It seems that, as the years go by, I see a disturbing trend in my soul in regards to Christmas. I like to blame it on the over-commercializing of the entire month of December, beginning in September. However, in reality, it is probably owing far more to my woefully cynical nature than any over-hype of the holiday aspect of Christmas.
Quite simply, I lose sight of the gift.
A few years ago, I came to the settled belief that Jesus truly was the Son of God. And that first Christmas, with that new/old truth secured, was an awe-inspiring experience. I was keenly aware of salvation wrapped in swaddling clothes. And I worshiped.
Steadily, though, that awe has dissipated a bit; life has gotten in the way. Cynicism has crept back in.
I think that is why I chose to read John Piper’s new devotional book this year(a review copy was given to me by Crossway publishers) , even though it is not even October. I want a fresh understanding of indestructible joy. And I found it not only in the words that Piper wrote, but in the scripture to which his words pointed.
All of scripture points to Christ. Therefore, we cannot isolate the events on the night of Jesus’ birth without examining them in light of the context in which they exist. Piper, as always, does an excellent job of this. He pulled from the passages that explain who God is, and why Jesus came, and what that means for us today, instead of just focusing on the details of that singular night. In his doing so, Piper challenges his readers to see all of God.
My only criticism is that each chapter was small-too small. I understand that the intent was to provide devotional type readings, to be read in small amounts of time daily through the month of December. However, it seemed that Piper would just barely open up a thought, and then it would be concluded to hurry on to the next day. I found myself longing for more words and more questions. Not necessarily a bad thing, because it forces me to have to seek answers to my questions myself, from scripture. Always a good thing. Yet I still would have liked to sit under Piper’s teaching a little longer on these passages.
Still and all, the premise of this book is solid, and the words are good and true. I suspect I will revisit this volume when we hit December 1 this year.