Anna’s New Bible

Jesus, Mary, and the shepherds.

The Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656)

Anna is preparing for her First Communion this year. She’s also attends an after-school program run by a neighborhood church. And we’ve gotten back into the good habit of praying with her each night. So it’s not surprising that she recently asked us for a bible of her own.

We have a lot of bibles in our house. A large wedding bible, a keepsake bible from Anna’s Godparents for her baptism, Julia’s old The Way bible from college, and my big collection of various Catholic, Orthodox, and ecumenical bibles. But Anna didn’t have a bible of her own that she could sit down and read herself.

(It’s hard to sit down and read the Bible when you’re an adult, let alone when you’re a not-quite eight-year-old kid. Where do you begin?)

What I wanted to buy her was a book of bible stories, that skipped the pages of genealogies and ordinances and all the other stuff that often gets skipped. A book that she could read herself with just a little guidance.

My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories

I found it in My Big Book of Catholic Bible Stories. A wide selection of self-contained stories from the Old and New Testaments (including Deuterocanonical books) arranged in an order that conveys a coherent salvation narrative from start to finish.

The stories are all taken from the Catholic edition of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, an authorized, scholarly, and easy-to-read translation that I know well from my days in the Episcopal Church. Each passage includes a prayer and suggestions for further reading (both from the Bible and the Catechism) and activities. All the traditional Catholic prayers that Anna is learning through her sacramental preparation are included as well.

We gave Anna her Bible last night and she was delighted with it. Then, after said our nightly prayers, we read the Christmas story (Luke 2:1-16) together. With only a week to go, it was a nice reminder of what Christmas is really about.

After the story, Anna read the short concluding prayer.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being born into our world as one of us. Help us to be like the shepherds and come with haste to worship you. Amen.

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