Advent Reading Challenge: Nativity

24th December

Jesus’ Christmas Party written and illustrated by Nicholas Allan (taken from The Hutchinson Treasury of Children’s Literature, 1995). This story was first published in 1991 (Hutchinson Children’s Books).

Treasury of Literature

Curl up with a story…

Well, we are finally at Christmas Eve and on the last day of the Landing Advent Calendar. Today’s offering comes from a compendium of stories and poems that I bought many years before I ever became a parent. I was going through a phase of collecting children’s literature at the time and this newly published collection fitted the bill to a tee. It is still in print (though scheduled for a reprint at present) and well worth buying.

This story is a humorous re-telling of The Nativity, from the point of view of a much put upon innkeeper:

There was nothing the innkeeper liked more than a good night’s sleep.
But that night there was a knock at the door.
“No room,” said the innkeeper.
“But we’re tired and have travelled through night and day.”
“There’s only the stable round the back. Here’s two blankets. Sign the register.”
So they signed it: “Mary and Joseph.”

But as I am sure everyone has worked out, there was to be no rest for the innkeeper that night. He became more and more exasperated with all of the comings and goings (including a request for an extra blanket) so that when he heard the noise the Heavenly Host were making….


So he got out of bed, stomped down the stairs, threw open the door, went round the back, stormed into the stable, and was just about to speak when –   

Jesus' Christmas Party

Away in a Manger….

Now, I think you can probably guess how it all ended, but if not, then you will have to read the story for yourself. There is a recent edition of Nicholas Allan’s book available, published in 2011 which would be a nice addition to any Christmas library.

So it only remains for me to wish all of my regular readers (and anyone else who drops by The Landing) a very ‘Merry Christmas’ indeed!

I would love to know which pieces were your favourites – so do drop me a line to let me know..


Advent Reading Challenge: Three Kings

16th December

Three Kings Came Riding by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) another poem taken from The Book of Christmas

This is a long poem of fourteen verses telling the story of the journey of the Three Kings (Wise Men or Magi) to find the new saviour. I have known the poem since my own childhood and well remember the sense of romance about these mysterious figures making such a long journey. I also recall being absolutely baffled as to what frankincense and myrrh actually were.

I have just picked three verses to give a potted version of the story. The men set out following the star:

The Magi Journeying

The Magi Journeying (Les Rois Mages en Voyages)

1) Three Kings came riding from far away,

Melchior and Gaspar and Baltasar;

Three Wise Men out of the East were they,

And they travelled by night and they slept by day,

For their guide was a beautiful, wonderful star.

Along the way the travellers talk to people they meet of the child, and so Herod the Great hears.

He asks the Wise Men to bring him news from Bethlehem:

8) So they rode away; and the star stood still,

The only one in the grey of the morn;

Yes, it stopped it stood still of its own free will,

Right over Bethlehem on the hill,

The city of David where Christ was born.

The Three Kings found their way to the baby’s birth place and gave their gifts:

The Book of Christmas

The Book of Christmas

12) They laid their offerings at his feet;

The gold was their tribute to a King,

The frankincense, with its odour sweet,

Was for the Priest, the Paraclete,

The myrrh for the body’s burying.

After worshiping the new child, the Three Kings rode away and headed back to their homes in the East. They were wise enough not to return to King Herod, but travelled home a different way.

The painting here is by James Tissot which is in the Brooklyn Museum (image taken from Wikipedia).