Verlyn Verbrugge is known to many authors as their editor, but few know of his expertise in reading and interpreting the Bible, so I’m quite happy to recommend his brief meditation on Christmas, called A Not-So-Silent Night: The Unheard Story of Christmas and Why It Matters
It is not unusual for pastors and parents to wander into the observation that Christmas season has gotten out of hand; it is not unusual, at the same time as that wandering, to admit that not much can be done about it. But Verlyn’s book might be what we need: a book that examines the underbelly, the dark side, of the Christmas story.
Christmas was a time of pain, of humiliation, of fear and of danger. Verlyn suggests that the cross lurks over the Christmas scene, and giving such themes more attention at Christmas has the capacity to bring us back to the gospel we believe and the gospel we are called to preach. Think of how we sing about Bethlehem and then think of Mary’s (or Rachel’s) Bethlehem.
Eleven short chapters, good for a week of devotional reading — or perhaps late at night in the quiet of one’s home.
Let me put it this way: the Olympics have a vision – for all nations to put aside their difference to participate in healthy, fair competition. Christmas is not a time for us to put aside our differences but for us to stare into the face of God’s love and the incredible depths to which our God has gone to make his loving grace and redemptive love real.