newborn Christ in the manger. Can Paul find salvation on the night that forever changed the world? Can he discover the true spirit of Christmas?

The Guru's Review: 

I "bought" this novel as a free download earlier this week from Amazon. I love reading Christmas novels during December to encourage myself of the importance and meaning of this season. Despite this being subtitled as a love story and I am not attracted to romance novels with this being the main story arc, I was drawn to this novel by the travel back in time to period of Jesus' birth and the encounter the main character had with the shepherds who visited Him. I love time travel as a story arc and especially ones that have the time travel destination as that of Jesus time.

I could not put this novel down. I really enjoyed the romance of the first half. It was not sugary sweet or mushy. I appreciated it being told from Paul's point of view. This definitely helped me relate to the romance side of it. I enjoy romance when it is not a major theme of the novel and when written by a male author. In this novel, it made no difference being a major story arc. I actually loved it.

Miller writes very well and it is this that contributes to the flow of the story, the character development and the expectation of what is to happen next. For me, this is a great drawcard.

When an author writes the main character in the first person narrative, it is essential that it comes across to the reader as if this character is narrating the story. Not only that, but the character has to be credible and relatable. If not, this character is not convincing and the reader feels disconnected and cannot relate to them. Miller avoids this pitfall and writes in this narrative exceptionally well. I felt like I was in Paul's head. I experienced the emotions he did. I could relate to all these. Especially his grief when he lost Megan, his daughter. I know what that is like despite the fact that my loss was a baby and the circumstances did not lead me to consider that I had contributed to this loss. But I definitely felt for Paul. I wanted to come alongside him and help him through his grief. I wanted to convince him, show him that it was not his fault, and his guilt is misplaced, despite this being a normal reaction. I wanted to show him that his spiralling into alcohol abuse was not the way to handle it, and he was giving up. But I can see why Miller developed it like this, to show the reality of man's reaction to adversity, in this case, the death of a loved one and how this can either confirm their existing unbelief in God or show how an existing relationship could falter and almost lead to unbelief.

I remember when we lost our baby daughter how hard it was to get back to God. I never blamed God but it nevertheless made it hard for me to re-establish my relationship with Him. I can fully understand Paul's reaction to blaming God for not preventing Megan's death and how this easily disconnected Paul from Him. I feel that men's handling of grief is very different to women's and that men may feel it just as deeply as women but their reaction is directly connected to how God has "wired" them. Like Paul, his tears fell when he encountered Jesus at the manger, mine was with my wife, Pastor, specific family and friends, but on a very personal level, the majority of them were on my own while praying to God during the many weeks and months following her death. And it was here that God healed and restored me. It was why I cried when Paul did the same when he came face to face with Jesus. I leapt for joy when he accepted Jesus' love, salvation and when he declared he was redeemed. This nativity scene is very powerful and it would not surprise me if God uses this to minister to both men and women in their despair from life's adversity.

Miller developed this scene so realistically that I do not have any doubt that the Spirit was behind this nativity scene. I applaud authors like Miller when they allow the Spirit to guide them in their writing to minister to the reader's needs on whatever level they are. I have stated in the Why Christian Fiction? tab on this blog that God can use authors and their craft in Christian fiction to not just entertain, but educate, edify the reader's spirit, show them more of God and His ways and lead them into a deeper relationship with Him. This is not the first novel, where I have been ministered to through the author's obedience to the Spirit and in what the Spirit has directed the author to develop in their story arc.

I know that romance is predominantly targeted at the female audience, Christian and non-Chrisitan alike but can romance have a place in men's reading lives as well? I believe so and this novel is one example where it can show men what Christian marriage should be and how God can heal/restore a fractured married relationship and give their love a second chance. Interesting how this second chance is not really a second chance. If He restores their relationship, then they will stronger, better and bigger in their relationship/romance towards each other and in Him. This has been my experience from losing a loved one. It brought my wife and I closer together and, like Paul, I will see our daughter again. I cried, even more, when Paul met Megan at the nativity scene as it gave me a glimpse of what our reunion is going to be like in Heaven. 

I loved the story arc that involved Paul being transported into the lives of the shepherds that had the encounter with the angel announcing the birth of Jesus. The feelings between Elisabeth and Paul was instrumental in preparing him for the healing of his relationship between his wife and God. Again, Miller does this very well and is very clever in its orchestration.

For many of the world's population, Christmas can be a time devoid of joy, family, love, and what Christmas means. Miller shows in this novel, what Christmas is all about, the birth of Jesus, what this means, who He is and the power of His very presence from who Him being God. I pray that God uses this novel to heal and minister to any reader who needs to experience the message of this novel and of the Gospel of Christ.

There are times when I come across a novel that I know God wants me to read. This is another one of those novels. I rejoice in this novel where it has given me another opportunity to be ministered to by an engaging and therapeutic story that is fully guided by the Spirit of God.

I will definitely be reading Miller's other novels. He has been added to my list of male romance authors.

I highly recommend this novel. 

World Building 5/5

Characterisation 5/5

Story 5/5

Spiritual Level 5/5

Enemy Spiritual Level N/A 

Overall Rating 5/5 Stars 


Spiritually, based on my review and on the following reference booklet,

A Spiritual System for Rating Books by David Bergsland, and that The Christmas Star contains elements of the criteria of what constitutes Christian Redemptive Fiction outlined in this booklet, I award Robert Tate Miller with

The Reality Calling Redemptive Fiction Award

Congratulations Robert!

If you would like to read an excerpt or buy this novel, click on the BUY/PREVIEW icons on the image below: 

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