“Encouraging, Christ-Exalting Readings”
This Advent devotional features twenty-five readings that focus on God's grace and the wonderful gifts we receive from Him. Each daily reading begins with a line or a phrase from a classic Christmas hymn, the gift that reading focuses on, and a core Scripture passage related to it. Jared C. Wilson unpacks many different themes in this book, ranging from theological concepts like Christ's propitiation to internal experiences like contentment. The readings are typically around four pages long, with strong opening hooks and satisfying conclusions, and there is a source list at the end that shares which hymn each chapter title came from.
Unlike some Advent books, this one presumes that the reader is already a Christian. If someone is curious about faith or interested in how Christians view the Christmas story, this wouldn't be the ideal book for them to start with, but Christians who want a deeper theological look into Christmas will appreciate this book's depth and its focus on further unpacking concepts believers already agree with and care about. Because of the book's brevity, it is helpful that Wilson directed this to a single audience instead of trying to address people with widely varying levels of interest and understanding.
"Gifts of Grace" is a great book for individual devotional reading, and it would work well as a family read-aloud with older kids and teenagers. It will also be especially encouraging to Christians who are going through a hard time right now or generally struggle to feel festive at Christmastime. Wilson shares many examples of how our hopes for Christmas often fall short, emphasizing that the hope of Christmas lies in Christ and God's grace for us, not in our ability to feel the right feelings or experience the right experiences.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.