by Thomas Kinkade
Thomas Nelson Publishers
rating: 5 out of 5
I purchased this little Christmas devotional book in December, 2001 as a special Christmas gift to me. At the time there were two Thomas Kinkade galleries within a 20 minute drive from my house and I would often take a half hour and just go visit. There is just something so serene and soothing about his paintings. When I visited in November, 2001, I noticed this little book and immediately purchased it. This still remains one of my all-time favorite holiday reads.
Now, the book is supposed to be read a little every day -- starting around Thanksgiving and progressing until New Years (there are a total of 35 daily readings), however I rarely have the foresight or discipline to read it in that way. It is usually in mid-December when I remember this book --- when I am totally stressed out and desperately trying to remember the true reason for this joyous season. Once I start to read these pages, however, I am immediately transported to another place in time --- when life is dictated by the tyranny of the urgent.
I like the book because for me it is just the right amount of modern day reality --- the hustle and bustle of the crowds --- the entertaining and baking and decorations in which we all partake -- but somehow the author is able to help me put all those issues in proper perspective. And, as would be expected of a devotional book, he offers in the end a meditative prayer for the day that is worth pondering over a 24 hour period.
The other feature of this book that is truly unique is that it offers some of this artist's most beautiful Christmas paintings. Now, I am not an artist, and know precious little about art appreciation, but I can tell you that it was through this book that I learned how to look closely at a work of art. The painting associated with the beginning of each devotion appears in its entirety -- but at the end of the day's reading there is a smaller image which focuses on only one tiny aspect of that painting. Oftentimes I have spent several minutes viewing both images side by side -- the original and the focus -- and it is a wonderful exercise to help bring me into balance. It has also helped me to focus on the other details in the painting that I have overlooked in my haste to get on with the day's reading.
I am an impatient person to begin with --- always trying to be most efficient with my time. This devotional helps me to realize that taking time to smell the flowers --- or look at the artwork --- is well worth the small investment.
Unfortunately I do not think the book is currently sold in bookstores, although I have noticed that a number of online second hand stores have it available. I highly recommend it!