Paperback, 207 pages. Published by Christian Focus Ltd. Geanies House, Fearn, IV20 1TW.
The aim of this book as noted in the introduction is to provide ‘a biblical introduction to Christmas’.
Reaching beyond all the commercialism and gratuitous materialism associated with the season, the author seeks to focus the mind of the reader on the great plan of God throughout the scriptures leading up to the moment in time when, ‘God sent forth His Son’.
Peter Mead is a director of Cor Deo, which provides Christian training programmes, linked to the Evangelical Alliance. He has written a number of other books on basic doctrine and Christian living.
Commencing with the promise of ‘the seed of the woman’ in Genesis chapter 3, the purpose of God throughout history is traced in a ‘whistle stop tour’ of Old Testament scriptures to show how in spite of man’s repeated disobedience, the promises given to the patriarchs would not be frustrated. In fact with each succeeding act of faithlessness, God added to the promise!
Coming to the New Testament, the writer spends time on the incarnation narrative as recorded by Matthew and Luke. He considers the historical and social background at the time and makes a number of suggestions which challenge some traditionally accepted impressions. For example, he considers that, the inn being full, rather than in an outside place, the Lord was born in the living room of a house provided by Middle-Eastern hospitality. A room where domesticated animals would be housed for the night, hence the manger. The angel’s message to the shepherds is paraphrased as, ‘Go to visit Him, He’s in a manger, you know, the kind of place you’d put your own baby in your house’ … Hmmm?
And why do so many writers on this subject have to find planetary alignments or comets to explain the star followed by the wise men? Surely in this narrative above all others we can perceive and accept the God of the supernatural!
The narrative of this book is suited more to a young, or young in the faith, believer, but the underlying message is sound. The later chapters carry through the truth and doctrine of the incarnation as seen in the Epistles, thus emphasizing the way in which the great plan of redemption has been weaved through the whole of scripture.
Without being too critical, there are times when this reviewer found some colloquial expressions a little irritating, but that of course is a subjective observation.