Born a Child and Yet a King: The Gospel in the Carols
By Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema
In 31 Advent devotions, author Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth examines Christmas carols and uses them “as a treasure map that leads us to an even richer worship of Jesus.” As DeMoss Wolgemuth studied carols, she noticed that, though they vary in many ways, “the best of the carols seek to accomplish two things. They speak to us of (1) who Jesus is and (2) why He came.”
The devotions survey six themes, including our desperate need for Jesus (“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”) and our desire for his appearing (“Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”).
Each chapter in this engaging, challenging devotional includes a Scripture passage, a brief meditation, a prayer, suggestions for further Bible reading, and reflection questions. Recommended as a worthy resource for a meaningful Advent season. (Moody)
Charles Cornell YouTube Channel
Reviewed by Sam Gutierrez
I don’t play piano, but I wish I did—especially after watching Charles Cornell’s YouTube channel. Cornell’s unrestrained enthusiasm for music means even casual observers can get lost for hours watching him break down the intricacies of TV theme songs, video game melodies, movie scores, pop music, advertising jingles, ChatGPT-generated jazz chords, and internet memes.
Cornell got his start around age 4, when his mom overheard him playing the doxology on the piano by ear after church.
In 2019, Cornell posted his first video to YouTube, went to bed, and woke up a viral sensation with over 20 million views. He was able to convert that immediate success into a YouTube channel that is all about loving music and teaching people how they can love it too.
A Radiant Birth: Advent Readings for a Bright Season
Edited by Leslie Leyland Fields and Paul J. Willis
Reviewed by Cynthia Beach
Leslie Leyland Fields and Paul Willis edit a collection of Christmas readings, each one written by a member of the Chrysostom Society, including Lauren Winner, Philip Yancey, Walter Wangerin, Madeleine L’Engle, and more. Readings span 42 days and vary in length. They encompass various genres from essays and narratives to short scripts and poems.
In the foreword, Richard Foster explains that this work moves readers from Advent to Epiphany while underscoring the theme of “God is with us.”
The collection is divided into three sections: Jesus, Born in Bethlehem; Jesus, Born in Us; and Jesus in Us for the World.
With fresh takes and fine wordsmithing, this collection will serve individuals and churches well in a season that can get too familiar. (IVP).
You Are More Than You’ve Been Told: Unlock a Fresh Way to Live Through the Rhythms of Jesus
By Hosanna Wong
Reviewed by Mary Li Ma
Hosanna Wong points to a journey of reflection, self-discovery, and communion with Godon a path that introduces “a new rhythm that leads to a lighter, fuller, and more satisfying life.” Wong begins by exposing the many lies we hear in life: you are not enough; you don’t do enough, and your past defines you. These lies often dominate how we perceive reality in a broken world. But God’s will for God’s followers is to embrace a new name and a new identity as a child of God.
This book has 13 short chapters, each ending with guided questions for reflection. Its format makes it perfect for study in a small group, especially among a diverse group of young professionals who can relate to the author’s life trajectory. (W Publishing Group)
Epiphany: In this short volume, priest and theologian Fleming Rutledge expounds the primary biblical texts and narrative arc of Epiphany, inviting us to discover anew “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (IVP)
Musical Adaptation: A musical adaptation of The Color Purple, Alice Walker's novel about the life-long struggles of an African-American woman living in the south during the early 1900s, drops Christmas Day. (In theaters December 25, Warner Bros.)
Based on the Bestselling Book: In Black Cake, Eleanor Bennett loses her battle with cancer but leaves her children a flash drive holding untold stories of her journey from the Caribbean to America. The stories shock her children and challenge everything they know about their family's origins. (Hulu)
The Mystery Guest: A new mess. A new mystery. It’s up to Molly the maid to uncover the truth, in this standalone novel from the author of the New York Times bestseller The Maid. (Dec. 12, Penguin Random House)