Readers should know that I received a copy of this book from TGBC in exchange for a fair review.
Why am I reviewing an Advent book during Lent? The simple answer to that question is that I only recently finished it. The less simple answer will be revealed later in the year. Having worked at a Christian publisher for two Advents-worth-of-Christmases, I’ve become convinced of the value of working through what the Bible has to say about preparing for and celebrating the coming of Christ. Sinclair B. Ferguson, a well known Reformed theologian, has written Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings for Advent. This is a beautifully produced book that does pretty much what it says on the tin (for tin, read front cover).
Ferguson reflects on 1 Corinthians 13 – a passage known for it’s beautiful description of love, and often used at weddings. I was amused – perhaps slightly surprised, given Ferguson’s more theological normal writing – to see that he encourages us to substitute our name with ‘love’, when reading this passage, but this is a helpful way to see a familiar text in a new light. And that is what this book does. Offering a daily reading for each day of Advent, Love Came Down at Christmas delves into this passage, exploring different facet’s of God’s love for us and the invitation to Christians to share that love with the world. A particular highlight for me was the 16th, which is about hope, wherein Ferguson concludes “We can still have hope, because God kept his biggest promise, his oldest and costliest promise, when Love came down at Christmas“.
If you don’t observe Advent, and are thinking about it for the first time, then this is a great ‘way in’, as a seasoned and wise teacher walks us through what it means to understand who Love is. If you do, then this is a very helpful ‘daily’ option (to be contrasted, perhaps, with Songs for a Saviour’s Birth) that also offers a fresh approach to Advent – by focusing on 1 Corinthians 13 whilst continuing to draw in other texts, and the occasional Christmas carol! Overall, then, this is a reflective, biblical and beautiful Advent book and I recommend it.