Nancy Guthrie. Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, August 1st, 2008. 142 pp.
5 out of 5!
First let me say that I have a hard time with devotional books; I prefer heavier theology books since I find most devotionals to be rather shallow. But I enjoyed this particular collection of devotional readings for the Advent. So if I enjoyed this book in light of my bias against devotionals, I think that this work might be something worthwhile for others too.
The devotional was biblically solid and yet warms the soul spiritually with twenty two short chapters that focuses on the narrative of Christ’s birth and the incarnation. The author Nancy Guthrie mentioned that the reason why she put this work together was because of her disappointments with other short readings on the advent out there. In her own words from the preface Guthrie explained how she did not found any advent readings out there that “reflected a high view of Scripture; and that put the incarnation in the context of God’s unfolding plan of redemption. And not finding such a book available, I embarked on what has been a sacred adventure of putting such a collection together” (10). I’m glad she did edited this delightful book and compiled the writings that she did.
The book has a good mix of classic preachers from the past and contemporary Christians who are known for their faithfulness to biblical truths. For instance you have chapters featuring men from the past such as Martin Luther, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Augustine and Charles Spurgeon. What these saints of old have to say is timeless. Then you have chapters by living saints such as John Piper, Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul and Joni Eareckson Tada. The first chapter by George Whitefield had me hooked when Whitefield encourages the readers to contemplate upon the birth of Christ by saying “Other conversations, by often repeating, you become fully acquainted with, but of Christ there is always something new to raise your thoughts; you can never want when the love of the Lord Jesus Christ is the subject” (13). How true that has been in looking back in my own thought life about the Lord. I don’t know why but this first chapter really drew me into the book. Personally I also thought Joseph “Skip” Ryan’s chapter on “Tabernacle among Us” and Randy Alcorn’s chapter on “Shepherd Status” also stood out; I was thinking about the truth found in both chapters for days.
I enjoyed this work and I recommend it. I recommend it as a personal individual reading. When I read this book I read it aloud with my wife as part of our marriage devotionals. The chapters are short enough to allow a couple with busy ministry and multiple kids under five to really get the day going spiritually. We enjoyed it very much and I recommend this as a book for family devotionals as well.