If it happened here
as it happened there...
If it happened now
as it happened then…
Who would have seen the miracle?
Who would have brought gifts?
Who would have taken them in?
Thus begins The Northern Nativity by William Kurelek, one of the first books that came to the mind of Liz Tolkamp, Pastor at Willoughby CRC, when she was asked to name her top Christmas children’s story books. Liz says Kurelek's book is a family favorite and they use the collection of stories it contains as part of their daily advent readings. She’s also a fan of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski and P.J. Lynch, Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt, and Sliver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.
Laura Keeley, children’s ministry director and co-author of the Quick and Easy Christmas Programs series lists The Nativity illustrated by Julie Vivas and For All the World by Helen Earle Simcox among her favorites. And our friends at buildfaith.org have even more suggestions in their post 12 Children's Books to Tell the Birth of Jesus.
My personal favorite appears on Laura’s list: The Nativity. Although you may find the text complex for young children (it uses the KJV to tell the Christmas story) the watercolor illustrations featuring an angel wearing work boots, a very pregnant Mary resting on a rock, shepherds peering at the newborn king and more, will hold the attention of all ages. In addition to The Nativity, my list includes the Night Tree by Eve Bunting, A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz and Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story by Sally Lloyd Jones.
There are many ways to use these Christmas story books
- at home as a family as part of a devotional time (I also set mine out at a child's eye level as part of my Christmas decorations)
- during a Christmas celebration in Sunday School
- arranged in a cozy classroom corner at church for children to page through on their own
- during a mid-week program at church
- with an intergenerational small group
- as a devotional during a Christmas celebration with extended family
and one great way to use this list
- post it to your church website or email it to your families!
How about you? What favorite children's Christmas story books about the birth of Jesus would you add to the list?