Monday, November 28, 2016

Book Review: Hidden Christmas

Hidden Christmas. Timothy Keller. 2016. 160 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence from the introduction: Christmas is the only Christian holy day that is also a major secular holiday--arguably our culture's biggest.

First sentence from chapter one: One of the first indications of the Christmas season is the appearance of lights.

Premise/plot: Keller writes to a wide audience in his newest book. He points out that to understand Christmas is to understand basic Christianity, or, the Gospel. But how many understand Christmas? The Hidden Christmas clearly and concisely presents the bad news and the good news that is worth celebrating every day of the year!

It answers the questions:
  • Who is Jesus?
  • What is the good news?
  • Why is the good news necessary to begin with? 
  • What is sin?
  • Is repentance necessary?
  • How does believing in Jesus change us?
My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved this one. It is very reader-friendly. That is not to say it lacks truth or substance. This is not a fluffy feel-good read reassuring you that you are the gift God treasures most out of all his creation. It is an invitation. An invitation to come as you are, how you are, to receive God's gift to you: His Son. To be joined by faith and grace to his son is everything and more. For he is the gift that will always, always prove more than enough--no matter what.

Favorite quotes:
Jesus became mortal and died because we are too morally ruined to be pardoned any other way. (2)
Jesus gave himself to us, and so we must give ourselves wholly to him. (2)
To understand Christmas is to understand basic Christianity, the gospel. (4)
Christmas contains many spiritual truths, but it will be hard to grasp the others unless we grasp this one first. That is, that the world is a dark place, and we will never find our way or see reality unless Jesus is our Light. (6)
The message of Christianity is "Things really are this bad, and we can't heal or save ourselves. Things really are this dark--nevertheless there is hope." (10)
If Jesus Christ is really Mighty God and Everlasting Father, you can't just like him. (13)
If Jesus is Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace, you should want to serve him. (13)
If God has really been born in a manger, then we have something that no other religion even claims to have. It's a God who truly understands you, from the inside of your experience. (14)
These Gospel narratives are telling you not what you should do but what God has done. (22)
You don't save yourself. God has come to save you. (23)
There is no one, then, not even the greatest human being, who does not need the grace of Jesus Christ. And there is no one, not even the worst human being, who can fail to receive the grace of Jesus Christ if there is repentance and faith. (33)
The incarnation means that God suffered, and that Jesus triumphed through suffering. (52)
There are three ideas in "Immanuel": He is God, he is human, he is with us. (53)
This does not stun us as much as it should. Anytime anyone drew near to God it was completely terrifying. (53)
We create Gods of our liking to mask our own hostility to the real God, who reveals himself as our absolute King. (70)
If Christianity is something done for you, and to you, and in you, then there is a constant note of surprise and wonder. (89)
If you don't do both of these things--ponder and treasure the Word of God--you will not truly hear the message. (107)
Repentance is like antiseptic. You pour antiseptic onto a wound and it stings, but it heals. (125)
The incarnation, Christmas, means that God is not content to be a concept or just someone you know from a distance. Do what it takes to get close to him. Christmas is a challenge as well as a promise about fellowship with God. (136)
The Christian life begins not with high deeds and achievements but with the most simple and ordinary act of humble asking. (141)

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

No comments: