When my daughter’s husband encouraged us to write a Christmas book for children, we accepted the challenge. My first thought was, “How can we make it different from other books that are already out there?” Christmas books are in high demand around the holidays, and publishing companies continue to offer contracts to authors who can create something original. But since there are countless Christmas books already on the market, I knew this would be a tall order.
When a picture book incorporates educational elements, it has more appeal, so we decided to go with an alphabet book. We also write in rhythm and rhyme which makes it appeal to both the reader and the listener (if it is done right!) So we were about to settle on a rhyming alphabet Christmas book when I decided it needed another feature to make it unique. I had never seen a rhyming alphabet Christmas book that tells the Christmas story in chronological order, so that was our vision. As we began searching the Scriptures to keep the story accurate, we were excited to discover that many of the Bible verses included the alphabet “word” we were going to highlight on each page–so we added Bible verses as well. So now our goal was to write a rhyming alphabet Christmas storybook with Bible verses.
Needless to say, this was a difficult project. But the hard part is what makes it fun. With every letter, word, and Bible verse we found to move the story forward, we were filled with childlike excitement. Once it was completed, Tyndale offered us a contract. We worked with the editor to make some improvements, and in 2015, the picture book hit shelves. Last year, they published a board book edition which was a delight to parents with toddlers.
When I was being interviewed on a radio program about the book, the host asked me why we chose M is for Manger as the title. My response: “Because that’s where you find Jesus.”
No matter how you share the Christmas story with the children in your lives, may you enjoy God’s timeless miracle, and may you all find Jesus!