Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Nativity Collection: Six Stories that Share the Smiles, the Heart, and the Hope of Christmas

By Robert J. Morgan, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 128 pages.

A charming book with warm-hearted illustrations and photos about Christmas, The Nativity Collection tries to put the Christianity back into Christmas. Gifts are not valuable because they are expensive, but because they are an extension of the person, a gift from the heart.
Christmas is about giving of the self, just as Christ gave himself.

As such, Christmas, family- and friend-oriented, also calls us to reach out to others. It is other-centered, as these stories tell. One elderly lady, with a badly-faded memory, has her family given back to her in an unexpected manner. In another story, a child leads the way to a better perspective. Adults have forgotten the important things, and are reminded by kids in humorous, humbling, matter-of-fact ways.

Occasionally, as a story tells, it is the older one who remembers the important things, after decades of forgetfulness. The symbols of Christmas, such as the Christ child or a lamb, suddenly speak with great meaning and clarity, and someone's spiritual life is awakened. Someone grasps the meaning of Christmas and Christ's work in a dramatic, rediscovered way.

The stories recount how Christmas' meaning is forgotten, then remembered again and again, and how this fresh understanding leads to new life and holiness.

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