"Christmas is the world's biggest birthday party, for everybody in the world is invited to join in. That's why the party has lasted for so many years."
Fifty years ago a girl disappeared from her home in Norway. She ran after a lamb and found herself travelling right across Europe to Palestine, and back through 2,000 years to meet the Holy Family in Bethlehem. There Elisabet met angels (Ephiriel, Impuriel, Seraphiel, Cherubiel and Evangeliel), shepherds (Joshua, Jacob, Isaac and Daniel), wise men (Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior) and other biblical characters (Quirinius, the Governor of Syria and Augustus, Emperor of the Roman Empire) who joined her on her pilgrimage. "We'll also welcome the baby Jesus into the world. He was called God's lamb, because He was just as kind and innocent as the little lamb's fleece is soft. We have to travel two thousand years backwards in time to the moment when Jesus was born."
In present-day Norway, a boy acquires a strange old Advent calendar. Hidden in each of the windows is a tiny piece of paper. Little by little these pieces unfold the girl's story and as we learn what happened to her, another story is revealed - that of the strange old man who made the calendar. Indeed this is a novel way of re-introducing Christmas in one's reading list not only because of the season but because it is creative, entertaining and informative.
Gaarder tells the most famous story in the world freshly, every chapter containing his characteristic twists and turns. Like "Sophie's World" it's a children's book that can be read by adults, and it could even be read together through the advent period, day by day. "There are two ways of becoming wise. One is to travel out into the world and see as much as possible of God's creation. The other is to put down roots in one spot and to study everything that happens there in as much detail as you can. The trouble is that it's impossible to do both at the same time."
Title The Christmas Mystery
Author Jostein Gaarder
Reviewed By Purplycookie