Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story
Sally Lloyd-Jones and Alison Jay
Last weekend, I had the treat of actually getting to visit with Haley in person, over the Thanksgiving holiday, at our lake place. The kids were with their grandmothers, and we got to have a long conversation. And of course, on the table, was a huge stack of books!
As we paged through a number of Christmas books and Nativity re-tellings, we lamented the fact that so few of them connect with the larger story of Jesus. There’s a huge demand for Christmas books this time of year, of course, and shelves full of lavishly illustrated stables and shepherds. But few if any bother to place the familiar story within the amazing, cosmic context that the Gospel writers do. (Christian writers and artists: that’s a hint and a plea!)
Then I came home, and found Sally Lloyd-Jones’ newest book, Song of the Stars, waiting for me at the library. And it is a beautiful example of what we were looking for. Hooray!
The book opens far from Bethlehem, as woodland creatures and snow-bound landscapes prick their ears and announce, “It’s time! It’s time!” All of nature, across the entire planet, knows that something enormous is about to happen, and each part of creation joyfully celebrates: “Wild stallions drummed it to the ground…’Get ready! Get ready! Be glad! Be glad!'” The lion announces the Prince of Peace; the stars sing of the Bright and Morning Star; the sheep joyfully whisper to their lambs that the Good Shepherd is come.
I so love the deeply biblical recognition of exactly who this baby is, and the acknowledgment of his lordship over all creation by creation itself. My husband and I have been studying Isaiah during Advent, and I’ve been particularly struck by the prophet’s contrast of “dumb” nature – which knows its Creator – and Judah, which thinks it can thrive apart from God. In Song of the Stars, the animals are shown streaming up to the stable in a scene that immediately brought to my mind both Isaiah 1:3 and 2:2-3. And then:
The animals stood around his bed. And the whole earth and all the stars and sky held its breath…”The One who made us has come to live with us!”
I absolutely love this book: the text itself, the art, the deeply biblical and rich depiction of Incarnation. It’s simple enough to read to a three year old, and beautiful enough to make a grownup want to read it again and again. Possibly tearfully, if you’re like me. If you’re looking for a Christmas book that takes the Incarnation seriously and joyfully, this is it. It will be showing up under our tree, and probably under the trees of our family and friends, too!*
*sorry to those loved ones for whom I just blew the surprise!