Last year I had an idea that I’d like to read Jostein Gaarder’s The Christmas Mystery to the children. At the time, I read it myself, but decided to hold off reading it to the kids.
The Christmas Mystery is a charming little story, told through an advent calendar, of a girl (Elisabet) who chases a lamb through a department store and across country. On her travels, she meets various figures from the nativity scene and discovers that they are all travelling across time to Bethlehem and the birth of Christ.
The story is told via a little boy, who is given the Advent calendar by an old shopkeeper and told that it is a magic calendar. When Joachim opens the first door on the calendar, a piece of paper falls out and he discovers the story of Elisabet, and each day her journey unfolds and her meetings with new members of the Nativity.
Anyway, I’ve been reading The Christmas Mystery with Rachel for a couple of days now. Granted, we’re a bit behind and need to catch up by a few days if we’re to finish on the 24th December!
I think she’s liking the story so far, as she’s repeating the tale to Lisa and her aunts. In fact, when she was given an advent calendar as a gift, she was a bit disappointed that a piece of paper didn’t fall out!
I’ve since found out that reading The Christmas Mystery has become a family tradition for some people – one review on Amazon.co.uk said:
Our family started reading The Christmas Mystery about 5 years ago and it is now a very special Advent activity and a way to come together as a family in a busy season. While it is a bit confusing at first- the story moves backward through time and geography-it is so rich and has so many layers that it’s absolutely worth reading.
There are bits that obviously confuse Rachel, but I try and skip these or simplify them as best I can. However, after we read the night’s chapter, I ask her to tell me what happened in the story that night, and then we look at the picture on the next chapter to see what the next tale will be about.
If I remember correctly, the end of the tale moved me the last time I read it, so I’m looking forward to Rachel’s reactions! Anyway, I’ll maybe post a few updates here before Christmas!