One of my absolute favourite things about the Catholic Church is the saints. One of the things I want my kids to know about the saints is that not only were they ordinary men and women (and boys and girls!) who lived out their faith in amazing ways, they still help us today. We recognize them as saints because they are in heaven praying for us and we’ve seen the results of their intercession through miracles here on earth. Gracie Jagla’s book The Night the Saints Saved Christmas is a fun story about all our favourite saints that also demonstrates their concern for matters here on earth.
I received this book for review courtesy of the author; all opinions expressed remain my own. This post contains affiliate links; as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purhcases.
The Night the Saints Saved Christmas
What if St. Nicholas got sick on Christmas Eve? That’s a question I’m sure every child has wondered. And that’s just what happens in The Night the Saints Saved Christmas. St. Nicholas has a cold and can’t deliver the presents. So the “saints gathered round, shook their heavenly heads. If only another could bring gifts instead.”
The saints offer to help St. Nicholas deliver presents. Each of them takes the gifts to the children in their homeland—St. Lucy to Italy, St. Maximilian Kolbe to Poland, St. Martin de Porres to Peru. And since they don’t know how to drive St. Nick’s sleigh, they deliver the presents their own way. On skis, on horeseback, on foot, the saints get the presents to each girl and boy.
The illustrations by Michael Corsini really bring this story and each saint alive. I had just as much fun as the kids did in looking at the pictures and figuring out who the saints were. While often we focus on the spiritual side of the saints, this story shows their fun side; St. John Paul II skis and Bl. Pier Giorgio rock climbs. Not every saint pictured in the illustrations is named in the story; see if you can figure out the saints on the back cover!
Why Christmas Gifts?
This isn’t just a story about St. Nicholas and the saints. While it’s fun to see how each saint travels, and to anticipate the gifts arriving at each home, Jagla explains just why Christmas is associated with gift giving:
The gifts are a symbol
of God’s glorious love —
sent from above.
The Night the Saints Saved Christmas shows the saints up in heaven, yet aware of events on earth. They come here to show us that God isn’t far off and distant, but “loving you through every night and each day.” Just as we parents like to give our children gifts and see their faces light up on Christmas morning, so also does our Heavenly Father want to shower us with His love. And the saints help him do that, as they listen to our prayers and carry our needs before Our Father.
Santa Claus and St. Nicholas
I really liked the way Jagla melds the stories of Santa and Claus and St. Nicholas. We don’t have many books about Santa Claus in our home because we don’t do Santa Claus here. Our children have known from a very young age that Santa Claus is fictional and that family and friends give them their presents. We do celebrate St. Nicholas day, and often talk about how St. Nicholas is the inspiration for the modern-day Santa Claus.
I loved how The Night the Saints Saved Christmas affirms Sant Claus’s sainthood! As you may know, “Santa Claus” comes from the Dutch for St. Nicholas. This book acknowledges the popular western custom of attributing Christmas gifts to St. Nicholas without undermining the true meaning of Christmas. ~ Brittany Inzeo from Good Books for Catholic Kids
More about Gracie Jagla
Through her writing, Gracie Jagla brings the fun to the Faith. Infusing a little imagination into the Catholic tradition, she seeks to help children and their parents meet Jesus and make God smile in the process. Gracie and her husband have two daughters. Gracie is a regular contributor at CatholicMom.com. She is also the author of God the Father and the Best Day Ever, a beautiful Easter story. Follow her on Instagram for book updates, cute baby pictures, and giveaways.