We just received a new Christmas Picture Book, If He Had Not Come , that is a not a new story (It was originally published in 1938 as part of an anthology), but it is freshly illustrated by Charles Jaskiewicz and reintroduced by David Nicholson to reach a new generation of children.
The premise is that a young boy, Bobby goes to bed Christmas Eve thinking “Christmas thoughts” with a repetitive undercurrent in his mind of words from his Bible reading earlier that night from John 15:22 “If I had not come.” He awakens to a monochromatic world, where not only color is missing, but also many things that are a part of our everyday lives. Some things are obvious: no more “Christmas” and churches. There are some other things missing that might be less evident, until one considers their Christian origins. The story ends with Bobby realizing how very different the world would be if Jesus hadn’t come, and Bobby’s determination to live a thankful and intentional life.
· A set of open-ended questions at the end of the book that may help the children hearing the story to really think about it, and dwell on the main concept.
· Going Deeper questions and activities that pull in Scripture to help emphasize the impact of the birth of Jesus.
· Gospel Message ABC’s explained (Admit, Believe, Confess)
This may be one of those books where insight is gained through repetition, as a child grows. The very youngest may mostly hear it simply as a story (Which was my youngest’s reaction as a seven-year-old), but as they age, the profound impact of “If He Had Not Come” may seep more into their psyche. My seventeen year old appreciated the story, much as David Nicholson did on his first hearing, when she read through the book on her own.
A word about the illustrations by Charles Jaskiewicz~ They are warm pastels (?) that exude warmth when appropriate, and show confusion and the chill of a world without Christ.
You can visit David Nicholson and If He Had Not Come on Facebook.
All proceeds of the sale of If He Had Not Come will be donated to the National Christian Foundation, which grows funds in order to offer grants to charities, so your purchase has the potential to bear both spiritual and temporal fruit, and it would make a fine “Advent” gift for the young families in your life.
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