Home at Christmas
Home at Christmas
People, and especially kids, have high expectations for Christmas, but life does not always turn out the way we want. Starting with the Christmas story and journeying through other tough situations, we see how God reaches out to us no matter our circumstances to give us a sense of home found with Him.
HOME AT CHRISTMAS: THE BACK STORY (by author Jane Van Antwerp)
Home at Christmas is the book that was almost not written, yet it has become our most popular gift book. And to my surprise, it is given away all year long.
Let me tell you the story behind this Blue Box Book. In August of 2014, I had just finished rewriting and illustrating Blue Box Books 7, 8 and 9. They were sent to the finishing designer before going to the printers. Like maniacs, we stepped out in faith and decided to do another set of 3 immediately - the holiday set for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. Beyond the Blue Ministries has a small group of advisors/editors/theologians that oversees each book during the final illustrations and rewrites. I had the Christmas book written and even halfway illustrated when 3 of our advisors independently contacted me and said it was "not working." The message was too complicated. It had been a magnificent children's sermon, but wasn't translating to page very well. I was distraught and stubborn. I wanted to just rework it, or more clearly explain where it was headed to the advisors, but instead I slept on it. A few days later, I went back to our children's sermon files and found a dozen other messages that had been favorites over the 25 years I was on staff at Menlo Church. I was running out of time, so I just picked one that would be easy to finish illustrating. The advisors loved it. I was still sad about my halfway written one, but Home at Christmas was the one we published.
The next Spring we were hosting a small family reunion at our home. Our granddaughter was in Kindergarten at the time. She was looking at the set of Blue Box Books and said, "Grandma, this is my favorite of all the Jesus books." I was very surprised by that, and then our daughter chimed in, "It's mine too." "Mine too!" said my visiting sister-in-law. I protested, "But it's a Christmas book!" Our daughter explained that the message was important and helpful any time of the year. Because of that short conversation, my vision of what God was doing through that little book changed. And He has confirmed that with story after story from readers of Home at Christmas — the book I reluctantly published.