Yabbakadoodles!

What, you may wonder, is the meaning of this outlandish title? Thirteen years ago my friend Chris Walton (pictured with antlers) spoke this word to me in the parking lot of Ricky’s All Day Grill, and we burst into gales of laughter. Find out why in this story, a selection from my new book published this week, Twenty-One Candles: Stories for Christmas.

(Incidentally, most of the stories in this book are fiction, but this one is true.)

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New Christmas Book

New Christmas Book: Twenty-One Candles

I’m leafing through a file of old Christmas stories with a view to gathering them into a collection. For three decades I’ve written a new Christmas story every year to give out to friends as a greeting card. A tradition that pre-dates the internet, it’s been one way to get instantly published. We also host an annual party on Christmas Adam (if you’re not familiar with that term, read “Yabba-ka-doodles!”) at which I read my latest story aloud. So I’ve not only had my own publishing house but a radio station as well.

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Elephant Charge

[Note: Thanks for this story to Dr. Jim Foulkes, who served as a missionary doctor in Africa for four decades. This is my version of a story he told me, but you can read Dr. Jim’s own account in his wonderful book To Africa With Love: A Bush Doc’s Story. Furthermore, Dr. Jim is presently at work on a collection of 28 of his hunting tales. I can hardly wait!]

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Many are aware that St. Francis preached to the birds, and St. Anthony to a congregation of fish. But let’s remember that before these saints ever preached to the animals, the animals first preached to them.

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The Violet Flash: Chapter 1

A Mysterious Disappearance

(Spoiler Alert! for those who have not read The Blue Umbrella)

Chesterton Cholmondeley poked the bridge of his tortoiseshell glasses with one finger, a gesture he performed a few hundred times a day. Having recovered the years that the evil Dada had stolen from him, Ches was now a lithe, darkly handsome boy of twelve. Yet inside, as if shadowed by a double identity, he still felt old beyond his years.

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The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason

Excerpts from The Blue Umbrella

Chapter One

Not many people are killed by lightning.

Zac’s mother was.

Zachary Sparks, though small for ten years old, had a look of perpetual astonishment that made him seem larger than life. His eyes were nearly the biggest part of him, round and wide, and his eyebrows had a natural arch as if held up with invisible strings. His voice was high and excitable and his whole body seemed full of little springs. Even his hair, fiery red and frizzy, looked as if he was the one hit by lightning. Everything about Zac Sparks was up, up, up.

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The Mystery of Marriage

A marriage, or a marriage partner, may be compared to a great tree growing right up through the center of one’s living room. It is just there, and it is huge, and everything has been built around it, and wherever one happens to be going––to the fridge, to bed, to the bathroom, or out the front door––the tree has to be taken into account. It cannot be gone through; it must respectfully be gone around. It is somehow bigger and stronger than oneself. True, it could be chopped down, but not without tearing the house apart. And certainly it is beautiful, unique, exotic; but also, let’s face it, it is at times an enormous inconvenience.

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A Day in the Throne Room (Excerpt from Adventures in Heaven)

Excerpt from Adventures in Heaven

Once I’d met my Heavenly Father on His throne and fulfilled some assignments, He asked if I’d like to come back and spend an entire day in the throne room.  At the time I happened to be swamped in guilt and self-pity, and it astounded me that God would issue such an invitation to a creature in this sorry state.  But of course I jumped at the chance.  Wouldn’t you?

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Rejoice Always! (Excerpt from Champagne for the Soul)

Excerpt from Champagne for the Soul

A few years ago I began a ninety-day experiment in joy. I made up my mind that for the next ninety days I would be joyful in the Lord. Because this was an experiment, it allowed room for failure. If at times I wasn’t joyful, I wouldn’t despair or beat myself up. Rather I would gently, persistently return as best I could to my focus on joy.

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On Suffering

Excerpt from The Gospel According to Job

Once I met a man who, like Abraham, had moved his entire household halfway around the world on the strength of a vision from God.  When I asked him to tell me the story, he answered that there were three versions of that story, and which one did I want to hear?  First, there was the version of the story that he told to Christians.  Then there was the version he told to non-Christians.  Finally, there was the truth.

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