A Children’s Upside-Down Christmas Book Is Born

by Beth Gully


12 years after I created the Santa/Jesus ambigram art a friend gave me the idea to create a children’s book.

“Hmmm”, I thought. Could it even be possible?
One picture is hard enough, but could I come up with 10 or more pictures?

So, filled with excitement, I began sketching on a napkin in the restaurant where she and I were dining. We both gasped when I drew two scribbles. One line was a long curvy horizontal line, and the other line was a short arc up above the longer line. We could envision santa’s sleigh and reindeers flying far away in the sky and upside down we could see Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem.

That was a memorable ‘AHA’ moment.

It took 15 months to create all the sketches for the pages and I was ready to find someone to create the final pictures for print.

But I found God had a different idea. I prayed to see how God would lead me to find the perfect illustrator, and within 24 hours God gave me three distinct messages, one message was from a friend, one from my husband, and yet another from a friend’s son. The message they shared with me was that they felt I was supposed to create the final art for the book.

You would have thought this confirmation would have encouraged me to move ahead, but instead, it held me back. I was afraid. I didn’t think I was good enough to do it, and so I let it sit another 4 years while my guilt grew and my heart grew heavy.

Then one day, I read the parable in the Bible about the three men that were given three different talents (a kind of money) to keep safe while their boss was away. That woke me up. I felt like God was telling me not be like the man that had buried his talent but to finish my book so He can use it to teach children about the real Christmas story.

After dragging my feet for 4 years, I was suddenly inspired to finish the book!

God had given me the ability to create the sketches so why wouldn’t He give me the ability to create the final art for the book? Knowing that He wanted me to illustrate them filled me with joy instead of dread, and my guilt vanished.

Now, my faith was stronger than my fear.

Being obedient to God isn’t easy but that’s what He wants from us. Even though I wasn’t obedient four years earlier, He was working in me during those years to prepare me for the journey ahead. Even if we feel like we’ve failed God, He will always use our mess ups for good. I believe His timing is perfect. And I now can share His story of His birth in an upside-down book that touches all generations and families.

Read: Matthew 25: 15-29

Dear Lord, thank You for your perfect timing and forgiving us when we fail to follow Your perfect lead. Help us to know that You will take care of us in ways that we could never even imagine. Thank You for all the gifts You give to us. Amen.

Beth Gully

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