I’m just kidding, I don’t write to Santa. That’s because he’s a big fat lie who drinks sherry.
At this time of year everyone asks what you want for Christmas, and for some that’s lovely and for others it’s really stressful. If you’re in the latter group, here are some ideas from me:
In no particular order:
- None Like Him – this is a book about God, with short chapters and big truths, explained brilliantly by Jen Wilkin. She is really good at writing, and I don’t say that about many people. She has a gift and she’s using it to teach us how we are not like God, and that’s a good thing! I highly recommend this – get your best friend a copy too and read it together.
- Prayer – Timothy Keller. The book absolutely blew my mind. The only trouble with it was that I wanted to read it about five times, but it took me a year to read (on and off) so there wasn’t much chance of that. You know I love Tim Keller – he’s fantastic. What a blessing he is to so many people. This book will inspire you to pray and then give you practical advice for daily prayer. Here’s some inspiration from the book about how the Lord Jesus sets us an example:
Jesus Christ taught his disciples to pray, healed people with prayers, denounced the corruption of the temple worship (which, he said, should be a “house of prayer”), and insisted that some demons could be cast out only through prayer. He prayed often and regularly with fervant cries and tears (Heb 5:7), and sometimes all night. The Holy Spirit came upon him and anointed him as he was praying (Luke 3:21-22), and he was transfigured with the divine glory as he prayed (Luke 9:29). When he faced his greatest crisis, he did so with prayer. We hear him praying for his disciples and the church on the night before he died (John 17:1-26) and then petitioning God in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Finally, he died praying.
- The Plausibility Problem – Ed Shaw. This book isn’t hot off the press (none of these books are), but I think this should be compulsory reading for any Christian who’s serious about obeying Jesus’ command to love one another. However, it’s not my job to set compulsory reading for Christians, so I’ll jus say it comes very highly recommended. It’s not just a book about loving people who are same-sex attracted*, it’s about how to love people and live as church family, as we’re called to do. It’s fascinating, it’s challenging, it’s very moving. Thank you, Ed.
- Gilead – Marilynne Robinson. Oh my goodness, I read this a couple of months ago and it’s a book I didn’t want to finish. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005, which yes means I am very, very behind on life. It’s the memoire of a mid-twentieth Century pastor in rural Iowa, and if you like good writing and a good character piece, and especially (but not necessarily) if you’re a Christian, you’ll love this. She’s written other books too, which I should probably read…
- Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan. Right, so I’ll come clean. I haven’t actually read Pilgrim’s Progress. If you think that’s bad, then wait till I tell you that I think it was required reading for my English degree. It’s not on my Christmas list because I know exactly where it is on my bookshelf. You know when you’re in a Bible study and someone says, “This reminds me of Pilgrim’s Progress when..” and then gives a really poignant and relevant example? And you have to smile and nod because you’ve never read it? Well I plan, by the end of 2018, to be able to smile and nod sincerely, because I will have read it. Hey, I might even be the one with the insightful Bunyan anecdote. Maybe we could read it together – so to speak – next year?
If you’d like other ideas, click on the “Books” category and you should see my previous posts about books I recommend.
*This is how Ed Shaw describes himself. It’s all explained in the book!