Christmas is about Freedom
To Charles Lober, contributing author to 21 Days of Christmas, Christmas is about freedom. He wrote “The Christmas Star” in the second book in the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. Get to know Charles in my interview with him today.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I enjoy painting landscapes and portraits. For a number of years, I designed my own Christmas card with an accompanying poem. (Now my wife and eleven-year-old daughter have taken over that job!)
What ministries are you passionate about and involved in?
With a group from my church, I visit a recovery center for men twice a month. We feed them a hearty supper, then have chapel. Occasionally, I will tell my story and share my faith. It has been very rewarding, especially when I see what God can do in lives that were once shattered by drugs and alcohol.
Tell something about yourself as a person and as a writer.
I live in Birmingham, Alabama, with my wife, Sandra, and eleven-year-old daughter, Nicole Alejandra. I’m retired, so I get to devote my time to my two passions—writing and painting (when I’m not helping our daughter with her homework, that is). I also enjoy volunteering at our church.
Are any parts of this story taken from something that happened in your own life or the lives of people you know?
Yes. A dear friend of mine told me that, when she was a child, she sometimes had to stay home alone. To pass the time and fend off loneliness, she liked to go to the basement and pretend to be in a play. The light shining in the window made an oval shape on the basement floor. She would stand in the spotlight and act out scenes from her favorite stories. Her performances were always met with standing ovations.
What else have you written?
The Christmas Club trilogy (The Riverside Club, The Last Chance Friends’ Club, and The Club Homecoming), available on Amazon. I’m currently working on a young-adult book titled And the Bells Were Silent.
What genre(s) do you like to read?
Mainly realistic fiction.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Ann Tatlock, Ferrol Sams, Willie Morris, Rick Bragg, Laurie Halse Anderson, Elizabeth George Speare, Terry Kay
Do you write part time or full time? Do you have a job, kids, hobbies?
I write and paint full time. And, of course, I love to read. My son, Jason, and his wife, Blair, have two sons, Jackson and John, so I’m also an abuelo (grandfather).
Where and when do you write?
Normally early in the morning, coffee cup in hand, and on our back patio. But I can write anywhere, anytime (airports, doctors’ offices, etc.).
What do you love most about writing?
I love the act of creating, whether it’s writing or painting a landscape or portrait. In my writing, I try not to preach, but I hope that I may touch people’s hearts in a way that leads them to Christ or deepens their relationship with Him.
What do find most challenging about writing?
The mechanics. Creativity comes easily to me, but I really have to work at not being “lazy.” It’s easy to fall back on familiar phrases or clichés, but I want my writing to be fresh and original.
Share one of your most rewarding moments connected to your writing.
A letter I received from a friend said this:
I was thinking today about the first time I heard one of your stories. You sent a large package of them to me at Johns Hopkins Hospital. My mom read them aloud to me and my roommate. My roommate was thirteen years old and had tumors wrapped around her spine and brain stem. She and her family were not Christians. They asked many questions about our faith, but we never made much headway. However, they would both listen intently as my mom read your stories. I just kept thinking, They’re getting to hear the gospel! Your work has been such a blessing in my life, and you have no idea how many you have truly touched. Praise God for such an awesome opportunity. I’m pretty sure my roommate didn’t survive. I mourn for her sometimes, but I know that I used every means possible to share the love of Christ with her, especially your stories. Thank you for this ministry.
What one piece of advice would you share with aspiring writers?
Read and write! And never give up. It’s really pretty simple.
What does Christmas mean to you?
In a word: freedom. Many people today are bound by chains of their own making, forged from their fears, anxieties, selfishness, and pride. They walk around with heads hung low, spirits weighed down, helpless to extricate themselves. But there is one who has the power to truly set people free. On the first Christmas, He entered the world as a baby in a stable. He lived a blameless life to show us the way to live. And He died a painful death to give us a way to live forever with the heavenly Father.
Thanks again for sharing with me and my followers, Charles!
Charles Lober is the author of The Christmas Club trilogy: The Riverside Club, The Last Chance Friends’ Club, and The Club Homecoming. You can read more of Paige’s story in The Riverside Club. Charles lives with his wife, Sandra, and their daughter, Nicole Alejandra, in Birmingham, Alabama.