Start a new tradition: read a Christmas story—December 21, 2007
Many of us have our favorite television Christmas special—A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “White Christmas” that sets the stage for the holiday season. But what about your favorite Christmas story? Do you have a family tradition of all gathering around while someone reads a story? Here are some library favorites.
I never tire of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” by Barbara Robinson. The images that stick in my mind about the beauty of that simple story are burping the baby Jesus and bringing a ham to Jesus, not gold or frankincense. It puts the story on a very human plane.
The birth of Christ as recorded by Luke is augmented by the whimsical illustrations of Julie Vivas in “The Nativity.” Mary is very “great with child” making it difficult for Joseph to get her on the back of the donkey. Vivas presents a different picture of the holy family with Joseph cuddling the baby Jesus.
For Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona the Christmas preparations take weeks. She puts her faithful, but bumbling assistant, Big Anthony to work carrying and cleaning as she gets ready to prepare a big feast for the people of Calabria without doing any magic. Discover how Big Anthony surprises her in “Merry Christmas, Strega Nona” and proves that Christmas has a magic of its own.
From the time he entered the golden gate, “The Littlest Angel” disrupted the heavenly place, running on jeweled streets and singing off key. All because he had nothing to do. Finally a wise angel sent him to earth for his box of treasures. From then on he’s a changed angel, happy and quiet.
“The Clown of God” retold and illustrated by Tomie dePaola is the story of poor and homeless Giovanni who could juggle like no one else. Everywhere he went crowds would cheer. As an old man, Giovanni’s talent began to fail him as did many of his admirers. Taking refuge in a church on Christmas Eve he watched in awe the procession of gifts for the Holy Child. When the church was empty Giovanni approached the Child to offer the only gift he had. The miracle that occurs is sure to touch you deeply.
Regardless of how many different movie versions of “A Christmas Carol” one sees the words of Dickens on the printed page are still the most powerful as you discover the true meaning of Christmas.
Create a new tradition for your family. Read a Christmas story together.