I spotted A Cowboy Christmas on Amazon and got it for our “25 Books Before Christmas” countdown this year. We opened and read it for the first time yesterday, and — oh, my — was it ever a great choice!
We’ve long been fans of author Audrey Wood (my kids love The Napping House
and King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub), and it looks as if A Cowboy Christmas is destined to be another family favorite. In it, Mrs. Woods delivers a tightly-woven and beautifully-spun tale set in the pioneer days of the American West.
The story is tender and heart-warming, but it’s Robert Florczak’s superb illustrations that make this book an especial pleasure to read. His choice of colors, the facial expressions of his subjects, and his meticulous attention to detail all worked together to keep my kids mesmerized through the entire reading.
“Look, Mom, there’s the horsehair rope Evan got for Christmas!”
“Hey, you can see the shadow of a bear on the rocks!”
“See? Cully’s reaching for his gun, but it’s not there!”
When I finished reading the story, my seven year-old son crawled into my lap and said, “I’m SO GLAD you got that book for us, Mom. Can we read it again?”
So we did.
With all the children’s Christmas Countdown books we read in December (like A Cowboy Christmas), I haven’t had much time left for personal reading. So I only finished two of my own books this month. Read on for my impressions of each:
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that knowledge didn’t keep me from buying Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts based solely on the fact that its jacket design is so beautiful.
Fortunately in this case, the inner prose is just as lovely as the outer portrait.
Voskamp writes a very personal account of how counting blessings can mend hearts that are broken, transform attitudes that are bitter, and make all of life better. Sweeter. Deeper. Fuller.
Her “dare to live fully right where you are” was so compelling that, as soon as I finished the book, I went straight out to buy my own gratitude journal so that I, too, could note and number the infinite graces God showers upon me.
Advent Conspiracy by Rick McKinley
The world needs the good news of the gospel now more than ever, but as James admonishes, it’s of little use for us to tell the cold and hungry to “be warmed and filled” while making no attempt to meet their physical needs.
Advent Conspiracy (subtitle: Making Christmas Meaningful Again”) is a small volume that encourages us to put our money where our mouth is and to use the abundance with which God has blessed us to improve the plight of those less fortunate.
The book provides a timely reminder in a season that has become so driven by consumerism and acquisition. For a 2½-minute synopsis of what “Advent Conspiracy” is all about, watch this YouTube video by the same name.
“Can Christmas Still Change the World? You bet it can! Especially when those who know Christ commit themselves to living out their faith in ways that impact the lives of all those around them.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for a great way to focus your heart on Christ during this advent season, I’d love for you to check out my new devotional journal, Joy to the World. It will help you do exactly that.
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