A Not-So-Silent Night

29 12 2009

This is a bit late for Christmas, but will be useful for next year.

I was sent a copy of his new book, A Not-So-Silent Night: The Unheard Story of Christmas and Why it Matters, by my friend, and Zondervan senior editor, Verlyn Verbrugge.

Verlyn explores the ‘dark side’ of Christmas, setting the events of Jesus’ birth in their historical, scriptural, and cultural contexts. While there is of course much to celebrate at Christmastime, Verlyn argues that there is also much for sombre reflection. He likens Christmas to Good Friday: it’s good in a bad way.

It’s a great read. Some of the highlights include the exploration of the shame culture in which Mary suffered, being pregnant out of wedlock, the connections to the cross in the birth narratives, the debunking of the notorious “no room at the inn” story, and the many allusions to the beginning of a celestial war marked by Jesus’ birth.

The book is pitched at a popular level, so it’s short (98 pages) and easy to read (I read it in about 80 minutes). But it’s one of those books that, while being easy to read, is full of provocative (and in many cases, new) ideas.

I will definitely be dipping into this book for future Christmas sermons.

Posted by Con Campbell