Mr. Nelson says that he is saddened that some parents feel that the myth of Santa Claus detracts from the true meaning of the season: the birth of Christ. In this story, he wants to show your child how the idea of St. Nick can actually add to our appreciation of the birth of our Savior.
It was Christmas Eve, when Jimmy was seven years old, that he saw Santa for the first time. Santa was carefully placing gifts under the tree, and he turned to Jimmy, winked, and placed a finger to his lips. "Shh," he said.
Jimmy believed what he had seen for a while, but gradually began to consider it foolishness. At the age of ten, Jimmy had become a disrespectful boy who hardly appreciated his family and their Christmas traditions. He was more interested in popularity and his video games.
Christmas Eve changed the way that Jimmy felt about his life and his Savior. Once again, Jimmy saw Santa in his living room, but this time there was a lot more in store for him. St. Nick took Jimmy with him on his mission of love. As Jimmy witnessed selflessness, compassion and generosity firsthand, his young heart was touched by what he saw. He was even able to see the Messiah. He finds that he does have faith, both in the reality of St. Nick, and in Christ as his Savior.
On the subject of those who choose not to believe in him, St. Nick says:
"If you want to know how I feel, I don't think there should ever be a conflict between Jesus Christ and me. If people could only see the truth of the matter, that I am a servant of Jesus, there would be no conflict. Some of these houses I visit, I can feel that I am not welcome there. But Jesus is, so I go anyway. They believe in the true magician, even though there are some parts of the magic that are not welcome there. It's difficult sometimes to do good work for people who believe in Jesus, and somehow be despised for it, like your whole existence is for nothing."
What I Like: This is a truly touching story of a young heart changed by Christ's love. The story is simple in its message, but it is very compelling.
What I Dislike: At one point in the book, Jimmy calls a family who decided not to tell their children about St. Nick, "the unhappiest family I know." He also says that this family said that they hated St. Nick because they loved Jesus. Many families make the decision not to have their children believe in Santa, and I don't think that they are unhappy or filled with hate!
Overall Rating: Very good
Age Appeal: 4-8, but I think even older children might enjoy it since the main character is 10 years of age. Four and five year old children may have a little trouble grasping the true depth of the story.
Publisher Info: Tate Publishing, 2009; ISBN:1606969374 ; Paperback $12.99.
Buy it at Amazon.com for $12.99.