Thursday, December 22, 2016

Book Review: Mortimer's Christmas Manger

Mortimer's Christmas Manger. Karma Wilson. Illustrated by Jane Chapman. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: In a big house lived a wee mouse named Mortimer. He dwelled in a dark hole under the stairs. Nobody ever noticed little Mortimer. And Mortimer liked it that way. But he didn't like his hole. "Too cold. Too cramped. Too creepy," squeaked Mortimer.

Premise/plot: Mortimer is in search of a new home, a better home. To his surprise, he finds such a home…easily. But it's a home filled with statues. There is even a statue of a baby of all things?! The baby is easily shoved OUT of the way. And Mortimer settles into a MOUSE-SIZE bed, happy at last. But will that happiness last? And why do the humans keep putting the statues back up day after day?!

My thoughts: When Mortimer encounters Jesus (Or "statue-baby-Jesus") for the first time, his response was quick: THERE'S NO ROOM FOR YOU HERE, OUT YOU GO. I think Mortimer's response is the natural human response to the actual Jesus. People may "have room" for baby Jesus a couple of days each December. Shoved in amongst other activities or festivities. But is there a place for Jesus in their actual lives, year round? Not just the baby Jesus, the harmless, inoffensive Jesus. But the born-to-die, Savior-Rescuer. (Jesus can't be squeezed into little corners, little pockets of our lives. He's the LORD of the universe.  But I digress.) 

Mortimer has a second encounter with Jesus. This time it's the Jesus of the Word. He overhears the family reading the Christmas story. He learns who Jesus is, he learns what Jesus came to do. This changes everything…for Mortimer. Jesus must come. He must go. They can't both sleep in the manger. And Mortimer surrenders what was never really "his" to Jesus. He also offers up a prayer. 

The story has a happy ending because the family has been busy making a gingerbread house. Of course Mortimer thinks it's a direct answer to his prayers! 

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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