“Ten Books for Christmas” has become an annual tradition. I read a lot and love to recommend books to others. So, why not share? Here are my favorite books for Christmas and the new year approaching. They are not always religious but they are interesting. The list is in no particular order. With each book there is information provided by Amazon.com followed by, “Why I like this book.”
Jesus Always: Embracing Joy In His Presence by Sarah Young – Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy. Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are.
Why I like this book: “I am always with you, beloved, whether you’re aware of My Presence or not. Sometimes the place you in seems desolate – devoid of My loving companionship. But you can call out to Me and know that I am by your side, eager to help.” Every day, the readings guide our relationship with God. I confess this is the first book mentioned because it is my favorite. My wife, Mell and I are using this book every day as part of our prayer and devotional time together.
Be You. Do Good.: Having the Guts to Pursue What Makes You Come Alive by Jonathan David Golden – Almost anyone you ask would say that they want to do work that matters. Yet many people do not feel like they are actively making a difference in the world. But if God created each of us on purpose, for a purpose, we should be ordering our lives around that purpose. Jonathan D. Golden, founder of Land of a Thousand Hills coffee company, has discovered and is living out his unique calling to promote social, spiritual, and economic justice while providing a living wage to 2,500 farmers in Rwanda. Now he reveals to readers how to identify their calling, dispels the myths and misunderstandings we often have about what constitutes a calling, and challenges them to pursue that calling with a courage that can surmount the many obstacles that may lie in their path.
Why I like this book: “As we pursue our calling, many of us will discover that we’ve been called to serve a particular people. Sometimes their lives look a lot like our own. But we’re often called to those whose lives look different.” Jonathan Golden challenges us to think about the calling God has given each of us. It’s an amazing story filled with hope and miracles and told in a way that will have you seriously asking God: “Can I make a difference in the world?” And the answer is a resounding, “Yes!”
John: The Gospel of Light and Life by Adam Hamilton – The Gospel of John is the most deeply spiritual of the four gospels. It includes some of the loftiest and most loved verses in all the Bible: “And the Word became flesh…,” “For God so loved the world…,” “You who are without sin cast the first stone…,” “I am the resurrection and the life…,” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.” The writing is filled with rich images and profound truths, but John notes that his aim in writing the gospel is that his readers will not only believe in Jesus Christ, but that they “may have life in his name.” Experience a season of spiritual growth and life-changing renewal while reading the entire Gospel of John.
Why I like this book: “In his Prologue, John reminds us that human beings at times love the darkness rather than light. But he also makes clear that the darkness could not overcome Christ’s light. When we walk in the light of Christ, when we listen to, hear, and accept God’s Word, we have life.” Adam Hamilton writes to help us not just better understand the Gospel of John. He knows we will be transformed by the images and words of this amazing Gospel portraying the life of Jesus.
Because of Bethlehem: Love is Born, Hope is Here by Max Lucado – Max loves Christmas. Let the sleigh bells ring. Let the carolers sing. The more Santas the merrier. He loves it because somewhere someone will ask the Christmas questions: What’s the big deal about the baby in the manger? Who was he? What does his birth have to do with me? And the answers he’s found give us all hope. God knows what it’s like to be a human. When we talk to him about deadlines or long lines or tough times, he understands. He’s been there. He’s been here. Because of Bethlehem, we have a Savior in heaven. These are the heart shaping promises of Christmas. Long after the guests have left and the carolers have gone home and the lights have come down, these promises endure.
Why I like this book: “We may not see the connection between the name Jesus and the phrase ‘;save his people from their sins,’ but Joseph would have. He was familiar with the Hebrew language.” If you want to know why we celebrate Christmas? If you want to know the real reason for the season? You will find excellent answers in Because of Bethlehem that will give your cherished Christmas traditions new life.
The Power of a Praying Grandparent by Stormie Omartian – Being a grandparent is one of God’s greatest gifts. And loving your grandchildren is a privilege. The best way to love your grandchildren is to pray for them. Omartian offers powerful suggestions to help you. 1. Pray for your grandchildren to be healthy, protected, smart, kind, wise, godly, and obedient. 2. pray for yourself to be a powerful praying Grandma or Grandpa who understands what your grandchildren are facing in this world today. 3. pray for your grandchildren’s parents to be led and enabled by God. Being a praying grandparent is one of the best gifts you can give your grandchildren.
Why I like this book: “Our grandchildren need to understand that all of God’s commandments and rules are for our own good and given because He loves us. When we keep God’s rules, our lives work better. For example, God wants us to be forgiving because when we are not forgiving, we are the ones who are tortured by it.” Full of practical and spiritual insight, “The Power of a Praying Grandparent” allows me to pray and think about my role as a grandfather to best help my children and my grandchildren.
Next week: Five more books to recommend. Meanwhile, send me your comments or suggestions for other books to: LarryDavies@PrayWithYou.org