3 Books to Prepare Your Heart for Christmas
Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.”
By Jessica S. Manuel
Pinterest has a wide selection of Scripture Reading Plans for Advent. We found one that we are reading through as a family, but I have also found it helpful to read through a book every December that will help prepare my heart for Christmas. In case you want to do the same, here are a few books focused on Christ that I think will help you prepare your heart for Christmas.
This book is actually a collection of essays, but the title essay is the one worth reading as you prepare your heart for Christmas. No other text exists that more accurately articulates the longing we feel for heaven. As we celebrate Christmas and prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ in the flesh, the message Lewis preaches here is crucial. This is not our home, and all of the memories, traditions, and preparations we make to celebrate the coming of Christ are mere substitutes for what is to come. As he explains, The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshippers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. This 9 page text is worth devouring with your morning cup of coffee this week. You can find a PDF copy of The Weight of Glory HERE.
Timothy Keller explains a really interesting cultural trend: Christmas is the only Christian holy day that is also a major secular holiday–arguably our culture’s biggest. As he goes on to explain, this results in two radically different celebrations in the world, even if the roots are the same. His fear is that the Christian celebration will continue to grow increasingly more hidden and he seeks to reverse that trend by proclaiming the truths about the coming of Christ. One of the most profound points of meditation for the Christian thinking about Christmas is recognizing the weight of the words: the Word became flesh. What does the fullness of that humanity mean? It means we can know God personally and have fellowship with Him. Keller explains that we will never know him fully if we stop there and only consider Christ’s humanity at Christmas. The meaning is only realized in the death and resurrection of Christ. What Keller argues in this short book is very similar to what C.S. Lewis argues in 1942 in the essay above. All of the celebrations surrounding Christmas merely point to what is to come.
The incarnation has yet to be as realistically portrayed in everyday language as Elyse Fitzpatrick does in the first half this book. It is difficult to imagine what went on outside of what scripture teaches, but the author connects the dots in a really intriguing way. She does not take unwarranted creative liberties, nor does she add anything to scripture. The author simply draws conclusions based on the evidence that is presented in the text. Her goal is to help readers understand the passages that discuss Christ’s humanity. Christians are often far more comfortable meditating on the supernatural miracles throughout scripture while there are plenty of historical accounts of Christ’s humanity that might weigh just as heavily on the hearts and minds of those who believe. Reading the words, “He became sin who knew no sin” will be far clearer in one’s mind after reading this book.
Any of these works are worth reading again and again each December. I’d love to hear your recommendations for me if you have a book you reread every Christmas. Leave it in the comments or write me a message here. Enjoy the last minute madness that the holidays bring. I hope you each find a way to quiet your hearts and minds in the midst of Christmas chaos.