Thursday 22 December 2016

Tim Keller on Christmas

Timothy Keller, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2016), ix + 148pp., ISBN: 978-1-64258-4.

This was my tube reading for a few days earlier this month. It’s a small hardback with large-ish print, and so a fairly quick read. It also works out quite expensive page for page, but I tried not to think about that too much as it’s Tim Keller, and I was mostly enjoying it.

It’s largely a set of reflections on some of the Christmas-related passages in the Bible. The chapters felt sermonic to me as I was reading them, although they also felt stuffed too full to be read as individual sermons or to be held up as model sermons on their passages. Interestingly, in the acknowledgements section at the end (which I read after I’d read the book), Keller notes that ‘each chapter represents at least 10 or so meditations and sermons on each biblical text, delivered in Christmas services across the decades’. For me, at least, that helped explain the feeling that I was reading something like a mashup of several sermons in each chapter.

Those who enjoy Keller’s work will know what to expect here: a warm engagement with Scripture, intelligent but not pushy reflection on currents in contemporary culture, and constantly coming back to the implications of the gospel for Christians and non-Christians alike.

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