The Night Before Christmas
I think most families develop family traditions around special holidays. Sometimes these traditions center around food, sometimes around decorations and sometimes around stories.
In our family, we always had good books to read, and one of my favorites when I was small was “The Night Before Christmas.” I loved the imagery, the verse and the meaning. After all, if Santa could come down the chimney, he certainly could deliver the gifts I wanted for Christmas. What did bother me, though, was that our old house did not have a chimney. Still, if he could come down a chimney, he could also come in through a door or window, so we were still safe.
But one tradition my mother always made sure we kept was to read the story of the first Christmas from the Bible before we could open our gifts. We were impatient and wanted to get to the presents, but mother really wanted us to understand more about Christmas than just getting gifts and good food.
Perhaps that tradition was part of the inspiration for writing this book. We talk about the birth of Christ as the first Christmas gift to us and that is suppose to be the reason we exchange gifts. That’s good I think. But there is something much deeper to this story. It is about people coming together, setting aside their differences, being united by one small child in a manger and realizing that love does conquer everything if we just believe and have faith.
I hope “Caleb & Shalev” will help children find the courage to love and care for those who are different. Sometimes that difference is a physical one like Caleb, but other times it may be a difference of religious faith, gender, age etc. Christmas must help us bridge those differences and then find the wonderful sense of community that the birth of Jesus brought into this world.