Our family is in a funny spot, reading-wise. On one end, we have our seventh grader, whose school reading list includes Plutarch and Shakespeare and who loves a good adventure—the more intense the better.
On the other end, we have our four-year-old, who loves Star Wars but is also still solidly delighted by Fancy Nancy and Elephant & Piggie. Choosing a book that will appeal to both, as well as to those in between, is, as they say, rather tricky. Often I just skew toward one end and then the other. So we read Brambly Hedge at bedtime, as well as Emblems of the Infinite King. It’s a broad range, and not everybody likes everything we read (though everybody does like Brambly Hedge and will forever, I bet).
Our Advent reading this year illustrates this perfectly: for our younger readers, over dinner we’ll dip into the Advent conversation cards from She Reads Truth. For our older readers, before bed we’ll read Peace.
In Peace, Stephen Nichols (Church History ABCs) tells the whole story of Christmas, from Genesis 1 onward, interweaving quotes, commentaries, and hymns from Charles Spurgeon, Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and more. This is a big, from-above view of Christmas, drawn directly from Scripture and embellished by some of the best writers since the church began.
Peace also offers a variety of ways to use the book: as a personal devotional, or a family one; as a story in three acts, or in a series of nine readings. It also includes some liturgies for each Sunday of Advent, which we plan to read together when we light our Advent wreath. But all together, these readings are deep enough to give a seventh grader (and her parents) something to ponder and short enough for a four-year-old to complete a 12-piece puzzle while she listens.
A note on the price: If you are tempted, as I was, to hold off on this one because the price seemed a bit steep, please know what I did not: this is a big book, about 12″x12″, and it is gorgeous. It is clothbound, with full color illustrations and lovely bronze details. The price may seem high, but the quality of the book is definitely worth it.
Peace: Classic Readings for Christmas
Stephen Nichols; Simon Pemberton (2013)