One of my favorite things about this time of year is sharing stories and retelling stories that speak of the true meaning of Christmas: to give, to love, and to reach out to each other. A tradition that I have decided to do with my family is to read one Christmas story each night of December leading up until Christmas. I think this is a lovely way to spend the evening by the fire and talk about Christmas and what it is all about. Of course we throw in some holiday classics like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or a “Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Because I am just starting out with this idea I don’t have a full collection of books to cover the entire month. If this is an idea you like an you are just starting out there are a few things you can do to make the cost a little more manageable as you build up your collection. You can go to the DI or Goodwill and find some Christmas books, they can be tricky to find this time of year, so keep your eye out all year long. Another idea would be to simply print stories from the internet or borrow some books from your local library.
I was thrilled when I was asked to do a review on Christmas From Heaven by Tom Brokaw and Robert T. Barrett. As it is a different kind of Christmas book that I have wanted to add to my collection.
“Christmas from Heaven is the story of the humble beginnings of what became a beacon of hope to a war-torn land, the story of Gail Halvorsen, a young pilot in the US Army Air Corps who was assigned as a cargo pilot to the Berlin Airlift, in which US forces flew much-needed supplies into a Soviet-blockaded Berlin.
As he performed his duties, Lt. Halvorsen began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. Knowing that they had very little, he one day offered them some chewing gum. From that small act, an idea sprang: He would “bomb” Berlin with candy. Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their C-54 as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.
Lt. Halvorsen became known by hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Berlin as “Uncle Wiggly Wings” or “The Candy Bomber.” Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans. Lt. Halvorsen’s small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to all those who yearned for freedom.
Famed broadcast journalist and author Tom Brokaw brings this remarkable true story to life in a stunning live performance with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, captured on the accompanying DVD. Also included in the book is a template and directions for creating your own “Candy Bomber” parachutes.”
What I liked best about this book is that it is a piece of recent history that depicts the difference a small effort can make from one individual that can change the happiness of so many. As I read it with my son, who is five, he was intrigued with the art as well as the real photographs that are provided throughout the story. He and I have been talking about small ways that each of us can serve and reach out to the people around us and this story provided a great launching point into that discussion.
Another neat thing about this book is that it comes with a DVD of Tom Brokaw narrating the story with the amazing voices of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir! The story is brought to life in a way that really brings it home and into your heart. This story/DVD combo would make a perfect activity for Family Home Evening and is a tradition you can enjoy year after year. You can purchase your own book/DVD combo from Deseret Book HERE.
Here is the best news! Shadow Mountain Publishing would like to gift you one of these books! All you need to do is enter the rafflecopter giveaway below. Winner to be announced on Saturday!