Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Book Review: ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas by Glenys Nellist

We saw snow on Sunday in Kentucky. Actual white flakes fell from the sky. Apparently the weather is not heeding by the “no Christmas until Thanksgiving” rule that I grew up with because the mere sight of snow sent my children, particularly my youngest, into a Christmas tizzy.

Okay, fine, I’ll admit it. I too get a little bit of that excitement when I saw the snow falling. I love Christmas. But more precisely, I love Advent. I love the anticipation; the time leading up to our celebration of Christ’s birth. Now, I realize that likely Jesus wasn’t born on December 25 and that the background of the holiday was decidedly pagan and that the Wise Man have their own holiday (Epiphany) for a reason and … all those things.

But for us, Christmas IS actually the celebration of Christ’s birth.

We anticipate that moment. We talk about why He came. We talk about the miracle of His birth. We talk about how heaven came to earth; how God became man and walked around us, fully God and fully man. How He chose to come as an infant, wrapped in frail flesh, carrying within Him the hope of the world.

I realize, of course, that not everyone who celebrates Christmas does so with this particular anticipation. In fact, many do not really await the chance to celebrate Christ’s birthday but rather just anticipate the arrival of a jolly red-suited fellow with white whiskers and a sack full of presents. There are many traditions in our current celebration that have little to do with anticipating Christ’s birth and much more to do with a modern celebration of a holiday.

But, let’s look at that for just one moment. When Christ came into the world, He came with a purpose – redemption. Rather than discard the world, He redeemed it. And I happen to think we, as His followers, can do that same, if we so desire.


I think that’s exactly what my friend Glenys Nellist had in mind when she wrote ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas. I know a lot of people that like to read the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas on, well, the night before Christmas – Christmas Eve. The traditional poem is all about that latter anticipation – waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. It’s pretty much impossible to grow up in modern Western civilization and not hear this poem at some point. It’s as familiar as candy canes and caroling.

But it doesn’t really capture what we wait for. It doesn’t point us to our much-anticipated moment. It doesn’t lead us to Jesus. 

Twas The Evening Cover

So Glenys redeemed it. ‘Twas the Evening of Christmas has the same rhythm, the same cadence, the same comfortable traditional Christmas Eve feel but it leads us to a manger, to a moment, to what we celebrate at Christmas.  My favorite line is when Jesus is born and and animals take notice that this is nor ordinary birth.

“Up jumped the cows, and the oxen and sheep. Up popped the pigeons, aroused from their sleep. They all came to gaze at the small baby boy, As his mama and papa hugged him with joy.”

Our family loves the idea of redemption. The lights of Christmas remind us that the Light of the World has come. The evergreen tree reminds us that we’ve been given the gift of eternal life. The shadow of the needles on the ceiling remind of us the crown of thorns that Jesus would one day wear for us.

If reading the poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is a tradition in your home, why not use this simple story to redeem that moment too?  It’s a chance, a simple way, to remember what Christmas is all about for those of us who follow Jesus, the Messiah, our Savior.

(If you’d like to know more about the book and author click here and to read future reviews, go to . Interested in getting your own copy?  Comment below or on Facebook by November 6 to be entered to win a free copy!  Last year I got to share about her book Christmas Love Letters from God which makes for a great Advent Journey for young children; you can read that review here)

For more information about

Check out to ReFocus Ministry or “like” our Facebook page. Join our conversation at theReFocus Family and Intergen Ministry group on Facebook.

About this Blog


Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family and  Seedbed


  • Tamila Brode
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I LOVE this! What a great tradition to start 🙂

  • Tammy M.
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    What a wonderful book! I watched the youtube video, and her voice was so calm and soothing. It was just Wonderful!

  • Glenys Nellist
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 11:44 pm

    Thank you, Christina, for the lovely review of my new book. I so appreciate it.

  • Jeffrey Dick
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Sounds wonderful. Look forward to reading this book

  • Trackback: Thanksgiving in the Woods: Book Review and Giveaway | Glenys Nellist
  • Christine H.
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    Thank you for your wonderful description of another of Glenys’ beautiful, faith-filled books. Both of you are an inspiration. Blessings, Christine

  • Tori Von Leer
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:29 pm

    Would love to have this book for our library! Thanks Glenys for another amazing book.

  • Diane Buie
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Glenys, I love the title of your book and again, the illustrations are bright, lively, and full of fun! Just what Christmas should be- well, it is that, isn’t it?! 🙂 Thanks again for a chance at your give away!

  • Marcee Rogers
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing your review of the book. I look forward to reading it and sharing it with the families in my church.

  • Joyce wideman
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I know this will be an amazing book…it’s written by a great author!!

  • Jen Seibel
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    I would love to get this book to share with all of our kids at Bethany UMC in Austin!

  • Rev. Marianne Emig Carr
    Posted November 3, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    This sounds lovely – would love to read this as part of our Christmas Eve service to the children (big and small!)

  • Donna Hagerty
    Posted November 3, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    My son is marrying a young woman who has two adorable daughters. I will buy this book as a gift for them to share on Christmas Evening to start their tradition as a family.

  • Meredith
    Posted November 3, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    Wonderful! I would love to read this with my kids and the kids in our church.

    Our family tradition for the last three years has been the Jesse Tree, using Ann Voskamp’s book “Unwrapping the Greatest Gift”. It’s definitely enriched our experience of Advent!

  • Niki Hoyt
    Posted November 3, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    What a beautiful idea!

  • Stacey Hartman
    Posted November 3, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    I would love a copy. We have been looking for a new book to read as an outreach to our preschool.

  • Joanna
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    This sounds like such an interesting book! Thanks for bringing it & Christmas Love Letters to our attention! I think I would love to have a the book to share with the children I minister to. Just one question- Is the book scripturally accurate? For instance does it have the Wiseman at the manger or house? Thank you!

  • Danielle Christy
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    This sounds like a fabulous book!!

  • Jennifer
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 10:58 pm

    This looks like a beautiful book!

  • Shar Carpenter
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 12:59 am

    Sounds like one I would love to share in kids church

  • Lane McLoud
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 1:00 am

    Would love this bookfor my new grandson!

  • Vanessa
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway! Merry Christmas!

Leave a comment


We're made for connection. What is keeping us apart?

Take the Connect Generations Assessment and identify the bridges and barriers to discipleship in your church