Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Touching Wonder

Let me introduce you to a fantastic book that really got my brain back on track in thinking what Christmas is really all about.

This book gives insight to what the people (not characters) in the real Christmas story felt as they learned about their roles and lived through the birth of our Lord and Savior. Each chapter starts out with a few verses from the Bible and then it has each of the people in the story give their perspective. It starts out with Elizabeth being blessed in her previously barren womb with John. And how when Mary came her womb lept. And the joy the two of them shared looking forward to the birth of these amazing children. But it also speaks of the reality of the whole situation. When you get to the actual birth of Christ, Joseph clearly explains that this was not the way he had planned his life to turn out. He was engaged to Mary, he was planning on having a family and raising them with a love, respect and adoration of God. And now he was responsible for raising The Son of God! And he goes on to assure us that the animals were not swaying to the beat of a nice Christmas tune as Jesus was born. It was a dirty and tumultuous entry into the world for the God amongst men. I was most touched by Mary's perspective. Being a new mom myself, I can't imagine the over-whelming sense of fear and doubt in her ability to raise this child. I mean every mom doubts herself, but Mary had to raise Jesus. Can you imagine?! But every time she encountered a trial she said "Let it be to me."

Now, I must interject here and make it very clear that the author specifically states in his prologue that he in no way claims to be God. His words are not infallible. However, he does state that there was much prayer and he feels that he was inspired to write the things he wrote. And I too realize this is an interpretation of what things Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the shepherds, etc. may have been feeling. But it just makes you think about the reality of what the true nativity must have looked like. I'm sure it didn't look much at all like the nice little representation we have up on our mantle.

So, if you're looking for a good read to bring you back to the reality of Christmas, I strongly recommend this book. I borrowed it from MA, and now I'm hoping to get my own copy so I can read it every year.

Here's the product description off Amazon:

"An instant classic that breathes new life into the familiar Nativity story

This lovely little book invites readers to rediscover both the strangeness and the delight of the Nativity story through a bold retelling of Luke 1-2. To Eugene Peterson's The Message Bible translation, John Blase adds his own storytelling voice, exploring the familiar events from multiple first-person viewpoints. What emerges is the intimate story of unlikely people--a frightened teenage girl, a worried carpenter, a collection of senior citizens, a disillusioned young shepherd--meeting up with the divine as they move toward the realization that the little one just born is the One. It's truly strange and wonderful, this retold story of Word made flesh, and it invites readers to react appropriately--with eyes opened wide in wonder, jaws dropped in amazement, and hearts rejoicing. The beautiful design and Amanda Jolman's lively line drawings make this book a fitting gift as well as a potential heirloom."

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