Finding the Foundations of Faith through The Reception of A Sacrament by Young Ones, Depicted in a Picture Book.
Grosset and Dunlap author, Natasha Wing, ably and artistically accompanied by Amy Wummer, have found the formula for a Best Selling series for picture book readers in “The Night Before books.”
The eves of important days are usually filled with the hustle and bustle of preparation, along with family traditions, that are centered on the gathering of relatives and friends with kids as eager participants.
In the time of a pandemic, these traditions and dependable days are manna from heaven for children looking for normality when structures they look to for predictability, schedules and comfort, are in free fall because of Covid-19.
Recently, I passed a Catholic church in our town and there, in an niche with a statue dedicated to the Blessed Mother, was a father, camera at the ready, along with what I would assume was his daughter, posing for a picture before her First Communion.
It was a sweet and innocent sight amid the 24/7 news cycles and social media sometimes filled with the dire and doomed. Held in August at this particular church, while First Communion is usually in the month of May, there still was a sense of deep devotion, even though the usual time of observance was off by several months because of the closing of churches.
What I saw, as I passed, was a moment in time; although not the night before, but moments before this seven year old girl would receive for the first time, Jesus, in the palm of her hand.
It’s a moment most children of the Catholic faith will never forget.
Natasha Wing captures the excitement and preparation for this sacrament through the experience of one family’s brother and sister. What is so wonderful is the lead up to the reception of First Communion.
That story is not watered down or side stepped
The spiritual preparation and its import in receiving Jesus for the first time is clearly and devotedly emphasized.
And the nervousness and pre-reception of the sacerament jitters are there as well, but they are calmed in a most lovely way:
“I cupped my hands,
but they shook even more.
What if I drop the Host on the floor?
Then looking around,
What did my wondering eyes see
but the gentle Lord Jesus
looking down upon me.
His eyes almost seemed
to gaze into mine.
And I knew right then,
It all would be fine.
After the ceremony, home again, for the opening of presents of rosary beads, Bibles and a cross from godmother, Rosa.
Young readers who are about to receive First Communion will enjoy this picture book, and it may even be given as a gift prior to reception in the way of a preview of what to expect and what will lovingly occur… minus fear.
Much later, at bedtime,
Mom tucked us in tight.
“Happy First Communion to you.
God bless and good night.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself!
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