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The Coming of Jesus

Preparing for Jesus by Walter Wanegrin
This little book by Walter Wanegrin is a series of meditations on the coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas and the Kingdom. The entries are divided up by a Scripture reference, Wanegrin's writing, and then a prayer at the end of the section.

Overall, I thought the book was interesting in its approach. For some characters in the Scriptures, Wanegrin's seems to want to get into their head, for others he looks historically at what it might have looked like in Jesus' time. What caught me by surprise in reading was the particular way Wanegrin drew us into the story of Jesus and let us see some details that we might have missed before. For instance, "But here in a child comes God, the light! And light in darkness is a frightening thing" (60). He earlier mentions our condition as (we should be that walking dead) and yet we dwell with God and with his Son. Wanegrin tenderly draws us to the profound truths of the gospel story in a way that is both unique and surprising.

There is a beautiful section of writing in one part of this book on the shepherds. Wanergrin goes onto write that "...we run to the Son of God, who knows each of our names, and who will call us by our names, and whose very call will empower us to follow. From sorrow we run to joy. From hatreds we run to love. From antagonims we run to peace. From sickness we run to the healer" (134-135). The section here is a window into what the shepherds diligent searching for the little baby Jesus might take us to. Each year we are confronted with a list of tasks and responsibilites too big to handle, and yet as Wanegrin indicates, we are called to come run to the Savior. There is rich sense of wonder here at the grace and mercy of Jesus. Wanegrin confronts both the fear of men and the shallow longings we run after when the feast of plenty is before us in Christ.

Overall, this book was a good book on getting into the seasonsal year of the church, but more importantly taking a closer look at the faith that matters. How? Wanegrin runs the terrain by getting into the story of the Bible, God's story and allowing us to see the beauty of the Savior. The devotional aspect of this book is very good in seeing how the pieces of the story fit into the pieces of the Christian life. Although this devotional is not heavy on the theology and history of the story of Jesus, we did get a profound sense of the mystery and grace of God in the arrival of his Son.

Thanks to Zondervan for providing this review copy.


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