Updated: Dec 10, 2020
Baby Jesus in the Bed, Waiting and Whining and Lessons from Whoville
Angela and the Baby Jesus, by Frank McCourt, author of best seller Angela’s Ashes
Angela and the Baby Jesus is based on the true story of a tender-hearted, determined six-year-old girl who worries that the Baby Jesus in her church’s nativity scene is cold. In this beautifully illustrated book, McCourt tells a tender tale of the time his mother stole Baby Jesus. McCourt takes the reader along on the little girl’s adventure as she snuck into the church, hid in the confessional, and avoided obstacles like old women praying in the pews. She finally rescued the “poor little Baby Jesus before He turned blue with the cold altogether.” McCourt creates a comical scene as he tells how his mother repeatedly tossed the Baby Jesus until He finally landed on the other side of the garden wall. The little girl managed to get the Baby Jesus up the stairs and into to her warm bed. Her brother tries to tattle, as any older brother would, but nobody believes his claim that Baby Jesus is upstairs in his sister’s bed. Eventually, the mother finds the baby in the bed, and the whole family heads to church to return the infant, only to be greeted by a priest and a policeman. Master storyteller McCourt ends Angela and the Baby Jesus with a sweet holiday message, and illustrator Raul Colon creates beautiful pieces of art on each page. Even if you don’t have little ones in your house, this book must be on your coffee table every Christmas.
Llama Llama Holiday Drama, by Anna Dewdney
This book was a favorite long before my recent trip to Eudora Farms. Now that I have interacted with llamas in real life, I love it even more. In Llama Llama Holiday Drama little llama can’t wait for the big day to arrive. He has to tag along with his mama llama as she shops and bakes and decorates. Throughout the book, little llama gets tired of waiting. Finally, his wise llama mama tells him, “Wishing, waiting, wanting things…we forget what this time brings. Gifts are nice, but there’s another…the true gift is we have each other.
Author and illustrator Anna Dewdney, known as an advocate for children’s literacy, died of brain cancer in 2005. In leau of a funeral, she asked everyone to read a book to a child. She sounds like a wonderful person, and her books are delightful. If you have little ones in the house, you must add Llama Llama Holiday Drama to your Christmas collection of books.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss
This is my least favorite book in my Christmas collection, but this year it seems appropriate to include. The story of the grinch is a mostly negative story, and 2020 has been a mostly negative year. In Dr. Seuss’s famous Christmas book, the residents of Whoville have to come together despite the mean grinch. In 2020, especially during the holidays, we have to come together. We must do this despite Covid-19 and despite a contentious election. Dr. Seuss famously wrote that the Grinch “hadn’t stopped Christmas from coming! It Came! Somehow or other, it came just the same.” We can substitute the Grinch with Corona. The pandemic can’t stop Christmas from coming. It’s coming. Somehow or other it’s coming.
I treasure my collection of Christmas books. Crayon marks and torn lift-the-flap pieces remind me of the times I read these stories with my children. Just like the mama llama said to her little llama, the true gift at Christmas is that we have each other. As long as we are healthy, even if we can’t be together, that’s a gift. With social distancing and virtual celebrations, we might feel like the little Baby Jesus all alone in the manger, but He was fine, and we are, too. The pandemic will pass. Hard times always do. This Christmas might look different, but Christmas is coming. All good Christmas stories have a happy ending. Ours will be, too. Even in 2020, ours will be, too.