Tuesday, November 3, 2009

One Wintry Night

One Wintry Night, by Ruth Bell Graham, is one way to teach children the deeper meaning of Christmas - beyond wise men and shepherds and a special baby in a manger.

The book begins with a boy named Zeb, who barely makes it to a stranger's house in time to survive a snow blizzard. The stranger is an older woman, who happily cares for Zeb until the snow passes - and tells him the Christmas story as they wait.

She begins with the story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden - saying it's because of what happened there that we needed a Savior. She tells him of the world's evil ways until one man, named Noah, began building an ark because God told him to - knowing all along the flood would not solve the problems only the Savior could. She tells of the chosen people, stuck as slaves in Egypt, and how God sent Moses to help rescue them; God gave them the Ten Commandments, but still planned to send these people a Savior to rescue them from from sin. Finally, she tells the familiar Christmas story with Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. But she doesn't stop there. She also tells Jeb about Jesus' death on the cross - and what it meant.

The morning after the stranger tells Jeb all these things, the boy wakes up to a clear morning, and "one bright star was twinkling in the sky. It was dawn."

What I Like: Although my preschooler enjoyed this book, it wasn't a revelation for her because we read The Jesus Storybook Bible and the Big Picture Bible on a regular basis. Both these children's Bibles trace the need for Jesus from the beginning of time, and show how God gave hints about the Savior to come, beginning in the book of Genesis. However, if this is a newer concept to your child, One Wintry Night is a good introduction to the topic.

We especially enjoyed the absolutely splendid illustrations by Richard Jesse Watson, which go beyond the obvious and use lots of texture, realistic detail, and rich colors.

What I Dislike: The story of Jeb is thin, and only a pretext for retelling some Bible stories pointing toward Jesus. I wish Mrs. Graham had plumped up these sections of the book, making them more important to the message she was trying to convey.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: The publisher does not say, but I'd say preschool to adult.

Publishing Info: Baker Books, 2007; ISBN: 978-0801013065; hardback, $12.99

Buy Now at ChristianBook.com for $7.99

OR Buy Now at Amazon.com for $10.39

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