Last night, I babysat my cousin’s five young children while she and her husband enjoyed a Christmas overnight downtown. Along with playing board games, taking a walk in the snow, and watching their favorite Christmas movie, we read a number of books.
One of these was “When Joy Came: The Story of the First Christmas” by Pauline Palmer Meek. I recognized the cover from the stack of Christmas books we used to have when I was little. But I don’t think I had ever actually read the book myself, so I decided to take a peek.
What a beautiful book! The vivid illustrations sweeping across each page brought the Nativity story to life in a way that it hadn’t yet for me this Christmas. I realized that, though I may have read the scripture at home or listened to the gospel at Mass, I had missed the wonder of engaging my imagination in the Nativity story.
So if you get a chance to poke around your child, cousin, niece, nephew, sister, or brother’s collection of Christmas picture books, take a moment to put yourself in the story and just imagine…
Behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”