Preacher's Night Before Christmas

Overview

It is a chaotic Christmas Eve at Spring Lane Creek Church. The congregation is in a hullabaloo over the details of their service, from the last-minute casting of a baby Jesus for their play, to the unpopular choir robes mandated by the choir director. The tension reaches a crescendo when it is discovered that the copy machine is broken and the programs have not yet been copied.

Pastor McDougall does not know what to do, as no amount of assistance or negotiation seems to help. ...

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Overview

It is a chaotic Christmas Eve at Spring Lane Creek Church. The congregation is in a hullabaloo over the details of their service, from the last-minute casting of a baby Jesus for their play, to the unpopular choir robes mandated by the choir director. The tension reaches a crescendo when it is discovered that the copy machine is broken and the programs have not yet been copied.

Pastor McDougall does not know what to do, as no amount of assistance or negotiation seems to help. When some of the parishioners threaten to quit and go home, Saint Nick arrives in Pastor McDougall's office. Suggesting the pastor open the Bible, Saint Nick reminds him that the true meaning of Christmas is in there--not on the stage or in the service program.

Filled with inspiration, Pastor McDougall rushes out to share Christ's message, but he finds a suddenly calm congregation. All are quiet, many are smiling, and some have even shed a tear. Apologetic and humble about losing sight of the "reason for the season," they acknowledge Christmas as it was meant to be. A pure heavenly light fills the manger as outside they hear sleigh bells ring and Santa's voice announcing this miracle night.

Continuing the tradition of Pelican's signature Night Before Christmas Series, Layne uses humor to send a sincere message that reminds us all of what Christmas truly means.

Steven Layne serves as associate professor of education and literature at Judson College in Elgin, Illinois. He is an internationally known literacy consultant, motivational keynote speaker, and featured author. Dr. Layne's growing collection of Pelican books includes the multiple-award-winning young-adult thriller This Side of Paradise, the picture-book classics The Teachers' Night Before Christmas and The Principal's Night Before Christmas, and the popular gift books Verses for Dad's Heart and Verses for Mom's Heart. He lives with his wife, Debbie; children, Grayson, Victoria, and Jackson; and dog, Snickers, in Saint Charles, Illinois.

Carol Benioff is a native San Franciscan artist and illustrator currently living in Oakland with her two cats. Her work combines digital techniques with traditional printmaking, drawing, and painting mediums.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Adding to their popular Clement C. Moore-inspired books with a Southern setting, Pelican introduces Preacher's Night Before Christmas by Steven L. Layne, illus. by Carol Benioff. Pastor McDougall of the Spring Lane Creek Church finds himself "in quite a lurch" when nearly everything concerning the Nativity play goes awry. Luckily, Santa himself stops by to restore the holiday spirit. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
A small mouse and a cat lead the reader through this Christmas romp. Using Clement Moore's "Night before Christmas" poem as a template, the author has created a behind-the-scenes look at church preparations for the annual Christmas program. I suspect that everyone will be able to identify with the difficulties that often beset even the most loving of congregations. The pastor is trying to juggle all of the situations while remembering the reason for the entire event in the first place. The infant cast as Baby Jesus is ill and the director of the play rejects all of the substitutes as unsuitable—the illustration of her is not very flattering as she looks quite strident and aggravated. The choir director wants the singers to wear traditional black robes, but they want to wear colorful costumes. The office copy machine is not working properly and the volunteers are disgusted with trying to print the evening's programs. And to top it all off, the secretary announces that the preacher needs to go to his office immediately to deal with a fellow claiming to be Santa Claus. After all of this unhappy build up, Santa prompts Pastor McDougall to read from the Bible in order to remind everyone that "this night tells a tale for the ages." Magically, Santa is also visiting the cast and choir and has reminded them that they have "lost sight of the reason we all should rejoice in this glorious season." Of course, everyone finds themselves filled with the Christmas spirit and their troubles are forgotten. Some of the rhyme scheme has to really stretch to make the poem work; but, this twist with Santa reminding the people to think of the birth of Jesus will be read aloud frequently. Children willlove finding the cat and mouse on each page and determining that they are really playful friends.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589803213
  • Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/24/2007
  • Series: Night Before Christmas Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

STEVEN L. LAYNE is a professor at Judson University in Elgin, Illinois, where he also serves as director of the Master of Education in Literacy program. His work has been recognized by organizations such as USA Today, the Milken Family Foundation, and the Illinois Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Carol Benioff is a native San Franciscan artist and illustrator living in Oakland with her two cats. Her work combines digital techniques with traditional printmaking, drawing, and painting mediums.

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