Child in a Manger: Chapter 5

Allison, of course, is happy to see Brock, even though she’s had an all-but-sleepless night with the month-old Joy and kinda feels like shit.  And, of course, she still thinks she’s fat and sloppy and that he looks like a million bucks, so she feels totes inadequate.

He’s gotten her a gift—a pretty silver picture frame, which strikes both Allison and me as very “appropriate.”

“I swear.  When it’s appropriate.”

-Simon Tam, Firefly, Jaynestown

In response to Jayne's statue in Canton and the second half of a brick joke--see TV Tropes--with his earlier line, "I swear. When it's appropriate." ("Jaynestown")

Allison is “one of those,” as Brock says—a really slow and careful gift-opener.

Gifts were rare treats for her these days since her mother was gone, so she planned to enjoy this one.

Um, aren’t gifts rare treats for everyone?  Makes it sound like Allison received a wrapped gift from her mother every morning at breakfast.

But never mind that, because it’s time for Allison to obsess about people mocking her faith again!

“I had [the fireplace] put in when Mom was really sick.  She liked to stay warm near the fireplace.”

Brock cleared his throat.  “I’m sorry about your mother.”

“Thanks.  She’s at peace now.”  Again, she waited for him to criticize her beliefs the way he had at the live nativity, but he didn’t.

For someone who is falling for a guy, Allison sure thinks very little of him.  Has she met a lot of atheists who berate her when she mentions that her mother died recently?  I mean, I know RTCs think nonbelievers are the most evil, nasty people on the planet, but my atheist mom didn’t raise this chick to start theological debates with people who have just suffered a loss.  Manners, yanno?

“I’m sure she is,” he said finally.

So he did believe, after all, even if his belief system was a little jaded.

Well, I wouldn’t necessarily go that far, Allison.  “I’m sure she is” is the sort of harmless response anyone might give in such a situation, whether that person exactly agreed with you or not.  The kind of response you give when you do have good manners and don’t want to turn a sensitive topic into a debate point.

Not to mention that I think when someone dies, their brain simply stops, so they are gone and cease being conscious in any sense.  And from then on, they don’t feel anything, including pain.  So I could see that as being “at peace“…from a certain point of view.

Then, something deeply weird happens…

They spontaneously start singing.

Like a musical…except not at all.

They’re gaaaaazing into the fire, and Allison starts humming, and Brock starts singing.  Joy to the World.

That’s just weird, I’m sorry.  And I’m glad they’re alone, because I knew a few girls in college who fancied themselves singers, and would just randomly start singing a few lines all the time, and it was super annoying.

And you know what?  One song, I can sort of get.  That might be fun (I mean, not fun for me, but some people might find it fun.)  But they keep going…

They finished the hymn together, then softly continued singing carols of Bethlehem’s blessing, of a child in a manger, of excelsis Deo.  …  [Allison had] imagined Christmas mornings like this before, not with sleigh rides and painted scenes…

Painted scenes?

…but with the warmth of family as they celebrated together God’s wonderful gift to a dark world.

I have no soul.  I mean, I already knew that, but this confirms it.

They decide to open sleeping Joy’s gifts for her, and they also get to talking about age.

In a rather shocking and progressive move for a Christian romance, Allison is five years older than Brock, thirty-five to his thirty.  And here I thought it was ballsy of Jerry Jenkins to make Noella almost a year-and-a-half older than Tom in Twas the Night Before.

Just so I’m clear, I think five years either way means nothing once you hit your twenties.  But in the world of Christian romances, it’s kinda unusual.

She’d expected shock over her advanced age, but it didn’t seem to matter to him.

Advanced age“?  Allison is so weird.

Brock gets Joy some goofy toys, including a standing thing she won’t be able to use for months, and a toy police car, which, to be fair, is kinda sweet, in the sense that he’s letting the kid know that “someone did care about her and wanted to protect her.”

And then it’s all spoiled when Allison gets a call from a foster mother who wants to take the baby.

Not sure why, if Allison’s qualified, they don’t just leave the baby with her, but whatevs.

Bah humbug.


Posted on December 13, 2014, in Books, Child in a Manger, Christmas. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Foster parents have to go through a lots of steps before they’re qualified to foster children. It’s almost like adopting. So, Allison may be qualified in the sense that she’s good with a baby, but she’s probably not legally able to foster.

    Though, I’ll admit the process being depicted is pretty hazy. The police let Allison take a baby home, then a foster parent just cold-calls her the next day? Seems like the baby should have spent the night in the local hospital while the state’s Child Welfare department is notified. Maybe because it’s a small town, but I suspect it’s more because The Plot Requires It.

    • In real life, the baby would have been taken to hospital, for several days not just a night. Doctors would have made a guesstimate of her age; her health would have been thoroughly checked and, importantly, her umbilical stump would have been examined. If it wasn’t clamped, that would indicate a home birth without a midwife; in which case it would likely not have been sterilised, so infection would have been a big possibility.
      While that was going on appeals would have been put out for the mother, as she may have been needing medical attention. Once Baby had been given a clean bill of health, she would have been discharged to foster parents.
      But that’s what happens in real life, in a Western country. This is RTC fiction, so ignore everything I’ve just pointed out!

  2. I’ve refered to “martyr-fetish” to try and explain the popularity among RTCs of some of the dreck that’s been reviewed here. Allison sounds like the kind of person who really does have a martyr-fetish. She’s just so eager to get mocked and persecuted for her faith.

    Tell you what Allison, I’ll grant you your wish for Chirstmas. Send me a mail with your best conversion-babble, and I promise I’ll go through it line by line to explain why it’s stupid.

  3. Mightn’t an unbelieving man (being an evil rapist as all unbelievers are) have an ulterior motive of getting into the believer’s armoured drawers, and therefore restrain his impulse to mock all that is Christian™ until he’d got what he wanted?

    A woman who starts breeding at thirty-five might not be able to spawn the dozens of children that are the sign of a truly manly man, I mean, every Christian’s duty.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for December 19, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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