The Night of His Birth

“Sing out, my soul, the wonder…” How marvelous the mystery of giving birth to the Son of God! What might have been the musings of His mother’s mind?

The Night of His Birth by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Lisa Aisato. Flyaway Books, 2019, 32 pages.

Reading Level: Picture book, ages 4-8

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Recommended for: ages 4-8

“Sing out, my soul, the wonder.” We know that the joy of the incarnation inspired Mary to sing the Magnificat, and that the reverent visitors moved her to further ponder in her heart the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ. Paterson imagines the reactions of others to hearing the news and the first night in the stable: the awe of the shepherds admiring a newborn, Mary’s parents doubting her announcement with shame, Joseph’s doubt turned to trustful obedience and joy. Above all, the narrative is filled with Mary’s awe and wonder.

Paterson’s story caused me to reflect on two things. First, her description of God’s “divine joke on a prideful world.” Redemption is not a joke, although according to Psalm 2 “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh.” The second observation is the portrayal of Mary’s father when he first heard of the conception, wondering if she was lying or had gone mad. I suppose he hadn’t read Mere Christianity, in which Lewis offers the third option, which is simply testifying the truth.

Otherwise, the writing is poetic, elegant and God-honoring, full of the kind of simple details that a new mother would observe, providing yet another fresh perspective on the Nativity. The illustrations are beautiful and expressive, enhancing the range of Mary’s thoughts and emotions. A lovely addition to a Christmas collection.

Overall rating: 4.5 (out of 5)

  • Worldview/moral value: 4.5
  • Artistic/literary value: 4.5

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A copy of this book was provided by the publisher upon request in exchange for a fair review.

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