Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall

My family first fell in love with Dandi Daley Mackall when we read "God Loves Me More Than That." A great book to really emphasize Ephesians 3:17b-19. I was excited to see that she was the author of "The Legend of St. Nicholas: A story of Christmas giving." My family has also read "The Story of the Candy Cane" which is not by Mackall but illustrated by Richard Cowdrey (who also illustrates "St. Nicholas").
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This story of St. Nicholas portrays him as a young man who was at the store to buy his siblings Christmas gifts but was really thinking of buying himself a gift. He happened upon a Santa Claus telling a group of children the story about a boy named Nicholas.

As told by this Santa Claus, Nicholas traveled the world with his rich parents and saw many children without toys or coats. When they visited the Holy Land his parents taught him about the gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men "to honor and celebrate God's amazing gift" of his Son.

After his parents died, Nicholas had money but no purpose of life. His friends shared what they would do with the money: paying bills, buying a coat for a mom, paying dowry for marriages. And so Nicholas thought this to be his purpose and went through with it! His friends were so excited that God had answered their prayers and Nicholas was so pleased to have a purpose.

The boy the story (whose name is Nick) learned the lesson of being selfless and so bought gifts and gave money to charity. A fairly predictable story with really beautiful illustrations. The only thing I didn't like about the illustrations was that I don't think (and I'm not an expert so I could be wrong) that the time period and location were properly presented. The clothing of the third century (when Nicholas was said to have lived) is more Medieval while in the book it's portrayed as more 1930s or 1940s American. But they are beautiful and don't detract from the story (especially to children).

Overall a really great book to share with children why we give gifts at Christmas - to represent God's gift to all of humanity in the form of his Son, Jesus Christ. We give because He first gave to us. We love because He first loved us.

Disclaimer: I received this book in order to write an honest review. My review only reflects my opinions and does not reflect others' opinions.

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