I love this book! It’s the Christmas and Easter stories told by the eloquent Madeleine L’Engle illustrated with frescoes from the Scrovegni Chapel by Giotto. You can see my review of the book here, but this post is about how I’ve used the pictures and story in this book to meditate on the Christmas story with my children.
To start with we listen to the Christmas story from the Bible. I like the audio NIV read by David Suchet which you can access for FREE here when you click on the speaker icon and choose David Suchet’s version.
Then I ask my children to look through the pictures in this book (you could use Christmas art from a google search) and choose their favourite one. Then we play a game to help us really look at the picture – we look at it for thirty seconds then hide it and take it in turns to describe what we saw, to list all the details we remember. We sometimes repeat this process to get more details, and chat about why we think the artist included those things. What significance might they have?
Finally, I read the word of Madeleine L’Engle, which always give a new slant on the story. For example, in the page about Mary visiting Elizabeth, she notes that “sometimes it is very important to have an older friend who is not a parent, someone who can be both loving and objective.”
She finishes this page with:
“The stars in the skt above Mary and Elizabeth were brilliant; and the power that created all the galaxies, all the stars in their courses, had come into the womb of a fourteen-year-old girl.”