I read The Christmas Sweater while home in Canada for my parnets’ 40th Anniversary. I was in need of something to read & my sister suggested that I might like this. It was an easy read, but laced throughout with religious undercurrents. I grew up in a fairly religious family – church every sunday, sunday school, Church youth groups, church youth choir (briefly), CGIT (http://www.cgit.ca/ – sorry, by hyperlink thingie isn’t working), but have since moved away from the church & religion. Never-the-less, I did enjoy this story.
The Christmas Sweater is about a young boy named Eddie whose father passed away 3 years previously. Since his Dad died the family (Eddie & his Mom) have fallen on very hard times financially, with Eddie’s Mom working all the shifts she can get her hands on just to make ends meet. Christmas is coming and all that Eddie wants in a new bicycle. Not just any bicycle, though, he wants a brand new, shiny red Huffy bicycle, which even he knows is well outside his mother’s financial capabilities. So, Eddie beings a regiment of prayers to God, promising everything within his power if God will just send him that new Huffy bike for Christmas.
Christmas morning dawns & of course the bike isn’t anywhere to be seen & the only thing that Eddie does get is his Christmas Sweater which his Mom knit for him, in-between the work shifts, cooking, cleaning & caring for Eddie. The rest of the story is based around Eddie learning valuable “life” lessons about himself, the value of family & God – especially the lesson that God does not give us more that we can handle & that God is always there for us, even when it doesn’t seem like it…….which is where the preachy bit comes in.
Take away the religious aspects of this book & it’s a brilliant little story. I just think that it was unnecessary to make this so “God” oriented, as it is full of valuable non-secular lessons, so there’s no need for God. (My sister is going to kill me!) I just think it would appeal to a much broader audience without the religion-in-a-book aspect.