text by Lawrence Boadt
illustrations by Patrick Kelley
I finally requested this book through inter-library loan because I wanted something small and sweet to add to our Advent next year especially for the girls and I like to read before I buy. We've been reading The Way to Bethlehem and The Life of Mary for a few years now. They're recommended by Mater Amabilis for Level 1A. I love these two books. I think the illustrations are stunning and that they are a rich source of reflection, but they seem best suited for older children. (My three youngest will be seven, five, and three next Advent.) There are also some illustrations that may be distressing for young children like the poor Innocents, though my children never seemed to mind. Stations of the Nativity seemed like it might be a good option for younger children.
And it is! There are fourteen stations, moments for reflection during the Advent season. The stations include events like the Annunciation, the Visitation, and the Magnificant, as well as the birth of Jesus and the adoration of the shepherds and the Magi. For each station, there's a beautiful illustration and very short Scripture readings, meditations, lessons, prayers, and psalm verses. I read through them all and think they would be wonderful to use with children of a broad range of ages (though I did not read them with my children yet). At the end, there is a list of citations for expanded Scripture readings, appropriate for older children and adults.
The Scripture readings are an original translation of the author, Lawrence Boadt, which seemed odd to me, just because there are so many translations already, not because there was anything in the text I found troublesome. It would be simple to pull out whatever Bible you like best, which you would need if you wanted to use the extended citations.
All fourteen stations could be done at once, but I think I'll probably spread them over all of Advent, four or five a week...depending on what will work best with our school schedule. I think they could easily be added to an evening or morning prayer and done during the two weeks before Christmas, too.
This book is Catholic (published by Paulist Press), but I think it could be appropriate for any Christian family.