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The Immortal Nicholas

The Immortal Nicholas

nicholasThe Immortal Nicholas is a novel by television host and political commentator Glenn Beck. It is a fable that aims at retelling the Santa Claus story in a way that guides people away from the commercial Kris Kringle and toward the spirituality and altruism of the man, Saint Nicholas.

The main character is a simple farmer named Agios who loses his son in an accident while gathering frankincense. Bitter and despondent, Agios ends up in the traveling party of the three Wise Men on their way to honor the newborn Jesus Christ. Thus begins a story that takes us from Bethlehem, to the crucifixion of Christ, to the incarnation of the Saint Nicholas character we are familiar with today.

I found the writing to be average and repetitive and the characters basic. I also found the storyline to be a bit forced with a mish-mash of religious history and fiction. Characters and events are pulled from every which way. Even Krampus, a rather dark figure with its roots in Austro-Bavarian folklore turns up here and plays a significant role.

I read through most of the book without a strong feeling about the story. I thought this might be a nice holiday tale, but not for me. And then I came to the ending. The last ten pages of this book are written with such beauty and awesome truth that I wept.

The ending ties up the various storylines in one shiny, beautiful bow. But more than that, it leaves the reader with a message. It alludes to what the world could be if every man made it his mission to bring others comfort and hope. To live and give in such a way that no one leaves the world without love. It speaks to the idea that every human being has something to offer his or her fellow man. You may look at your life and wonder at the pain and losses you have suffered. You may question and doubt more than you trust. But there is something that has been gifted to you for the purpose of serving others if only you choose to do so.

This book speaks beautifully to the idea that it is peace and love that will change the world. Victory is found in kindness.

As I finished this book, I thought of Senator Edward Kennedy who died of brain cancer at the age of 77. In reflecting on his life, he acknowledged the many times he had not lived up to his ideals. He stated that, although he was a man with many flaws, his goal was to end well and do so with courage and faith. His narrative is much like that of the main character here, Agios. And his words describe this book to perfection.

The Immortal Nicholas ends exceptionally well, with a glorious message of courage and faith.  For me, it was worth it.

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