December is finally upon us.
Now that it’s socially acceptable to listen to Christmas music and decorate an Evergreen tree, it’s time to remember why we celebrate this time of year. One of my favorite ways of doing this is to re-read Christmas stories my parents and grandparents read to me when I was a kid. We read numerous Christmas stories, but there are several books that have stuck with me over the years.
Reading these particular stories remind me of my favorite Christmas memories: sitting by a fire, wrapped in a blanket with a mug of hot chocolate, gazing at the lights on the tree as the story unfolded. More importantly, they remind me why Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.
One of the oldest Christmas books still sitting on my bookshelf is “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg. This book tells the story of a boy who boards a magical train and travels to the North Pole to meet Santa. The movie, released in 2004, is fantastic, but I prefer the book and its beautiful illustrations.
I use to peer out my window on Christmas Eve, waiting for the Polar Express to come for me. This story taught me the importance of belief. If something is worth holding on to, you must first believe in it.
Another of my favorite Christmas books is “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” by Susan Wojciechowski. This book tells the story of a lonely woodcarver who lost his wife and child. One winter, a widow and her son request that he carve a nativity set for them. As he works, the kindness of the widow and her son and the power of the Christmas story begin to transform Jonathan Toomey into a man who learns to smile and love again.
This book is a tear-jerker, but it’s become a favorite in my family. It reminds me of the love shown in the Christmas story and of the powerful effect that love has on us.
My all-time favorite Christmas book actually isn’t set during Christmas. It’s called “All is Well: The Miracle of Christmas in July” by Frank Peretti. This book tells the story of a boy named Daniel. He and his mother run out of money and can’t pay their rent, so he goes door to door selling his possessions, including a box of Christmas ornaments. The box of ornaments contains a lesson that affects the entire neighborhood.
This book taught me the most important lesson of all: the miracle of Christmas isn’t confined to a small portion of the year. It’s not found in the tinsel or confined by the wrapping paper.
God’s love is the miracle of Christmas and it is everlasting.