Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas-Themed Reading Suggestions

From the Hartfords' Making the Most of Christmas,

1) Reading aloud the Christmas accounts in Matthew and Luke should be an indispensable part of a family's Christmas celebration. But Papa should also instruct his children from his study of these texts and others relevant to the Advent of Jesus. For instance, the mystery of the magi, the significance of the shepherds, the "nuggets" contained in the genealogies, the miracle of the virgin conception, and many other of the profound details of the first Christmas should be fully explored. Christmas literature can be tremendously inspiring and fun, but the emphasis should always be put on the historical, supernatural truths of the Savior's Advent. With that understood, then, here are a few suggestions to expand your Yuletide reading.

2) Joni Eareckson-Tada's A Christmas Longing. A splendid work featuring inspirational art done by mouth-artist Joni and profound biblical commentary. This is an important book for your complete enjoyment of Christmas.

3) John MacArthur's God With Us. MacArthur is one of America's best Bible scholars and he shows it to great effect in this very interesting look at Christmas.

4) Our old pal, the very talented Calvin Miller has a nifty little Christmas novel entitled Snow that I joyfully recommend. He's still got it!

5) Of course, Charles Dickens is indispensable to the full-bodied Christmas that the Hartfords love. But besides "A Christmas Carol" (that most exquisite of short stories), Dickens has also given us "Cricket on the Hearth," "The Haunted Man" and many other seasonal gems. Got your library card?

6) Don't settle for just watching the movie. Why not read the original text of Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies? You'll be pleased you did.

7) A definite "must" for Claire's and my holiday season is sitting down with a hot mug of something and listening to an old recording of Dylan Thomas reading his own fabulous poem, "A Child's Christmas in Wales." I feel sorry for you if you don't have access to that experience, but you can at least read it yourself. So grab a copy at the library – or maybe whip up a batch of cookies and pay us a visit. We'll be more than happy to heat up the old Victrola!

8) Henry Van Dyke wrote several religious Christmas stories but "The Other Wise Man" is his not-to-be-missed classic. It is a perfect family read.

9) "The Gift of the Magi" is O. Henry's claim to Christmas fame and rightly he earned it. But he has several other Christmas stories you'd enjoy as well.

10) G.K. Chesterton's Christmas gifts not only include some of the wonderful poetry we include in these pages, but a Father Brown detective story entitled, "The Flying Stars."

11) Did you know that even Sherlock Holmes has a Christmas adventure? You bet! Check out Conan Doyle's "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle."

12) Poetry – man, there's a gang of excellent Christmas poetry that's been written but in our post-Christian culture, you have to work hard to find it! It's another reason to cultivate friendships with old books! However, we give you a few of our favorites in this packet to get you moving in the right direction.

Hey, I promised Claire I'd keep the reading recommendations to one page so, as hard as it it to stop talking about fine literature, that's it. Happy Christmas, dear friends, and happy reading!

Note: In addition to that one page of reading suggestions originally printed in our Making the Most of Christmas packet (c 1999), both Claire and I would strongly endorse a couple of Christmas books we've discovered since:

* Christmas at Thompson Hall by Anthony Trollope

* A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg

* The Bird's Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin