As both a father and a reader, I look forward to finding and sharing books with my children. It’s a joy to see that like me, my children don’t like to leave the house without a book in hand, even to go to the store just six blocks away. Just last month, using a gift card from my oldest son’s birthday, we picked up a number of books we enjoyed from our childhood in hopes that he would also enjoy them . . . and thus far they provided hours of enjoyment. However, finding good children’s books can be hard; even more, finding good children’s books that impart themes of Christ and God is even more difficult. To be straightforward, I almost always cringe when someone gets us those types of books as gifts, often based on the fact that it’s a ‘religious’ book and we are a ‘religious’ family. So often, in an effort to make it more understandable, the theology of children’s books is so watered down that it borders on heretical. Therefore, it was a surprise to read My Merry Christmas by Sally Lloyd-Jones.
It’s a short book, fully-illustrated, and definitely geared for the very young child. The author has simply taken the basic concepts of what we find with a Christmas tree (the lights, angels, stars, and presents) and gives them a Christian meaning as a way to explain the Christmas story. The illustrations go back and forth between a group of forest animals decorating a tree for Christmas and picturing the birth of Christ.
In a book such as this, you can expect the theology to be basic and some may find concern with the author’s allegorization of the Christmas tree. However, the author’s presentation does two things. First, it stays true to the Christian message of Christmas. Second, the author’s wording can prompt conversations between parents and children towards a deeper gospel message. While trying to make it simple, Sally Lloyd-Jones does not shy away from difficult concepts. Phrases like “Live in us, dear Lord, we pray” convey a deep truth that often requires explanation and thus give parents an open door to share more.
One of the final aspects that I found personally appreciative is that the author incorporates the concept of prayer. Even at preschool and kindergarten age (which this book is geared towards), children can understand the action of prayer. It is details such as this that make the book enjoyable.
Before I had a chance to review this book, my wife read it to our two oldest children who not only enjoyed it but also were learning from it. For us, it was refreshing to find a Christian children’s book that was fun, understandable, and did not compromise the integrity of God’s message. Perhaps this is a good book to pick up for your Christmas festivities with your children or grandchildren; not only will it provide a good time, but it will also give you an opportunity to discuss more about Christ.
To purchase a copy of this book, click here. Note: While I prefer hard copy books and would especially recommend them for young children, I recognize the value in ebooks (as a missionary overseas, I rely heavily on ebooks). In this case, the Kindle version of this book is only about $3.00, making it a cheap investment.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced by the author, publisher, or any other person associated with the book and instead is the result of my own reading.