As a book reviewer, Christmas is a confusing time of the year, mostly because I start reading Christmas books normally in September. Each year publishers produce different Christmas books to help you think about Christmas. Some books are designed to give away to non-Christian friends and family, others are to help you over advent reflect more on the birth of Christ. I’d like to present four different resources for you, one to giveaway, and three advent readings (one for the whole family).
The Four Emotions of Christmas by Bob Lepine
This little book by Bob Lepine (63 pages) is a great giveaway that takes a slightly different angle than other Christmas books that I’ve reviewed. Instead of focusing on some of the objections that non-Christians might have, Bob taps into the common experience that many people have with their emotions over the Christmas period. Christmas isn’t always the easiest time for people, whether that’s because some loved ones aren’t around anymore, or just the tensions of big family gatherings. In this short book Lepine takes you through the emotions of disappointment, stress, sadness and joy. He helps you think about what these emotions highlight and how the birth of Jesus can help you deal with and think more holistically about those emotions. This would be a great soft-giveway that I think most non-Christians would happily read, a great conversation starter!
Gifts of Grace by Jared Wilson
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. If you’ve read any of Wilson’s stuff before you’ll know that he is a very gifted writer and if you haven’t read any of his stuff yet, you really should! In this advent devotional Wilson takes you through some of the amazing truths of the gospel that help you marvel at the love, mercy and grace of God for every single Christian. Each day you’ll explore another gift of grace from God that is rooted in a particular verse in the Bible. This devotional will help you see the blessing that the birth of Jesus is, but also go wider than that to see the significance that his life, death and resurrection has for all who would listen. On a side note, it also has a great cover design with little doors from an advent calendar printed into the cover!
The Coming of the King by J C Ryle and Mary Davis
J C Ryle is probably not a new name to you, he was the Bishop of Liverpool in the late 1800s and many people have benefitted from his writing, not least his Expository Thoughts on the Gospels which are really helpful! Mary Davis has taken Ryle’s expository thoughts from Matthew and Luke to create short advent devotionals for you to enjoy and to help you see the wonder of the birth of Jesus. The first 2 reflections focus on Jesus two comings, first as a baby and then his second coming which is yet to happen. Then there are reflections on the second coming of Jesus from Matthew and some reflection on the birth of Jesus from Luke. Over 25 days you’ll read deep theological truths communicated in short and helpful ways to see the great news that Christmas is and you’ll be pointed to that glorious day that is still to come, the second coming of Jesus.
The God of Amazing Gifts by Lizzie Laferton
Advent is a time of waiting and reflecting, not just for adults, but also for the whole family. Different families will celebrate this time together in different ways with their own traditions and practices. But this resource can be a big help! Over 25 days you’ll walk through different passages from all over the Bible that help the whole family think about God, His Christmas gift, His gifts to us and our gifs to give. Each day begins with a prayer and a question to get you thinking, then there’s a Bible reading with helpful definitions where necessary, then there are multiple questions for the whole family to think about together and a final prayer to pray together. Each application question has a little symbol next to it to help you choose the question that best suits the family (one assuming no relationship with God, one about a common response to the passage and one encouraging Christians to have personal reflection on the passage and how to respond). These devotions are ideal for the whole family, and would be great for children ages 7-14+.
*** I received a copy of these book from the publishers in exchange for honest reviews. This does not change the way I rate the books. My views are my own. ***