Christmas is a season where adult attention rightly turns toward children. Not only do we celebrate the birth of a child, but we do so in large part with the help of the children in our families and congregations. They remind us of wonder and delight and eager expectation. So I guess it makes sense that this season has prompted a number of reviews and reflections from others about my most recent book, Small Talk: Learning from my Children About What Matters Most, and that it has prompted me to write a number of posts elsewhere that relate the Christmas season to my kids.
Meanwhile, if you're interested in what other people are saying about Small Talk, Jana Reiss at Religion News Service recently wrote:
Amy Julia Becker’s latest book, Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most, would make a terrific holiday gift for parents and anyone who is interested in what children can teach us about God. . . . It's a beautifully written combination of memoir and theology, both accessible and thought-provoking.
And Rachel Marie Stone, a Patheos blogger and Her.meneutics contributor, wrote,
Small Talk, a new book from my friend Amy Julia Becker, is the kind of book that takes the things children say seriously. It’s neither a dour theological tome nor a saccharine-sweet book of “cute things kids say.” It is a theologically astute yet consistently accessible account of a parent’s honest wrestling with questions Big, Medium, and (seemingly) Small—birth and death, Christmas and Easter, laughter and rest. Along the way, conversations—and just plain Life—with her children illuminate and enflesh ideas that in other contexts would remain cerebral; conjectural.
It’s a book that will speak to you right in the middle of diapers and mayhem, and will speak to you even if you’re long past the time of raising kids, and even if you’re not a parent at all. For life and faith with kids turns out to look a lot like life and faith, period.
I also had a chance to speak with Ann Byle in an interview for Publishers Weekly called "Ordinary Grace." She asked what I hope readers will take from the book, and I said:
I want parents to be encouraged, but I also want people who are outside my experience to be glad the book leads them to think about what it means to grow up, to be dependent on God, and to see grace enter our lives in all these rather ordinary moments.
So I hope you will consider purchasing Small Talk as a gift to yourself or for someone else this Christmas, and I hope it will come as a reminder that God's grace is available to us every day, in the most ordinary moments.
(Also, on Monday, Christianity Today is going to run an excerpt from the chapter in Small Talk about Christmas, so be on the lookout if you'd like some thoughts and encouragement about seeing God with us not only in the Nativity scene and church service but even in the tinsel and bows and performances of "Jingle Bell Rock." I'll post a link here when it's available.)