God With Us: A Review of ‘God Gave Us Christmas’

“The Word who found a dwelling in Mary’s womb comes to knock on the heart of every person with singular intensity this Christmas.” – St. John Paul II

Reading Level: 2.7 [according to Scholastic – reflects the grade level at which a student reading on grade could read the book independently]

Interest Level: PreK – 2

Review and Comments:

“Where does Christmas come from?” Little Cub asks her mother.  Mama Bear could answer her question easily, but Mama wants her child to understand deep in her heart exactly what Christmas really means.  She wants to transport Little Cub to the first Christmas so she explains the scene in Bethlehem and the true meaning of the gift of Jesus.  Then Mama takes her out into the world to find God in the most unusual places.  Little Cub learns that God is the Light of the World. He is powerful and mighty.  And God is so generous He gave Jesus to all of us – “the best present of all.”  Little Cub thanks her Mama for “showing her God” and prepares for Christmas with a spirit filled with joy.

Lisa Bergren has written another beautiful story for young children that explains God’s special gift of Jesus.  The colorful illustrations and dialogue show the love between Mama Bear and Little Cub, and it shows God’s love for all mankind.  Children will enjoy learning about Christmas along with Little Cub.

Possible Concerns:

There are no concerns with this book.

Further Discussion:

  • Mama Bear shows Little Cub the aurora borealis, an ice berg, baby animals, a star, a tiny flower, and a church filled with singing. She uses nature to show God’s presence in the world.  Parents can use similar examples like the ones Mama uses to show God’s presence every day.  A sunset, a baby, and sunshine through a cloud are examples that can be used to begin a conversation about God’s presence.
  • There are many Christmas vocabulary words that will enrich the reader’s understanding of the Christmas story. [Examples: Bethlehem, Wise Men, frankincense, myrrh, manger, worship, stable, shepherd, etc.]
  • Examine the Christmas cards you receive during the season that illustrate Jesus’ story. Have your child tell that part of the Christmas story using the card as inspiration.  Your child may be able to put the cards in story order if there are enough examples.
    • Make a book using the cards as illustrations and a few dictated sentences about each one.
  • Discuss with your child what gift he or she would like to give Jesus for his birthday. Use that idea as an offering during Advent. (examples: joy, cooperation)  Each day renew the choice by including the offering in a prayer.
  • Design a “welcome” or “birth” card for Jesus. Write a personal note inside to tell Jesus how much you love Him.  Place the card close to a Nativity scene.

Catholic Resources:

  • Make an Advent wreath and pray as a family.

Example of prayer for children:

“Blessed are you, O Lord our God, king of the universe.

You sent your Son to be the Light of the world and to

spread his light of love to all.

As we light the candles of this wreath

May its growing brightness remind us of the approaching nearness of your Son

So that the day of His coming may find us prepared and filled with joy.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.”

Amen.

  • Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers is a wonderful book that has Advent and Christmas blessings. [manger, tree, Advent wreath, crèche]
  • CCC 524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
  • CCC 525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest. The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:
  • The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
    And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
    The angels and shepherds praise him
    And the magi advance with the star,
    For you are born for us,
    Little Child, God eternal!

 

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