by Christine Sine
Advent is always a good time for me to pull out some of the photos and picture books I have of the gospel stories and especially of the story of Christ’s birth. We live in such a world of images that constantly bombard us with ungodly messages and we need those that provide a Godly perspective to counteract them. It doesn’t seem right that kids should have all the fun either and though some of these books are ostensibly written for children I think that they are just as surely written for adults.
This year I have had fun adding to my collection and still have several on my wish list that have been recommended by my Facebook friends or that I have come across in my internet searches. I particularly love books that help me to see the story from a different perspective – either through the eyes of another culture or another viewpoint. I posted my request on Facebook and received several additions to my original list that will probably et me broke before Christmas but then I never can resist another good book.
A Savior Is Born: Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas by Patti Rokus. This is my favorite addition this year. The beautifully crafted scenes of the story of the birth of Christ are inspiring. There is little commentary, just Bible quotes but the pictures tell their own story. I think this is a great addition for anyone’s library.
The Glorious Impossible by Madeleine L’Engle. This book, with its wonderful illustrations of frescoes by Giotto is a magnificent book to reflect on at any season of the year but particularly at Christmas. Madeleine’s commentary adds a richness to the book that I appreciate rereading every year. It takes us all the way through the New Testament from the coming of Gabriel to Mary to to Pentecost.
A Northern Nativity by Willian Kurelek. I love the way Kurelek depicts the Holy Family as Eskimos and First Nations people then follows the story across the frontiers of Canada in the early 1900s which was his childhood. A beautiful heartwarming and informative perspective.
Night Visions: Searching The Shadows of Advent and Christmas by Jan Richardson I love Jan Richardson’s images and this one of Advent is stunning
Children of God Storybook Bible by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. This is my most recent acquisition. Desmond Tutu recruited artists from around the world to depict stories from both Old and New Testament. Both beautifully written and beautifully illustrated.
The Night Before Christmas in Africa by Jesse Foster, Hannah Foster and Carroll Foster. I have not read this (it is on my wish list for next year, but love the look of the story and the illustrations. Maybe it is because I too grew up with Christmas in summer and I couldn’t find a good Australian Christmas story that I thought was worth adding to this list.
Jesus Was A Refugee by Andrew McDonough. Again I have not read this but it was recommended by Godspace author Keren Dibbens-Wyatt. “vivid and visual storytelling takes us beyond the joy of the Christmas story to the danger and disorientation of Jesus’ early years. It reminds us of the realities which refugees continue to experience in our world. It should be told alongside the traditional Nativity each year.” (from Amazon review. McDonough is an Australian which means this must be added it to my wishlist too!
The Nativity by Julie Vivas This was recommended by my Facebook friend Taeler Morgan. I have not read it but she says it is one of her favorites.
The Living Nativity by David and Helen Haidle. Another that I have not read but recommended by Jane Bartlett-Hessdorfer. It certainly seems to be worth adding to my list.
Something is Coming to Our World: How A Backyard Bird Sees Christmas recommended by the author Cathy Lawton. She says it combines creation care, wonder in nature and the Nativity story. The description says “For children and for adults who want to be more child-at-heart and wonder-filled during Advent and Christmas.” which is enough to get me hooked.
Amazing Peace by Maya Angelou.I fell in love with this one when I read the description and because Maya Angelou wrote it, but have not read it. I have added it to my wish list. “Angelou’s beautiful, moving, and beloved poem, which she first read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony, now comes alive as a fully illustrated children’s book, celebrating the promise of peace in the holiday season. In this simple story, a family joins with their community—rich and poor, black and white, Christian, Muslim, and Jew—to celebrate the holidays.”
Celebration Song: A Poem by James Berry. This one is written from a Caribbean perspective and having worked in Jamaica several times it intrigued me and brought back memories of the wonderful music and art of that country. I can tell you my wish list just gets longer and longer.
So what have I left off the list – what are your favorite images of the Christmas story? Which culture do they come from and why do they resonate with you?
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