As Christmas Eve approaches, the Advent calendar door opens to reveal The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. This is the one book that each of my three urchins insisted had to be included as part of our favorite Christmas book memories. The tall boy even texted me special from college, just to make sure I was including it on my list. It's wonderful.
Jonathan Toomey is a carpenter who has experienced a great sadness. When a widow and her young son move into his town and commission the carving of a new Nativity set, he initially rejects every one of their overtures of friendship. But as the figurines that make up the Nativity scene are brought to life through his skill as a carver, he finds that his heart has made room to welcome the kindness of these two new friends.
I have given this book as a gift to so many of my family's friends. The universal report back is, "This is the most wonderful Christmas story! Maybe someday I'll be able to read it to my kids without getting a lump in my throat." Maybe -- but I doubt it.