Tradition is essential to most holiday practices. Whether it is attending Christmas service, baking special treats, or preparing the Christmas meal, tradition is the reason people get so nostalgic each December. Without tradition would so many people be reminded of childhood? Lori Copeland's latest novel, The Christmas Lamp, demonstrates the importance of certain seasonal rituals and how those little things have such significance in having a Merry Christmas.
The little town of Nativity is known for their grand holiday traditions and people visit from miles around in hopes of catching some of their infectious Christmas spirit. However, traffic begins to slow when a new interstate is built completely bypassing the small town. As the town finds themselves in financial crisis, Jake Brisco, a financial consultant and the grandson of one of the town's most prominent residents, quickly becomes the Scrooge of Nativity. Jake has little trouble putting a stop to the holiday activities that waste the town's revenue, regardless of tradition. Roni Elliot is the town's administrator and finds she is the strongest advocate for preserving Nativity's holiday rituals.
In charge of making financial cutbacks, Jake's first order of business is to remove the giant Christmas tree that stands in the center of the town's main intersection. Despite its size, the tree is constantly being hit by unobservant motorists, costing the town thousands to replace each time. Such a waste of expenses! When it is removed, Roni, steeped in tradition, desperately tries to hold onto past memories and refuses to compromise with Jake's plans to save the town if it involves removing the Christmas spirit.
Nevertheless, she slowly begins to understand that Jake may not be all that he appears. As the season progresses, she learns that Jake has endured sadness as well. She starts to feel that the giving of one's time and effort is the true meaning of the season, not how many lights can be strung on a house. While tradition is extremely important, Roni must remember that the town can create new rituals while still saving money.
Traditions are a valued part of Christmas. Copeland's tale reminds readers that family is one of the greatest gifts from God and while tradition is extremely important for remembering loved ones, one must move forward and create new traditions. The Christmas tree in the town center represents the traditions and remembrances of Christmas' past and even its removal can not erase those nostalgic feelings nor stop the residents from creating new memories.