I just finished a new book that comes at the perfect time for preparing my heart for the true meaning of Christmas. There is so much craziness in our lives year-round that when the Christmas season rolls around, it seems here and gone before I ever even know what hit us. But the perfect example for us is Mary, who took what the angel said and "pondered these things in her heart." What steps are you taking to ponder the greatest gift ever given this season?
So this book is a beautifully illustrated guide to all things Christmas...discussing questions such as Why December? Why a Christmas tree? Should we call it Xmas? Where was Jesus really born? When did the wise men really come? It thoroughly examines what evidence exists to answer these questions and many more. I appreciate that it is exhaustive in the search for answers, but also leaves some room for more questions.
The book is put out by Answers in Genesis, a Christian apologetics organization which defends the truth of the Bible. They are best known for there defense of the Biblical account of creation and the Creation Museum. I am a big fan of theirs, and frequently use their website and published materials as we wade through the secularization of public education with our children. That being said, my main criticism of the book is that it comes across as a defensive point of view, and that is something that makes me uneasy. It is so difficult for Christians to find that balance of "speaking the truth in love", that we often err on one side or the other, but we must not neglect one or the other. When it comes to seeking His righteousness, I think we sometimes lose our way and become more concerned with seeking "right-ness", which is a very different thing. There is no mistaking that the book does what it sets out to do: it defends the truths of Christmas; after all, the subtitle is "Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression". And I would recommend it to anyone curious about the details of the Christmas narrative, but because of the tone, it might not be the first book I would recommend to someone who does not already believe in the authority of the Bible.