Book Reviews: Christmas 2014

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Yes, I can’t believe it but I’m already in Christmas mode, and it’s not even Thanksgiving week yet! The good news is there’s plenty to read if you’re interested in some new Christmas books. Here are three new Christmas books that I’ve read and also recommend (to some degree!).

Robert Tate Miller. Forever Christmas. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2014. (Click here)

Miller, a former screenwriter for the Hallmark Channel, has written a good novel for the Christmas fiction genre. I do recommend this book, but with these comments:

  • It is an enjoyable book and quick read! I finished its 182 pages in one afternoon.
  • While I enjoyed the journey our protagonist Andrew and his wife Beth took, it was predictable. The story is almost like a Christmas Groundhog Day, but you only get one chance to learn your lesson. And yes, as I alluded to earlier, I knew the ending before Miller took me there.
  • The story is not explicitly Christian in any way, but it is implicit. While it’s true I haven’t read much from this genre in recent years, I did expect it to have more of a direct Christian message, since it’s published by Thomas Nelson, a large Christian publisher, and especially since the story centers around Christmas day! But no. Without ruining the story, at the end, it does lend itself to allegorical interpretations with the Christian message, and Miller obviously seems to even prompt this interpretation with a number of questions in a “Reading Group Guide” at the end of the book.
  • So ultimately, I do recommend this book because it will put you in the holiday mood, and it could lead to some good discussions with family and friends if you initiate it.
  • Lastly, I could easily see this being one of those Hallmark Christmas movies they play endlessly during the holiday season (I love those sappy movies, but I can already hear my wife mocking me!).

I’ve also read two new Advent books for this season that were both inspirational:

Louie Giglio. Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope. Atlanta: Passion Publishing, 2014 (Click here)

John Piper. The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. (Click here)

Louie Giglio, the founder and speaker of the widely successful Passion Conferences, and now the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, centers his diminutive advent book on these four themes:

  • God works while we wait,
  • If we are truly waiting on God we won’t miss anything,
  • While we are waiting on God, we are waiting with God. God is there the whole time (I love that truth!)
  • Who you become while you are waiting is just as important as what you are waiting for.

Interspersed with his comments, he has plenty of poems, lyrics from hymns, and even pictures (unexpected in such a small book).

John Piper, popular author who also pastored the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis for over thirty years before he retired, has a message for each day during December. His messages don’t have much in the way of poetry or hymns, but are filled with short, direct explanations and applications of the Scripture for the day. The highlight of this book is the last chapter, which is a Christmas sermon from Piper. Everyone should get this book for that alone – it’s that good!

In closing, here’s a beautiful example from Piper of what Christmas is: “Christmas means: The infinitely self-sufficient God has come not to be assisted but to be enjoyed.” (62)

May we all recover the true meaning of Christmas this holiday season!

RA

Author: Randy Allison

I am a teacher and pastor, driven to understand more about faith and how to live that faith in twenty-first century America.

2 thoughts on “Book Reviews: Christmas 2014”

  1. We went to go see Kirk Cameron’s movie, “Saving Christmas”, yesterday. You would like this movie. Enjoyed reading your review. I am getting into the Christmas mode a little too! 🙂

    Like

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