Friday, December 14, 2012

CHRISTMAS Books, Stories & Poems

     In recent years it seems there's been lots of talk about the meaning of Christmas, and if we should still celebrate Christmas in the traditional way most of us grew up with.  I can tell you right off, I stand on the side of Christmas, spiritually and otherwise. I like Christmas ! Trimming the tree, lighting the house with colored lights, wrapping presents, and Santa; Christmas carols, Christmas cards, Christmas parties; the Nativity scene, and  season of Good Cheer.

     The other day I was thinking about some of the gifts I've received  at Christmas time, and in all the years I can remember,  which are many ,  I couldn't think of one Christmas I didn't receive a book for Christmas -  whether from my mother, grandmother, dad, husband , son or friend. Books make the most wonderful gifts.

     Then I started thinking about books written about Christmas,  and the many authors who  plotted their story around Christmas. I bet there are hundreds. Thousands. Maybe hundreds of thousands.  Romance , mystery, historical, poetry. I'm sure each of you have your own favorites - maybe Charles Dickens'  Christmas Carol, The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry or perhaps one  of the more contemporary stories  like The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans , the Polar Bear Express by Chris Van Allsburg or Donna VanLiere's The Christmas Shoes. What most Christmas stories have in common is  they point to something bigger than ourselves. They leave the reader with a feeling of hope.


    On my own shelf is Bess Streeter Aldrich's Journey into Christmas, A Christmas Treasury of Yuletide Stories and Poems, an anthology that includes  The Christmas Dinner by Washington Irving, Christmas at Orchard House by Louisa May Alcott, Han Christian Anderson's Little Match Girl, and A Kidnapped Santa Claus by Frank L. Baum. And just this morning I read from  Christmas Poems (copyright 1999) , a poem by Wendell Berry

Our Christmas Tree

Our Christmas tree is
not electrified, is not
covered with little lights
calling attention to themselves
(we have had enough
of little lights calling attention
to themselves). Our tree
is a cedar cut here, one 
of the fragrance of our place,
hung with painted cones
and paper stars folded
long ago to praise our tree,
Christ come into the world.

     But with all the stories and poems ever  written about Christmas, perhaps the story we know best  is the one first told two thousand years ago:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in  swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will"  (Luke 2:8-14)

*** For a list of books with a Christmas theme visit


Jennifer Rova said...

Through your posts, we are getting to know, appreciate and understand your wonderful collection of and love for books. Thanks for sharing your inventory and how meaningful writing can be. Merry Christmas to all.

Kathy Cooney Dobbs said...

Jennifer, so glad you appreciate my mention of books ... A very Merry Christmas to you, too !

Anonymous said...

You are able to make one love Christmas even more. Thank you for posting this list of Christmas books. I love to read and winter is the time I find I have more time to do so. What an amazing person you are!


Patty said...

A very heartwarming Christmas post Kath!

My Bravo 95 said...

I like the humility of that Christmas tree poem. Made me warm inside :)