Author: Simon Camilleri
An original Christmas fable about when Santa first learns about Jesus' message of grace. Unexpectedly, Santa finds himself on his own spiritual and philosophical journey full of humour, self-reflection, wonder and redemption. Complemented by the beautiful and engaging illustrations of Matt Boutros, this book hopes to inspire many a conversation about faith, philosophy and the messages of Christmas, between adults and children alike.
Reviewer: Laura J. Davis
Told in rhyme, and filled with colourful illustrations, When Santa Learned the Gospel by Simon Camilleri, is a delight.
Santa hears the gospel for the first time, and it turns his world upside down. He has always divided children into two categories - naughty and nice. The naughty children get a lump of coal, and the nice ones get a gift. But Santa is such a softie that he's always believed being "good enough" would be okay to get off the naughty list and onto his nice list. But then he learns that being good enough isn't enough. One needs to believe in Jesus as well. Why? Because He died so everyone could be removed from the naughty list forever.
When I first read this book, I thought it was delightful, and I still do. The author has managed to pare the gospel down to manageable chunks for a child to understand. However, after reading it twice, I feel it has left an essential part of the gospel message out - that of confession and repentance. Without that "turning away from sin" we lose the importance of our response to Jesus' death and resurrection.
But that is not the message of this book. The main message the author is trying to convey to his readers is that you can't get to heaven by being "good enough." No one can, and that is important to know. Santa pretty much added anyone to the nice list if they were "good enough" (even if they were on the naughty list). But then he learns the vital truth of what Jesus did for him, and so this makes for an interesting discussion on Santa becoming born again.
With explanations in the back of the book on certain words (like "reconcile") the author also includes Scripture references and urges both parents and children to look them up for a complete understanding of the Gospel.
I can see this being a perfect gift to give a child this Christmas, accompanied by a children's Bible. Even if you don't believe in Santa Claus, this book is a novel idea that will point children to a relationship with Jesus Christ, and that is a good thing.