These Farmhouse Bookshelves (Advent 2)

Dec 5, 2015

The weather here in our corner of Pennsylvania is soggy rather than snowy, but our stack of Christmas books is helping to set the mood.

If you’re looking to start your own collection, or maybe writing a list for the library, here are a few of our favorites.

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Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl Buck is a beautiful picture-book edition of a classic.

Buck, who won both the Nobel and the Pulitzer, originally published this story in 1955. It’s a very simple story of an adolescent boy’s gift to his hardworking, farmer father on Christmas Day. Even my young children are inspired by this story, but it’s a tale that gets better and means more the older you are.

Little One, We Knew You’d Come by Sally Lloyd-Jones appears to be out of print, but it is really worth seeking out. This one may be my favorite Christmas book.

The illustrations tell a straightforward story about the birth of Christ (though their beauty is anything but typical or generic), but it’s the sweetness and lyricism of the text that makes this story something bigger and more beautiful than it first appears to be.

Little one, we knew you’d come. We hoped. We dreamed. We watched for you.

It can be hard for us to fully grasp the longing of creation for Christ or even to understand what it means to long for our King’s return during this Advent season, but many of us know what it is to long for a baby. The words of this book tell that story so many of us know intimately, that story of “our miracle child, our dreams come true.”

This book makes the perfect gift for new moms, or anyone familiar with the special love we have for a long-anticipated child, no matter the time of year.

This Advent the kids and I are reading a new book at bedtime. It’s The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder, the philosopher and writer of Sophie’s World (a novel I remember loving in college).

Translated from the Norwegian, this is a strange but wonderful tale within a tale about a magic Advent calendar and an odd pilgrimage back through history to the Bethlehem of Christ’s birth. The story is divided up according to the twenty-four windows of an Advent calendar so it’s ideal for nightly reading.

My paperback copy is high quality and lovely to look at, but there are quite a few typos and a handful of places where the translation seems a little awkward. Still, as a read-aloud capable of keeping the attention of a six, nine, and twelve-year-old at Christmastime, it seems just about perfect.

It isn’t a devotional book, and yet Gaarder’s philosophical observations (quite a few spoken by the “wise man” Caspar) have given even me a few mysteries to ponder. We haven’t finished it yet, so I can’t vouch for where the whole narrative is heading, but I do know we are headed to Bethlehem. I’m eager to discover what Gaarder has in store for us there.

If you only have time for a short Advent read this morning, may I suggest my latest post at Grace Table? Titled “The Irrational Hospitality of Advent,” you can find it right here.

Peace be with you, friends.


  1. Danielle

    I scored Christmas Day in the Morning at a library book sale a year or two ago. I’d never heard of it but it is lovely.

  2. Katie Noah Gibson

    I stumbled on The Christmas Mystery in Oxford a few years back and loved it. Odd and wonderful, indeed.


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