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The Christmas Journey    by Donna VanLiere order for
Christmas Journey
by Donna VanLiere
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In The Christmas Journey, Donna VanLiere (bestselling author of the Christmas Hope series) applies both empathy and pragmatism to a beautifully illustrated (by Michael Storrings) retelling of the nativity story.

The Preface gives the brief Biblical account, taken from Luke 2: 1-20 and noting the reason for the journey, that is a census decreed by Caesar Augustus and requiring individuals to travel to their own town to register. Joseph had to go to Bethlehem, 'because he was of the house and line of David.' Mary, who was pledged to marry him and was expecting a child, accompanied him.

In her Introduction, Donna VanLiere comments on the 'full-blown industry' that Christmas has become and asks 'Where has the wonderment gone?' She offers her small volume (written for a church Christmas banquet) as a way to find it again.

She fills in the bare bones of Joseph and Mary's over seventy mile journey with the Nazareth townsfolk's ostracizing of Mary for her pregnancy; the couple's anxiety and uncertainty; the very pregnant Mary's discomfort en route; the affection they show each other; and the birthing pains that end in 'Deity swaddled in the arms of humanity.'

Donna VanLiere's The Christmas Journey is short yet poignant, and does indeed reinvoke the wonderment of the season.

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