Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review: A Franciscan Christmas

A Franciscan Christmas ... a tiny book that has a BIG message:  thoughts and explanations on each of the "characters" of the Nativity with a Franciscan slant.  This is a great book by the managing editor of St. Anthony Messenger Press, Kathleen M. Carroll.  She describes and defines each part of a traditional Nativity set in light of Francis and his Order's spirituality.

Carroll covers Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, Magi, angels, villagers, musicians, animals and the Star.  Each has it's own meditation -- a chance for the reader to not just learn about Francis and his thoughts but also apply that spirituality to today's world.  Her last paragraph of each "chapter" gives a rather thought-provoking statement of how we can best live out the Christmas message.

I would have wished that Carroll would have developed more about Francis' spirituality and reasoning for having each "character" in his world-famous "live" Creche; her own thoughts, although interesting, dilute the Franciscan message.  Further, I think the publisher (St. Anthony Messenger Press) lost a great chance to make a really beautiful Christmas gift book:  by including colored prints of Franciscan artistry depicting the Nativity and Epiphany with the meditations, this book would have been an amazing Christmas heirloom for families to share each year.  As the book is published now, it makes for an interesting read but I'm not sure of its longevity as a family-read tradition.

Disclaimer:  This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on A Franciscan Christmas . They are also a great source for first communion gifts and baptism gifts.


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