Christmas Trees, Candles, and Candy Canes

Years ago I was asked to write a feature story for the December edition of a children’s magazine. The editor asked me to tell the Christmas story in a new and fresh way, never wavering from the TRUTH of Scripture.

A new and fresh way? I thought. How many children’s books and magazine stories have been written about the birth of the Savior? Hundreds upon hundreds! How many new and fresh approaches can there be? I wasn’t feeling that creative. So, I prayed…and there it was! I ran the idea by the editor and he said, “I’m not sure that can be done but give it a try!”

“You did it!” the editor said after reading What Can a Baby Do? I used talking animals but stayed true to the Biblical message. It was eventually published as a picture book, The Baby Who Changed the World by Faithkidz. The Lord has allowed this book to be performed as a play in a Christian school and several churches. What a thrill it was to watch children in costumes use their funny “animal” voices to tell the story on stage! The book has been recommended as a Christmas favorite by Homeschool Teachers as well.

My challenge was this…could I use talking animals in the stable and
still stay true to, and not contradict the Scriptures? After all, if there had been an ox, a cow, a dove, a sheep, etc., in the stable (and there could have been), they surely didn’t carry on and create a rambunctious, rollicking ruckus about what kind of baby would be born in their stable that night!

An editor at a major Christian publishing house once told me something like this…Never change actual Biblical truth for the sake of fantasy, but go ahead and write fantasy as long as it doesn’t change Biblical truth.

I translate that idea this way…Christmas trees, candles, and candy canes can’t be saved from their sins. An inanimate object like a banana or a pencil shouldn’t quote Scripture or hold conversations with the very REAL Jesus. Icicles can’t melt, die and go to the very REAL Heaven.

Living creatures in a story can certainly know about and speak of their wonderful Creator! They shouldn’t however, accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. THAT would change Biblical truth. The gift of salvation is provided for humans.

Creating CHRISTIAN or SAVED animals or inanimate objects can make the Bible seem like a fairy tale. Little ones have difficulty separating reality from fiction. We want the Bible to be credible to children and never present it as a compilation of fairy tales.

In The Baby Who Changed the World I communicated the TRUTH that Jesus came to love and rescue sinners. Humans. The donkey that carried Mary tells the stable animals that a SPECIAL baby will be born in their midst that very night. The ox is adamant that this special baby will be a baby ox. The cow disagrees. “What’s more wonderful than a newborn calf?” she says. The dove is certain it will be a baby dove, and so on.

When they learn this baby will be God in the flesh, they’re ecstatic! Why? Because they know that the Creator has provided a way to save humans from their sins. After all, they’ve observed their human masters. “Humans are baaaaaaad,” bleats the sheep. None of the truths of WHY Jesus came and WHOM he came for were compromised.

So, go ahead and write about Easter, and the birth of the Savior. Write retold Bible stories using children as characters that watch exciting events unfold.

YOU can make the Bible come alive in a new and fresh way for children!

It doesn’t matter that the Christmas story has been told a different way hundreds upon hundreds of times. The TRUE stories of the Bible will continue to be retold by Christians, with the creative vision given to us by HIM!

Sheryl Crawford

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4 responses to “Christmas Trees, Candles, and Candy Canes

  1. Sherri, I love your article. What wonders your words perform — reminding us how to be true to the Scriptures and write tales that appeal to children — and adults, too.

    Marilyn

  2. Shirley Shibley

    This was a fantastic display of a unique way to tell about an often retold story. And how beautifully you told it, Sherri! It deserved the multiple usage it received, and is also informative of how that can happen.

    More, more!
    Shirley

  3. Thanks, Shirley, for the encouraging words. I’m polishing up some dramatic re-writes of events in Scripture and needed this encouragment to launch them into the deep world of publishers.

    Thanks,
    Jean
    http://www.jeanmatthewhallwords.blogspot.com

  4. Gloria McQueen Stockstill

    Sherri,
    Great post! I especially liked the part about children having trouble separating fact from fiction. So important to remember.
    Gloria

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