Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Stories

My son and I have a tradition of reading Christmas stories each night during the month of December.  Here are a few:

 The 25 days before before Christmas are called advent.  For each week we light a particular candle on our advent wreath and read scripture from a book that we have enjoyed reading these past few years.  A Family Advent:  Keeping the Savior in the Season by Zondervan has a whole month's worth of Bible verses, history, Christmas trivia and recommended hymn singing for each day and week of advent.  Each candle (hope, love, joy and peace) are described and explained in the daily devotionals.

Another favorite book is The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne and Bill Dodge. This story is about a father who is concerned that his children are missing the point of Christmas.  They go to buy a Christmas tree where the proprietor tells them the origin and symbolism of the evergreen tree and how it came to be a tradition of decorating one inside our homes for Christmas.

Then there's The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg and James Bernardin.  This story takes place in the pioneer west.  A stranger comes to town and sets up shop in a deserted building.  To the children's delight he turns out to be a candy vendor.  One little girl takes courage and gets to know the stranger who shares with her the symbolism and history of the white and red striped candy that's shaped like a shepherd's hook (and also the letter, "J".)

Last but not least, one of the best Christmas stories out there was written by Ruth Bell Graham, the late wife of Billy Graham.  It's called One Wintry Night.  A young boy gets lost in the snow covered mountains and sprains his ankle to boot.  He comes across a secluded log cabin in the woods.  An elderly lady lives there who takes the boy in and cares for him while he convalesces.
   While the boy lies there, bored and frustrated, this sweet lady explains the reason for Christmas to him.  She doesn't start in Bethlehem either.  She goes all the way back to the beginning of the world, the fall of man, and God's plan for redemption which brings her and the boy not only to Bethlehem but continues on to the cross and the empty tomb.
    What makes this book so spectacular are the illustrations. Richard Jesse Watson  took four years to create them and they alone are worth the book's price.  The rich and vivid colors and impeccable detail bring each Bible story to life.  If you had to choose a book this Christmas, this would be it.
For reviews of some of our other favorite Christmas reading you can read about The Candle in the Window and The Christmas Miracle of Johnathon Toomey here.

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