Thursday, November 6, 2014

David Nicholson Christmas Book Review

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever." -

Isaiah 9:6-7 

     Have you ever thought about what kind of place the world would be if Christ had not come? There's a story that David Nicholson heard years ago by Nan F. Weeks that gave her idea of what one little boy dreamed it would be like if he woke up Christmas morning but Christ had not come to the earth as a baby. If He Had Not Come is the story of a boy named Bobby, and his experience one Christmas season. 

     The book begins with Bobby, who is getting ready to go to bed on Christmas night. He's excited to go to bed so that he can wake up early on Christmas morning, but he reads a verse from the Bible with his Dad first. One part of the verse sticks in his head, "If He had not come..."

     We enjoyed reading this story as a family. The illustrations by Charles Jaskiewicz are incredibly well done. It's a story that makes you really think through the implications of Christianity on modern civilization. Several of the examples of what would not be here if there was no Jesus first struck me as over-reaching a bit, since there are certainly many religions that teach about "good works" through things like hospitals and homeless shelters. 

 "Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.  Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." ~James 1:16-18

 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." ~2 Corinthians 1:2-4 (emphasis mine)

     Then again, we are God's handiwork, he created us in his image, does not our very compassionate nature come from him, whether we acknowledge it or not? Paul says in the 2 Corinthians verse above that God is the "Father of Compassion", so maybe this idea is not so far from reality as it may have first appeared. 

     In back of the book there are several pages to help you relate the story and the ideas further to your children. There is a list of discussion topics to bring about dialogue between you and your children (or Sunday School, etc). There are also several pages written by David Nicholson's pastor, to help with a discussion of more Biblically-focused nature including a Gospel message as well. The last of the pages gives some ideas to help you point your Christmas celebration towards Christ with some common Christmas traditions interpreted through a Christian understanding of the holiday. 

     This is a beautiful physical hardback book and would make a great present for a friend or as an addition to your advent book list. The list price is $18.95. Age range for this book is for children 6 and up, however my 4 year old enjoyed listening to the story and looking at the illustrations, though she wasn't as active as a participant in the discussion of what the book meant afterwards.   

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