The Strangers at the Manger, by the talented Lisa Hendey.
The Strangers at the Manger is Volume #5 in The Chime Travelers series. The book is approximately 140 pages and is a steal at $7. The story begins with the children getting ready to go on Christmas break from school. As they are dismissing, they see the parish priest welcoming a new, poorer immigrant family. The protagonists (Katie and Patrick) immediately begin to judge the family, based on both looks and smell. This was both surprising and disappointing to me. Both Katie and Patrick have been on several time traveling missions in the past to Biblical days. You figure they would have been a bit more pious after this, but I have to remind myself they are just kids, and nobody is perfect. Back to the story.
Later in the story, the children are helping to clean and decorate the church for Christmas. While doing so, they are transported back in time to just before Jesus' Nativity. They meet Joseph and Mary and accompany them on their way to Bethlehem. They help them find a cave to stay in from a kind innkeeper. They get to witness the shepherds, wise men, Jesus' presentation in the Temple, and just every day life of the Holy Family. The story ends with them going back to the present day and being kinder and more welcoming to this new family.
Lisa Hendey does a remarkable job of bringing out the true meaning of Christmas in her book. She shows us that we all have room to grow and improve of our treatment to others, and also encourages us to see Christ in everyone we meet. My favorite part of this story was her portrayal of Mary and Joseph. It would have been so easy to paint them as walking around solemn and holy with halos over their head. Instead, she shows us that they were humans just like us. The biggest difference between them and us though was their total trust in God and His plan. I highly recommend this book and the rest of the series for you and your children.
This book was provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review.