“Please stop here”

A review of ‘Hidden Christmas’ by Timothy Keller

It has already happened – just over half way through November and I have spotted my first fully decorated house – tinsel swags at the window and fairy lights winking in the late Autumn dusk. Before long, I shall doubtless see one or two signs hopefully hammered into lawns with the message ‘Santa: please stop here’. I’m not a big fan, as it seems to emphasise the getting, far more than the giving, at Christmas.

That said, I feel like erecting just such a sign over this book by Timothy Keller. It would say ‘pastor/preacher/chorister [delete as applicable] : please stop here’. To anybody ‘professionally’ involved with delivering the message of Christmas, I would heartily recommend this book. Its eight chapters will take the reader back to the very heart of Christmas and make him or her think. The pages of this slender volume will remind the one delivering that Christmas message that they need to hear it as well as speak it.

There is something reassuringly straightforward about Tim Keller’s approach – writing the kind of things which you would expect an experienced pastor to write. That said, he has a gift for writing them in a manner so arresting that it stimulates the imagination. Who, for instance, has ever seen Jesus described as a ‘billiard ball’ before? You’ll have to read the book to find out why. Consider this phrase too:

‘The manger at Christmas means that, if you live like Jesus, there won’t be room for you in a lot of inns’.

To anyone who has maybe grown a little weary of delivering the Christmas message, I would say: please stop here.


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