David Nicholson, a retired teacher and short-term missionary, has taken a tale that was written more than 75 years ago and given it new life—If He Had Not Come. This is a short story, covering just 14 pages of this 40-page hardcover book. Written originally by Nan Weeks, David heard it in his adult Sunday School class and read it over and over again to his family at Christmastime.
Though If He Had Not Come is written so that children as young as 6 can fully understand it and be fascinated by the concept, older children and adults will be captivated by the proposition—what would life be like for us all if Jesus had never come to earth? This idea is reminiscent of George Bailey in It's A Wonderful Life, except George wishes he had never been born. In this book, we are given a glimpse, albeit a small one, into what life would be like if Jesus had not come to earth as a baby, if God had not made the way of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ.
The premise set forth in this book is a very interesting and thought-provoking one, but I would have loved it if it were longer. I understand that David was taking Nan Weeks' story and reintroducing it, but so much more could be added to it. I also found it odd that all throughout the town there were signs that said, "If He Had Not Come." My kids and I just kept thinking, "If He had not come, there wouldn't be signs that said, 'If He Had Not Come.'" There also wouldn't be a gate standing where the Children's Home once stood. It would have never been there in the first place. I suppose if it is just a dream, anything can happen. It just seemed a little inconsistent to me and my kids.
The illustrations are done well. They provide a rustic touch to this reintroduction of a 75-year-old story.
Probably the best thing about this book, in my opinion, is what is found after the story has ended. David Nicholson provides interactive topics for families and Sunday School teachers. These six topics encourage discussion about Scripture, our thoughts and feelings, and the way things are today compared to when the book was originally written.
There is a page called "Going Deeper." This was written by Josh Mulvihill, a pastor in Minnesota. He delves into Scripture to help us find out why Jesus did come to earth and what it would mean for us if He had not come. Lastly, the Gospel message is presented, in the ABC format—Admit you are a sinner separated from a perfect God, Believe in your heart that Jesus is Savior, and Confess with your mouth and receive God's gift of salvation. There is also a prayer of salvation on the bottom of the page.
If He Had Not Come is a full-color, 8.5 x 11 book. It retails for $18.95 for the hardcover edition and also sells as an e-Book for $3.99.