The Christmas Journey is different than her other books in that it is actually a narrative that she wrote and read at her church's Christmas banquet. It is a elaboration (but not so very) on the story of Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem and Christ's birth.
VanLiere adds some conversations between Joseph and Mary that you won't find in scripture, but she gratefully keeps it at a minimum. (I'm still not sure what I think about fictionalized stories based on Scripture although I'm generally inclined to be suspicious towards them.) I thought VanLiere did a tasteful job just describing the emotions that a teenage mother might feel as she is preparing to give birth to a baby. But this, of course, is not just any baby. It is the Savior of the World.
VanLiere said that she wrote this narrative in order to remind herself and others that the story of the Nativity is not clean and neat. She wanted to remind people that it was a messy birth and it humbled Mary and Joseph. She wanted to describe a scene that wasn't taken over by the modern Christmas industry and fan fare. It's not just about a little Nativity scene that we put up in our homes, or twinkle lights on a Christmas tree. Rather it was dirty, rough and altogether miraculous.
I think she accomplished her goal fairly well. No, this is not a novel. It is a fresh reminder that God came down to earth as a little baby to redeem His people from their sins. Beautifully done!
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER (as selected by random.org) IS #1 - AMY! Congratulations, Amy!