The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas

by Madeleine L'Engle
Reviewed date: 2011 Jan 1
71 pages
cover art
cover art

The Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas is a cute little Christmas story that draws attention to the Christian aspects of Christmas. It's refreshing in a world full of Santa Claus, elf, and Rudolph stories.

Young Vicky Austin loves the month before Christmas when the family gets to celebrate Advent by doing something special each day. Maybe it's baking cookies, or decorating the house. But more than that, she's excited about being the angel in the church Christmas pageant. And to make this year even more exciting, this year Mommy is going to have a baby, due just a few days after Christmas.

That's all exciting until Vicky realizes that babies arrive on their own schedule. If the baby comes early, Mommy may be in the hospital for Christmas. That would be the worst! Vicky prays that the entire family will be home for Christmas, but she knows it's up to God. You can't bribe God or make deals with him; all you can do is ask.

On Christmas Eve, the day of the pageant, a blizzard closes the roads and shuts down the whole town. The pageant is cancelled. Mommy goes into labor, but Daddy is still at work at the hospital (he's a doctor.) Daddy finally arrives home--the roads are still closed but he walked home with his snowshoes.

Snowed in, the family is together for Christmas. Mommy has the baby at home, like in the old-fashioned days.

Altogether it's really a neat little story. It's not too exciting--the ending is about what I expected after the first chapter--but it's an endearing tale centered around a genuine Christian understanding of Christmas.

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