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Set in the South in 1961. A Different Christmas follows the Christmas Eve adventures/exploits of two children (Matthew Rivers age 6, and Steven Brown age 8) as they anxiously await Christmas Day, which both expect will be their best Christmas ever. For Matthew, he expects his perfect Christmas will commence when he is re-united with his father, whom he has not seen in three years. For Steven he expects Santa will reward him with the ultimate toy of 1961, an Official Triple Secret Agent Spike Murdock Spy case, especially since he has been very good for the last year, and he even delivered gifts on Christmas Eve to the sick, disabled, and elderly, with his best friend, Carrie Jenkins. When the bus carrying Matthew and his mother from Charleston to Baltimore crashes outside of Steven's hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina, it sets in motion events that ultimately culminate in the boys meeting one another on Christmas Day as their holiday expectations are dramatically altered. Moreover, immediately after the bus wreck, while waiting for medical assistance, Matthew, his mother Delia, and the other passengers confront segregation, racial intolerance and forgiveness, and a Christmas that is different from what everyone imagined. Reaching a holiday crescendo on Christmas Day, at Steven's church, Reverend Ezekiel Moody preaches a sermon that implores the congregants to seize the moment and opportunity to do good works for the benefit of others. Inspired by the sermon, various church members seek to fulfill the minister's message, including Steven's mother who proposes Steven boost Matthew's spirits in a totally unexpected way. Aided by his mother, and Carrie, Matthew discovers a deeper meaning for Christmas. As the novel concludes, the aftermath of the bus wreck highlights friendships forged during the tragedy, and raises the hope of racial harmony in the future. For Matthew, and Steven, it had indeed been A Different Christmas, but a good, memorable Christmas nonetheless.
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Michael Delphy Hunt is a former County Attorney in Florida. He has previously published Chicken Foots Stew, and Perfect Turkeys, both of which are collections of humorous short stories. A Different Christmas is the first of three Christmas-themed novels. The other novels are Digging Up Daddy, and Without Shelter--A Christmas Story of Sorts.
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