As a family, we have several traditions that we hold dear. We hang needlepoint stockings gifted us by a dear friend, make special foods for Christmas breakfast, and share the reading of the Christmas story with my dad on Christmas Eve. One very special family tradition is for us to contact my dad (it used to be via telephone, but now we've graduated to Facetime) and have him read Twas the Night Before Christmas and then the account of the birth of JESUS from the 2nd Chapter of Luke to our family. This is a pivotal part of our Christmas celebration and is a tradition that has long been a part of our life. My dad read both of these stories to me and my brother each Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. He passed that tradition onto us from his mother who read them to him and his brothers. Reading together is such a beautiful family heirloom as it is one of the most vivd memories that he has of his mother. (She died of cancer when he was just a young boy.)
You can understand why Christmas books hold a special place in my heart. And now a new book, If HE Had Not Come ($18.95 hardcover, $3.99 eBook) secures a spot in our Christmas Eve tradition. I am so thankful that David Nicholson found this story and saw fit to preserve it for generations to come. Written in 1938 by Nan Weeks, If HE Had Not Come is a beautiful family story appropriate for children ages 6 and older (but even the 4-year-olds at church enjoyed it and understood the implications of life without JESUS, so I recommend it for families with children of all ages. It's never too early to share JESUS.). In this story, readers are invited to share the devastating discovery of what would happen to a world without JESUS if HE had never come to Earth. Through the eyes of a young boy named Bobby, we see the impact of sin and feel the loss of JOY when Christmas never arrives. Beautifully illustrated by Charles Jaskiewicz, If HE Had Not Come pulls on your heartstrings through unforgettable visuals of common places left dark when no LIGHT shines through.
Bobby retires to bed full of anticipation on Christmas Eve after reading with his father. He awakens early Christmas morning and finds that things are not as anticipated. He travels around his town looking for Christmas only to find what seems to be a world without JESUS. How dismal life would be. Bobby helps to remind us all that JESUS is the very best thing that ever happened to us. His story encourages us to live full of thanks every day as we aim to please our Saviour.
We have a basket of special books that we read together each year during the Christmas season and I am honored to add this one to our collection. I have enjoyed reading the book with my teenage children and discussing with them the ramifications of a world with no JESUS. This has led to some thought-provoking conversations and a new desire to be on mission at all times. As we diligently prepare for the Advent Season, we have used the discussion questions in the back of the book to solidify our faith and focus for the holidays. We are using the Bible verses listed in a daily time of devotion.
I also took the opportunity to read If HE Had Not Come to the children at church (4 years old through 5th grade) as we kicked off our new Children's Church theme and we are using the suggested activities weekly. Artistic renditions of Christmas trees remind us all of JESUS' gift of salvation and bring new meaning to our personal celebrations. Middle Schoolers (6th - 8th graders) will soon be reading the book as well. Can you tell I'm excited about it?
I can't wait to share this with others. I'll be taking my copy of If HE Had Not Come along to our family Thanksgiving with plans for us to all read it together after we've eaten lunch. I think it will be the perfect focus for us as we visit and discuss the family Christmas plans. Instead of looking through the sale papers and mapping out the Black Friday shopping strategy, I think we'll remember what would have been if JESUS had not decided to come and save us from ourselves. Our reading of If HE Had Not Come will be the perfect start to the Christmas season and will serve to wrap our hearts in one accord.
Every family needs their very own copy of If HE Had Not Come. It's a poignant reminder of why JESUS matters. Make sure that you connect with David Nicholson on Facebook for further encouragement this holiday season and make sure to include this timeless tale in your family's life. You'll be so pleased to share the Gospel with children of all ages as you add If HE Had Not Come to your family's collection.