In past years, I've been kind of a Scrooge when it comes to early Christmas celebrations. I wouldn't let my family put up the tree or listen to any Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving. For the past two years, however, Lauren started playing Christmas music several months before Thanksgiving. She has a CD copy of the Christmas musical for church so she could start practicing in early September, and it's been played countless times since then.
Now that I've broken my ban on Christmas music before Thanksgiving, I decided to whole-heartedly embrace early Christmas. I've heard of The Familyman for years, and we recently had the opportunity to review The Familyman's Christmas Treasury - Audio Collection (also available as Digital Downloads).
- Captain Chaos and the Manger Blaster
- Cootie McKay's Nativity
- The Stranger
- The Bishop's Dream
- Harold Grubbs and the Christmas Vest
- Gladys Remembers Christmas
- The Secret of Snow Village
- It's Called Christmas
My favorite story is "Cootie McKay's Nativity" because it captures the sheer excitement and joy when an adult hears the gospel message for the very first time. Many of us have grown up hearing the Christmas story from Luke 2 and then months later the story of Jesus' crucifixion. I suspect I'm not the only one who doesn't remember a time before I knew about Jesus, and it's a special treat to hear the story of Jesus through the eyes of a character experiencing it for the first time.
Lauren also liked "Cootie McKay's Nativity" but said "It's Called Christmas" is also her favorite. The story takes place hundreds of years in the future, and the narrator is telling the tale to warn people of our time. He warns people to continue to remember Jesus and remember the reason for our Christmas season by telling the story of a futuristic time when the government has outlawed any talk of religion. "The Bishop's Dream" conveys a similar warning, only this time it's told from the perspective of St. Nicholas who is looking at how Santa Claus is treated in a modern day society.
Although the characters and the plot changes with each story, each one clearly shows that Jesus is the true reason for the Christmas holiday season. In addition, I found that the collection of stories had such a wide variety of characters that it seems impossible that someone could listen to them all without finding a character to relate to. We heard about a young girl peering into her grandmother's snow village, the young boy adding superhero sound effects to the Christmas story, a stranger visiting town during a blizzard, and a middle-aged woman reminiscing about the last Christmas she spent with her mother.
I highly recommend this collection of Christmas stories. Each story was approximately 20-30 minutes long which made them perfect for listening to when we were running errands around town. It will be an easy and enjoyable way to keep the true meaning of Christmas in the forefront of our minds as the holiday season gets busy.
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