“Where are the books about Christmas?” my six-year-old grandson asked this morning. I laughed and brought down a big stack of books to fill an over-sized basket in the front room. It pleased me that he remembered the books from previous Christmases and greeted them like old friends. For those of us who love books, Christmas books are an integral part of celebrating the season.
There are treasured books from the past. I love The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen. It was always a part of my childhood Christmases. The Birds’ Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin is a close second. My husband’s childhood Christmases included Dickens’s Christmas Carol. When our children were small I read Dr. Seuss’s The Grinch Who Stole Christmas to them. Over the years I’ve collected touching stories of giving and sharing, stories set to music about those classic characters Frosty and Rudolph and a beautiful story with twinkling lights as well as music entitled O Little Town of Bethlehem. I have big books, little books, story compilations and of them all, my favorite is a picture book with words from St. Luke and paintings by Joseph Brickey called When Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem. I’ve even written a couple of short stories for Christmas compilations which can be found in Once Upon A Christmastime (Deseret Book 1997) and The Spirit of Christmas (Covenant 2008).
There are dozens of Christmas books to be found in stores today and many are heavily discounted. Some are light and fun. Others touch the heart and speak of the deeper feelings associated with the season. Books remain a favorite gift to give or receive. Many people collect them and they’re a favorite gift for neighbors, visiting teaching or home teaching families. The older classics remain available, but new ones are added each year. I’ve read many of the new ones and discovered brief reviews or lists of a large number of them. Most are excellent and heart-warming. However, two of the new books have received little mention, yet they touched me and helped to focus my love of this season.
The first is a compilation of personal Christmas stories by a dozen different authors and is entitled How Will Christmas Find Us? The small book begins with a story by Julie Coulter Bellon of a Christmas when her young family was preparing for Christmas with all of the happiness and excitement that only occurs in households with small children, when she receives word her beloved grandfather has passed away. Suddenly plans are changed and a hasty trip to Canada changes everything, including her.
Beloved author, Betsy Brannon Green, tells of a Christmas in Kentucky when she learned a powerful lesson concerning sacrifice and sharing. As a bonus she received one of the greatest gifts of her life from her mother.
Susan Aylworth shares an experience of when as a young wife with a toddler and another baby on the way, her husband lost his job and they moved across the country where disaster struck again.
Jeri Gilchrist shares a Christmas when her son turned the tables on her and her husband to play Santa Claus for them.
Other stories in the small booklet will also touch hearts. This inexpensive book is perfect for giving to busy people or to yourself to get in the Christmas Spirit in short snatches of time.
The other book I found memorable was a small red and gold book called The Apology by Janet and Michael Weaver. This story focuses on the feelings so many of us feel when those we love become distant or make poor choices in their lives. Is it my fault? What did I do wrong? Two sisters and a brother have become somewhat estranged from their mother who lives in a small town in Montana. One daughter lives nearby, but is so busy with her own family and responsibilities, her communications with her mother have become rushed and infrequent. The brother has drifted from his wife and children, leaving their relationship rocky. He’s a busy executive who leaves staying in touch with his mother up to his unhappy wife. The second daughter ran away from home twenty years ago and has only kept up a sporadic relationship with her sister. She has a big secret, she is reluctant to have her mother discover. The mother contacts each of them and invites them to come home for Thanksgiving, which none of them do, but the invitation sets off a granddaughter’s scheme which winds up embroiling them all in an unexpected Christmas reunion.
Read a book, give a book, share a book with someone you love. Christmas books build memories and bring back the glow of Christmases past.
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HOW WILL CHRISTMAS FIND US? by various authors, Covenant Communications, soft cover, 73 pages, $9.99
THE APOLOGY by Janet & Michael Weaver, published by Cedar Fort, Inc., soft cover, 83 pages, $7.99