The Gospel of Christmas: Reflections on Advent

The Gospel of Christmas: Reflections on Advent

Patty Kirk, IVP Books

Take a professor of English literature, let her American Roman Catholic upbringing leave a cultural patina after her later “conversion”, give her a family with several teen children and watch for the mystery of Advent to make a penny-drop new impression.

Patty Kirk brings a new-for-old re-examination of her youthful understanding of the weeks of Advent, in the glare of today’s Christmas lights with added commercialism. She makes sense of the Advent incongruity for the modern person of faith.

Of course, for the Australian audience, we have to make the flip to snow and have a basic understanding of American culture.

Kirk’s academic but not theological roots show through the extensive footnotes and she also mines her teaching experience and her own family for interesting insights. Her sense of wonder comes through her discussion of ten years of converted Christianity.

She considers the Advent story from many angles. Among the 13 chapters, she considers the child’s perception, spends one on Joseph, another on personal contemplation that seems to evaporate under the onslaught of the season, looks at troughs and mangers, and the place of winter in Advent story.

Her final chapter on “living life abundantly” confirms that the gifts of Advent and Christmas are enduring, but you’ll have to read it to understand.

Peter Ellis


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