The Innkeeper of Bethlehem by Scott Roloff

Posted 12 January, 2014 by Paige in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Release Date: September 28th 2013
Buy the Book: Amazon
My Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
About the Book:
A Christmas book for children, families, and anyone who has ever wondered how Santa Claus came to be. This book will permit you and your family to enjoy Santa Claus and the other secular customs of Christmas within the Christian celebration of Jesus’s birth. For little children, Santa Claus becomes a real person delivering presents to them from Jesus. Each Christmas season, reading a chapter a night will become a holiday tradition for the entire family.

The tale begins with Shai and Adi, the childless owners of an inn in Bethlehem. When Shai rents out their bedroom, they must sleep in the stable. During the night, Joseph and Mary arrive and Adi helps Mary through a difficult labor. They bond, and when an angel appears telling Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, Shai and Adi go with them and become Jesus’s uncle and aunt.

The book tells of Jesus growing up with his friends Mary Magdalene and John, his ministry, and his death and resurrection. These vignettes teach the lessons of life and the Bible through Jesus’s experiences.

The book concludes with Shai and Adi following the Lord’s Star to the North Pole, where angels have built a palace. Jesus wants Shai and Adi to raise the baby angels there until they reach adulthood. The baby angels, or elves as the grown angels derogatively refer to them, are a mischievous lot. Shai becomes known as Santa Claus when a baby angel mispronounces “Shai, Uncle of Jesus,” claus being the angelic word for uncle.

Jesus also wants to give a present to each boy and girl on his birthday, Christmas Day, a tradition he began during his life when he gave presents to his family. As part of their training, once a baby angel sprouts wings he or she is assigned to watch children and make toys for them. On Christmas Eve, Santa flies the sleigh to heaven to present the new adult angels to God, and then flies around the world delivering Jesus’s presents to the children of the world.

The book is a story within a story, told by a visiting uncle to a little girl and her nephew. Each night before bedtime beginning on December 6th, St. Nicholas’s Day, and continuing through Christmas Eve, the uncle tells part of the story. Instead of numbers, the chapters are titled by day. The book can be read as a normal book or a chapter each day, and it can be read to oneself or out loud to children. When read out loud, the chapter lengths vary between 10 and 15 minutes.

December 6th–The Inn
December 7th–The Birth of Jesus
December 8th–The Flight to Egypt
December 9th–Obeying Your Parents
December 10th–Befriending the Shunned
December 11th–Choices
December 12th–Joseph Dies
December 13th–The Test
December 14th–Perseverance
December 15th–Jesus Preaches
December 16th–Jesus is God
December 17th–The Black Day
December 18th–Easter
December 19th–What It Means to be a Christian
December 20th–The Journey North
December 21st–The Palace at the North Pole
December 22nd–A Day at Santa’s Palace
December 23rd–The Chapel of Light
December 24th–Christmas Eve

Wherever you may live, and by whatever name that you may know him–Santa Claus, Saint Nick, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, Pere Noel or Sinter Klaas–you will never forget the true story of Santa Claus, as you read it every Christmas with your children, who will someday read it every Christmas with their children too

My Review:
I wasn’t sure what to think about this book when Mr. Roloff first contacted me. It was an interesting idea, to say the least. Combining both our Christian version of how Christmas came to be with the story of Santa Claus. Although the story was for the most part quite well written, I just couldn’t bring myself to love it. It was, however, a good story overall.
There were a few little things that bugged me and kept me from loving it, one of which being that the Bible says that Jesus(even as a child!), never sinned, yet there is an instance described in which he disobeys Mary. Despite that, I think this book could definitely be a fun read-a-loud story for families looking to spend time together during the holiday season. I found it, despite the few instances like the one I mentioned, very well thought out.The writing is clear and I feel that there is definitely a place for a story like this. So, again, not a favorite to me but could be very enjoyable to read to an elementary-aged child– it is certainly different than the usual stories you read revolving around St. Nick!
*I received this book for review from the author in exchange for my honest opinion. This in no way affected my thoughts expressed in this review* 

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