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Christmas 2012 Review

December 29, 2012

The month of December 2012 is almost finished so it is time to spend a few words reflecting on the best new books for Christmas that have impacted me the past month. This list only includes “new books”, there are of course books that should be and are read and reread every year.
1. My Savior, My Son By Calvin Miller Illustrated by Ron DiCianni (Chariot Books, 1997) In this beautiful book Calvin explores the story of Christmas through the eyes of Mary. The 1st person vantage view-point is emotionally effective and powerful. It would be a great resource to read aloud and then discuss. The art work make this work a holiday classic I will treasure in years to come.

2. A Midnight Carol: A Novel OF How Charles Dickens Saved Christmas by Patricia K. Davis (St. Martins Press, 1999) The book is identified as “fact based” and set in the winter of 1845. As a fan of a Christmas Carol I am always interested in obtaining insight in to the creative process that went in to the writing of the book and its immediate impact on society that is still being felt to this day. The story moves well and at 198 pages it is a fast read.

3. A Bethlehem Christmas: Celebrating the Joyful Season by Chuck Swindoll (Thomas Nelson, 2007) This work utilizes a 3 chapter format to present the Christmas story through the eyes and 1st person perspectives of Mary, Joseph and Gabriel. The chapter on Mary and the Prolog had fascinating historical/geographic insight that I found very helpful. The Gabriel chapter was of necessity more speculative and just didn’t ring as impactful. This would be a helpful book for a pastor teaching through the Christmas story to provide specific details and expanded context to the familure story.

4. Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton Compiled by Judith Bauer and John Cleary (Liguor Publications, 2002) I have heard a great deal about Thomas Merton over the years but had actually read very little of his work. This book of daily Advent readings was a perfect introduction. Each day included a Biblical passage, a Merton quote and a sample prayer. There were some observations about Mary that were very helpful and others that offended my protestant sensibilities but both were not unexpected. There were several gems throughout the month that made the book very profitable reading. Even the phrases I would object too caused me to reflect on the what and the why of my objections, which was profitable. I am a great believer that as one get older it is important to not just read people who I will agree with completely but to listen and discern from other traditions and perspectives. Thsi book helped me do that this advent.

5. The Ever Present Christmas:Chistmas Prayers by Peter Marshall. This small book produced by Hallmark would be greatly improved with some context concerning the occasions of the 15 or so Christmas prayers included in the book. also helpful would be a biography of this great preacher and Chaplin of the US Senate in the middle of the last century. All criticism aside these are great written prayers that I enjoyed and benefited from very much. If you can find a copy of this book it will enrich your Advent celebration.

BONUS Where Did They Hide My Presents: Silly Dilly Christmas Songs by Alan Katz and David Catrow (McElderry Books, 2005) If you enjoy surprising your faility with a silly song to make them laugh over the busy holiday season this book is for you. I took a song a day approach to these holiday jingles set to the famille tunes of Christmas. Here is a verse from the title song sung to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”

Where did they hide my presents?
That is what I’d like to know
Searching all nights not pleasant
I looked both high and low

I even checked the freezer
No toys just some pumpkin pie
My dad is such a teaser
Someone call the FBI
If that kind of fun puts you in the holiday frame of mind like it does me then get a copy of this book now so you can practice the next 11 months till next Christmas. I will be 🙂

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