Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Favorite Christmas Books

Cold winter days are perfect for curling up with a good book. With the holiday season fast approaching, I am preparing to change out the books in our nooks and bring out our favorite Christmastime stories. 

Reading the Christmas story is part of our Christmastime tradition, and I'm not referring to The Night Before Christmas. The Christmas story that we read, believe, know, and love, is the Christmas story: the story of Jesus' birth. (Luke 2)

And Santa wasn't there. A jolly ole' soul, yes, but Santa is only as real as Thomas the Train. Jesus, on the other hand, is the reason for the season. Jesus is why we celebrate. My children, ages 3 and 6, know this because I am intentional about providing books for them that teach the truth about the meaning of Christmas.

There are many wonderful children's Christmas books about the Nativity and Jesus' birth, but these are some of our favorites, recommended for babies, toddlers, and young children.

Christmas in the Manger - 1998 publication.
Christmas in the Manger by Nola Buck is a sweet little board book that tells the story of Christmas and features the star, the animals in the manger, the shepherds and Wise Men, Mary and Joseph, and newborn baby Jesus "the reason for Christmas Day." 

God Gave Us Christmas by Lisa Tawn Bergren is a mommy bear explaining Christmas and God to her baby bear. "Is God more important than Santa?" Little Cub asks. "Oh yes, much more important!" says Mama Bear. Oh yes, much more important. 

On This Special Night by Claire Freedman tells the story of the nativity from the perspective of a curious kitten and friends that follow the brightest star to discover the newborn baby in the manger. The illustrations are soft and cast a heavenly glow on a very special occasion. This book doesn't specifically mention Christmas or Jesus, but it is a precious accompaniment to other Christmas story books that do.  

The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado may not look like a Christmas book on the cover, but believe me, it is one of the sweetest Christmas stories ever. The little lamb, Joshua, is lonely and feels left out because he is different than the other lambs. But when a very special baby is born in the cold manger, Joshua the lamb is called to keep the baby warm. The message is that God has a special plan for everyone, and that? is timeless.

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg gives a new meaning to a favorite Christmastime treat. In the midst of the holiday season, when everyone else is busy buying, a little girl anxiously awaits the grand opening of a new shop in town. When the candy store opens, the owner explains how candy canes are a symbol of Jesus' birth, death, and eternal love. This story makes me teary eyed every time I read it, and we will never see a candy cane the same way again.

I want to encourage you to add some of these books to your Christmas storytime collection. On a cold winter day, pour some hot cocoa, read a good Christmas book with your children, and give thanks to God for sending His Son that one special night. What are some of your favorite Christmas books?

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