Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Power of Hidden Messages

A Christmas Kindness tells the story of eight-year-old Robert, who visits the mall Santa on Christmas Eve with his long wish list. While in line, he strikes up a conversation with the boy behind him, Glenn. This boy with dirty sneakers, holey jeans, and coat sleeves that don’t quite cover his wrists, only wants one meaningful gift from Santa. When it’s Robert’s turn to talk to Santa, he’s in a quandary. His wish list doesn’t seem so important after hearing Glenn’s one and only wish.

Though this book is not Christian fiction, it has what some might call “Christian values.” I tend to call them “human values.” Thinking of others and helping those in need aren’t only concepts taught in the Bible; though Jesus preached and showed by example the importance of thinking of and serving others.

This reminds me of a wonderful book I read that told the story of an injured Barred owl who must ask other animals for help and how he repays their kindness year after year. This book encourages young people to be thankful and have a servant’s heart.

Another story tells the tale of young Ricky (a bunny) who is eager to decorate for Christmas, but his parents are too busy. Dad begrudgingly takes Ricky on his tree quest, as long as they make it quick. While Ricky takes in all the winter beauty and fun around him, his father pushes him to find the tree so they can get back home. Then the tree falls off the sled. It could be a horrible moment, but Ricky’s enthusiasm draws Dad and Mom into experiencing the joys of the season. What a fun and wonderful reminder of the importance of cherishing every moment with our children. 

What these two stories, and hopefully mine, have in common is they tuck the message inside of what the characters are experiencing. They don’t come out and tell you, “be nice and think of others,” or “cherish time with your kids.” The characters show you by their actions. The goal should be to empower readers. In order to do that, your message needs to be nearly invisible.

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at and her children’s book blog at


  1. Great post and reminder, Cheryl, thank you. I so agree in it being "human values."

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, the artofpuro. I have to admit to having a soft spot for it.