I love Christmas! Simply love it! Love the preparations, love the family time, and love, love, love the reason for Christmas in the first place--our Savior's birth. And one of our favorite family traditions in the weeks before Christmas is reading a favorite Christmas story each day.
Let me introduce you to a new favorite, which will be added to our December rotation year after year:
If He Had Not Come, a rewrite of Nan F. Weeks' original story, by David Nicholson, and illustrated by Charles Jaskiewicz.
David Nicholson is a retired teacher, who first heard Nan F. Weeks' version of this story as an adult. He was so captivated by the story that he began to read it to his daughters each Christmas, and has since re-written it to share it with the rest of us.
If He Had Not Come is a beautiful, hardcover book with full-page color illustrations throughout the story. It is aimed at ages six and up, but I think the story would appeal to all ages. It is the story of a young boy, Bobby, who goes to sleep on Christmas Eve pondering the words his father read in the Bible before bedtime, "if I had not come."
Waking up, Bobby then quickly discovers what the world would have been like if Jesus did not come as he explores what his city has become. There is no Christmas, grim, angry adults, no churches, no orphan's homes, no hospitals, no homeless shelters, no kindness or joy.
Luckily, Bobby finds that this city is only a city of his dreams, and wakes up to church bells on Christmas Morning. Now, Bobby is newly thankful for Christmas, Jesus, and God's gift of salvation--and so were we, when we read the story.
The book also includes question and answer activities aimed at families and Sunday School teachers following the story. They are meant to be discussion starters and can be turned into activities to complete together. There is also a page labeled "Going Deeper", which seems to be aimed at an older audience, but really contains some thought-provoking questions about why Jesus came to earth and what it would mean for us spiritually if He hadn't come. The book ends with the Gospel Message, reminding us that Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins.
What Did I Think?
I am a book snob, AND I love Christmas, so this review was perfectly suited for me! The book itself is beautiful, and the illustrations are warm and gentle. It was a perfect book to curl up with together when we finally had a *bit* of cold weather. And the story itself? Magical. Delightful. I always try to keep "the reason for the season" first and foremost with my kiddos when Christmas is coming. But I've never approached it from the angle of "what if?" What if Jesus had never come to save us? What would things be like? This story was a look at what our lives would be like, and it definitely made us all think. We had some interesting discussions even before we got to the questions at the end of the book.
This will definitely be added into our Christmas reading every year!
What Did My Kids Think?
"I liked the book. It showed me a lot about how it would be if Jesus had not come." --Bug, age 8
"It was a very fun story to read, and I think it's a great book for us to read at Christmastime. It was really cool to learn about what it would have been like if Jesus was not born. I really liked it!" --Firefly, age 11
Find Out More About If He Had Not Come:
This book is available in Hardcover for $18.95.
You can find David Nicholson on Facebook, and you can read what my Crew-Mates thought about the book as well.