Author Marianne Jordan is hoping to inspire readers through "The First Christmas Carol," a novel that offers a retelling of Jesus' birth, mixing well-known biblical details of the nativity with attributes of Charles Dickens' holiday classic "A Christmas Carol."
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While the Bible gives very little information about the inn or the innkeeper who turned Mary and Joseph away before Jesus' birth as recounted in Luke 2, Jordan has created an entire story surrounding this individual, whom she named Ebenezer.
"Darkness cloaks the hills of Bethlehem, but pales in comparison to the black heart of a greedy, unscrupulous innkeeper, who unknowingly sets into motion a night of miracles the world will never forget," reads a description of the book.
Through "The First Christmas Carol," Jordan told TheBlaze, readers will see how Mary, Joseph and other characters took major "leaps of faith."
"The book teaches us about taking that leap of faith, that we have to trust. I mean, think about it. Mary was a girl," she said. "She was a teenage girl and she's told she's pregnant and she had to accept it and she had to realize that God was doing this — he was going to take care of her, but then she had to tell her fiancé, 'I'm pregnant.' Can you image the conversations?"
As for Joseph, Jordan said that he, too, had to trust Mary after learning of her pregnancy.
"This was a good lesson in trusting and believing and just doing it because you know that evidently God's got a plan," Jordan said.
She also hopes the book will inspire people to consider why we celebrate Jesus' birthday: to remember what he did for humanity, as recounted in the New Testament.
While "The First Christmas Carol" relies upon the context presented in the Bible to explore the events surrounding Christ's birth, it also brings some new characters into the mix. As mentioned, Ebenezer — is a greedy innkeeper who is much like Scrooge in Dickens' story.
There's also his assistant, Aaron, who is reminiscent of Bob Cratchit in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
"[Ebenezer] is a greedy, odious and mean. His assistant — his name is Aaron — he has to work," Jordan explained. "He has medical bills to pay, because he is the parent of a special needs child."
Angels take Ebenezer through his past and let him see Jesus' future as a child who grows up to die for humanity's sins. It is through those experiences that Ebenezer looks beyond himself — and his greedy nature — and into what Christ will one day become: the Christian savior.
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"This is not a child's book," she said, noting that she wrote in some of the raw and tough details surrounding how she envisioned both Jesus' birth and his crucifixion.
Jordan said that "The First Christmas Carol," which was first published in 2013, resulted from a play she wrote in 1999 when she was directing a youth drama team. At the time, she needed to produce a Christmas show, but couldn't find anything worth using.
"I had 30-some kids that I needed to write a part for, so I actually locked myself in a hotel room at Holiday Inn express for two days and when I walked out, I walked out with the play," she said.
After seven years of tinkering with the idea, Jordan finally turned it into a book. Read more about the novel here.
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