2. A Piñata for Rosita (Mexico)

3. Danger Pay (Laos)

4. Another Bethlehem (Samoa, 1837)

5. The Last Carving (Spain)

6. The Miracle in Rio (Brazil)

7. Salzburg Silence (Austria)

8. Puppies for Christmas (England)

9. The Refugee (Egypt)

10. The Woodcutter’s Tale (Bethlehem, 30 A.D.)


The ten stories in Gold, Common Sense and Myrrh are the product of my family’s tradition. Each Christmas Eve my children awaited a new tale from a different country. They learned that people around the world celebrate Christ’s birth with their own cultural traits.

My children are now grow up, but we still talk about our special Christmas Eve stories. We lived in Canada, Brazil and Mexico, and learned to appreciate the cultural heritage of our friends in those countries. We shared meals and traditions with each other, celebrating the great gift that God gave us on the first Christmas. Our family is richer for living in Brazil and Mexico, and we thank God for each of our extended international family.

The stories in this collection are fictional, yet many of the characters take on the life-like traits of the people, time period and the cultures they represent. With the exception of the family of John Williams, the adventurer and missionary who took his family to the Samoan Islands in 1837, all the people’s names are a creation of my mind.

My hope as I write this collection is to give families a way to focus on the true story and hope that Jesus brings to our lives. His birth is celebrated in many ways and the traditions we build are not the focal point. Our family learned this as we lived in Latin America, learning to adopt the customs and ways of the people around us. Their traditions made our celebration richer and caused us to appreciate the universal celebration of Emmanuel—God with us.

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