Children should be children should be children.

Children should not be shot at or stabbed as they were Friday in the US and China — both schools having over 20 children attacked on the same day. Children should not know the the horrors of being sold into the sex trade or force to work at too young of an age.

Children should be safe. But, in Eden lost, sadly no corner of creation is exempt. This was not the plan. The plan was laughter and running and playing and books. Wonderful children books.

This Christmas we are reminded, once again, of the need for the season. Our very obvious brokenness and inability to fix ourselves. A baby came to grow into a man and say, “It is finished.” And it is, but we are here in the already/not yet of life.

In pointing to the Hope we long for and need, I’m going to repost my top 9 favorite Christmas books because books are the things kids should be free and safe to talk about.

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My fav Christmas books (Medium)

December first is a magical day.

When we were kids, our kitchen was transformed during the night and we arose to a resplendent table, complete with candles lighting the early morning hour. Mom started the tradition of “December First Breakfast” sometime when we were in elementary school, though sadly none of us remembers the exact year it began. The traditional meal from the beginning was croissants, bacon, and frozen raspberries. Nowadays it might not seem all that fancy, but Mom tells the story of only being able to buy croissants in packages of two in the 70’s. Sometimes it would take her weeks to stockpile enough for us. And raspberries in stemware. I tell you, there is nothing fancier. It was elegant and sacred and full of wonder as we also received a Christmas book, an ornament and an advent calendar before partaking in the meal.

All day long at school we anticipated racing home to unpack our Christmas books. As old friends emerged from boxes we would ooh and ahh, getting caught up in reading them and retelling memories. There are so many wonderful Christmas books, it’s hard to narrow it down, but here’s the list of my nine favorite:

Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr – Mog’s personality is winsome and the illustrations have kept this a family favorite over the years.

The Nativity by Julie Vivas – The picture of the angel sitting down with Mary over a cup of tea explaining what would happen to her, is very much how I like to think it could have happened. No rush, just calm explaining. Another page that captures my fancy involves the angels coming to tell the shepherds about the birth and getting caught up in the joy of the moment by riding the sheep.

The Cajun Night Before Christmas by Trosclair – My Dad reads this in the best Cajun accent a Colorado girl could imagine.

Star Mother’s Youngest Child by Louise Moeri– Of all my choices, I am mocked the most over this book. I’ll admit that the story is kind of long for little kids and the illustrations are not as endearing as others; but there is something about this book that keeps me coming back to it year after year. When Star Mother’s Youngest Child returns to the heavens after spending Christmas day on earth and his mother asks him how it was, his response is priceless: “Enough.” Oh may that be all of our responses!

Wombat Divine by Mem Fox – Endearing story, illustrations, and Australian animals. This is one that can truly be read over and over.

Uncle Vova’s Tree by Patricia Polacco – The illustrations are a beautiful portrayal of Christmas in Russia.

Emma’s Christmas by Irene Trivas – This twist on the twelve days of Christmas is charming for its mathematical fun and the playfulness between Emma and the prince, who is trying to woo her.

The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola. His illustrations are simply beautiful.  This book also reminds me of what a good man my brother-in-law is. He had only been dating my sister a few months when he was first exposed to our book tradition. Why we asked him to read this book out loud to us, is now dim in memory. He continued to read, as his future wife, mother-in-law, and sisters-in-law started crying near the end, showing his solid character and endearing him to us forever.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – if you have not read this, you must get a copy immediately and read it. It is amazing. More amazing than the plays and movies made. Truly!

What books would be on your list?

Categories: Book, Faith

Amy

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  1. Mia December 17, 2012 at 7:08 am - Reply

    Hi Amy
    I am so sad to hear about the tragedy in China too. Yes, children are the innocence of this cruel world and therefore a special target of that enemy of our souls.
    Bless you
    Mia

    • Avatar photo
      Amy December 17, 2012 at 7:55 am - Reply

      I know … sigh. I just hate it all the more, and I know I’m not alone in that!

  2. Janelle December 17, 2012 at 7:50 am - Reply

    The 12 Bugs of Christmas – it’s a pop-up book but I read it to all my elementary students 1st-6th every year and they all love it!
    It’s a fun kid version of the 12 days of Christmas and for days the entire school is filled with children singing “5 Glowing Bugs” in fake operatic voices in the hallway and on the playground! I love it!

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      Amy December 17, 2012 at 7:53 am - Reply

      Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll have to check them out :)

  3. Sharon December 17, 2012 at 9:27 am - Reply

    What a wonderful tradition. I still love reading children’s book. Have a wonderful Christ-mas, Amy.

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      Amy December 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sharon … you too :)

  4. Mike December 17, 2012 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I’m shocked that you don’t have Barbara Robinson’s “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” in your list of top 10 Christmas books! Okay, it IS a little dated, but maybe that’s the reason why it’s pretty much on the top of my list – because I can totally relate to just about everything. :-)

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      Amy December 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      Oh that’s a good one too! Too many books :)

  5. Kim Todd December 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    I’m in stave III of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Love it. Will check out some of the others for the boys because our Christmas collection needs some work.

  6. Gregg December 21, 2012 at 6:51 am - Reply

    Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck – This is a moving story of a farm boy giving his hard-working father a very special Christmas gift. There is a wonderful picture book version illustrated by Mark Buehner.

    Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon – A World War I veteran tells his grandson of his experiences in 1914, when British and German soldiers declared a truce from fighting to celebrate Christmas together. The book comes with a CD of the author/musician singing his wonderful song based upon this same incident.

    An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco – Based on an incident from the childhood of the author’s great uncle, this is a moving Christmas tale of family, sacrifice, and sharing.

    Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco – Another wonderful story from Polacco’s childhood about how her Jewish family, in the midst of their Hanukkah celebrations, help their neighbors-in-need celebrate Christmas.

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      Amy December 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm - Reply

      Gregg, I love Patricia Polacco and can’t believe I haven’t read either of the books you mentioned. And Pearl S. Buck, all I can say is, yes!!!

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