I know this admission will no doubt shock and dismay my colleague Carrie, but I am no fan of Christmas. In fact, in my worst of moods I could rightfully be described as a Grinch. Yes, it’s true. There are indeed times I could easily (and gleefully) take a large vacuum and remove all vestiges of the commercialism and materialism masquerading as the celebration of Christmas from my home–and yours too, if I am feeling particularly Grinch-y!
Now, I want to say at the outset that the baby Jesus part, the incarnation, the God becoming man–that part of Christmas overwhelms and humbles me. That part of Christmas I want to remember and to hold fast. However, it is precisely that part of Christmas–Christmas in its truest meaning–that is drowned out by all the externals of shopping and spending, consumerism and commercialism, and don’t even get me started on decorating!
Each year I determine it will be different–I will be different–and each year I find myself drowning in the madness and mayhem, forgetting Who I celebrate. This year, though, I’ve found timely and Christ-exalting encouragement in Nancy Guthrie’s book, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas.
In the introduction, Guthrie writes:
I have found in my own life that I’ve too often allowed Christmas to “sneak up on me.” I’ve allowed the busyness of purchasing presents and planning travel and participating in Christmas pageants and parties to crowd out a quiet anticipation of the wonder of incarnation. Too many Christmas mornings I’ve realized that while my presents were wrapped, my heart was completely unprepared to truly take in the Gift.
Me too, Nancy. Me too.
Wanting a book of Advent readings that “reflected a high view of Scripture; and that put the incarnation in the context of God’s unfolding plan of redemption,” Guthrie set out on a “sacred adventure” of compiling such a collection herself, resulting in Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.
Comprised of twenty two short reflective readings, this book features contributions from what reads like a who’s who of leading theologians past and present: George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Piper, Randy Alcorn, John MacArthur, and Joni Eareckson Tada. As Whitefield encourages us,
…let us celebrate and keep this festival of our church with joy in our hearts: let the birth of a Redeemer, which redeemed us from sin, from wrath, from death, from hell, be always remembered; may this Savior’s love never be forgotten!
So this book endeavors to do.
Guthrie concludes with Joni Tada’s “Christmas Longing,” an encouragement to look beyond the confines of this world to the Christmas celebration to come!
On this side of eternity, Christmas is still a promise. Yes, the Savior has come, and with him peace on earth, but the story is not finished…When we realize that Jesus is the answer to our deepest longings, even Christmas longings, each Advent brings us closer to his glorious return to earth. When we see him as he is, King of kings and Lord of lords, that will be “Christmas” indeed!
I’ve no doubt that this book will serve as encouragement for me to fix my eyes on Jesus amid the hustle and bustle of all that we claim as Christmas. He is the indescribable Gift and Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus reminds me to worship Him!
Wife and mother, Bible teacher and blogger, Lisa loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate and, of course, books. Read more of her reflections at Lisa writes….