A note from the author ~ Discussion questions are for readers, usually book clubs, who’ve read the book.
If you haven’t read the book, the discussion questions below may contain plot spoilers.
- In the beginning of The Dawn of Christmas, Sadie witnessed something between her fiancé, Daniel, and another woman. When cornered, she had no choice but to tell her family what she saw. Daniel denied her account of what had taken place. Who would you have believed in this situation—Sadie or Daniel? Why?
- Do you agree with the way Sadie handled the situation with Daniel? Why or why not? How would you have handled the situation if you were Sadie?
- Have you ever found yourself in a situation like Sadie’s—one in which you knew the truth, but others didn’t believe you? How did you get through it?
- Fear plays a role in The Dawn of Christmas. In what ways did fear influence Levi’s choices and in what ways did fear influence Sadie’s choices? In what ways has fear influenced your own life? Have you been able to get past those fears? If so, how did you get past them?
- Levi’s fear is based off of something bad that happened to someone he loves. Is this something you can relate to? If so, how?
- How might some of Levi’s fears and beliefs have changed had his brother, Andy, been more transparent with Levi about his marriage to Eva? Do you think it would have mattered?
- Why do you think Andy had a healthier perspective regarding love and marriage than Levi?
- The night Sadie meets Levi for the first time, she was told by her father to stay home. As she prayed and read her Bible, she felt an overwhelming urge to go for a horse ride, so Sadie went. Do you agree with this decision? Do you think adult children who live with their parents have the God-given right to disobey parents in order to follow their heart? What would you have done in Sadie’s position?
- Levi had to wear a very uncomfortable neck brace in order to heal. On page 79, we find this, “The neck brace made his workday harder because it was hot and unforgiving, but he tried not to let it grate on his nerves. He was healing, and that was all that really mattered.” Levi’s physical healing has some similarities to Sadie’s emotional one. How can we help ourselves and others successful undergo the uncomfortable process of healing?
- Levi is really good at reading horses, but not so good at reading people, especially women. Why do you suppose that is? What is an area that comes natural for you to excel in, but that ability doesn’t crossover into every area of your life? Can you think of anything you can do to free that capability to operate in other areas of your life?
- In regards to understanding a horse, Levi tells Sadie to, “Release your expectations. Your preconceived ideas.” What expectations and preconceived ideas did Levi and Sadie need to release over the course of the story? What expectations and preconceived ideas have you had to release in your own life?
- Levi and Sadie let the people they love believe something that isn’t true. Do you believe this is the same as lying? Or do you feel each of us has the right to withhold some truths about our life from loved ones? Why?
- Beth realizes that many of the people in her life have tales of woe turned into triumph. “But one common thread ran through each victory: no one had ignored their symptoms while hoping for the best.” What symptoms did Levi and Sadie need to address before they could experience triumph? Do you have a story of woe-turned-triumph?
Note from the author
Andy Fisher is Levi’s brother, and he finds himself in a real-life situation that a very small percentage of Amish men face—he’s a grass widower. When his spouse left him, he became trapped him in a lonely life he can never free himself of. After writing The Dawn of Christmas, I couldn’t get Andy’s predicament out of mind and heart. I had to write what happens next in Andy’s life. You can read that story in A Love Undone, releasing September 9, 2014.