Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Gift Of A Servant by Tamara Amos

Recommendation: * (1-star)

It seems a bit unusual to be reviewing a Christmas story in May, but this book came to my mailbox with high recommendations from many sources.  The story is of a father who is unhappy with the current state of Christmas celebrations. He has decided that Santa Claus is to blame for the commercialized blizzard that Christmas has become. So, he waits up on Christmas Eve to speak with Santa and let him know how upset and disappointed he is with Christmas.  Santa then begins to tell him of the love he displays for children and compares himself to Christ.

Positives: I only found one positive moment in this book.  After Santa and the disgruntled father had talked, the father realizes that Santa is not to blame, but that it is "our sin which let in the materialism of our day." I was thankful that he voiced this realization.

Negatives: When I first read this book I was very confused. I did not understand what the purpose of the story was and why the author wrote a book about both Santa Claus and Jesus Christ. I don't think it is a good idea to write a book for children that combines Santa Claus (fantasy) and Jesus (truth) and blurs the lines between these two very different characters. How is a young child to understand, when in the story Santa Claus responds to Jesus, as He is on the cross? Included in the story are also some Catholic beliefs such as when Santa Claus (Saint Nicholas) is referred to as holy (several times) and receives a halo. I am guessing that the author was trying to make a stronger connection, for kids, between our present day Santa and the man St. Nicholas.

Talking Points: We are often asked if we "do the Santa thing." This is a question that all Christian families should carefully and prayerfully think through.  I don't think it is a sin to tell your kids about Santa, but we need to be careful to help our kids separate fantasy and truth. God has given us creative minds to imagine and fantasize with, but He has also provided us with a source of truth, the Bible, to ground our thoughts in (John 17:17). Read and study and memorize Psalm 119 together. This Psalm continually reminds us that God's Word is truth and that is what we and our kids need.

Age Level: 3-7 years of age

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for this review.

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