The Christ of Christmas: An Age-old Story with a New Family Tradition – Marc Sikma and Rita Tan

The Christ of Christmas: An Age-old Story with a New Family Tradition by Marc Sikma, Rita Tan
Published by B&H Publishing, B&H Kids on September 19, 2023
Genres: Children's, Christmas
Buy on Amazon

What’s a better time to share the gospel than Christmas?

The Christ of Christmas tells the story of sixteen-year-old Lily and her family, who prioritize different things at Christmastime. For years, Lily's mom has faithfully used a wooden manger and cross to share the gospel with her unbelieving family. She wants them to know that because of God's first Christmas gift to His people, every heart can be healed. But when a big change happens just days before Christmas, the family must decide if the tradition will continue. Will it have the power to change their family forever?

With sixty-four beautifully illustrated pages, The Christ of Christmas is a charming read for the family to revisit together each year and will look gorgeous on coffee tables as a new Christmastime tradition. It also offers both churches and individuals a gentle and uplifting way to share the gift of Christ’s love with others. Through its compelling story arc, clear communication of the gospel, and beautiful story of first-time belief, The Christ of Christmas shows readers that Christmas is a story of hope and healing.

This short illustrated book will appeal to people looking for a gospel-centered, inspirational story to read at Christmastime. This story is about a mother who faithfully shares the gospel with her family, emphasizing that “Christ is the Christ of Christmas” and that we can have salvation through Him. The book comes from the first-person perspective of the woman’s daughter, who shares the story of the Christmas that changed her family’s lives.

The book is simple and sweet, with straightforward text from Marc Sikma and soft, expressive illustrations from Rita Tan. The pictures clearly show what is happening in the story, conveying the characters’ experiences and emotions, and the illustrations are also key to the book’s diversity. Race is irrelevant to the plot, but the pictures show a family with a Black mother, a white father, their mixed-race daughter, and an adopted white son.

The Christ of Christmas has full-color illustrations on every page, and there is typically between one sentence and two paragraphs on each page. Because the book is so short, it mainly deals in archetypes and broad themes, without much character development or many details about the family’s situation, and I felt that the climax in particular was too rushed. I would have personally enjoyed this more if it had been a little bit longer and felt more fleshed out, but audiences who are looking for a feel-good inspirational book may not mind this, since it’s fairly typical for the genre.

The Christ of Christmas will appeal to families who want to read a sweet story about Christmas and the gospel, especially if they are looking for a racially diverse Christmas story. The publisher is marketing this for ages six to ten, and this will work well as a family read-aloud or an independent read for proficient readers. However, some parents may want to preview this book first if their child is particularly sensitive, since this book briefly touches on some heavy topics that could be scary for kids, especially if they have personally experienced something similar. Nonetheless, this can be a good family read-aloud or independent read for many children, and it will appeal to adults who are looking for an inspirational short story.