Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review: Miracle of Christmas (God With Us)

Miracle of Christmas: God With Us. John MacArthur. 1993. Zondervan. 144 pages.

We're in danger of losing Christmas. It may now be the biggest and most popular of all our holidays, but Christmas is in jeopardy just the same. A subtle but sure erosion is eating away the season's true significance. 

I would definitely recommend this one. (In case you were wondering, this is one of the more accessible of John MacArthur's books.) The message is VERY relevant. And it is one that I hold dear. You can't celebrate Christmas--without a touch of Easter. (Just like you can't celebrate Easter--without a touch of Christmas.) In other words, people need to focus on JESUS as Lord and Savior. Not just on baby Jesus, but the Jesus who died on the cross, the Jesus who rose from the dead. The Jesus who is able to save sinners like you and me.

In "A Christmas Prophecy," he focuses on the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah's birth. In particular Isaiah 9:6:
For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (HCSB)
In "Knots on the Family Tree," he focuses on the genealogy of Christ. Specifically, the women mentioned in Matthew's genealogy. How the inclusion of each woman--Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba--show God's grace at work.

It is obvious what this next chapter is about. "Is the Virgin Birth Really Essential?" His answer? Yes!
If we deny that Jesus is God, we have denied the very essence of Christianity. Everything else the Bible teaches about Christ hinges on the truth we celebrate at Christmas--that Jesus is God in human flesh...The virgin birth is as crucial as the resurrection in substantiating His deity. It is not an optional truth. Anyone who rejects Christ's deity rejects Christ absolutely--even if he pretends otherwise. (46)
"Joseph and Mary" focuses on Mary and Joseph.

"The People Who Missed Christmas" focuses on the people who missed out on that first opportunity to worship and embrace the Savior. It includes both the high and low and everyone in between. (The innkeeper, King Herod, religious leaders, inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Romans, the people of Nazareth. Some of these are obvious choices for inclusion, others take a bit of argument.)

"God in a Manger" discusses how many "don't mind celebrating the birth of a baby, but they don't want to hear about the Lord of lords. They sing of his nativity but brazenly reject His authority. They adore him as an infant but will not pay homage to Him as the God-man. They can tolerate the trappings of Christmas--a manger, shepherds, wise men, and Joseph and Mary--but they cannot bear the advent of God in human flesh." (84) This chapter focuses on Jesus' deity.

"Who Were The Wise Men" focuses on the Wise Men, the Magi. It tries to separate truth from fiction where these "wise men" are concerned.

"Born to Die" is perhaps my favorite of them all for it reveals the reason for the season. It focuses on the fact that Jesus was born to die.
Here's a side to the Christmas story that isn't often told: those soft little hands, fashioned by the Holy Spirit in Mary's womb, were made so that nails might be driven through them. Those baby feet, pink and unable to walk, would one day walk up a dusty hill to be nailed to a cross. That sweet infant's head with sparkling eyes and eager mouth was formed so that someday men might force a crown of thorns onto it. That tender body, warm and soft, wrapped in swaddling clothes, would one day be ripped open by a spear. Jesus was born to die. (116)
It focuses on how Christ is our substitute, how he pioneered our salvation, how his death sanctifies believers, how he became our High Priest. Good, good stuff.

The final chapter, "O Come Let Us Adore Him," focuses on our response. "Worship is the missing element in the monstrosity that Christmas has become." (132)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This sounds like a powerful book Becky. I think this is a must for me to read.