I want to recommend two excellent Christmas books, one brand-new and the other one over 100 years old. First, the new one. Chris Fabry and Gary Chapman have combined to produce Extraordinary Grace: How the Unlikely Lineage of Jesus Reveals God’s Amazing Love (Moody Publishers), a fresh look at the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. Who knew that Jesus’ family tree could be so encouraging? For most of us, reading the genealogy of Matthew 1 is something we do once a year to get to the “good part” of the story. The authors show us how that long list of names belongs in the “good part” of the Good News of Jesus. For anyone who feels like you don’t measure up, take time to read “Extraordinary Grace.”
Now to the second book. They called him the “Prince of Preachers.” In the late 1800s, he was the best-known preacher in London and arguably the best-known preacher in the world. Since his death in 1892 his fame has only increased with the passing of time. That’s why I’m excited about Joy Born at Bethlehem, a collection of Christmas sermons by Charles Spurgeon. As you read these sermons, you will see that Spurgeon is not concerned at all with our modern talk about “keeping Christ in Christmas.” Christmas in Victorian England was not the hyper-commercialized affair it has become in the 21st-century. Mr. Spurgeon focused much more on the who and why of Christmas. He glories in the fact that God gave his one-and-only Son to save us from our sins. That one fact ought to fill our hearts with joy. Preachers will appreciate having Spurgeon’s sermons to help them as they prepare their own Christmas messages.