About the Book
Book: Before Christmas
Author: Bill Crowder
Genre: RELIGION / Holidays/Christmas & Advent
Release Date: October, 2019
About the Author
More from Bill
During my years as a pastor, I found Christmas and Easter to be challenging. Certainly I love those seasons (for very different reasons), but finding creative ways to retell these important stories was often difficult. But, at one such season I realized that the story we tell at Christmas is not really the whole story. By entering the story at Nazareth or Bethlehem, we enter too late. We can’t simply start with the Baby in the manger—we need to go back. Before time began. To the eternal Christ. Unless we seek to understand Him, we’ll never fully appreciate who He was and why He came. That is the Christmas story. – Bill Crowder
What I find most interesting about Bill Crowder’s “Before Christmas” is the interspersing of insights regarding God and the Christmas story. Rather than concentrating solely on the story of Jesus’ birth, Crowder expands the focus to encompass the backstory as well, mirroring how Jesus’ life on earth is recounted in the Gospels but is nevertheless the mainstay of the entire Bible, both the Old and New Testament. As Crowder explains in his introduction, “That is why the Christmas backstory is so important. It adds eternal value to the coming of Jesus by unveiling His truest identity.” Speaking for myself, I have to admit that too often the account of Jesus’ birth becomes rote. That is what I consider to be the value of this short but thought-provoking book.
Using the nested story technique characterized in the Bible, Crowder demonstrates how the Christmas story is one of many concentric rings of God’s story from before creation. The more I learn how interconnected every Biblical event is, the more awestruck I become at our Creator. Fresh appreciation and understanding dawns. For instance, although God knew even before creating the first man and woman that they would rebel and cause the Fall, He still chose to give us free will because only then could we be made in His image. And his foreknowledge also means that He knew that Jesus, God in the flesh, would have to die on the cross to make us right with Him again. He loves us that much! And, Crowder asserts, “that redemptive mission would also be the perfect expression of the mutual love between the Father and the Son.” Furthermore, Jesus’ deity is established immediately by the angel Gabriel when he tells Mary that Jesus will be “the Son of the Most High” because in the Jewish tradition, a son took on the qualities of his father. Even though as Christians we know that Jesus was, is, and always will be God, learning how each and every part of the Bible reinforces itself as God’s Word is incredibly affirming and fascinating.
While this is a small, short book, “Before Christmas” should be savored. Each chapter contains concise information taken from Scripture, with a deeper look into the cultural and personal implications thereof. While this is obviously a read well-suited for the Advent season, it can just as easily be explored at any time. Crowder writes in an easily understood manner, using lists to highlight his points and to make this a quick and straightforward reference for anyone looking to dig deeper into Jesus’ story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through CelebrateLit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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