November 22, 2015

5 Christmas Books I'd Like to Read This Season

Painting by Thomas Kinkade


                                                                 God's Blessings of Christmas
 

This is a little devotional booklet that looks like it is packed with a lot of good Christmas cheer! Things like, excerpts from Billy and Ruth Graham's bestseller, This Christmas Night: Reflections from our Home to your Home, Scriptural accounts of Christ's birth, and the beautiful words of Christmas carols from the past.
 
Amazon says of it:  

"Explore the blessings of hope, joy, love, and peace that believers can experience as they keep their eyes on Jesus."


                                                                              Star of Wonder



This is a novella I won online and I'm excited to get started on it! It is the first in a trilogy. Tracy writes so beautifully, and has become one of my favorite Christian fiction authors.  Her historical fiction stories are intertwined with spiritual warfare and the gospel message, and always keep my attention!

Goodreads says here of it:

"An epic quest across the sands of Arabia

In the exotic land of the east, a group of scholars studies the night sky for generations, until finally a star bursts onto the scene, signaling the birth of a new world leader. 


But when an ancient document surfaces, whispering of an artifact of immense power, the temptation to seek out its power infiltrates their caravan. 


The soldier, the mage and the Egyptian princess each has a secret to protect. But if they are going to survive the dark forces battling for their prize, they must learn to trust each other—in what will surely be the journey of a lifetime."




                                                       52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol


The 1951 classic version of 'A Christmas Carol' was always watched at our house growing up. And it's always been a favorite. I was reluctant to read the book because I loved the movie so much (Movie makers seem to often change the story).

I finally read the book a few years ago and found out the 1951 version was nearly identical to the Charles Dickens novel. I was very happy about that. : )

This book, '52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol,' extracts 52 Bible-based lessons we can learn from the story of  'A Christmas Carol.'

The publisher says of it here:

"The lessons and stories from the beloved novel A Christmas Carol point to bedrock values we all share. Award-winning author Bob Welch takes readers deeper into the nuances of this classic by Charles Dickens. 

From the miserliness of Scrooge to the innocence of Tiny Tim, 52 Little Lessons from A Christmas Carol will inspire readers to live for what really matters, not only at Christmas, but all year long."



                                                                             Christmas Bells 
 

I'm super excited to read this novel!

I love Longfellow's poem  "Christmas Bells" which was made into a beautiful Christmas carol we still sing today.

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day/ Their old familiar carols play/ And wild and sweet/ The words repeat/Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"


This novel shares Longfellow's story, alongside a present day storyline, set during a Christmas concert rehearsal at a church.


Goodreads says here:

"In 1860, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family celebrated Christmas at Craigie House, their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publication of Longfellow’s classic Revolutionary War poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” was less than a month hence, and the country’s grave political unrest weighed heavily on his mind. Yet with his beloved wife, Fanny, and their five adored children at his side, the delights of the season prevailed.

In present-day Boston, a dedicated teacher in the Watertown public school system is stunned by somber holiday tidings. Sophia’s music program has been sacrificed to budget cuts, and she worries not only about her impending unemployment but also about the consequences to her underprivileged students. At the church where she volunteers as music director, Sophia tries to forget her cares as she leads the children’s choir in rehearsal for a Christmas Eve concert. Inspired to honor a local artist, Sophia has chosen a carol set to a poem by Longfellow, moved by the glorious words he penned one Christmas Day long ago, even as he suffered great loss.

Christmas Bells chronicles the events of 1863, when the peace and contentment of Longfellow’s family circle was suddenly, tragically broken, cutting even deeper than the privations of wartime. Through the pain of profound loss and hardship, Longfellow’s patriotism never failed, nor did the power of his language. “Christmas Bells,” the poem he wrote that holiday, lives on, spoken as verse and sung as a hymn."




                                                             The Dawning of Indestructible Joy 


John Piper has a way of expressing the joy of the Lord that is rare in our world today. I always come away from his books with a deeper view of God and the true joy He freely gives. This book is a daily devotional, written for advent.

The Desiring God website describes it here:

"Advent is for adoring Jesus.

The Christmas season is one of the busiest times of the year. But it is also a season of reflection and preparation for that special day when we mark Immanuel’s coming—the arrival of our eternal God in our own frail humanity.

This is the greatest of history’s many wonders, something too stupendous to celebrate just on one day. Advent is a way of lengthening and intensifying the joy of Christmas.

These 25 brief devotional readings from John Piper begin on December 1 and carry us to Christmas Day. Our hope is that God would use these meditations to deepen and sweeten your adoration of Jesus and help you keep him at the center of your Christmas season."

You can see a short video and the table of contents HERE






Here is one of my favorite Christmas carols, performed by the Piano Guys, to enjoy the start of this season.




Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Wisdom from on high,
Who ordered all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, oh, come, our Lord of might,
Who to your tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times gave holy law,
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse's stem,
From ev'ry foe deliver them
That trust your mighty pow'r to save;
Bring them in vict'ry through the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, O Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav'nly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!



"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Matthew 1:23
 

25 comments:

  1. This music was a wonderful way to start my day! This is probably my favorite Christmas hymn, but I've never heard this arrangement. I linked up after you in Literacy Musing Mondays and also wrote about Christmas:-) I'll have to check out some of these books--thanks for sharing!

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    1. I really love the Piano Guys arrangement, so beautiful. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. I love your book choices! I think I have more books to join my book list for December!

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    1. It's always fun to add more books. : ) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. The two novels sound interesting - I don't think I have read the novel authors. One devotional/non-fiction one I've read several times during December is Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas by Nancy Guthrie.

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    1. Oh, that Nancy Guthrie book sounds good. I'm adding it to my TBR pile! Thanks for the recommendation. : )

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  4. Christmas books is the theme today around my blogging world. Thanks for more suggestions here. The only one I've read (so far) on your list is John Piper's book, and it was good.

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    1. I'm reading John Piper's book now and really enjoying it. Definitely putting me in the Christmas mood and reminding me of what a wonderful Savior we have.

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  5. Thank you so much for sharing all these great recommendations!!

    My husband and I love the Christmas Carol. I'm happy to learn about this book that shares Biblical lessons from the story.

    I love the idea of doing a devotional book specific to Advent. John Piper always provides such Godly wisdom and insights in all of his books.

    O Come O Come Emmanuel is one of my favorite hymns at Christmas.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. The Christmas Carol book looks so interesting, doesn't it? I'm hoping to get to it this season or least save for next year! Thanks for stopping by. : )

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  6. This is a great list! I enjoy Jennifer Chiaverini's historical novels, but I haven't read The Christmas Bells yet. Thanks for sharing this list with your insights.

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    1. I really enjoy her books too. I actually just finished 'Christmas Bells' and loved it! Hope you enjoy it too. : )

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  7. I highly recommend the book by John Piper. I've used it for advent devotional and it is very helpful in setting the tone for celebrating the birth of Christ.

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    1. Happy to hear so many loving this book. I'm really enjoying it too. : )

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  8. Thank you for linking up at Mondays @ Soul Survival. Hope you are having a blessed Thanksgiving week-end.

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  9. Great post, Cathy! I'm especially interested in reading the one by Tracy Higley! Thanks so much for sharing, Love! GOD bless you! :-)

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    1. Tracy's books are some of my favorites! Hope you enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. What a fabulous list! I just picked up the one by Tracy Higley and am also really excited to read it! I didn't know Piper had put out an Advent devotional - I'll be checking into that one for sure! I'd love it if you'd share this list as well as any individual reviews you do on Christmas books at my Christmas Reads for 2015 blog-hop any time this month! (http://mommynificent.com/2015/11/24/mommynificents-christmas-reads-2015/)

    Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful list at Booknificent Thursday this week!
    Tina

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    1. Thanks for all the link-up opportunities Tina! : )

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    2. My pleasure! I love reading what you have to share!
      Tina

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  11. Thanks for the recommendation for Christmas Bells, I've read some of the authors books and will have to check that one out! Also, I love The Piano Guys!

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    1. I really enjoyed 'Christmas Bells' and the post after this one I share about it. I also love the Piano Guys, they make such beautiful music. Thanks for stopping by Hannah!

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  12. I had my eye on start of wonder earlier this season... hope it's a good read. And I love the Piano guys version of O come Emanuel. Thanks for sharing!

    Marissa

    #TheCozyReadingSpot

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    1. I need to start that one soon. It's actually book one of three, so I'm looking forward to all of them! Thanks for stopping by today Marissa!

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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