Author D. Michael MacKinnon explores the true meaning of Christmas in his new book, “The North Pole Project: In Search of the True Meaning of Christmas” — a novel that explores how a multi-billionaire comes to embrace faith in a powerful way.
Faithwire recently connected with MacKinnon to talk about the gospel message and how he conveys the biblical narrative in his thoughtful, new book:
FAITHWIRE: Why did you choose a Christmas theme for your book?
D. MICHAEL MACKINNON: I chose Christmas because that is when we pause from our hectic lives to focus on the faith, love and hope given to us by the Baby Jesus. Christmas is a time when people are more receptive to His lessons and to hopefully pass them along — lessons which are woven into this book.
FAITHWIRE: Why did you write “The North Pole Project: In Search of the True Meaning of Christmas?”
MACKINNON: For two reasons: First, because as a child, I grew up in abject poverty and was often homeless and living in cars. I never got to experience a “real” Christmas as a child, but also never lost faith in the Baby Jesus and that “true” meaning of Christmas and thought how wonderful it would be if I could pass along some joy, hope, faith and a human connection in a story.
Next, I wrote it because a couple of years ago, I sat down with a Minister and we talked about the fact that so many people seem to be walking away from their faith. He felt that people were losing faith in everything from their “leaders” to their governments. He believed that stories which touched upon the power of — and the need for — faith which stressed the “Golden Rule,” would remind readers of what is truly important in life and help to bring them back to their faith and His love.
FAITHWIRE: What, in your view, is the true meaning of Christmas?
MACKINNON: The main character in the story is named Christian Nicholas. A multi-billionaire who realized that he had every materialistic luxury a human could have and that he still had nothing inside. As he contemplates the worst, he gets a last minute call from his minister brother with a message which saves and changes his life.
Christian’s epiphany causes him to embark upon the most special project of his life, a project which will not [only] help desperately poor children from all over the world, but “saves” a number of adults in the process.
Christian Nicholas not only reconnects with his faith in a powerful way, but realizes that for him, the “true” meaning of Christmas being: “When we help others in need or in great pain, that is the most meaningful gift we will ever receive.”
FAITHWIRE: Why did you choose a despondent billionaire as your protagonist?
MACKINNON: As one who grew up in abject poverty and then was blessed to be able to work in The White House and in the private sector with a number of very successful CEOs, I knew that no matter if you had $15 billion or only $15 dollars, if you did not believe in something larger than yourself — be that your faith, your family, a cause, or all of that and more — that life could be empty and meaningless. I wanted the reader to see that even billionaires who “have everything” and who “everyone aspires to be” can have nothing, can be lost, can be lonely, but can…find redemption.
FAITHWIRE: His name is Chistisn Nicholas. Care to explain the impetus for that name?
MACKINNON: For me, pure and simple: it was one more way for me to put “Christ” back into Christmas.
Christmas is a time and a season to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus. Many in Hollywood, the media and in academia want to make Christmas a secular day and I believe as Christians, we need to push back against that trend. Christmas is about Christ and His messages of love, hope, and faith.
FAITHWIRE: What do you hope readers walk away with, specifically when it comes to giving?
MACKINNON: That — as Christian discovers in the story — we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. That while we may never be able to solve poverty or human suffering on a grand scale, we can make a real difference in our own way. We ALL know someone in poverty, in pain and who is troubled. Be that a family member, a neighbor, or a work colleague. Simply by offering a helping hand to that person, we not only make a positive difference in their lives, but do spread the true meaning of Christmas.
Find out more about “The North Pole Project: In Search of the True Meaning of Christmas.”