First, this book really does get into the stunning magnificent events and truths of the birth of Jesus. From the introduction, he writes, "Sadly, many of us are no longer gripped by wonder as we consider what this story tells us about the character and plan of God. Sadly, many of us are no longer humbled by what the incarnation of Jesus tells us about ourselves. We walk by the garden of the incarnation, but we don't see the roses of grace anymore. One eyes have gone lazy and our hearts have grown cold."
I love the metaphor of the incarnation as a garden. I love that he speaks of roses of grace. Take some time to consider this image and all that it means.
"I know how easy it is for me, on any given day, to forget who I am and what have been given in the person and work of Jesus. Other things in life capture my attention and the allegiance of my heart. Other things rise to levels of importance in my mind, way beyond their true importance. And when other things capture and control my heart, little room remains for wonder and worship. Familiarity often means that what is very important may no longer exercise important influence over us in the way that it should."
He writes to recapture his attention and our attention. "I wrote it with hope that this amazing story would reactivate your awe. I hope that as you read, your heart will be surprised by things in this story that you have never seen before or maybe haven't seen in a very long time."
What a lovely introduction to looking down in the manger! Look down and look up. See the angels sing to the shepherds. Enjoy their song!
The first day's devotional sets the stage for the rest of the book. "God would take on human flesh and invade his sin-broken world with his wisdom, power, glory, and grace. But he wouldn't descend to a place. Instead, the Lord Almighty, the Creator, the sovereign King over all things would humble himself and take on the form of servant; he would live on our behalf the life we could have never lived, he would willingly die the death that you and I deserve to die, and he would rise from his tomb as the conqueror of sin and death. He would suffer every single day of his life so that he could, with his life, give grace to rebels, extend love to those who would deny his existence, impart wisdom to those who think they know better, and extend forgiveness to everyone who seeks him. His coming stands as an affirmation that he will not relent, he will not be satisfied until sin and suffering are no more and we are like him, dwelling with him in unity, peace, and harmony forever and ever."
"The majesty of the patient and forgiving love of this story defies words. The implications of this birth are not only transformation to the cosmos, but also eternal in their extend. This is the story of Jesus, born in a barn in Bethlehem. The Messiah the earth cried for now cries to be held by Mary and will soon cry in torment of the cross of salvation. He came to suffer because he came to save. The angels sang because finally hope had come. Don't you want to join them?"
Another virtue of this book is the suggested activities for children that are at the end of the devotionals. The first one asks about favorite songs and why we songs. This is done to help us consider the angels singing to the shepherds when Jesus was about to be born.
If you are looking for an Advent title for the whole family, this is a good choice. You will enjoy his devotions and your children will enjoy the discussions!