Heart-Rending Holidays – My Favorite Christmas Books

Heart-Rending Holidays – My Favorite Christmas Books

“Stories are light. Light is precious in a world so dark. Begin at the beginning, make some light.”  

Every December I pulled down half a dozen boxes of holiday decoration from the attic. Garlands, snowmen, and a personal favorite, the Christmas village. One box, though heavier than the rest, was the best – Christmas books.

Each night, my dad would sit on the stairs, reading those Christmas books aloud. My sisters and I had favorites, and took turns choosing which story to read. Sometimes we even let our mom pick 😉

My Favorite Christmas Books

What Child is This?

christmas book

This is my favorite story by far. The style is poetic, emotional and personal. Even the description on the back of this book is heartrending.

 On this Christmas Eve, the snow lies on the ground and the stars shine bright, but the grown-ups leave a lot to be desired.

And the children desire so much.

Katie, a foster child, wants only one thing: a family.

Who is there who can bring such as immense gift? There are no wise men coming from the East. There are no shepherds watching in the fields.

But there is Matt Morden, age sixteen, who believes he is doing a good deed.

There is Liz Kitchell, also sixteen, whose family decorates and celebrates but leaves Liz wondering where the meaning of the holiday has gone.

There are Mr. Knight and his son, Tack, who run an inn and put up a tree on which children’s wishes will hang, waiting to be granted.

It’s Christmas, the season of miracles, joy, and hope. Is that spirit strong enough to bring about the impossible?

I want to read this every year. Maybe 2 or 3 times a year. Perhaps because I identify with the Christmas wish – a family of your own. Maybe I understand the sense of lost identity a 16-year-old has in foster care. It’s easy to cry through the passionate longing, desperate aching, and hopeful ideals of an orphaned 8-year-old.

While not overtly Christian, What Child is This is beautiful and soul-stirring. To my mind, it beautifully tells the true meaning of Christmas – hope in a very broken world.

Jotham’s Journey and Advent Stories Collection

christmas books

Advent is a unique part of Christmas, one I wish my family has incorporated much earlier in my life. My mom picked up this advent story after I graduated high-school. I suppose, before then, I had always though of Advent as a Catholic or Anglican tradition. Certainly not something our Baptist leaning family did.

But this Christmas book definitely changed my mind.

Jotham’s Journey incorporates classic storytelling with Scripture, adventure, and Christmas anticipation. While I immensely enjoyed Jotham’s Journey, I’m disappointed I’ve not had the chance to read the companion books – Tabitha’s Travels, Bartholomew’s Passage, Amon’s Adventure, and Ishtar’s Odyssey. (Catching a travel vibe ;-))

Max Lucado and Christmas

max-lucado-chrismas-booksI’m in love with any Max Lucado book, especially his Christmas collection. First, there was Cosmic Christmas – the Christmas story told from the angel Gabriel’s perspective. I read that book one summer, because it didn’t migrate to our Christmas books box. But as our family prepared to drive to NM for the Holidays, my sister slipped it in my mom’s hands. Somehow, my sister ended up liking it even more than me!

Then my mother read The Christmas Candle to us one year. The next year, she started the book again. “We read that last year!” All three of us chimed in, but my mother didn’t remember the story line at all. Halfway through the book, it suddenly dawned on her. “I remember this now!”

But Lucado doesn’t just write stirring fiction, he also has several Christmas devotionals. I’ve always found Lucado’s writing to be thought provoking and Christ-centered. And his Christmas books don’t disappoint. I hope to someday own his Christmas Short Story and Devotional collection.

“People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way around.”

I think my favorite part of any holiday are the stories we tell. At Valentines, someone may mention the story of St. Valentines, during Memorial Day veterans recall their wartime service, at Thanksgiving children reenact the story of the Pilgrim’s first Thanksgiving.

What favorite story do you read during the Christmas Season?