A reader asked for these, and I thought they’d be good for others, too. Have a book group? MERCY COME MORNING is a short, easy read for hectic months when people are short on time…like December! Or May…or September… But it still has some meat to it, which should generate some good discussion. WARNING: SPOILERS WITHIN. DON’T READ UNTIL AFTER YOU’VE READ THE BOOK!

1) I was inspired to write MERCY COME MORNING (previously titled CHRISTMAS EVERY MORNING) when my sister-in-law mentioned an Alzheimer’s unit where patients—who were no longer conversant—could sing whole Christmas carols from memory. I was intrigued by the idea that those memories are so deep and so central to many of our childhood experiences that it becomes a point of commonality and connection–even when commonality and connection have ceased. What is it about Christmas that is central to most of our histories? Why are Christmas memories so pivotal?

2) Our heroine’s journey is complicated, of course, by the fact that she really wants nothing to do with her mother and is essentially forced back into her life. Have you ever had to do something you really, really didn’t want to do, and found that God worked through that process for your ultimate good? It might not be as major as Krista’s process, but think about it and describe for the group.

3) The Alzheimer’s unit described in MCM is a combination of many facilities I read about. Afterward, I heard from a lot of readers with loved ones suffering from Alz, wondering if it was real. Many wished they could send their relatives to a place like I depicted in Dane’s facility. Have you had a family member who suffered from Alzheimer’s? What was that “long goodbye” like? (Or what’s it like now if you’re still in the process of watching them go…) What is particularly cruel about this disease?

4) Krista has grounds to be angry, really angry, with her mother. She’s been deeply wounded and I think has waited all her adult life for her mother to apologize, but now it’s clearly not coming. She finds release and peace, of course, only in forgiveness. Even when her mother doesn’t ask nor does she “deserve” it. Have you ever had to forgive someone for something terrible? What pushed you to that point of forgiving them?

5) What part did Elena play in helping Krista along? And Dane?

6) What is your favorite Christmas carol/lyric and why? What does it mean to you? Or what memories do you connect with that carol?

7) What does it mean to celebrate Christmas, every morning of the year? Do you like how the publisher retitled the book? Why or why not?