Christmas is Here

Christmas Is Here
Lauren Castillo
Simon & Schuster, 2010

One of the things I love about this time of year is that there are books about Jesus everywhere!   Today’s book is a case in point: I found it while browsing at our beloved local children’s bookstore, and I bet it’s on the shelves at your big box bookstore of choice, too.  It always makes me happy to find theologically rich kids lit on the shelves at local bookstores instead of having to hunt them down online.  Even though American Christmas celebrations don’t always have much to do with the Incarnation, I’m thankful that it’s acceptable to stock biblically accurate books for at least two months every year.

Christmas Is Here is a basic nativity book in the sense that it’s a straightforward telling of the Christmas story – the only text, actually, is the King James Version of Luke 2.  This is one of those books, though, that feels good in your hands and is a delight to look at.  Lauren Castillo’s artwork is truly lovely, and the addition of a few wordless scenes at the beginning and end of the book will help your child make a connection between a Christmas tradition and Christ’s historic birth.  Before and after the Luke 2 scenes, you see a family taking a walk on a snowy day.  They come across a live nativity re-enactment, and after the son sneaks up close for a peak at the Baby, the scene changes to 2000 years ago in Israel.  At the end of the biblical narrative, the family joins the angels in worship, which is precisely what nativity displays should stir up in us!

Have I mentioned before that I have a strange pet peeve about pictures of angels?  Well, I do.  I can’t stand them in any form.  So naturally, one of the things I appreciate about Christmas Is Here is that all you see in the angels scenes is light.  On behalf of all the people out there (please tell me I’m not alone…) who have a strange aversion to images of angels, thank you, Ms. Castillo!

Let me end with a personal story.  Without fail, every time that I read this to my 20-month-old daughter, as soon as I turn to a certain page showing the Christ Child, she says, “wah! wah! wah!”  which is actually a big stamp of approval.  She loves babies, and she knows that babies cry, so she excitedly makes that sound as often as she gets the opportunity.  I try to tell her that this baby is the same Jesus that we pray to, but hey, she’s a toddler and it’s probably going to be a while before she really grasps such a thing.  But in the meantime, we’re still both giving this book a big thumbs up!

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