Shhhh! Can you keep a secret? I found the most amazing book to give to my children this year for Christmas. It’s called ‘Christmas from Heaven: A Gift That Changed the World’ and it is the sweetest story! (image from here) Last year I attended the annual Christmas Concert of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir held at Temple Square in Salt Lake City where The Berlin Candy Bomber (Gail “Hal’ Halvorsen) was introduced. The story was narrated by Tom Brokaw and is based on the true story of a US Army Air Corp pilot, known as The Berlin Candy Bomber, giving candy – and hope – to the children of war-worn Berlin.
I know….it doesn’t sound like your typical Christmas story. But, as Tom Brokaw says, “This is the real spirit of Christmas — to give whatever we have, no matter how small the gift may be.”
So how did a pilot inspire such hope? Apparently Lt. Halvorsen, who is 92 years old and was introduced at the concert, was assigned to the Berlin Airlift, bringing supplies into Soviet-blockaded Berlin during World War II. As he performed his duties, he began to notice the German children gathered by the fences of Tempelhof Air Base. These kids didn’t ask for anything and they had so little. One day Lt. Halvorsen offered them some chewing gum and he could see it meant the world to them. From that small act, an idea sprang: He would “bomb” Berlin with candy. Fashioning small parachutes, he and his crew sent them floating down as they approached the Berlin airport, wiggling the wings of their C-54 as a signal to the children that their anticipated cargo would soon arrive.
Lt. Halvorsen became known by hundreds, if not thousands, of children in Berlin as “Uncle Wiggly Wings” or “The Candy Bomber.” Word soon spread, and donations of candy and other supplies poured in from sympathetic Americans. Lt. Halvorsen’s small idea became a great symbol of hope not only to German children in a bombed-out city but to all those who yearned for freedom.
As Tom Brokaw finished his reading of the story at the conference, hundreds of “Candy Bomber” parachutes began to fall. It was pretty magical. I LOVED it!!
The book has a mix of beautifully painted images and black and white photos. Every copy comes with an accompanying DVD of a live performance of the book narrated by Tom Brokaw with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Also included in the book is a template and directions for creating your own “Candy Bomber” parachutes.
Lt. Halvorsen said, “Two sticks of gum changed my life forever. Through the years I’ve had many wonderful gifts, but … they pale in comparison to the fulfillment and the happiness of serving others, giving outside of oneself.”
Seriously, this book is amazing and so inspirational! I love the message that the gifts we give can have such lasting impressions and that they don’t need to cost a lot of money or even come from a store. Guess what book I will be purchasing for my family and placing in these?? It’s a Christmas tradition!
When I contacted the publishing company about their amazing book, they shared with me another of their new products: a set of 12 pewter-finish ornaments depicting the biblical names of Christ. I wasn’t sure what to expect from that description. I have to admit that I find some faith-based holiday decorations to be tacky. But these are tastefully done. Each ornament has an accompanying scripture verse that would work great for a “12 Days of Christmas” Countdown. As for me, I have them hanging in my entryway on pine garland that goes up my stairs. I think they are a nice reminder that Christ is the BEST Christmas gift and the reason for the season.
Biblical Names of Christ Ornament Set can be purchased online though the Deseret Book Store.