Author: Claudia Cangilla McAdam
Illustrator: Igor Kovyar
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Age Range: 3 – 7
The Christmas Light is another beautiful picture book from Sophia Institute Press that tells the story of the birth of Jesus from the point of view of a young girl whose father owns the stable in which Jesus is born. The story begins with young girl, Seraphina, shivering under a blanket that is “more holes than fabric”. The house is packed full with visitors from out of town. Although it is not explained in the story, the house is probably full due to the numbers of people who have travelled to Bethlehem due to the census.
Unable to sleep, Seraphina goes to check on the people who asked for shelter, but her father could only offer their stable. She takes an oil lamp full of embers and discovers that a baby has been born. With the aide of Seraphina’s embers, Joseph lights a fire and Seraphina tucks her cloak around baby Jesus to help keep him warm.
The illustrations are gorgeous and convey the cold dark of nighttime extremely well. The colouring is dark, with occasional warm light from the fire, or from baby Jesus. Despite the darkness, the face of each person in the story is highlighted which provides a focal point for young readers. The cold of the night is clearly conveyed as Seraphina’s cloak is whipped in the frosty wind.
As the story continues, Seraphina is warmed by the baby’s touch, and she discovers that the icy snow does not make her colder. Instead the warmth of the baby’s touch remains with her as she walks without her cloak, back to the dark loft she shares with her sister. The story ends with a warm Seraphina drawing her little sister close to warm her as she sleeps.
The story is simple and well told. Children will understand that baby Jesus is the source of warmth on a frosty cold night, and that Seraphina has been blessed because of her care and concern for the baby.
I recommend this Christmas story. There is no dialogue, apart from the mutterings of Seraphina as she struggles with the cold. Mary, Joseph and Jesus are not named, but there is no doubt as to the identity of the Holy Family. Jesus is referred to as the Child, with a capital “C”, which is an interesting detail to point out to children as you read through the story. I would be prompting children to name the Holy Family if I were reading this book to a group of children. There is much to discuss, and ponder, as you read through the book. Younger children will probably need explanations as you turn the pages, but older children will understand that Jesus warms Seraphina to her very core with his touch.
This is one of the more gentle and interesting Christmas stories that I have come across and I would have no problem including it in my Catholic Christmas collection.
You can purchase The Christmas Light HERE.