Thursday, January 08, 2009

Keeping Holiday

Keeping Holiday, Starr Meade
(Crossway, 2008), pb., 192 pp.
Ages 6+

I got a copy of this book several months ago but waited for Christmas to read it to my children. We enjoyed it. It is sort of a “Pilgrim’s Progress meets Christmas.”

In the story Holiday is a resort where many families come for vacation. The people who come to Holiday enjoy it very much. The main character, Dylan, has always enjoyed his family’s visits to Holiday. One year, however, he discovers that the Holiday he knows is only an image of the real Holiday which is greater, deeper and more wonderful. This leads him on a quest with his cousin, Clare, to find the real Holiday. Along the way he learns about the Founder of Holiday and the more he learns he begins to long to know this Founder even more than he longs to enjoy the blessings of Holiday.

Holiday in the book is easily recognizable as Christmas and the real Holiday is a relationship with Christ and ultimately heaven. The story is then a parable of the process of conversion as Dylan discovers the reality of Holiday and then begins searching for it (thus the comparison to Pilgrim’s Progress). Many good points are made along the way such as the difficulty of pursuing salvation, how others will seek to dissuade you, the fact that you can’t earn salvation, the depth of sin in our hearts (no better than others), our need for grace, and the reality that individuals experience this journey differently (though the gospel is constant, conversion experiences vary widely).

Human responsibility is affirmed while also holding up the sovereignty of God. As Dylan learns that only the Founder can authorize him to be a part of Holiday, he longs to find this Founder. Along the way he often expresses his desire to find the Founder only to be told, by various individuals:

You can’t find the Founder,
He finds you.
He’s not just the Founder,
He’s the Finder too!

This ditty is repeated often so that it becomes humorous, while affirming a key truth.

This is a fun story with a good message. It calls children to Christ without reducing conversion to artificial steps. It affirms our need of grace while also calling for response. We gladly recommend this book to you.

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