‘Twas the Season of Advent

‘Twas the Season of Advent is an advent devotional for littles that hearkens back to the classic poem “Twas the Night Before Christmasbut focuses on anticipating the coming of Christ.

'Twas the season of advent

‘Twas the Season of Advent by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Elena Selivanova. Zonderkidz, 2021, 32 pages.

Reading Level: Picture Book, ages 4-8

Recommended for: ages 4-8

In her third picture book based on a variation of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” Nellist divides her poem into individual stanzas that introduce daily readings for littles. Rather than focusing on the event in Bethlehem, she reflects on the entire season of anticipating Christ’s first advent, and her devotionals are complemented with sweet illustrations. The narrative envisions scenes such as Isaiah receiving prophecies, Mary’s visit from the angel, her meeting with Elizabeth, and imagines the perspectives of additional characters such as the innkeeper, a mouse in the stable, and a young shepherd girl. All the devotionals include verses from Scripture and end with a suggested prayer.

The third entry compares the glory of creation with the glory of the Incarnation.

It must have been dark in that little stable in Bethlehem too. And so quiet. It was nighttime. All the animals were sleeping. But into the quiet and into the darkness, God whispered four little words:

Let there be Jesus.

And there was Jesus! The animals woke up! A huge, bright star shone overhead, and the stable was filled with a wonderful light. When Jesus was born, light flooded into the darkness. And when Jesus grew up, he tried to shine his light of love wherever he went…

While I understand the poetic intent of this entry, the wording might be confusing. Jesus was present at creation, and he was the Word who spoke light into the darkness. He had taken on flesh for the past nine months in Mary’s womb, after existing from eternity past. He never tried to anything, he accomplished all the work God gave him to do. The mainline Protestant theology emphasizes Jesus’ love for everybody, for which we are all very thankful. Parents could take the opportunity to discuss Jesus’ nature, both human and divine, and how it is different than the creation event or any other birth.

I appreciate how she interprets Joseph’s hesitation to take Mary as his wife, wondering how she could have been with child before they were married. After describing how he might have perplexed and how the angel spoke to him in a dream, the reading closes with this.

Joseph felt so happy. Now he knew–Mary wasn’t in love with another man.

She was in love with God.

And that was fine…because Joseph was in love with God too.

So may it be for all of us now and forever.

Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5

  • Worldview/Moral Rating: 4 out of 5
  • Literary/Artistic Rating: 3 out of 5

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