The Christmas Coat
by Kathleen Shoop
KDP Independent Publishers

"The happiest time of the year, yet all he felt was tension tangling in his belly."

A coat with apparently spiritual powers to bestow contentment and success on its wearers is passed alternately unintentionally and intentionally through a group of wearers who are more closely connected than most of them realize at first. Its first wearer is a well-meaning but driven and insecure man who values it for how the coat makes him feel but also for its initial price in excess of $4,800. The coat falls out of his car and, in a muddy, used condition, is picked up by a worker in a Goodwill shop. Subsequently, the coat improves the day and the lives of a few other people who need it, including a recovering alcoholic who reconnects with her estranged family, a young man who is going for an interview for a badly-needed job, and a man who has played a significant role in the life of the original owner. Eventually, all the threads are connected, and the conflicts are resolved in this short, delightful tale.

This charming story is a morality tale about karma and the circle of life. The seasonal reference reinforces the themes of understanding, secrets revealed, and redemption through love and hope. Shoop's message is familiar but beautifully expressed. The reader may wonder if the coat itself is a conduit of miracles, or if the ways in which its owners receive it contribute to its powers. Ultimately, through love, all things are possible. The story is also appropriate for young people since the backstories of the owners and their troubles are described in contexts that are realistic but not traumatizing.

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