At the start of each Advent, my spouse and I individually wrap all of our children’s Christmassy and wintery books and place them underneath our small ‘Advent’ tree decorated with purple and pink glittery bulbs. Each Advent morning our children open one of the wrapped books as a countdown to Christmas. Yes, we own enough Christmas-themed books to open one per day in even the longest Advent season! This year we will add Refuge by Anne Booth and Sam Usher as a gift for Christmas morning.
With beautiful words and artwork, Refuge tells the story of the holy family’s flight to Egypt from the perspective of the donkey and cultivates compassion for refugees today. “And I kept walking, carrying my precious load, and the woman held the baby close to her heart, and she and the man talked, about journeys, and dreams and warnings, and the love of a baby, and the kindness of strangers.” In simplistic eloquence Refuge invites us to talk with our children about the present-day refuge crisis and the experience of refugees forced from their homes. A portion of Refuge’s sale will be donated to USA for UNHCR: the UN Refugee Agency.
Alyssa Pasternak Post lives in Pennsylvania with her husband Jeff and their two young daughters. Both are graduates of Wheeling Jesuit University (2002) and of the University of Dayton (2011), and Alyssa is a former Jesuit Volunteer (Jersey City, NJ – ’02 – ’03). She credits her Appalachian roots, along with experiences of rural poverty in Appalachia and Haiti during college and of urban poverty in Jersey City, as formative in her hopes to parent with justice. She has ministered in Catholic high schools and in parishes, seeking in each locale to live the magis. At present Alyssa is filled with gratitude for a few years of stay-at-home parenting (including a one-year adventure in homeschooling) and is excited as she begins a new full-time ministry among children, youth, and families at an urban Episcopal church.