Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas-Themed Reading Suggestions

1) Reading aloud the Christmas accounts in Matthew and Luke should be an indispensable part of a family's Christmas celebration. But Papa should also instruct his children from his study of these texts and others relevant to the Advent of Jesus. For instance, the mystery of the magi, the significance of the shepherds, the nuggets contained in the genealogies, the miracle of the virgin conception, and many other of the profound details of the first Christmas should be fully explored. Christmas literature can be tremendously inspiring and fun, but the emphasis should always be put on the historical, supernatural truths of the Savior's Advent. With that understood, then, here are a few suggestions to expand your Yuletide reading.

2) Joni Eareckson-Tada's A Christmas Longing. A splendid work featuring inspirational art done by mouth-artist Joni and profound biblical commentary. This is an important book for your complete enjoyment of Christmas.

3) John MacArthur's God With Us. MacArthur is one of America's best Bible scholars and he shows it to great effect in this very interesting look at Christmas.

4) Our old pal, the very talented Calvin Miller has a nifty little Christmas novel entitled Snow that I joyfully recommend.

5) Of course, Charles Dickens is indispensable to the full-bodied Christmas that we love. But besides A Christmas Carol (that most exquisite of short stories), Dickens has also given us Cricket on the Hearth, The Haunted Man, The Chimes, and many other seasonal gems. Got your library card? Or a Kindle?

6) Don't settle for just watching the movie. Why not read the original text of Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies? You'll be pleased you did.

7) A definite must for Claire's and my holiday season is sitting down with a hot mug of something and listening to an old recording of Dylan Thomas reading his own fabulous poem, “A Child's Christmas in Wales.” I feel sorry for you if you don't have access to that experience, but you can at least read it yourself. So grab a copy at the library – or maybe whip up a batch of cookies and pay us a visit We'll be more than happy to heat up the old Victrola!

8) Henry Van Dyke wrote several religious Christmas stories but “The Other Wise Man” is his not-to-be-missed classic. It is a perfect family read.

9) “The Gift of the Magi” is O. Henry's claim to Christmas fame and rightly he earned it. But he has several other Christmas stories you'd enjoy as well.

10) G.K. Chesterton's Christmas gifts not only include some of the wonderful poetry we include in these pages, but a Father Brown detective story entitled, “The Flying Stars.”

11) Did you know that even Sherlock Holmes has a Christmas adventure? You bet! Check out Conan Doyle's “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.”

12) Poetry – man, there's a gang of excellent Christmas poetry that's been written but in our post-Christian culture, you have to work hard to find it. It's another reason to cultivate friendships with old books. However, you can find a few of the best by perusing The Book Den postings listed under the Christmas category.

13) And here’s a few more suggestions from our Christmas reading of recent years: Don Reid’s O Little Town; Richard Paul Evans’ Finding Noel; Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from G. K. Chesterton; John Snyder’s The Golden Ring: A Christmas Story;  Bess Streeter Aldrich’s The Drum Goes Dead; Louisa May Alcott’s short story, “The Quiet Little Woman: A Christmas Story;” Washington Irving's Old Christmas; Fr. Val J. Peter’s Gifts for a Joyous Christmas; William Dean Howells’s short story, “Christmas Every Day;” Anthony Trollope’s Christmas at Thompson Hall; Kate Douglas Wiggin’s The Bird's Christmas Carol; and finally, Joseph Bottum's “Wise Guy.”

Happy Christmas, dear friends, and happy reading!