I have a unique book to review today. It is a book and CD combo entitled, Jeremy’s Christmas Journey by Scott A. Johnson. The music was composed by Lyle Hadlock, Julie Hawkins and Jonah Hadlock.
Jeremy is a youth confined to wheelchair after a horrible car crash. He is spending Christmas looking out his bedroom window envious of the children outside running and playing in the snow. He tries to cheer himself up when his grandparents arrive to celebrate Christmas Eve dinner but, he just can rise out of his doldrums.
That evening he goes to bed dejected, wondering how his parents and grandparents can have so much faith in Jesus Christ. As he sleeps, he dreams, and suddenly he finds himself in a courtroom in Israel. He realizes he is in the past, several years after Jesus’ crucifixion, and a trial is being held to ruin Jesus’ reputation.
During the trial Jeremy listens to the testimony of several witnesses including, Mary, the mother of Jesus, James, his brother, Lazarus and more. Each testimony is a song that can be listened to on CD. As Jeremy listens, his heart is opened, until finally he realizes he has a strong testimony himself and a desire to live a better life. And of course, there is a miracle twist.
Let’s start with the book. It is a quick and simple read, however the music added to the story is about 35 mins. long. It is a beautiful story of a youth gaining his own testimony of Jesus Christ and realizing why Christmas is such a special time of year.
I found it very interesting that the story is told by an omnipresent narrator. This style worked well because the narrator injects feelings and circumstances a reader would not catch from first of third person. I did have a couple criticisms. First off, the story is about a kid, but you really can’t tell how old he is until the end of the book when it’s mentioned that he is in middle school. Jeremy’s voice is much older, and because of the interjections of the narrator, I felt the language often seemed too mature.
I also found the first 20 pages or so of the book a bit overwhelming with Jeremy’s expressions of depression and sorrow. I understood the situation quickly, and then it just kept going on and on. I think what did touch me was Jeremy inability to understand how his parents thought he was a miracle, and that they treasured each day with him. Jeremy, on the other hand, often thought living was a curse and wished he’d just died. As a parent it made my heartache.
The music that goes along with the story is emotional and beautifully done. The instrumentals really struck me as well written and played. Sometimes I did think that the words didn't flow as well as they should have, but overall, the music adds a testimony to the story all its own.
This is a real Christmas treat. If you are looking for something new to celebrate the Savior, you should check out this combo. It can be purchased as only a book too.