20 Nov 2012

Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas :: Gospel-Centered Christmas Books for Kids

Here in Poland the malls are already decorated for Christmas.  As culture creeps in and capitalism and materialism try to hijack this significant event in the life of Christ i am finding that for our family it is becoming increasingly important (now that we have little ones) to direct their hearts (and ours) to the true meaning of Christmas. Check out some gospel centered videos for kids and what motivated my search this year...

Christ came to earth as a baby.  That fact still amazes me, especially as i sit here holding my 4 month old in my lap... helpless, speechless, needy (yet so very cute!) But that God, the creator of heaven and earth, the all-powerful, all-mighty, all-knowing one would come live amongst men and enter in as an infant child. That he would be born in a stable (the lowliest of births) and not a royal palace... that His mother would be a virgin (talk about miracles!) and that his birth would have been predicted hundreds of years before his coming and come about in exactly the way it was prophesied!

As believers in Christ we feel it is a joy and command to teach our children the great works of God.

"... we will tell the next generation

the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

    his power, and the wonders he has done...

...so the next generation would know them,
    even the children yet to be born,
    and they in turn would tell their children.

  Then they would put their trust in God
    and would not forget his deeds
    but would keep his commands."
[Psalm 78:4, 6-7]

Here are some books that we either have or are hoping to add to our little kids library, that will keep our focus on Christ this Christmas and for years to come...

1. Mortimer's Christmas Manger :: my sister gave us this one for Christmas last year and i love it! a little mouse finds his way to the manger through twinkling lights of the Christmas tree in an ordinary family home... and soon discovers the true meaning of Christmas - the birth of Jesus Christ. Well illustrated and a great narrative story!

2. Song of the Stars: A Christmas Story ::  written by Sally Lloyd Jones (the author of the Jesus Storybook Bible) so i'm already a huge fan. the author has a beautiful way of speaking of the glory of Christ in the gospel to children. "The long-awaited child had arrived! Creation cried out in celebration, but only a few people heard. Only a few joined nature's chorus, a song in praise of the newborn King." This one's top on my wish list!

3. The Friendly Beasts: An Old English Christmas Carol :: Just released this year (Sept 2012), The Friendly Beasts offers a new way to look at the birth of Jesus through beautiful, memorable illustrations, traditional holiday lyrics, and a CD with narration and music performed by Rebecca St. James. Join a cow, a camel, a dove, a donkey, and a sheep as they explain what gifts they brought the son of God on the very first Christmas. This one's also tops on my wish list!

4. The Animals' Christmas Eve :: looks like it has beautiful illustrations with a simple, but beautifully rhyming story for little ones. I think this one is great for my little guys current age (2) and hope to get it this year!

5. Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale :: On a cold winter night, Kind Ox invites one visitor after another into the shelter of his stable–Old Dog, Stray Cat, and Small Mouse, who rest together in harmony. When Tired Donkey appears, he brings with him Mary and Joseph, and all of the animals welcome Jesus when He is born. The illustrations look lovely.

6. Humphrey's First Christmas :: We've all heard the story of the three wise men who brought their gifts to Baby Jesus. But what about the camels who carried them? Here is the story of Humphrey the camel and his long, cold journey to Bethlehem. Humphrey has lost his blanket and schemes to acquire a new one. When the party reaches its destination, Humphrey is so drawn to the love surrounding Baby Jesus that he finds himself selflessly giving his new blanket to the Christ child. 

7. What Is Christmas? ::  a great message to remind us all of the reason for celebrating Christmas while still acknowledging other activities of the season many enjoy. This book really provides a good balance while still stressing that the reason for season is the birth of Jesus.

8. God Gave Us Christmas :: As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… “Who invented Christmas?” This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them.

9. The Legend of the Candy Cane :: Found this one at a used book store and saw that it was produced by Zondervan Kids and knew it was a keeper!  When a candy maker moves to town a little girl learns of the significance of the candy cane, the life of Christ and the first Christmas. A beautiful story (age 4+)

10. The First Christmas (Ladybird Bible Stories) :: Another book i found at a used book store, originally bought from a Christian book store. It's older, but tells the basic Christmas story, simply and beautifully. It has nice illustrations and a solid message of the first Christmas. I'm glad we have it in our library!

Most of these books are for age 2+ (some are 3+ or 4+) but in general for little people. I look forward one day to finding books for older kids that tell more in depth stories, but love how these books state basic truths for young minds!

What books do you and your family enjoy reading over the Christmas season? What are your favourite books for toddlers (2-3yrs)?

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