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The Give-Away: A Christmas Story in the Native American Tradition Hardcover – May, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ray Buckley is the interim Director of the Center for Native American Spirituality and Christian Study. Buckley has served The United Methodist Church as a staff member of The United Methodist Publishing House, Director of the Native People’s Communication Office (UMCom) for nine years, and Director of Connectional Ministries for the Alaska Missionary Conference.

Buckley is the author/illustrator of five books: God’s Love is Like…(1998,Abingdon Press), The Give-Away: A Christmas Story in the Native American Tradition (1999, Abingdon Press), The Wing (2002, Abingdon Press), Christmas Moccasins (2003, Abingdon Press), and Dancing with Words: Storytelling as Legacy, Culture, and Faith (Discipleship Resources, 2003). He is also the author of Creator Sang a Welcoming Song (2007), and Walking in These White Man Shoes (2007), children and youth resources for the Women’s Dvision School of Missions. The Give-Away was selected to appear on the CBS Christmas Eve special, An American Christmas, produced by the National Council of Churches. His stories, poetry, and art have appeared in numerous journals, periodicals, books, and museums.

Buckley has taught in Nigeria, and Ghana, and served as a lecturer in Native American studies for several universities.

Ray Buckley was a keynote speaker at the Jubilee 2000, Cardinal Maeda Institute. At the invitation of the Council of Canadian Catholic Bishops, he has twice appeared on the nationally televised Canadian Catholic Broadcasting Corporation’s Lenten series. In July 2001, Ray was a keynote speaker at the General Synod of the UCC/Disciples of Christ General Assembly. In 2003, 2004, and 2007, Mr. Buckley was a guest lecturer at the Pontifical Biblical Institute of the Vatican.

Ray was chosen as the Howard Preacher for Phillip’s Theological Seminary, delivered the McDonald Lecture Series (New Mexico), and the Ira Galloway Lecture Series (Peoria, IL). Buckley was one of five keynote speakers at Youth 2007 (SPLAT), sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship.

Ray Buckley is one of several Native leaders profiled in As Long As the Waters Flow: Native Americans in the South and East, by Frye Gillard, and The Power of Eagles: Natures Way to Individual Accomplishment, by Twyman L. Towery.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (May 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0687071860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0687071869
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #413,489 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dan Griffiths on November 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I became aware of this book yesterday when I heard Ray Buckley read it at a Christmas Tea & Tree for the Red Bird Missionary Conference. The book touched the hearts of each of those present. Small children, youth and adults were warmed with the story.
The Give-Away is for all families, with children and without. It would be an excellent resource to give to families that do not attend church.
Ray re-presents God's story of love and self-giving by sharing from his tradition the story of giving.
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Format: Hardcover
Both the illustrations and the story are wonderful. The book artfully combines Native American spirituality aspects with Christian aspects. I used this book in a "children's church" class at our Native American / Catholic church at Christmas. The kids loved the story and afterwards made a collage of Jesus in the manager surrounded by all the animals mentioned in the story. The book could be used during Easter as well or during a discussion about Native American give-aways.
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Format: Hardcover
This Christmas picture book is a powerful telling of God's plan for the birth of Jesus. The story is told as a folktale and based on the Native American tradition of give-aways. In this story, the oldest and wisest of every walking and flying animal gather in the oldest forest to to discuss the state of humanity. They recognize how humans have forgotten their connections with God, each other, the animals, and the Earth. Then, the wise turtle proclaims that she will give of herself - her shell - and in her giving, she hopes that humans will be reminded of who they are in connection with all creation. The other animals follow her lead and offer to give the "most costly portion of themselves."

But then, God, called "the Creator," appears and warns the animals that the humans will not know that the animals have given these gifts. Instead, the humans will believe that they have taken from creation as demonstration of their power. The Creator offers the solution: He must give himself away. The Creator says, "I must choose to become small, so that they can choose to know me large." The Creator then explains that he will come to Earth as a baby bringing light, hope, and love. The story really shows its power at the end when the oldest tree asks how it can give to this baby, and the Creator answers that the tree will be his support and place of rest at the beginning and the end. The final page reads that the oldest tree wept, "partly for joy and partly for sorrow," as many of us may feel at the news of Jesus' birth and death.

This story gives some insight into the purpose of Jesus' life - to reconnect humanity to God and all of his creation. It shows how all of creation supports each other and God designed us to work in harmony together.
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Such a great story and the artwork is beautiful. I read this to the congregation at the Christmas Eve service. It opens the reader up to a different perspective on the typical birth narrative stories. Highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover
The best book I have ever read regarding the birth of Christ from an aboriginal viewpoint. Those in the pulpit need to move over and make room.
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Format: Hardcover
The Give-Away is beautifully written and illustrated. Mr. Buckley's story is simply the story of Christmas, based on the tradition shared by many Native people known as 'the give-away." A friend recommended this book and I share that recommendation with you. The Native people have much to teach in their tradition of the give-away.
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If this delightful Native American perspective on Christmas were to be reprinted, I would buy a copy for every child I know. The tale is fresh and poignant. The illustrations engaging. Thank you Ray Buckley for creating this storybook for all ages.
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Format: Hardcover
I worked at the GM assembly plant at Willow Run Mi. for over 30 years and wrote two books about my life there. BEEN THERE AND MORE OF BEEN THERE. All together different stories. Ray Buckley has outdid me. His book, The Give-way held my interest all the way thru. I'll look forward to seeing more of his work. I might learn more about story telling.
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