Jacob's Bell: A Christmas Story

Jacob's Bell: A Christmas Story

by John Snyder

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For readers of Richard Paul Evans and Melody Carlson comes JACOB'S BELL, a heartwarming Christmas story about how an unlikely friendship between an old man and a little girl saved a family.

Sometimes the road to forgiveness and restoration can be a rocky one. Set in Chicago and Baltimore in 1944 with flashbacks to the 1920s, JACOB'S BELL follows Jacob MacCallum on his arduous journey to redemption.
At one time, Jacob had it all: wealth, a wonderful family and a position as one of the most respected businessmen in Chicago. Then he made some bad decisions and all that changed. For the past twenty years he lived in an alcohol-induced haze, riddled with guilt for the dreadful things he had done to his family and his role in the untimely death of his wife. Estranged from his children and penniless, he was in and out of jail, on the street and jumping freight trains for transportation. Realizing he needed a drastic change, Jacob embarked on a journey to find his children, seek their forgiveness, and restore his relationship with them. Befriended by a pastor at a Salvation Army mission, he struggled to transform his life. Yet finally he overcame his demons, but not without a fair number of setbacks. Jacob became a Salvation Army Bell Ringer at Christmastime. While ringing his bell on a street corner one snowy day, he met a young girl who, through a series of strange coincidences, led him back to his children and facilitated Jacob's forgiveness just in time for Christmas.
Author John Snyder pens a story of love, hardship, and reconciliation that will leave readers filled with Christmas joy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781546010418
Publisher: FaithWords
Publication date: 10/02/2018
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 76,566
File size: 492 KB

About the Author

John Snyder is the author of the heart-warming book THE GOLDEN RING — A CHRISTMAS STORY, and is a member of The Authors Guild. Before retiring he owned and operated an award-winning public relations/advertising/sports marketing firm in the Baltimore, MD/Washington, DC Area for nearly 25 years.

In 1981 John founded his own marketing firm, which specialized in public relations, sports marketing and advertising. The Snyder Group, Inc. developed and implemented national award-winning marketing campaigns for regional and national corporations. His firm has also worked with and represented some of the world's top professional athletes, sports franchises (including The Washington Capitals of the NHL, The Washington Bullets of the NBA, and top INDYCAR teams, NASCAR teams and teams in other prominent racing series), as well as nationally televised sporting events.

When not writing, John's interests and hobbies include spending time with my family and friends, camping, hiking, golf, auto racing (he has raced karts - capable of speeds in excess of 100mph, pit crewed in the Indianapolis 500, and operated the driver communications board from the wall at the edges of speedways across the United States for his former client, two-time Indy 500 winner and national auto racing champion, Al Unser, Jr). John lives in Mocksville, North Carolina (just West of Winston-Salem) with his wife, Ruth Ellen.

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Jacob's Bell: A Christmas Story 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
InHisName More than 1 year ago
Jacob's Bell is a Christmas story that shows the benefit of the Salvation Army and how important that organization is to helping those that are living on the street, down on their luck and need a helping hand. Jacob had it all. A wonderful wife, children, a very successful career, wealth and prestige. Through a series of very bad decisions he ended up in prison. Those bad decisions continues to haunt him so that when he got out alcohol was the only escape. He couldn't forgive himself and drank more and more to forget what he had done. Eventually, a pastor sees him on the streets, drunk. That pastor encourages Jacob to come to the Salvation Army's shelter, to get food and warmth. In order to stay there though he had to stay sober. This wasn't easy for Jacob and he relapsed. Eventually, though the pastor gets Jacob to unburden himself by telling his story. The Pastor also introduces Jacob to Jesus. He teaches him about forgiveness that is offered to us by Jesus but it takes a long time for Jacob to grasp that forgiveness is for him personally. As often is the case, it takes Jacob a long time to forgive himself. This was a wonderful Christmas story about the bell ringers for the Salvation Army and through a fictional character shows how that money benefits those in our community. Plus this story is about forgiveness offered to all of us through Jesus Christ and it is about reconciliation of family.
rkfall More than 1 year ago
Jacob’s Bell by John Snyder was a new Christmas story that I had the pleasure of reading this year. This stories setting is placed in the early to mid-1900s in America. The picture this author paints, I felt took me right to America in years past. It’s a story about poor choices that led to hard life consequences and there is a great need for redemption to be had. This story made my heart ache at times, which is the purpose the writer intended I’m sure. While sharing it with your family, you might want to do a pre-read through yourself to know if this is appropriate for your listeners. I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Jacob’s Bell by John Snyder has readers traveling to Chicago in September of 1944. Jacob McCallum is sixty-three years old and recently had a brush with death. He has been estranged from his children for over twenty years, and he now wants to make amends. At one time, Jacob was a wealthy businessman, with a loving wife and three kids. Then an accident changed his life and that of his family. Jacob has been traveling the country in an alcohol induced haze for the last ten years via freight trains. He wants to have a relationship with his children and their families, but Jacob is afraid. He enters a bar for liquid courage and ends up passed out in an alley. Pastor Howard Angel from the local Salvation Army Mission befriends Jacob and takes him back to the mission. Jacob relates his story to Howard while working on overcoming his alcohol addiction and trying to find his son, Tom. Jacob’s road to redemption and forgiveness is not without roadblocks and potholes. He must deal with his guilt over his past deeds before he can seek his children’s forgiveness. Jacob ends up in Baltimore seeking his daughter, Emma during the holiday season. He ends up becoming a Salvation Army bell ringer. One day a little girl comes by and donates all the money she has saved up for a new doll and they become friends. This one little girl will help lead Jacob to his family and obtain the forgiveness he desires. Join Jacob on his poignant journey in Jacob’s Bell. Jacob’s Bell is a heartwarming and heart wrenching Christmas story. Jacob McCallum wants to reconnect with his family. He regrets the choices he made over twenty years ago, and Jacob knows that he will not receive a warm reception from his children. Jacob’s Bell is a man’s journey towards forgiveness, redemption, recovery and reconciliation. I thought Jacob’s Bell was well-written with steady pacing. Readers join Jacob on his emotional journey and learn valuable life lessons along the way. There is a good flow between the present and the past. How Jacob ended up in his present state is slowing revealed as the story progresses. Jacob finds faith with the aid of Pastor Howard Angel and the people at the Salvation Mission. He learns that forgiving himself will relieve him of a heavy burden and he will find freedom. The Christian elements are intertwined with the story beautifully. It is reminiscent of Melody Carlson and Dan Walsh’s novels. Jacob’s Bell is a feel-good Christmas story that will tug at your heartstrings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jacob McCallum was a miserable human being. At one time he had it all and lost it all. Now he is a bum with nothing. Will the Salvation Army be able to lead him to the salvation of his life? Maybe. Maybe not. He’s lived the life of an alcoholic with nothing for many years, often just “riding the rails.” His last goal in life is to find his adult children to ask for their forgiveness. Along the way he becomes a bell ringer for the Salvation Army. This becomes his joy in life. Especially when a little girl adopts him as her grandfather. But once again his life is turned upside down and he’s at the mercy of others. Will this become his worst Christmas? Thank you, Mr. Snyder, for this thoughtful insight into the services of the Salvation Army. ***Book provided without charge by Canaan Byrd at Hachette Book Group.*** Submitted by sunny island breezes.
GratefulGrandma More than 1 year ago
Jacob MacCallum is an old homeless drunk, who is estranged from his children in 1944. He wants to repair his relationship with his children and is trying to figure out how. What did Jacob do that has put him at odds with his children and what can he do to win them back? Set mainly in 1944, Jacob's story is told in a simple, narrative style, using flashbacks. Details of his choices and hard living show us a selfish young man who could not deal with the stresses in his life. He chose the easy road with embezzling and alcohol. Can he find his children, and if he can, will he be able to gain their forgiveness and develop a relationship with them and his grandchildren. Jacob's tale is one many may relate to as he wrestles with the past and searches for a way back to restore relationships he has ruined. I really enjoyed the story of Jacob’s Bell. I liked how the story revealed the layers to the back story of Jacob’s life and what he did to his family. I found Jacob's work with the Salvation Army bell-ringers, and how this helped him deal with his destructive feelings as well as giving him a purpose, very interesting. Not only did he ring bells, but he lived in their shelter and found peace as his faith developed. The Pastors that worked with him helped Jacob along with his faith journey and his battle against alcoholism. I loved the cover of this book. It was one of the reasons I picked it up, but the story was amazing and I am so glad that I did. This book has an incredibly important lesson for everyone. Forgiveness of self and others, can bring us freedom. Forgiving ourselves can be the hardest obstacle to moving forward in our lives. One of Jacob's new friends and pastor said to him, "...one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself (is) to forgive... including yourself." I want to thank FaithWords for the opportunity to read this book. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
connywithay More than 1 year ago
“If I can gain the love and acceptance of my children after what I have done to them, I will never ask for anything else,” Jacob begs in John Snyder’s holiday tale, Jacob’s Bell: A Christmas Story. ~ What ~ At two-hundred-and-twenty-four pages, this small hardbound with a charming jacket cover targets those who enjoy a Christmas story of forgiveness and redemption. Dedicated to Salvation Army Bell Ringers, the story has acknowledgments and the author’s biography at the end. Including slang words such as dang, crap, darn, and damn, its topics of alcohol abuse, war, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. In this story set in 1944, sixty-three-year-old Jacob McCallum has lost his wife, family, and business, turning to the bottle to forget his guilt, shame, and poor decisions. After years of drinking, carousing, and having poor judgment, he meets a man who runs the local Salvation Army and helps him change his ways. With the desire to make amends with is adult children, he encounters a young girl who captures his heart while learning how to forgive himself. ~Why ~ This is a short, quaint story about redemption, hope, and forgiving. I like how the writer sets the scene dealing with the main character’s shortcomings and feelings of unworthiness. With a few references on faith in God, it shows how the Almighty is always there for us, no matter what we have done. ~ Why Not ~ Those who do not have a personal relationship with God may have no interest in this read. Some may find the characters stereotypical and the plot predictable, but its value rings soundly as Jacob changes his ways for the better. I found some of the monologue unnecessary and dry. ~ Wish ~ While I appreciated the basis of turning one’s life around, finding God, and forgiving others and oneself, I wish the story conveyed more of Jacob’s inner struggles in not being able to reestablish family relationships. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence and no slang or cuss words in a faith-based book. ~ Want ~ If you are looking for a redemptive Christmas story about an older man ardently seeking forgiveness from his family, this would be a thoughtful read, hopefully contemplating one’s own family relationships. Thanks to FaithWords for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.
Teadrinker More than 1 year ago
I can't imagine being penniless and living on the streets, not knowing anyone. Yet, Jacob McCallum in Jacob's Bell is that homeless person. He lived a hard life and made a lot of mistakes that led to his homelessness and loneliness. Those mistakes haunt him now and he feels badly about them as he has grown older. Jacob struggles to make changes in his life and to find his adult children to seek their forgiveness and to make amends. Throughout the book, Jacob is searching in more ways than he realizes and God guides him to the right people to help him make needed changes to better his life. But will it be enough for his grown children to see that he has truly changed and that he has become a different man? Can there be a reconciliation for Christmas? When I started reading Jacob's Bell, I didn't find Jacob very likeable. He made some bad choices in his life and he ended up reaping what he sowed through the first part of his life. But our God is a God of mercy and redemption. Jacob's Bell illustrates quite beautifully just how important forgiveness is and also how important it is not to give up on people. We often do need to keep praying and let God work. This book also seemed to me to be a realistic portrayal of a family dealing with alcoholism. I shed some tears in the second half of this book and I was truly pulling for Jacob to the end. I encourage you to take time to read this heartwarming tale. I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. #Sponsored by FaithWords.
FHlady More than 1 year ago
Rating 4.5 This is the story of Jacob McCallum who has hit rock bottom in life. Through a series of events, Jacob finds transformation, forgiveness, redemption, and salvation. A little girl and a Christmas miracle while he is ringing a Salvation Army bell restore the life he thought was lost to him forever. Although this was slow through the first half as Jacob remembers his life before and what he has become, I did enjoy how Howard Angel became an angel to Jacob as he stood by him through thick and thin constantly encouraging him to be better than Jacob thought he could be. Jacob made many mistakes and steps backward, but Howard kept prodding him forward and supporting him. Mary was the perfect miniature angel to help restore Jacob to love, life, and laughter. The spiritual thread throughout the story was well written and played such an important part in this Christmas tale. This book definitely displayed the wonderful work of the Salvation Army and the role of their Christmas bells. Good Christmas read. ** I received a complimentary copy of this book from FaithWorks through NetGalley. Opinions are mine alone. I was not compensated for this review.
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
A touching story centered around one man's redemption and need for forgiveness. Jacob's tale is one many may relate to as he wrestles with the past and searches for a way back to restore relationships he has ruined by his poor choices. Set mainly in 1944, his story is told in a simple, narrative style, using flashbacks. Details of his choices and hard living give way finally in the light of his redemption, and the tale takes a hopeful turn. It brought me to tears, which surprised me, but knowing we are all in need of God's forgiveness and grace touched me. Sometimes forgiving ourselves can be the hardest obstacle to moving forward in our lives. I like how the pastor said it, "...one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself (is) to forgive... including yourself." Readers looking for a quick, uplifting story set at Christmas with a redemptive theme may enjoy this story. (Contains some references to alcoholism and war.) 3.5 stars (An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)