I will say at the start that I love SO very much about this new book about the wise men and their journey to find Jesus.
First off, it’s fun, and sometimes humorous, with just the right amount of lively rhyming text plus bright illustrations with wonderful details and facial expressions (even on the animals!).
Second, it’s accurate. No, we don’t know how many wise men there were, or how large a company they traveled with, or just how long their had-to-be-long journey was. We don’t know what they looked like. But The Christmas Quest stays true to the biblical facts we do know, including the ones so often ignored:
The star didn’t lead the magi to Jerusalem. It appeared in the sky again as they left the city for Bethlehem. Then the star led them to a house in Bethlehem, not the stable, where they found Jesus, no longer a newborn, with his mother, Mary.
How did the magi know anything at all about Jesus? We don’t know for sure. It’s possible, even likely, that the Jewish Scriptures became known to other ethnic groups while the Jews were in exile in Babylon, far to the east of Israel.
Numbers 24:17, part of a prophecy, says
“I see him, but not here and now.
I perceive him, but far in the distant future.
A star will rise from Jacob;
a scepter will emerge from Israel.”
(I’m told the Hebrew words on the scroll on page 4 of the book are in fact this very verse.)
What motivated the magi to take their quest to find and worship a newborn King? We don’t know that either, but the end of the book suggests:
We bow and gladly give our gifts.
Our hearts could burst with cheer!
Though we were very far away,
Christ Jesus drew us near.
The Christmas Quest
written by Janet Surette, illustrated by Cesaar Samaniego
published by B&H Kids, 2021
casebound board book, 20 pages
Making God’s love known to the next generation,