With all the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and decorating it can be difficult to settle down and spend quality time as a family, particularly if you have little ones. One great way to spend time together is to read together.
Here are some of our favorite life-affirming Christmas stories that are sure to enrapture your children as well as teach them important lessons on the sacredness of all human beings.
The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
A little orphan girl works to sell matches on a cold winter’s night. Her little feet are blue with cold, but no one stops to help her and no one buys her matches. As the night wears on, the girl becomes colder and colder, finally lighting one of her matches to keep warm.
She dreams of fires, feasts, and beautiful rooms decorated with ornaments and lights. As the match goes out, the vision fades, and the girl is forced to light another match. At last, the Little Match Girl has a vision of her beloved grandmother who takes her away to heaven where there is no cold, hunger, or sorrow.
As you read the story aloud, remind your children that there are many people who are homeless, cold, and hungry during this holiday season, just like the Little Match Girl. Many times those people are ignored because the rich are too busy going to parties or wrapping presents to notice them or help them.
In addition to the homeless, there are people who are forgotten during the Christmas holidays because their family does not want to see them. This Christmas, let The Little Match Girl inspire your children to bring the light of Christ to the lonely, hungry, or marginalized.
Written from the perspective of the Angel Gabriel, An Angel’s Story is a retelling of Jesus’ miraculous incarnation and birth in a humble stable. Through Gabriel’s eyes, we catch glimpses of the Annunciation, Nativity, and other events surrounding the first Christmas.In heaven, Gabriel can see the hosts of angels praising God and the cosmic battle that takes place as the angels protect Jesus, Mary, and Joseph from the devil and his cohorts.
Drawing inspiration from the Gospel narratives as well as the book of Revelation, Max Lucado’s story inspires us to see the awesome power of God prevailing over evil rather than the traditional cozy picture of Jesus safely wrapped in swaddling clothes. An Angel’s Story is a good reminder that our fight against the culture of death is an actual battle, but that the power of God is stronger than evil.
Orphaned and crippled, a small lamb named Joshua feels sad when he can’t run and play with the other lambs in the field. Abigail, a wise cow, reminds him that even though he has disabilities God has a special place for him.
That night, Joshua finds his purpose in keeping a newborn infant warm in the manger and being one of the first creatures to welcome Jesus unto the world. Not only is this sweet story about Jesus’ lowly birth in a manger, but it also reminds us that God has a special purpose for each of us, despite our disabilities.
When you read this story with your children, point out that, like Joshua, they each have talents and abilities that God gave only to them. We are each unique and unrepeatable. We each have a purpose in this world, even if we have trouble seeing it sometimes.
A selfish giant chases the neighborhood children out of his garden and puts up a no trespassing sign to keep them out. As a result, the children have nowhere to play. Spring, Summer, and Fall decide not to visit the giant’s garden either, making an eternal winter around the giant’s castle.
As the giant’s heart begins to wish for Spring, he spies a small boy in the corner of his garden trying to play in the snow. When he sees the boy, his heart melts. The giant tears down the wall of his garden and lets the children play near the castle from that moment forward. But the giant’s heart is sad because he does not see the little boy playing among the children.
One day, when the giant is very old, he sees the little boy again and recognizes Him as the Christ child who has come to take the giant to the garden of paradise because he had once let Jesus play in his garden.
Older children are sure to enjoy an evening reading Charles Dickens’ Christmas classic. Miser Ebenezer Scrooge spends his Christmas Eve making money and tormenting his employees.
As the day comes to a close, Scrooge is visited by the ghost of his old partner, Robert Marley, who warns him that he needs to change his life if he wants to avoid joining Marley in his chains of eternal penance. Scrooge is then visited by three spirits—past, present, and future—who show him how he has affected the other people in his community.
Want to learn more about a Christmas Carol?
Check out our pro-life lesson here!