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The Christmas Carving Discussion Questions

  1. Maddy arrives in Taylorstown with a mission to turn Wyatt’s heart back to God and bring healing to her war-torn community. Describe a time in your life when you felt a strong God-given purpose in your life?
  2. At the beginning of the story, Wyatt tells Maddy he has “no more use for Christmas than a ruffled petticoat.” Why did he feel that way? What did you think of Maddy’s response? How would you respond to a friend or family member who found Christmas to be a challenging time of year?
  3. Wyatt has let bitterness steal everything dear to him. What do you think of the way Maddy helped him see past his hurt? Can you think of someone who’s hurting that you could show the love of Christ to this week? Brainstorm ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the situations described.
  4. In spite of all the obstacles in Maddy’s way, she is generally resilient and determined to bring about change. What is the source of her fortitude? What Scriptures can you recall that inspire perseverance?
  5. Forgiveness and reconciliation are underlying themes of The Christmas Carving. Have you ever found it hard to forgive someone who has hurt you? Have you ever sought forgiveness only to have it denied? How did the situation resolve itself?
  6. Maddy hoped to facilitate reconciliation between the Union and Confederate families in Taylorstown. Although she is initially disappointed with the poor attendance for the Christmas party, she eventually concludes that some hearts weren’t ready to let go of their past hurts and differences. Other than Maddy and Wyatt, what characters were ready to embrace change by the end of the story? Which were not? Would you have chosen a different outcome? Why or why not?
  1. When Wyatt is finally ready to forgive himself and let go of the anger and bitterness he’d been clinging to since Flemon’s death, he recognizes that “change doesn’t have to come over night, it just has to come.” Do you find it easier to forgive others than yourself? Why or why not?
  2. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an heirloom as “something of special value handed down from one generation to the next.” Besides the nativity set, what other items were passed from one generation of Hawkins men to the next? Which did Wyatt conclude held the most value?
  3. The Hawkins family’s nativity is a more than a holiday decoration, it’s an heirloom that Wyatt and Maddy both cherish as a symbol of faith and family. Do you have any Christmas heirlooms or traditions you enjoy displaying each year? Why are they special to you? Have you considered starting a new tradition with your family or friends? If so, consider sharing it with the group.