- The Crucifixion of Ministry, Andrew Purves, 2007
- Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow, 2010
- With Christ in the School of Prayer, Andrew Murray
- Encounter with Spurgeon, Helmut Thielicke, 1964
- The Hare with the Amber Eyes, Edmund De Waal, 2010
- For Self-Examination, Judge for Yourself!, Soren Kierkegaard
- The Prayer Life, Andrew Murray
- King’s Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus, Timothy Keller, 2011
- Warranted Christian Belief, Alvin Plantinga, 2000
- A Late Lark Singing, The Fiery Crags, The Crystal Pointers, F.W. Boreham
- The Gifts: A Story of the Boyhood of Jesus, Dorothy Clark Wilson, 1957
- Kierkegaard, Pietism and Holiness, Christopher B. Barnett, 2011
- The High Tide of American Conservatism, Garland S. Tucker, III, 2010
- A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, Paul E. Miller, 2009
- Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, Wilfred Trotter, 1915
- The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, David Mamet, 2011
- Saint Augustine, Garry Wills, 1999
- The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal, Charles R. Swindoll, 2011
- Lean Ministry: Implementing Change in the 21st Century, Charles M. Duffert, 2011
- Prayer: Does it Make a Difference? Philip Yancey, 2006
- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, 1869
- In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin, Erik Larson, 2011
- On Liberty, John Stuart Mill, 1859
- Fuelling the Fire: Fresh Thinking on Prayer, Dennis Lennon, 2005
- Perilous Fight: America’s Intrepid War with Britain on the High Seas, 1812-1815, Stephen Budiansky, 2010
- The Sunflower, Simon Wiesenthal, 1976
- The Road to Serfdom, F.A. Hayek, 1944
- House of Prayer No.2: A Writer’s Journey Home, Mark Richard, 2011
- Why Jesus? William Willimon, 2010
- Robert Morris: Financier of the American Revolution, Charles Rappleye, 2010
- Time and Eternity: Uncollected Writings, Malcolm Muggeridge, ed. Nicholas Flynn, 2011
- Is Nature Enough? Meaning and Truth in the Age of Science, John F. Haught, 2006
- The One You Feed: The Hidden War for Control of Western Culture, Carson W. Bryan, 2011
- The Art of Dying: Living Fully Into the Life to Come, Rob Moll, 2010
- Sanctuary of the Soul: Journey in Meditative Prayer, Richard J. Foster, 2011
- Embodying Forgiveness: A Theological Analysis, L. Gregory Jones, 1995
- Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, 1840
- Toxic Charity: How churches and charities hurt those they help (and to how to reverse it), Robert D. Lupton 2011
- The Lost Art of Praying Together: Rekindling Passion for Prayer, James Banks, 2009
- Breakfast with Fred, Fred Smith, Sr. Mentor to a Generation of Leaders, 2007
- Autobiography, Eric Gill, 1940
- A Holy Tradition of Working, Passages from the writings of Eric Gill, ed. Brian Keble, 1983
Archive for December, 2011
Jesus said to the disciples in the Upper Room: “If I had not come…” (John 15:22) and went on to mention the consequences of his not coming amongst them. Can you imagine what it would have been like if Jesus had not come?
A number of years ago a remarkable Christmas card was published by the title, “If Christ Had Not Come.” It was based on these words, “If I had not come….” (John 15:22). The card pictured a minister falling asleep in his study on Christmas morning and then dreaming of a world into which Jesus had never come.
In his dream, he saw himself walking through his house, but as he looked, he saw no Christmas decorations, no Christmas tree, no wreaths, no lights, no crèche, no Christmas cards, and no Christ to comfort and gladden hearts or to save us. He then walked onto the street outside, but there was no church with its spire pointing toward heaven. And when he came back and sat down in his library, he realized that every book about our Savior had disappeared. There were no carols or Christian music on the radio and no choirs or Christmas concerts on television.
The minister dreamed that the doorbell rang and that a messenger asked him to visit a friend’s poor, dying mother. He reached her home, and as his friend sat and wept, he said, “I have something here that will comfort you.” He opened his Bible to look for a familiar promise, but it ended with Malachi. There was no Christmas story, no angelic chorus, no shepherds or Wise Men, no Sermon on the Mount, no parables, no miracles, no “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” There was no gospel, no light of the world, no “God so loved the world”, no Lord’s Prayer, and no promise of hope and salvation, and all he could do was bow his head and weep with his friend and his mother in bitter despair.
Two days later he stood beside her coffin and conducted her funeral service, but there was no message of comfort, no words of a glorious resurrection, and no thought of a mansion awaiting her in heaven. There was only “dust to dust, and ashes to ashes,” and one long, eternal farewell. Finally he realized that Christ had not come, and burst into tears, weeping bitterly in his sorrowful dream. There would be no Easter, and no hope of the kingdom of heaven and an age to come.
Then suddenly he awoke with a start, and a great shout of joy and praise burst from his lips as he heard his choir singing these words in his church nearby:
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!
Come and behold him, born the King of angels,
O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord!
Sometimes you have to go without something before you appreciate it. What if we were to have to go without Christmas, go without Christ? What if Christ had not come for us? What would our lives be like? Would Christ be missed? Would our lives go on as they are without a missing a beat, and be filled up with other interests and distractions from Christ?
How much do we take the coming of Christ for granted? What would it be like for someone for whom has not come? Someone who has never heard of the Gospel, for whom the meaning of Christmas is not the coming of Christ? What would we want to do for someone who could not celebrate Christmas because they were ignorant of it? Would we not want to share all that Christ means to us with them: his peace, his love, and his joy? Would we not want them to enjoy what we have taken for granted each year? Would we not want to invite them to join us in celebrating his coming and continual presence in our midst by His Spirit?
Let us be glad and rejoice today, because Christ has come. And let us remember the proclamation of the angel: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10,11)
Christmas is meant to be for all the people in the world. We are called to communicate the message of the angels to all people so that they can enter into and enjoy the good news of great joy. May our hearts go out to all those in the world who have no understanding of Christmas day.
“Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
(Adapted from L.B. Cowman , Streams in the Desert, December 25)