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Resources for the Journey - Advent & Christmas

 Books and Christmas go together well.  They can make a great gift and many people have a bit more time to read in holiday times.  This is especially true for so many of us during this pandemic.  Publishers and local book stores are ready to meet the demand, and create interest by also bringing out all the “Christmas Books.”  Between all the Christmas nostalgic memoirs, cook and craft books, one can, at times, find a gem- the true Christmas story.   Such was the case with “Unwrapping the Greatest Giftby Ontario author Ann Voskamp.  Stacks of her book cleared from Costco tables.

 Shoppers recognized a book that connects them in new and fresh ways with an ancient story. Voskamp  breathed new life into the timeless tradition of the Jesse Tree.  She’s blessed many families with her ability to unpack the gift of Christmas slowly, making these truths relevant to our time. With short chapters styled for the day, thoughts to discuss, family activities and beautiful illustrations, this is the title that comes to my mind when I think of Christmas books and family relationship building.   

Check out Ann Voskamp’s online presence/ministry:  https://annvoskamp.com/thegracecase/ 

 Ann Voskamp’s earlier bestseller One Thousand Gifts is available from the library as an audio book for folks who prefer to listen.     

The church library, also, is displaying all of its “Christmas Books,” to make it easy for you to find something that truly addresses the Christmas spirit and story. Perhaps especially relevant for children.  You’re welcome to check it out in person or online and we’ll find a way to connect you with the book(s). 

The Christmas story is there for kids of all ages, most as large picture books, with illustrations telling as much of the story as the text.  The following are only two examples of many:

Jesus Calling The Story of Christmas by Sarah Young, “…starts at creation, sharing that Jesus has always been present and God always had a plan for Christmas”.      

This is the Christmas Story, illustrated by Trish Mahoney, features bright graphic illustrations and retold text paired with bible references.

 There’s quite a variety of hard cover short stories which can be read in one sitting or perhaps two as a read aloud with a group. They’re set in the past, the present and even the future!  Some are true life experiences.  A good example is Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas, (and also) More Stories Behind the Best- Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins.  In a subsequent title,  Stories behind the Traditions of Christmas Collins --having felt like many of us that  the meaning of Christmas has been lost amid our customs and cultural mores – “reclaims the sparkle and spirit of our holiday traditions.”

Meditative/reflective readers may be drawn to titles like Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton or ---my favourite--- The Christmas Dance- Celebrate God’s Gift for You, by Kay Horner.  She invites us on a journey of the soul -not unlike traveling along on the “Long Road to Redemption”, the theme of FCRC’s  current Advent sermon series.   “If we allow ourselves this imaginary journey we’ll see sights you may never have seen. We’ll hear music you’ve never heard.  We’ll feel emotions you never thought existed.  It’s a journey to what she calls ‘The Christmas Dance’”.

Verlyn Verbrugge, a onetime pastor in the CRC and  academic editor with a Christian publishing company, turns Christmas as we know it on its head in A Not-So-Silent Night: The Unheard Story of Christmas and Why It Matters.  “The difference between the first Christmas and our contemporary view of Christmas is in fact, the difference between ….light and darkness. This book is about the dark side of Christmas we usually choose to ignore.   There is a profound sadness that permeates the various episodes in the Christian story, and it’s important for us to see that sadness.”

Some folks like good and easy reads as in Donna Van Liere’s trilogy The Christmas Shoes, The Christmas Blessing, The Christmas Hope.  Sometimes we might find ourselves in the stories.   There’s many more “Christmas novels” by your favourite authors.

Of course, we wish you a very merry, well read Christmas! If you have a book that speaks to you in a special way, you might like to share it with readers.   Simply write the title and author with a short statement of your experience with it, and leave it with librarians at library@fleetwoodcrc.org 

Categories: Holidays, Library Resources