The nativity story and the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem has become a familiar staple for many families at Christmastime, but how often do we really think about the hardships of such a trip and of giving birth in a lowly stable. In The Christmas Journey, author Donna VanLiere has rewritten this timeless story from the perspective of the prospective parents of the holy Christ child in a way that brings to light the difficulties and fears they must have faced as they undertook this challenging but amazing journey.
So much can get lost in the commercial hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday that it's nice to take a step back and remember the real reason for the season. That's exactly what Donna VanLiere has endeavored to accomplish in The Christmas Journey. The story of the nativity is familiar to millions worldwide, but nativity scenes have become so sweet and perfect, how often do we really think about that arduous journey that Joseph and Mary undertook? This book begins with the biblical passage from Luke that recounts this journey, and then Ms. VanLiere gives her own take on it. Written from the perspective of Joseph and Mary, it takes a look at how they must have felt and what it must have been like for them.
The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem could have taken up to a week, and Mary endured it on the back of a donkey while nine months pregnant. Even before the trip, Mary had likely dealt with disdainful looks if not outright hostility because her of perceived indiscretion, and despite receiving messages from the angels, both prospective parents may have been frightened or feeling inadequate at the thought of caring for and raising such a special child. Then of course, there was the fact that Mary had to give birth in a lowly and probably dirty stable with no one to attend her but her husband. This little book drives home the unvarnished truth of Joseph and Mary's experience on that blessed night, and it's all presented in a lovely way. The story is beautifully illustrated by Michael Storrings and laid out in a very pretty design. However, I should point out that anyone who is expecting one of Donna VanLiere's typical novels should be aware that this is a short story, more akin to a children's picture book, although written for a slightly older audience. The Christmas Journey is more of a gift book that would make it a great present for this or any holiday season and something that can be shared with the family as a Christmas tradition.
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