A Night of Great Joy by Mary Engelbreit is a sweet rendition of the Christmas story. Presented in the form of a children's play, the message of the birth of Jesus is brought to life through beautiful, colorful illustration. When I was responsible for getting the preschoolers in our church dressed up as sheep, shepherds and the like for the Christmas program I would try not to stress over the details.
"They're kids," I would tell myself, "whatever they do up there on stage, will be cute!"
Rather than expecting everything to run smoothly, I would remember that I was working with kids, young kids, and that their parents were going to be watching with pride for their children. Not once, do I remember every, single, child acting perfectly, but the families watching were certainly blessed! Engelbreit does an amazing job portraying this very concept in her illustrations. In one picture, two children are fighting over a prop. In another, one child is having an uncomfortable time sitting on his knees. I love the authenticity shown in the pictures. It made me laugh as I remember laughing at my mother in law's church one year when young Mary, the mother of Jesus began undressing baby Jesus and hitting him on the manger in the middle of the play. I was in tears. It was hilarious. All the kids kept on singing as if nothing was going on. It is just one of those memories you won't forget and Englebreit has used the theme of a children's play in a way that I think readers can relate to in a special way.
I must also mention that the cover of the book is gorgeous. It is a hardback book with a cover that is decorated in glitter. This certainly would make a wonderful Christmas gift!
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