A few years ago I started a new Christmas tradition – adding new Christmas books to our home library. Sometimes it is difficult to find a really good quality children’s book so when I was given the opportunity to receive If He Had Not Come in exchange for a review, I was very excited.
About the Author/Illustrator
This classic Christmas story was originally written by Nan F Weeks and David Nicholson has accepted the challenge to revive this story for today’s families to enjoy. This hardback book (value $18.95) is beautifully illustrated by Charles Jaskiewicz. An ebook is also available for $3.99.
About the Story
The story begins with young Bobby getting ready for bed on Christmas Eve. He is eager for the next morning and is full of thoughts about presents under the tree. His father sits with him for their nightly Bible reading and reads John 15:22 to him.
The words “If I had not come” from the verse resonates with Bobby and as he falls asleep he begins to dream about what life would be like if Jesus had indeed not come.
In the dream, Bobby awakes on Christmas morning. But without Jesus’ birth, there is no Christmas and Bobby is the only one who knows it’s Christmas.
Bobby races through the town to find any resemblance of Christmas but instead of finding people celebrating he finds everyone at work as usual. Through the course of the day, he also realizes that the church is gone, as is the Children’s Home and even the hospital. Bobby sees all the drastic changes that have taken place as a result. As he is searching for answers, he returns home hoping that his parents can help him. As he enters the front door, he notices the Bible which his father read from the previous night. He picks it up to find the verse that started it all. But without Jesus’s birth, there is no New Testament. He realizes that a world without Jesus means “no Christmas, no churches, no places to help people who are sick, homeless or in need…”
Bobby wakes up the next morning to find that it had only been a dream. He starts Christmas Day off praying to Jesus and giving thanks that He did come and acknowledges that is the very best present of all.
At the back of the book, there are discussion questions that will help families to interact with the story. One of the questions was to think about stores now. At the time the story was originally written, most stores were still closed on Sundays and on Christmas. What stores remain open or close now and what’s the reason behind that decision? Does it honor Jesus?
There is also a “Going Deeper” section penned by Josh Mulvihill. This contains more questions in the form of a short Bible study and then message about salvation.
Lastly, there are some ideas given to help you celebrate Christmas and points out Christmas decorations that symbolize the importance of Jesus.
And…..there’s a mention that a script for stage plays will be coming soon. I think this is wonderful because the story is not only great to be read by families but is great for Sunday School or children’s church services (age recommendation is 6 years and up). A play would be a great addition to any church holiday service!