My kids were sold on this charming Christmas book from the moment they laid eyes on the cute lion on the cover, standing with a perplexed Nativity-play Mary! The content did not disappoint. With each page, we are introduced to a new ‘unusual’ element in a Nativity play – a tent, a mobile phone, a boat, and so on. As the little girl playing Mary becomes ever more incredulous, a narrator explains how each element illustrates an element of Jesus’ character and mission. It’s a sweet, fun way to discover more about Jesus beyond the picturesque manger scene, and it finds simple ways to explain complex theological ideas. ‘Mary’ also discovers her true place in the story, and it’s a helpful reminder that we are not centre-stage in our own lives, but part of ‘his story’. The last pages include a summary of each object and what it represents to help the children remember the truths in the story – don’t worry, it’s fun, not heavy-handed.

After the holidays, I plan to pack this book in our Christmas boxes and make it a tradition to reread it every year, enjoying a festive way to remind ourselves of Jesus’ mission beyond Bethlehem. I recommend it heartily for children aged 3-8 – and their grown-ups, of course!

Dayspring MacLeod, St Columba's Free Church, Edinburgh