Thursday, December 27, 2012
The Journey by Adam Hamilton
"Christmas is God's gift to us - a gift of light and life, hope and grace. The gift is a reflection of God's concern for the world, and God's desire to heal it and drive away its darkness."
by Adam Hamilton
publisher: Abingdon Press
format: e-book, Kindle
pages: 137 (hardcover)
Finished reading.....December 26, 2012
Goodreads description: Journey with Adam Hamilton as he travels from Nazareth to Bethlehem in this fascinating look at the birth of Jesus Christ. As he did with Jesus' crucifixion in24 Hours That Changed the World, Hamilton once again approaches a world-changing event with thoughtfulness. Using historical information, archaeological data, and a personal look at some of the stories surrounding the birth, the most amazing moment in history will become more real and heart-felt as you walk along this road.
My Thoughts: I started reading this book last Adevent season (2011), but did not finish it due to time constraints. This 2012 season, I started the book again, and finished. Last year, I gained insights, and this year, those insights were expanded. I have been impacted in positive ways through the reading of The Journey. I learned things that made me pause to ponder, and absorb how truly God works in our lives. I have believed, as far as I can remember, in the birth of Christ; the significance and reason. However, I have never really put much thought into the Christmas Story beyond the surface reading of Luke 2. The Journey gave me a deeper understanding. The author sums up best the deeper understanding I gained with this one paragraph found in the last chapter; "As we look at this story in light of history, geography, archeology, and human experience, we begin to see that the story is anything but a fairy tale. It is gritty, difficult, and real." I never thought of Christ's conception and birth as a fairy tale, but I certainly never entertained any thoughts of the the gritty reality; the history, geography and archeology combined with human experience. That combination of insights gave a deeper meaning to Christ's birth. The details I learned have given me a greater appreciation for the life of Joseph, and Mary's too. I also now have a better perspective regarding the journey they took from Nazereth to Bethelem.
The reading of this book is not boring at all. It may seem like it would be as we hear this same story year after year, but seriously, it is not boring at all. The opposite is true. The Journey is quite interesting. The author has done a fabulous job relaying many historical, geographical tid-bits surrounding Christ's birth while at the same time bringing the significance of it all home to the reader in a relatable way.
This really is a fabulous book to read while preparing to celebrate Christmas; I was enlightened. The page count and format tuck nicely into the busyness of the season; easily read during quiet time - the key for me was to start this book at the beginning of the Advent season in order to slowly and purposefully make my way through The Journey. For those who are more scholarly than I, or more aware of the details of the times when Christ was born may not gain any new insights through reading this book, but for me, I enjoyed it and gained new information and paused to think about things that never entered my mind before.
Bottom Line: An excellent and interesting book to read during the Advent season, and also one that I believe would be great to read at any point during the year. For me, I plan on re-reading this book next season. I think, the annual reading of this book, or one very similar, combined with the viewing of The Nativity Story would make a good pairing for preparing my mind, and heart for the celebrations of Christ's birth; an amazing gift from God.
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Note Worthy Quotes:
"Her mission reminds us that God's call is sometimes difficult. It may lead us to set aside our own plans. It may mean giving up hopes and dreams we have cherished for a lifetime. It may mean risks. It may be frightening."
"God's blessings are not about ease and comfort, but rather about the joy of being apart of God's work, being used by God for God's purposes, and being accompanied by God's presence, particularly in the face of adversity." This quote brings to mind a song that has filled my heart this Christmas - Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant
"When life gets hard and even painful, we would do well to remember Joseph. Just as it all seems to be going wrong, it could be then that God is doing something remarkable that you or I simply cannot see yet. God takes our disappointments, heartache, and pain and uses them in profound ways."