Reviews: “‘Twas the Evening of Christmas” and “Imaginative Prayer”

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’Twas the Evening of Christmas

Written by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Elena Selivanova (Zondervan)

’Twas the Evening of Christmas offers a Bible-based version of Clement Moore’s classic ’Twas the Night Before Christmas. Glenys Nellist’s rhythm parallels the original and reverently tells the nativity story, beginning with Mary and Joseph’s search for a room and ending with a sleeping Jesus. In between appear animals, a baby, angels, shepherds, kings, camels, gifts and a star. The book, which can easily be read aloud by early-elementary boys and girls, includes four lines of text on each two-page spread except the final, “Merry Christmas, my son, and to all … a good night.”

Russian artist Elena Selivanova’s illustrations fill the pages with softly muted images that reflect light and add detail to the poetry. Children enjoy pointing out specific objects in the pictures, including falling feathers on nearly every page and everyone’s favorite little mouse admiring baby Jesus accompanying the text, “Now donkeys, now cows, now pigeons, and sheep, Now oxen and mice in the manger did peep.”

Children ages 4 through 9 and beyond, including adults, will delight in this traditional story told from a fresh perspective with engaging pictures. The Hillman grandchildren consider ’Twas the Evening of Christmas a real keeper.

Sawyer, Tucker and Chandler Hillman, ages 9, 7 and 4, with their grandmother

Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president

Baptist General Convention of Texas

Waco

 Imaginative Prayer: A Yearlong Guide for Your Child’s Spiritual Formation

By Jared Patrick Boyd (IVP Books)

What is most important in God’s story? God loves me, sent his Son to die for me, invites me to accept his grace, desires that I daily follow him and commands me to join his mission to take his love to the world. For every individual, the significant piece of God’s story is he did it for me. In Imaginative Prayer, Jared Patrick Boyd emphasizes being part of Scripture and feeling the experience with the heart.

Boyd, a pastor and father of four daughters, asserts imagination and imaginative prayer help make that connection and contribute to a child’s spiritual development and formation. The author organizes weekly experiences around six topics—God’s love, loving others, forgiveness, Jesus is the King, the good news of God, and the mission of God. Each short module includes connection and formation, imaginative prayer and question-and-answer sections. Step by step, Boyd explains how the parent or mentor can use the material to help a child grow in love and knowledge of the Heavenly Father.

Imaginative Prayer places the child in the story, imagining the sights, smells, tastes and feelings of those who were there centuries ago. The method is clear and concise, and the material is creative, but be warned, guiding one on one through imaginative prayer requires yearlong consistency and commitment.

Kathy Robinson Hillman, former president

Baptist General Convention of Texas

Waco

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