By Sister Mary Catherine Clark, ASC

Sitting down with a cup of hot tea and enjoying some of my children’s Christmas books is one of my favorite things to do during the Christmas Season. It always brings me “tidings of comfort and joy.”

Some collect angels or bells or nativity sets. I collect Christmas books.

It started when I was a director of religious education and responsible for the Parish School of Religion Christmas program.

What began for a practical reason soon became a deeper and broader pursuit of great children’s books. Their authors get to the heart of the matter with imaginative words and phrases. Some of the best illustrators use their talents for Christmas books. This blend of truth and beauty, of simplicity and surprise tickles my memories of childhood Christmases and awakens wonder and awe in me many decades past the 1950s.

Over the years, I have branched out to include other Christmas books that likewise enrich my celebration of the season, such as “Catholic Digest Christmas Book, 1977” or stories behind favorite carols and customs.

Several years ago, I started sharing my collection by lining them along the base board walls of the school, convent or ministry office and have a lending library so others could read to their children or grandchildren.

Do you have a special Christmas-Epiphany custom or collection?