Christmas Fiction: Lessons from A Christmas Carol & A Marriage Carol

“Fiction reveals the truth that reality obscures.”A Marriage Carol Tree

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

In this season of celebration, we want to wrap up this month of A Marriage Carol and take some time to remember why fiction matters. Our favorite Christmas stories, movies, books and songs matter because they often resound with truth in a world that obscures it. Here are some quotes from our favorite Christmas fiction that remind us of the lessons these stories teach us.

A Marriage Carol

Marlee is challenged in A Marriage Carol to learn generosity with her love. As she considers the past, present, and future of her marriage, an older woman reminds her:

“One choice changes the construction of a life. You’ll never experience the joy and tenderness of a lifelong love unless you fight for it.”

Thanks to Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman for giving us such a wonderful story of redemption this season!

A Christmas Carol

In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, we are reminded of the generosity so often forgotten throughout the year (and often guiltily remembered at Christmas). As Scrooge learns through the visits of the three spirits:

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me!”

The story is ultimately one of redemption, reminding us that all can be redeemed, even in the most hopeless place.

The Best Book of All

Before we finish this Christmas post, let’s take a moment to remember the best book of all – not fiction, but one that can reveal truth more powerfully than anything else.

John 1:14 – “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

We celebrate this month because of the gift given to us, who made His home among us, and who demands our worship year-round.

Thanks for joining us on our 25 Days of A Marriage Carol! Leave a comment below for a chance to win a copy of the book – we’d love to send one your way!

And a final Christmas wish, for both this week’s giveaway winners, and for everyone celebrating Christmas around the world:

“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.”

– A Christmas Carol


Heartwarming Christmas Stories & Their Top Christmas Quotes

A Marriage Carol Cover: Best Christmas StoriesWe’ve had a lot of fun talking about A Marriage Carol this month – it’s easy to get carried away talking about this beautiful, modern-day remake of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. But today we want to dedicate some time to our other favorite Christmas stories. Here are a few (in our minds) of the best classic Christmas movies, books, and TV specials, plus our favorite Christmas quotes from each one.

1. A Charlie Brown Christmas (TV Special)

Dismayed by the commercialism of Christmas, Charlie Brown seeks to find hope in a Christmas nativity. Throughout the TV special (the first-ever Peanuts special), Charlie and friends find new meanings to the holiday.

Favorite quote: “Da-da-dum-da-da-da-dum-daaaah.” (It’s the song! Can you hum it?)

2. A Christmas Story (Movie)

Ralphie, a boy growing up in the 1940’s, tries to convince his parents that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect Christmas present. After being told “You’ll shoot your eye out,” one too many times, Ralphie is not happy. Not even an essay will convince his parents, his teacher, and Santa Claus that he should get a BB gun for Christmas.

Favorite quote: “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.”

3. While You Were Sleeping (Movie)

From Deb: This is a movie I love to see at holiday time. When Lucy (Sandra Bullock), a single woman alone at Christmas, saves a stranger’s life and is mistaken by his family for his fiance, the comedy begins. Peter’s brother, Jack (Bill Pulman), suspects Lucy’s secret and, in his attempts to reveal it, falls for her. But she is engaged to his brother, Peter, right? If you have never seen it, pop some popcorn, snuggle on the sofa and enjoy this delightful movie over the holidays.

Favorite quote: “You’re born into a family. You don’t join them like you do the Marines.”

4. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Book)

The annual church Christmas pageant is at risk of being destroyed when six new brothers and sisters decide to join. The Herdmans, who are notorious for causing trouble and terrorizing the other children, take over the pageant. As the church’s traditions are challenged by the Herdmans’ rowdy behavior, everyone learns a few lessons about Christmas.

Favorite quote: “Hey, unto you a child is born!”

5. Silent Night, Holy Night (Song)

While this classic Christmas hymn might not tell a story in the same way as the others on this list, we think the story it tells is the greatest of them all. Silent Night, a favorite Christmas song, tells the story of Jesus’ birth and the beginning of His ministry on earth.

Favorite quote: “Radiant beams from thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace…”

Bonus! One of our favorite Christmas quotes from A Marriage Carol: “With love, we move purposefully and intuitively. Without it, we stumble, blindly searching for the narrow path.” (Gary Chapman & Chris Fabry, 2011)

What’s your favorite Christmas story (book, movie, TV special, radio drama)? Tell us in the comments for a chance to win a copy of A Marriage Carol! (This week we’re giving away 5 copies so everyone should comment!!!)

What Should I Get My Best Friend For Christmas? 3-Word Gift Ideas

What should I get my best friend for Christmas?
Here at River North, we love to give gifts. Most of the time that means we’re giving away books (like today!), but when the holidays roll around, we like to have other ideas too. Here are some 3-word gift ideas that we might treat our friends to this Christmas season.

Post your 3-word gift idea at the bottom of the post and you might win #2! We’ll pick 3 winners from this week’s comments!

  1. Handmade paper stationary
  2. A Marriage Carol, by Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman
  3. Chocolate-covered pretzel rods
  4. Red “Read” Sign
  5. Favorite Photo Framed
  6. Handmade Christmas Ornament
  7. 20 minute massage
  8. Prayers for Today, by Kurt Bjorklund
  9. Bacon Scented Candle
  10. Homemade Necklace/Earrings
  11. “Good” Concert Tickets
  12. Multipurpose Cake Stand
  13. “Remember When” Mix
  14. Homemade Laundry Detergent
  15. Beautiful knit scarf
  16. Trader Joe’s Giftcard
  17. Scented eye pillow
  18. Book Tote Bag
  19. Favorite classic novel
  20. Martin Luther bobble-head
  21. Remington Curling Wand
  22. Justin Beiber Holiday
  23. Dozen delicious cupcakes
  24. Paper Crane Earrings
  25. Gungor Christmas CD

What’s your 3-word gift idea? Post it below!

(A special congrats to last week’s giveaway winner! We’ll be notifying them today so they can get their copy of A Marriage Carol.)

Famous First Lines: Our Favorites

“When do we tell the children?”

A Marriage Carol, Chris Fabry & Gary Chapman

Opening lines can capture our imaginations, be the first taste of a new favorite author, or comfort us as we begin – yet again – a journey through our favorite book.

To celebrate Day 1 of 25 Days of A Marriage Carol, the River North team has assembled their favorite opening lines for you to enjoy. Tell us what you think, and be sure to let us know your favorite opening line at the end of the post for a chance to win a copy of A Marriage Carol!

  1. “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
    The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis
  2. “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
    A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  3. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
    John 1:1
  4. “The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.”
    Portrait of Dorian Grey – Preface, Oscar Wilde
  5. “Ships at a distance have every man’s wish on board.”
    Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
  6. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
    Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen

Want more opening lines? Find more famous first lines here.

What is your favorite opening line? Leave us a comment for a chance to win a copy of A Marriage Carol!

25 Days of A Marriage Carol!

Today we’re kicking off a fantastic December event – 25 Days of A Marriage Carol!
25 Days of A Marriage Carol

From now until Christmas, we’ll be talking about our favorite Christmas stories, posting about A Marriage Carol, and…giving away free copies of the book to some of our fantastic fans. To find out more, follow us on Twitter @rnfiction and like our new Facebook page!

We are Thankful…And so are our Authors!

Hello Fiction Fans!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and we here at River North were just thinking about all the things we are thankful for. We thought it would be fun to ask a few of our authors what they are thankful for and this is what they said:

Captive Trail author Susan page Davis:

I’m very thankful for my family. Jim and I hope to spend this Thanksgiving with four of our six children and five of our eight grandchildren. Maybe in a future year we can get all of them together! Time spent with loved ones is perhaps the blessing I cherish most. 

Long Trail Home author Vickie McDonough:

I’m thankful for a happy, healthy family and that my husband is working full-time again. Over the past three years, he has been laid off four times, including right before Christmas last year. Also, our #3 son just returned from a year’s deployment in Egypt and will get to share the holidays with us this year. 

Pearl in the Sand author Tessa Afshar:

After losing power for a week due to twelve inches of unprecedented snow in October, I have been thanking God more than ever for the small things – for a hug from a friend, for sharing laughter with family, for my quiet times with God, for my hot water bottle. And definitely for my hair dryer!

Lone Star Trail author Darlene Franklin:

I am thankful for a faithful God who never changes, for friends and family, for the opportunity to do what I love most in the world–write.

Faith Deployed…Again author Jocelyn Green:

Other than my precious family, which goes without saying, I’m thankful for the sacrifices military families make for the rest of us, and for the freedom we still have in this country to boldly proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I was just on the Gary Chapman radio program for Veteran’s Day and I don’t take for granted the blessing it is to be able to speak truth through mass media without fear of repercussions.

What are you thankful for this year? We would love to hear about it! 



A Few of My favorite Things— about A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman

A Few of My favorite Things— about A Marriage Carol by Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman

 We just finished up the taping of the radio drama for A Marriage Carol set to air soon (we will let you know when!) in a full hour drama. As I sat in the control room with the writer and producer, Jon Gauger, I was amazed at how touched I was by hearing the dialog between Marlee and Jacob. I thought that I would share some of my favorite moments with you.

After the car accident on the snowy road, Marlee goes to the house on the hill to be greeted there by the elderly man, Jay. They sit before the fire and Marlee begins to talk about her marriage:

I told him (Jay) we were on our way to an attorney’s office to sign divorce papers. No sense beating around the bush. I let that sink in and expected some kink of apology for prying, but he didn’t seem shocked.

“Have you been planning this for long?” he said.

I told him more about us. More than I wanted, but it just seemed to spill out. And he didn’t stop me.

“That’s a lot of years to be married. What the main reason? Has Jacob abused you in some way?”

“No, there’s now abuse.”

“Is there another woman?”

“I don’t think so. His other woman is his work.”

“Have you tried counseling?”

A Marriage Carol is available for your holiday reading right now. Get it here!!