Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Praying for You, and a Book Review

   I have always loved Christmastime. My friends have given me grief for as long as I can remember because I pull out the Christmas music the day after Halloween. There have been many an embarrassing moment where I am singing at the top of my lungs in my car this time of year and look over in the next lane to see someone I know laughing at me, or a totally random person looking at me like I've lost my mind. 

  Ok let's be honest.  That happens year-round.  But I digress.  

   But as life goes on, I realize that this holiday season of thanksgiving and Christmas is very hard for many people. Difficult memories come haunting, and the pain of loss is particularly sharp this time of year. Someone is missing at the dining table.  Maybe you struggle with loneliness. Or maybe it is that this time of year brings the disappointing reality that this world is insufficient to fulfill our hopes and dreams. 

  But we do not grieve as those without hope. If your hope is in Christ. I love this quote by C.S. Lewis: "If I find in myself desires that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most logical explanation is that I was made for another world." Thank the Lord--this fallen world is not all there is. 

  My sweet friend Alison, who has lost more than one precious family member this year, wrote some wonderful words a couple of days ago that I want to echo here. I don't think she'll mind me borrowing from her.

 "For you who, too, will tear your clothes this 30-day-stretch (and many more, I'm sure), I'm praying for and with you. I'm so sorry for your loss. Jesus is coming. He is with us. I'm so thankful for the sweet hope of Christmas. God with us."

     Thank you for that, Alison. And for any of you reading who may feel this way-I join her in praying for you. 

  Now, in the spirit of thankfulness--tomorrow is Thansgiving after all--I will tell you one thing I am beyond thankful for.

   BOOKS! I don't know what I would do without them, honestly.  I love how they can teach you new things, transport you to other worlds, change your perspective, or just simply entertain. I finished these two recently and will give a short review of each. 

    The Housewife Theologian book was decently good. I applaud the author for stepping out and writing in a time in her life that must be hectic and overwhelming (she has young children). I appreciate the systematic way she deals with different issues women face in the home, and how and why our theology matters in those instances. Towards the end of the book though, it almost seems like she got a little tired and just wanted it to be over! (Which sounds like a familiar feeling to moms sometimes!) I wish the end had been a little more fleshed out. But overall, it was a worthwhile read.

 Joseph and the Gospel of Many Colors. In short--READ IT! I heard Voddie Baucham speak years ago at a conference, and was hooked--this guy is the real deal. He has a winsome way of bringing scriptural truths to light, and in this particular book, I felt like I saw the Joseph narrative in Genesis in a whole new light. One that was there all along, but I never saw it because I had not read the story from the "redemptive-historical perspective" to which Baucham refers numerous times.

   Here are a couple quotes from the introduction:  "The Bible is not some disjointed collection of unrelated tales; it is a unit. Therefore, reading and understanding the Bible requires familiarity with, commitment to, and comprehension of the whole. This, of course, is a lifetime pursuit. Nevertheless, there are things we can do now that will put us on sound footing." And another: "Far from making the Bible more difficult to read and understand, the approach we will take in this book is designed to make the Bible more accessible. We're taking what we already know-- the story of God's redemption of sinners through the person and work of Christ--and using it as a grid through which we interpret all of Scripture. We are unlocking the Old Testament."

   If the Old Testament sometimes seems intimidating, this is the book for you! 

   I have now moved on to a different book of his--Family Driven Faith. Be looking for a review soon. I am having a hard time putting it down! 

  Happy thanksgiving to you dear friends. I pray that you (and I) will rejoice always and give thanks in all circumstances.  And I will pray that as we look forward to Christmas, you will experience the very real hope of Immanuel--God with us.

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