Happy narrative-historical Christmas

So here we have the true meaning of Christmas according to Matthew and Luke. It is not that the godhead is to be seen veiled in the flesh of the baby Jesus. The Christmas story simply is not about incarnation. It is about kingdom.

There are three parts to the story. First, God is about to take dramatic action in history to “judge” Israel—to punish the leadership in Jerusalem and to refine his people, as by fire. Secondly, a son is born who will not only save Israel from the consequences of its sins but will be established as king for ever over the restored community. Thirdly, the nations will see this manifestation of the sovereignty of Israel’s God and, in concrete ways, will acknowledge its theo-political significance for the ancient world.

That is all historical event, part of the grand narrative of the people of God. It’s our story. Have a great time celebrating it!

Andrew Perriman outlines a narrative-historical Christmas

Happy narrative-historical Christmas

So here we have the true meaning of Christmas according to Matthew and Luke. It is not that the godhead is to be seen veiled in the flesh of the baby Jesus. The Christmas story simply is not about incarnation. It is about kingdom.

There are three parts to the story. First, God is about to take dramatic action in history to “judge” Israel—to punish the leadership in Jerusalem and to refine his people, as by fire. Secondly, a son is born who will not only save Israel from the consequences of its sins but will be established as king for ever over the restored community. Thirdly, the nations will see this manifestation of the sovereignty of Israel’s God and, in concrete ways, will acknowledge its theo-political significance for the ancient world.

That is all historical event, part of the grand narrative of the people of God. It’s our story. Have a great time celebrating it!

Andrew Perriman outlines a narrative-historical Christmas

Unintended Christmas Vacation Hiatus

Sorry, I didn’t really mean to take an extended vacation from the site.  But preparing for, and then driving to Florida for vacation ended up meaning no posts for well over a week. I didn’t read a lot over the break (to much time on the beach and with family) but I still have plenty of books to review (November as theology month ended with a whimper not a bang).  Hopefully we can enter 2014 strong and build some momentum.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a joyous and safe New Year.

Unintended Christmas Vacation Hiatus

Sorry, I didn’t really mean to take an extended vacation from the site.  But preparing for, and then driving to Florida for vacation ended up meaning no posts for well over a week. I didn’t read a lot over the break (to much time on the beach and with family) but I still have plenty of books to review (November as theology month ended with a whimper not a bang).  Hopefully we can enter 2014 strong and build some momentum.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and wish you a joyous and safe New Year.

Seeker of Stars by Susan Fish

Picked up the novella Seeker of Stars by Susan Fish for free for my Kindle (from David C Cook publishers) because, um, free books.  And then I decided to read it because I am fascinated by stories surrounding the Magi and is it after all Christmastime.

Seeker of StarsAs a boy, Melchior is fascinated by stars but has rigid obligations to apprentice with his rug-making father. When his life is radically changed, he is propelled onto a new path full of danger and glory in pursuit of a special star. The journey leads Melchior to reflect on life and death, dreams and duty, and to find unusual reconciliation within his family and with the God he never knew he sought. Destined to become a classic, Seeker of Stars offers a fresh retelling of the story of the magi, and will appeal to people of all ages and faiths.

It turned out to be a quick and enjoyable read. It has a simplicity to it but I felt like it captured the characters well and gave the reader some sense of what it might be like to live in that time and place. It also includes some interesting exploration of relationships and family life.

Continue reading

Seeker of Stars by Susan Fish

Picked up the novella Seeker of Stars by Susan Fish for free for my Kindle (from David C Cook publishers) because, um, free books.  And then I decided to read it because I am fascinated by stories surrounding the Magi and is it after all Christmastime.

Seeker of StarsAs a boy, Melchior is fascinated by stars but has rigid obligations to apprentice with his rug-making father. When his life is radically changed, he is propelled onto a new path full of danger and glory in pursuit of a special star. The journey leads Melchior to reflect on life and death, dreams and duty, and to find unusual reconciliation within his family and with the God he never knew he sought. Destined to become a classic, Seeker of Stars offers a fresh retelling of the story of the magi, and will appeal to people of all ages and faiths.

It turned out to be a quick and enjoyable read. It has a simplicity to it but I felt like it captured the characters well and gave the reader some sense of what it might be like to live in that time and place. It also includes some interesting exploration of relationships and family life.

Continue reading

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones

I bought Thoughts To Make Your Heart Sing last Christmas as it seemed like a book that would be inspirational for the whole family (adults plus two kids age 8 and 6).

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing 600From Jago and Sally Lloyd-Jones, the creators of the bestselling Jesus Storybook Bible, comes this gorgeous and innovative collection of 101 simple-yet- profound thoughts on faith. Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing shares profound spiritual truths from the Bible told in a conversational tone—drawing insights from creation, history, science, the writings of great thinkers and preachers and writers, and more—to turn the reader’s eyes toward the God who loves them with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love. Perfect for family devotions, bedtime, story time, or even as a companion to The Jesus Storybook Bible, this accessible yet theologically rich book reveals biblical truth in word and image-all working together and designed to do one thing: to make the reader’s heart sing.

We have been reading this just about every night this year; one page/entry a night before bed. And we finished not too long ago.

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Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War by Stanley Weintraub

Taking you back to an era of bigger-than-life historical figures, Stanley Weintraub recounts the world’s events of December 1941 in his book  Pearl Harbor Christmas: A World at War, December 1941.  At 224 pages, the book is a quick and easy read.

The main focus of the book is on the meetings between British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and  American President Franklin Roosevelt in Washington D.C. from mid-December to early January.  In the context of these meetings,  Weintraub discusses the world events (including Japan’s unending victories and Europe under Nazi oppression) that were occurring at the same time.  These meetings created the strategy that would guide the Allies in the ensuing three and a half years of war.  Although some of the decisions were agreed upon early (war effort would primarily focus on Europe first and then Japan), other decisions were more protracted (who was to lead the Allied war effort in Asia).

The initial interactions between Roosevelt and Churchill are interesting especially considering the tension that would develop between the two later in the war.  Weintraub points out that their first meeting was unique in that Roosevelt personally welcomed Churchill when Churchill arrived from his ocean voyage across the Atlantic – this was unique because of Roosevelt’s difficulty in getting around due to his disability.

The most fascinating aspect of the book is the contrast between the high hopes of Roosevelt and Churchill for the future and the realization of many Americans that the Christmases for the foreseeable future were going to be at war.  Many American families were receiving news of injuries to or deaths of loved ones at Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, and other locations in the Pacific or were preparing to send their sons off to war.  Yet, according to Weintraub, despite all of this,  Americans were wanting to celebrate the Christmas season as evidenced by the Christmas lights that they had blazing throughout the season.

Weintraub intricately weaves the avalanche of devastating news of Allied setbacks throughout the world, especially in Asia due to Japanese attacks, with the actions of Roosevelt and Churchill.  They not only shared intimate moments in attending Christmas services and eating Christmas dinner together, but also in conducting official business, including one that led to the declaration initiating the United Nations.  Throughout this time, as Weintraub points out throughout the book, both men were feeling each other out to see if they could effectively work together to beat the Axis Powers.

This book is a great overview of not only the initial meetings between Roosevelt and Churchill, but how these meetings were framed in the events that led to the expansion of World War II.