This children’s picture book tells the story of Christmas, but with a difference. Sinclair Ferguson shows how Jesus’ coming into the world was part of ‘the plan that began before time began’.
When I first read the subtitle I wondered where the relating of the plan would begin. The author starts with the journey of the wise men, then moves on to the shepherds, and finally comes to Mary and Joseph. But he does make reference in the text to earlier events, such as Micah’s prophecy about the Saviour, the choosing of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the announcement to Mary concerning Jesus.
This book does not leave Jesus in the manger, but goes on to tell about his death and resurrection and explain the reason for the incarnation. There is a direct challenge to young readers — ‘Are you trusting in the Lord Jesus?’ and a prayer for them to use.
The book is attractively produced, with full-page, colour illustrations by Angelo Ruta. The pictures are interesting, with details not traditionally seen in a book retelling the Christmas story — the walls of Jerusalem and Roman soldiers, for example. The representation of the angels is particularly novel.
There is no picture of the shepherds crowding round the manger, but there is a lovely one of the empty tomb. At the beginning and end are pictures of present-day families enjoying Christmas. This helps to emphasise another theme — that Christmas is relevant today and that Jesus is for people everywhere.