Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Christmas List

Maybe I'm dating myself when I say that getting the Sears' "Wish Book" in the mail was one highlight of my childhood winters. I couldn't wait to get my hands on that fat catalog so I could make my Christmas list. Although the "Wish Book" is no longer printed, kids still love making Christmas lists - but if you want to help direct your child toward thinking beyond his or her desires, The Christmas List by Susan K. Leigh is a nice choice for the family bookshelf.

The book opens with Jacob and Emily's grandma coming over for a visit; soon she's asking the children what's on their Christmas lists. Jacob answers right away, listing everything from a computer game to a skateboard. Emily, though, is thoughtful and quiet. Jacob suggests some possibilities, but Emily seems reluctant. Somehow, she just can't find the right things to write down.

The next morning the children go to Sunday School, where the teacher talks about a toy drive for needy children and the census list that sent Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. "Teacher, does God have a list too?" Emily asks. The teacher replies:
"Yes, God has a list. He created us, so He knows everything about us, what we say and do, what we think and how we feel, even how many hairs we have on our heads. We are His children. But sometimes we don't behave like His children. We sin, That's why God sent His Son, Jesus. Jesus was born at Christmas to bring us forgiveness for our sings. He did that when He died on the cross. Now, everyone who believes Jesus is our Savior is on God's list. This is called His 'Book of Life,' and it has the names of all the people who will be with Him in heaven one day."
Suddenly, Emily knows just what to put on her Christmas list. After an afternoon creating it, her family is surprised. There are no words on it. Just a big heart with a cross on it, and lots of people holding hands. "It stands for love," Emily says. "What I want for Christmas is for all children everywhere to know about Jesus. So I'm going to start telling them by giving my favorite Bible story book for the toy drive...Because...God's list is the best kind of Christmas list ever."

What I Like: This picture book nicely models how even young children can show God's love to others at Christmastime, while simultaneously taking the focus of getting stuff and instead remembering the reason for the Season.

What I Dislike: The illustrations, by Alan Flinn, are not to my liking. They are angular, stiff, and without warmth.

Overall Rating: Because it offers a unique way to encourage children to give to others, I give this book a rating of Very Good.

Age Appeal: 4 - 8

Publishing Info: Concordia, 2008; ISBN: 978-0758615091; hardback, $13.49

Buy Now at ChristianBook.com for $9.99

OR Buy Now at Amazon.com for $11.47

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